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For those who are new to the packaging industry, they may have questions about thermoformed packaging, and what is involved with the process. Below we’ve answered the 5 most frequently asked questions to give you a better idea of what thermoforming is and how it can be used to create the right product packaging for you.
A: Thermoforming is the process of heating a sheet of thermoplastic material and forming it to the desired shape. The process is rather simple:
ü Heat a sheet of thermoplastic material with electronic heater.
ü Once heated, place the heated sheet on a mold.
ü Vacuum will either pull the heated sheet against the mold, pressurized air or a plug assist will press the sheet into the mold, or all three will be used. When the mold is removed, it will create a 3D object.
ü Finished products can be hot stamped, labeled, placement of an insert card, die cut, or enhanced in other ways if coloring and details were not achieved during the forming process (i.e., through the use of colored plastics or tooling.)
A: Both plastic injection molding and thermoforming can produce a final product that is of the same quality and detail. In fact, due to the same level of quality, it is often challenging to be able to distinguish between the two in a final product. Although they are very similar, thermoforming is often the preferred method reasons below:
ü More affordable: Tooling for a thermoformed part can often be upwards of 90% cheaper than tooling for an injection-molded part. This is due in part to the fact that molds for thermoforming are single sided, whereas molds for injection molding include both a cavity and a core part.
ü Quicker turnaround time: Because the tooling required to create thermoformed parts is simpler, they are easier and quicker to get into production, and ultimately to market, than injection-molding.
ü Easier to update: Thermoformed parts are easier to adapt and modify to reflect updates than injection-molding.
A: There is no simple answer to this question. Ultimately, the answer will depend on the benefits that you are looking to get from your end product.
ü Vacuum forming: This process is ideal for small production runs, and products with minimal details that and are simple. This method is preferred when trying to produce items quickly, and also for designing and building large items that need to have thin walls and to be lightweight.
ü Pressure forming: This process is ideal when aesthetics is of upmost importance. For items that require detailed textures, crisp features, sharp corners, or formed-in logos, or other styling techniques.
A: Different plastic materials have different physical characteristics that make the material suitable for different applications. If you are unsure what material will work best for your particular application, contact Utien today. We have years of experience and can help you determine the best material to meet your needs. We consider the thickness of the material, finish, durability, and rigidity of the material in determining the best material to use.
A: No, thermoformed packaging is often used to create various product packages, including food trays, and long-lasting plastic products for various products and industries. The most common applications for thermoformed plastic is in toys, hardware, plumbing, household appliances, lawn and garden equipment, sports and leisure, office products, electronics, medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, novelty items, displays and so on! Thermoforming has universal applications.
The process of thermoforming can produce many different types of products. To name a few: clamshells, blisters, vacuum formed trays, displays, etc. The options and industries are endless. You literally see examples of these products in every day of your life as you get a coffee, go to a retail store, go to the doctor, go to a sporting event, go to the movies, etc.
As you can see, thermoforming has many benefits and useful applications, and can be used to achieve various product packaging needs. We hope that you have learned more about thermoforming and how it can benefit you. If you are interested in learning more and or have any need for thermoforming packaging machines, please do not hesitate to contact us.