Many clients throughout the Sparks 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?
Products from Vacuum Forming
Sparks Best Plastic Sheet Supplier
Many 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 plastic 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 sheet of plastic, a PVC sheet, heats 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.
As the plastic cools, it is going to shrink slightly, and this is something that you will have to consider when you are setting up the process. Different types of vacuum formable plastic sheet are available, in different thicknesses, so it's important to understand how the different sheets work so you can get the product just right. You may also have to do some trimming to finished product. It can take some time to become proficient at the vacuum forming process, but the results are well worth it. It is also possible to find companies that will perform the process for you, which is a good idea for many.
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.
The Many Benefits of Vacuum Forming
One of the first benefits that you will notice when you start vacuum forming is that you will be able to make multiple products from the mold that you use. The speed at which you will be able to make your products is quite astounding as well. Once you have the molds set up and the proper training, making the products will proceed much more quickly. When you have a number of the same mold available, you will be able to increase your output exponentially.
Of course, vacuum forming is just one of the many different options available with thermoforming and making products from plastic. It's always a good idea to research all of the different options and then choose the one that most suits your business and the products that you are trying to create.
Acrylic, Melamine and Tritan, Oh, My! Five Tips to Help You Find the Perfect Plastic Tableware
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.