Plastic Vacuum Forming

Our Capabilities

Plastics Design & Manufacturing is one of the leading suppliers of custom plastic vacuum forming services across a variety of industries. Our company can also provide product design and manufacturing engineering assistance and is AS9100:2016 – ISO 9001:2015 Certified.

Plastics Design & Manufacturing has an extensive line of thermoforming equipment to provide the highest accuracy, process control, and capacity in the western region.

Repeatability is a standard for long or short runs through computer controlled thermoforming equipment. We support our customer’s turnkey needs through extensive forming, trimming, assembly and finishing capabilities.

Common Plastic Vacuum Forming Materials

  • ABS | A common material available in several colors, textures and flame retardant grades
  • PC | A good impact material with a resistance to high temperatures
  • HDPE | An inexpensive material that is resistant to chemical and cold temperatures
  • TPO | A material that is durable and impact-resistant & UV stable
  • HIPS | An inexpensive material available in many colors and simple to mold
  • PVC | A strong, impact-resistant material available in flame retardant, as well as a range of colors and textures

Plastic Vacuum Forming | The Basic Process

Plastic vacuum forming is a multi-step process:

1. Tool Creation/Tooling Set-Up: A tool is designed and custom-fabricated to support the thermoforming process.  Trim fixtures are made from a casting from the part to insure precise fit and close tolerance secondary machining.

2. Plastic Material Heated: A flat sheet of plastic material is loaded in the thermoforming machine where it is heated to a specific temperature optimal for forming.

3. Heated Plastic Material Draped Over a Tool: The heated plastic material sheet is draped into a female tool or over a male tool and vacuum lines in the mold expel the air between the plastic and the tool and draws the softened plastic to the tool.

4. Remove the Formed Plastic from the Tool: Once the plastic material sheet has formed and cooled sufficiently it is removed from the tool.

5. Trim: Trim fixtures are cast from finished parts to insure proper fit.  Close tolerance routing and drilling are performed on 3 axis and 5 axis CNC machines.

6. Finish: We recognize the importance of your cosmetic requirements, and have the expertise and experience to get it “finished” to your specifications. Our finishing department includes services such as EMI / RFI shielding, custom painting, texturing, pad printing and multi-color silk-screening. The integration of these services provides our customers with turnkey production capabilities resulting in better control of quality, consistency, delivery and pricing.