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Dear Joslyn: What Is the Vacuum Forming Process?

Dear Joslyn:

Strawberry Vacuum-Formed Packaging

I’m looking for a source for thin-gauge packaging. A colleague recommended vacuum forming, but I’ve never heard of it. Can you help me understand what vacuum forming is and how it works?

– O.B. Livious

Dear O.B. Livious:

Your friend is right – vacuum forming is a great way to produce thin-gauge packaging! Now, let’s explore what it is and how it works.

Vacuum forming is a simple process. A sheet of plastic is heated in a thermoformer (imagine a giant oven with, you guessed it, a vacuum). Once the plastic reaches the right temperature for forming, it’s either pushed into or pulled over a mold using the force of the vacuum.

The sheet, now with a formed part in it, is cooled with air and then removed from the mold. The sheet is taken to the next station for trimming and voila! You have a finished part.

Depending on the volume, your thin-gauge packaging may be produced on an inline machine. These types of machines feed a roll of plastic into an oven, a vacuum forms the part and then advances to the trimming station – all with minimal human interaction.

When you’re ready to take your colleague’s advice and give the vacuum forming plastic process a try, give us a call!

– Joslyn Manufacturing

Need a custom thermoformed product? We can create it, from tooling to finishing to fulfillment. Whatever the application, you can rely on our forming technologies.

Have a question for Dear Joslyn? Send your inquiry to or use the hashtag #DearJoslyn.

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Topics: Dear Joslyn, Vacuum Forming Plastic, Vacuum Forming, Vacuum Forming Machine

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