Vacuum forming

The most important advantages of vacuum forming technology:

  • Very good surface of the final part
  • Inexpensive production tools
  • Short production ramp-up lead time
  • Very good quality reproducibility

Vacuum formed parts are in the desired color finish in gloss or matt, smooth or with texture pattern – all according to the customer’s requirements. As a rule, painting of parts is unnecessary. The parts are, however, easily paintable.

Technology is most frequently used in yearly series ranging from hundreds of units per year to tens of thousands of units per year.

Most frequently used materials: ABS, ABS/PMMA, PE, PS/PE, PMMA, PETG, PC …
Product size: upto 3 x 2 m with sheet thickness upto 10 mm
Follow up process: CNC trimming, ultrasonic welding, glueing, assembling
Common applications: automotive industry, public transportation (dashboards, trims etc.), construction and building machines (roofs, fenders, instrumenmt panels), agriculture and horticulture machines, lights, covers, housings, shields

Technology description

Vacuum forming is recommended especially for products in the lower and middle series, preferably in final finishing, i.e. in a defined color, texture or surface quality at the painted level.

An extraordinary advantage of vacuum molding is the low cost of development, tooling design and making, as well as very short lead times. This advantage comes handy where frequent product design changes are required with relatively high production quality.

The principle of the whole technology is to heat the co-extruded plastic sheet to the forming temperature. This sheet is perfectly formed around the tool surface using a vacuum applied between the plate and the mold.

After part forming, the parts is machined on a 5-axis CNC machine to the final trim. With this device, parts with a number of precise holes and shapes can be made with the maximum quality reproducibility of the parts.

If the type of application of the part requires it, ultrasonic welding or gluing of parts follows, eventualy assembling into a complex product.

At very low series and at the same time specific requirements for the color of the part, we are also able to offer painting of the parts according to the customer’s requirements. Typically, however, the vacuum molding parts are already produced in the desired color and tread pattern.

The tools used for the production of parts are mostly made of aluminum (cast molds or machined forms), for prototype parts it is possible to use molds from cheaper materials such as MDF.

The materials used for vacuum forming are thermoplastics.

Processed materials:

  • all commercial materials, especially ABS, ABS / PMMA, PE, HIPS, PS / PE, PMMA, PET, PC, PVC
  • PC, PE, PS, PMMA based blends – eg PS / PE or ABS / PMMA
  • non-flammable materials
  • regenerates of all materials
  • surface decorated materials (eg. printed, stainless steel, wood and other)

Producs made:

  • High quality (PMMA) products in both UNI and metallic colors
  • Parts with glossy materials are supplied with a PE foil
  • Parts from a tinted surface or in a matt finish

We are also able to offer a combination of vacuum molding with other technologies. An example is a combination of vacuum molding and PU-foam injection.

Combination of technologies:

  • Soft dashboard parts – Vacuum molded plate + soft PU foam + reinforcement
  • Rigid components – vacuum-formed ABS, PC + hard PU foam. These parts are made either in two-piece design or as a sandwich, the third layer is again a vacformed part.

Manufacturing equipment:

  • Vacuum forming presses up to size 3000 × 2000 mm
  • 5-axis CNC devices
  • Ultrasonic elding machines
  • Line for bonding parts (two-component bonding)

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