Many clients throughout the Alpine area have heard the term vacuum forming, but they do not know what it really means, and they don’t know what it does or how it can help them in their business. Vacuum forming is a procedure that can shape performance plastic sheet materials into many different forms, and it is one of the best ways to make a host of different plastic products.
How Does it Work?
A type of thermoforming, vacuum forming, is a process by which a plastic sheet or thin sheet of plastic, such as a PVC sheet, is heated up so that it becomes malleable. The heating process includes the use of aluminum plates and infrared heaters. The heat application will come from the top and the bottom so that it is uniform and will provide the best results.
Once the heat finally reaches the proper temperature (which can differ based on the thickness of the sheets in use) the vacuum will mold the sheets to form the product. The vacuum is able to provide an airtight environment, which is going to be better for the overall molding process.
Products from Vacuum Forming
With this type of thermoforming, one could create countless types of products, and you may find that your company could benefit greatly from the process. One of the most common products using vacuum forming today are children’s plastic toys, but that’s just one of the possibilities. Product packaging is another option, and it is one most companies that create, manufacture, package and sell products could use. Most of the plastic items that you see around the home and office have gone through some type of thermoforming, and it’s often the vacuum process.
Alpine Best Plastic Sheet Supplier
Some of our most popular questions are "Is this material UV stable?", or "How long will this last in direct sunlight?", or some similar themed question. These are great questions. Just look at the 'cheap' backyard furniture you bought last season, yep, it is faded and cracking or broken. Why is that?
The quick answer is the material had either no UV (Ultra Violet Light) stabilizer or very little - or it was simply the wrong plastic for the part. Most plastic materials are not UV stable to start with, other than Acrylic which is invisible to UV. All other materials need a little something (an additive) to give it the protection it may need from the sun. Many plastic materials, if given the proper UV resistant additives, can be used in direct sunlight for 10 - 15 years, or more, providing excellent performance in harsh environments.
The first factor in picking such a material is the intended use. Not all materials are good choices for all applications. While some materials will perform exceptionally well, others plastic materials under the same conditions will fail. Many plastic materials are not well suited to: high temperatures, chemical exposure, UV light, high impact, or electrical applications. Please contact us for details on a material that may meet your needs.
HDPE sheet is one of the best materials for long term outdoor use, if given the proper additives (without UV inhibitors it will fade and crack quickly). Next time you drive by a children's playground in your local city, look at the brightly colored panels used to make the play equipment. This is a HDPE sheet with heavy UV additives, and this makes an excellent application. Available in a rainbow of colors and able to be fabricated easily, this material is excellent for many outdoor applications.
If your application is more mechanical, other materials that might be used would be: Polycarbonate, UHMW, ABS (especially with Korad - Acrylic cover), Acetal, Noryl and many more.
Our standard Makrolon Polycarbonate is a UV stable material in sheet, and is frequently used in replacement glazing applications. The remaining materials on the list are available in Black (a carbon black pigment) which extends outdoor usage. While still not recommended for direct sunlight, they can be used with a good possibility of success - depending on design. Plastics can become brittle or lose properties over time if material does not have UV stabilization, with the proper material and the proper additives, you can get years of trouble free service.
Additionally, many materials will work well if they are painted to cover the plastic surface. Many spray paints, especially Acrylic paints, last many years in the sun. Please check with us, as some material do not accept paints or coatings.
Take some time to review your requirements, and the properties of the plastic you intend to use. The right material will provide the best performance. Contact any of our Plasticologists for assistance, call 866-832-9315 or email us. You can always do research on plastic materials at Industrial Plastic Supply.
Vacuum Forming With a Vacuum Formable Plastic Sheet
Anyone who is looking for added protection for a building will want to consider purchasing Plastic Roofing Sheets as these sheets can protect any roof from weather damage. They work well in both warm and cold climates and are very durable. Places where Plastic Roofing Sheets work best include sheds, garages, parking areas, and many other locations. It is easy to find suppliers of these materials as there are many companies online that offer them. Adding protection to a roof now can lead to big savings in the future.
Some of the many advantages of plastic roofing sheets include the lower cost, effective insulation of heat, and ease of installation. People have many different choices when it comes to the material they want to use on a roof. Their first choice may be metal, but this is a more expensive option. These are inexpensive and can be purchased in widths of three, four, and five feet. These sheets can also be custom cut to meet the needs of any roof. Insulation with this type of roof is great as the warm air is kept in during the cold winter months. Cooler air can be trapped inside during the summer. Plastic roofing sheets do not warm up too quickly or too slowly, so they are ideal for many building projects.
People who want to improve their home without the help of others will want to consider these Sheets. They are easy to install and can be cut with a heavy duty scissors or tooth saw. As long as someone knows the measurements of a plastic roofing sheet, they will be able to purchase a custom cut online. These sheets are light weight and easy to work with. Anyone will be able to install them on their own as opposed to having professionals install metal sheets.
The lower cost, effective insulation of heat, and ease of installation are just some of the many advantages of Plastic Roofing Sheets. Consumers will find these sheets to be aesthetically pleasing as they fit in well with the design of any home, garage, office, or other living space. Anyone who purchases them will be pleased they made the switch. Cold weather climates will enjoy watching the snow slide off these sheets when the sun shines on them. Now is a great time to purchase this type of material.