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7 Things You Need to Know About Vacuum-Formed Plastics


Plastic is an incredible material that can be stretched or molded into almost any single thickness shape using the right process. One of these processes is the vacuum forming that creates the product out of plastics called vacuum-formed plastics.

Let this article present to you the seven important things you need to know about vacuum-formed plastic.

1. What is vacuum-formed plastic?

Vacuum-formed plastics are plastic materials that went through a process called Vacuum Forming. Vacuum Forming is a simple and rational type of thermoforming. It is a process where a sheet of plastic is heated to a forming temperature, stretched onto a single-surface mold, and pressed against the mold by a vacuum. The vacuum forming process utilizes a revolutionary pneumatic, hydraulic and heat controls that enable higher production speeds and more detailed vacuum formed applications. The procedure can be utilized to form plastic into a permanent item such as automobile protective covers and parkway signs.

2. Difference between Vacuum-Formed Plastic & Thermoform Plastic

In general terms, thermoformed plastics are plastics that are in a sheet form. These plastics are heated to soften and then placed into a mold using the process of Thermoforming.

Vacuum-formed plastics are plastic sheets of thermoplastic. It is being heated up to soften it in preparation for molding and that process is called Vacuum Forming.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to thermoforming and one of the best used products of this process are point of purchase display trays, pastry clamshells, and many others.

3. The History Vacuum-Formed Plastic Process

In the year 1940s and 1950s, a marketing tool for vacuum-formed plastic was first created as a display. It was developed from a line of vacuum casting and molding technologies.

In the year the 1950s, the first machine was for making display covers from thin plastic sheet material that was patented and was followed by various kinds of vacuum molding machines.

Finally, in the year 1964, a plastic sheet vacuum forming machine has been perfected and patented.

All these thermoplastic and vacuum-formed plastic procedures played off of a more seasoned idea of utilizing vacuums in any sort of throwing or embellishment procedure to eliminate excessive air. Extra air creates weak areas in moldings which is easy to break. Applying a vacuum takes every bit of air away which leads to an incredible outcome most of the time.

And since the year 1970 up to this date, the technology has been evolving until advanced and more credible procedures are available for convenience.

4. Reasons for using Vacuum-Formed Plastic

According to recent automotive research, vacuum-formed plastic processing is considerably cheaper compared to injection –formed plastic materials.

This material does not have any alternative when it comes to low cost, efficiency, and durability. During the process, the speed of replication and production of these materials is incomparable, especially in a small series of molding particular shapes.

5. Advantages of Vacuum-Formed Plastic

Since producing Vacuum-Formed Plastic uses forming pressures, it enables comparatively low cost. It uses low pressures, and it is made of inexpensive materials. The mold fabrication of vacuum-formed plastic time can be extremely short. The low quantity requirements of large parts and medium-sized of the machine being used in vacuum-formed plastic makes production very economical.

Unlike other thermoplastic forming processes, vacuum forming has numerous sophisticated machines and molds. They are used for endless automated production of high volume vacuum-formed plastic such as disposable cups, lunch packs, and ice cream cups.

6. Disadvantages of Vacuum-Formed Plastic

Most of the demands on vacuum-formed plastics require specific and intricate designs. It has higher per-piece costs that make vacuum-formed plastic non-competitive with other processes where quantities are higher and considering the additional details of a certain product, it may take some time to produce.

Due to specific details and materials, vacuum-formed plastic will have clear parts that exhibit mark-off or defects or dirt in some products is possible.

7. Plastic Vacuum Forming Services

There are hundreds of Vacuum Forming Services around the United Kingdom and in the United States as well as other countries around the globe. Most of the manufacturers prefer to collaborate with local suppliers in an effort to minimize lead time on demands and orders. These companies understand the challenges of meeting production schedules and determined not to allow geographical distance to be an obstacle to provide the first-class service.

When dealing with vacuum forming companies, make sure that they are environmentally aware company. These are the company’s committed to using recycled materials.

Despite the use of plastics, environmental performance is an important factor to maintain proper waste management. They should have their own environmental policies and possibly have approval from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).


About the writer: Donna Lee is the operations manager and resident writer at Plastiform, a thermoforming plastics company. She is also a contributor for and you can learn more about her by visiting her Bio Page.


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