Joslyn Blog

Vacuum Forming: What It Is, How It Works & Why It Matters

Disposable Plastic Food Snack TraysQuality plastic molded components require proper thermoforming technology. In order to achieve the final product, thermoforming can use several different types of molds and processes.

The two main types of thermoforming processes are vacuum forming and pressure forming.

In this blog, we’ll provide in-depth detail about the vacuum forming process, its advantages and if it’s the right thermoforming technology for your next project.

What Is Vacuum Forming?

Vacuum forming is one of the most economical thermoforming technologies and works best on products that are simple and don’t require great detail. Vacuum forming plastics is a good choice for tight budgets, time constraints, items with large dimensions and lower-volume, shorter runs. The vacuum forming process offers great flexibility in the creation of custom-molded plastics because production costs are relatively low.

How Does Vacuum Forming Work?

To vacuum form a plastic product:

  1. A sheet of thermoplastic material is heated in an oven.
  2. The sheet is set on a mold.
  3. A vacuum pulls air out of the mold, pulling the sheet against the mold to shape it.
  4. After the formed plastic cools and hardens, it’s removed from the mold and trimmed.
Learn more about the different trimming operations used in thermoforming in this blog.

Advantages of Vacuum Forming

Plastic product manufacturing companies use industrial vacuum forming as a suitable replacement for other custom forming processes that use sheet metal, fiberglass or wood. Compared to traditional methods, vacuum forming plastic offers several advantages, including:

Vacuum Forming vs. Pressure Forming

Choosing between vacuum forming and pressure forming all depends on the benefits you need.

Vacuum forming works best on products that are simple and don’t require great detail. Pressure forming is recommended when aesthetics are critical.

Automotive components, for example, such as panels, doors, seating parts, dashboards, bumpers, air ducts, truck bed liners, floor mats and headlight covers are all ideal applications for thermoformed plastics. Vacuum forming is best for the larger, shorter-run components (such as bumpers and interior panels), while pressure forming brings out precise, sharp details and attractive surfaces when needed (such as parts with logos stamped in).

Turn Your Vision Into a Reality

The team at Joslyn Manufacturing will work with you to make sure the vacuum forming process is labor- and material-efficient, maintains consistency from piece to piece, produces parts with the correct dimensions, rigidity, features, texture and finish, as well as satisfies your need for affordable, durable plastic parts.

To learn more about vacuum forming, vacuum forming plastic products or the plastic molding process, contact us today.

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Topics: Vacuum Forming Plastic, Vacuum Forming

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