The plastic thermoforming process involves a variety of steps, including design, material selection, tooling creation, forming, trimming and secondary operations.
Thermoforming involves heating and molding a plastic sheet using vacuum or pressure. In order to achieve the final product, thermoforming can use several different types of molds and processes.
To thermoform a plastic product:
1. A sheet of plastic material is clamped into a thermoformer and sent into an oven for heating.
2. Once it reaches the right temperature for processing, it’s pulled over or pushed into a mold with either vacuum or pressure to form a part.
3. The formed part is then cooled, removed from the mold and sent to the next station for trimming.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the process of trimming thermoformed parts as well as the trimming equipment used to produce a quality plastic product.
How are thermoformed parts trimmed?
After a sheet of plastic is thermoformed, the next step is to trim the excess material away from the part. Most plastic parts that come out of a thermoforming machine are trimmed.
Trimming is one finishing operation for thermoformed parts that turns molded plastic into real-life products.
Why the right trim is important
Trimming plastic parts to the correct specifications is important. If the trim is incorrect or sloppy, the parts may not function properly or mate to other parts as required. If the part is a visible component of your product, poor trim can ruin the overall aesthetic.
Trimming operations for thermoformed products
Thermoformed parts are trimmed in several ways, including computer numerical controlled (CNC) routers. CNC trimming is ideal for cutting parts of all sizes. Additionally, CNC trimming equipment has the ability to trim complex angles and radii. Advantages of CNC routers include:
Thermoforming a quality plastic product requires state-of-the-art forming and trimming equipment. At Joslyn Manufacturing, quality molded plastics are trimmed to exact specifications with high-precision machines.
Our CNC routers use the latest controllers, keeping us on the cutting edge of technology. Our twin-table CNC routers allow us to cut parts as large as 5 feet by 10 feet, keeping tight tolerances during production.
Die cutting is another trim operation used in thermoforming. A custom die is created and used for perimeter trims and the addition of holes. Die cutting is generally used for thinner gauge materials with less complicated trim specifications.
Have a complicated trim? No problem. Send us your CAD files and our team will use them to generate precise trim paths. Our CNC routers maintain tight tolerances from part to part over an entire production run, allowing us to achieve higher throughput than with other trimming methods.
Rely on the advanced trimming operations at Joslyn to produce thermoformed plastic products that meet your standards.