Capabilities / Thermoforming

Thermoforming

Thermoforming is the process where heat is used to soften flat sheet and formed into a new shape. With thermoforming, an acrylic sheet is slowly heated in an oven until it becomes soft and malleable. Then the acrylic sheet is placed in a forming tool and cooled again, which will thereby maintain the new form unless it is heated again.

Sanbos thermoforming operations include drape forming, vacuum forming, and pressure forming.

Drape Forming: A flat sheet of acrylic is heated to forming temperature and then draping it over a tool with a simplistic shape. This process works well for making shapes such as half cylinders, cylinders, cones and panels with slight compound curves. Once the panel has slumped, additional hand-work and clamping is often needed to coax the material into its proper drape-formed shape.

Vacuum Forming: A sheet of acrylic is heated to a forming temperature, stretched onto or into a single-surface mold, and held against the mold by applying vacuum between the mold surface and the sheet.

Pressure Forming: The first step is to heat the sheet of plastic to forming temperature. The sheet is then vacuumed formed against the tool. Air pressure is then introduced into the sealed tool to push the hot plastic tightly against the mold.

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