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Thermoforming plastic

The purpose of thermoforming is to shape plastic plate and tubes. Typical applications are curved sheets and exhibitions, guards, lamp shades and curved tubes.
With thermoforming plastic plates/tubes are a slowly heated in a oven until it becomes soft and malleable. The softened plastic is placed in a forming tool and cooled again. The plastic will thereby maintain the new form unless it is heated again.

Thermoforming is also known as heat-forming.
   
Materials for use in thermoforming

Many different plastics can be thermoformed. In principle, all types of thermoplastics, but not all are suitable because the temperature range where the plastic remains soft is fairly narrow.

Acrylic , PC, PS and PVC are materials which are easily thermoformed.
 Termoformning af 3 mm acryl
Heat bent and thermoformed acrylic
   
Thermoforming of sheets

With thermoformed sheets one can obtained about the same results as if folding a piece of paper. For example a tube or a funnel.

Thermoforming of plates are ideal for prototypes and small batches, because the forming tools usually can be made cheaply. But it is also possible to make larger productions. In this case, more time is invested in the tools. Partly to achieve a consistent production, partly to reduce production time.
 Ovn til termoformning
Oven for thermoforming plastic
   
Thermoforming of tubes

When heat-forming tubes, it is necessary to ensure that the tube do not collapse when bended. This is done by heating the tube, insert a flexible spring, bend the tube and pull the spring back out when the plastic is hard again.
Termoformet PVC rør
Thermoformed PVC tube
   
Alternatives to thermoforming

  • Heat bending.
    Plastic plates heated over a hot wire and bent along a straight line (see section on bending).
  • Vacuum Forming.
    Acrylic if formed using vacuum. the plastic is stretched and the wall thickness will thus often varies along the subject. Vacuum forming is used in particular to make disposable plastic packaging.
    It is possible to create complex 3D items with vacuum forming, but the forming tools are expensive and not all parts are suitable. Eg. thicker material with many holes.

    Induflex does not use vacuum forming.
Our ovens for use in thermoforming

Oven Sheet format
[mm]
Custom Built, 3 chambers 1000 x 2000

Thermoforming plastic

Materials for use in thermoforming

Thermoforming of sheets

Thermoforming of tubes

Alternatives to thermoforming

Our ovens for use in thermoforming
 

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