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5 Minutes to Understand Vacuum Thermoforming : Mold Design & Examples


What is Vacuum Thermoforming?

Vacuum thermoforming is one of the most popular methods for manufacturing plastic parts. This method allows for a wide range of materials to be used and provides great versatility in design options. The process can also be used to create complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to form using other techniques.

What is Vacuum Thermoforming Mold Design?

Vacuum thermoforming mold design refers to the process of designing molds for your vacuum forming projects. These molds are used in conjunction with a vacuum thermoforming machine and allow you to create custom plastic parts out of a variety of materials.

vacuum thermoforming mold design

Read also : Choose the Right Cutting Dies and Tools for Thermoforming Machine

Why is Vacuum Thermoforming Mold Design so Important?

In order for your vacuum thermoformed parts to turn out properly, they need to be made from a mold that is designed specifically for the material being used and the shape and size of your part. The cost of creating these molds makes up a large portion of the total cost associated with vacuum thermoforming, so it's important that you get this right from the beginning.

Examples of Vacuum Thermoforming Mold Design

  • Vacuum formed tray or display

    Vacuum formed trays are one of the most popular items manufactured by vacuum forming.Vacuum formed trays can be used for many different things, including as food containers or sample display trays. They're usually made of polystyrene foam or polypropylene, which are both flexible plastics that can withstand heat. Vacuum formed trays are also quick and inexpensive to produce, making them ideal for high volume manufacturing.

    vacuum thermoforming mold for tray

  • Vacuum formed disposable container

    Vacuum formed trays are another great example of the vacuum formed process. It is often used as an inexpensive method of packaging products such as food products sold in retail stores where shipment weight is important and bulky packaging materials such as corrugated cardboard or foam peanuts are not available or cost effective because they would add significantly more weight than needed for that particular item.

    vacuum thermoforming mold for container

Read also : Guide to Thermoforming Food Packaging : Everything You Need to Know

Differences Between Vacuum Thermoforming and Injection Molding

Vacuum forming is similar to other methods of forming plastics like injection molding, but it has some important differences. The main difference is that with injection molding, you inject molten plastic into a mold ; with vacuum forming, you use heated air to soften plastic sheets and then form them into a shape. In both cases, the plastic becomes malleable and can be shaped using molds or other tools.

The type of plastic used for vacuum forming also differs from what's used in injection molding. Vacuum-forming plastics are generally more flexible than injection-molded plastics because they have a lower melting point than injection-molded plastics do. This makes them easier to work with when being formed into shapes on an industrial scale.

differences between vacuum thermoforming and injection molding

Differences Between Vacuum Forming and Pressure Forming

Pressure forming is a process where the plastic sheet is placed into a mold, and then heat and pressure are applied to the plastic sheet. This causes the plastic to conform to the shape of the mold. Vacuum forming is similar, but instead of pressure, it uses vacuum suction to pull the sheet into its molded shape. The result is often a part with smooth edges and a glossy finish.

Both processes have their advantages and disadvantages. When you're making a product and deciding which process to use, it's important to know what those advantages and disadvantages are so you can make an informed choice about what's right for your project.

Vacuum Themoforming Pressure Thermoforming
Process It uses heat and suction to
form the sheet around the mold

It involves heating up a sheet of plastic, then putting it on a mold
and applying pressure to the sheet until it conforms to the shape of the mold

Sheet forming termperature Higher Lower
Required forming force Less More
Precisoin Lower Higher
Material distribution Poor Better
Temperature resistance of result part Lower Higher
Chill marks More Less
Mold tooling cost Lower Higher

mold : vacuum forming vs pressure forming

Advantages of Vacuum Forming for Trays or Containers

The key advantage to vacuum forming is that it produces a smooth, even surface with virtually no distortion. This makes vacuum formed trays or containers ideal for food packaging applications where appearance is important. They are also very strong and durable, which makes them ideal for industrial applications as well.

Most Common Materials for Vacuum Formed Trays or Containers

Vacuum formed trays or containers can be made from a variety of materials, including polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The most common material used in manufacturing these products is PS, which is lightweight and strong while offering good impact resistance. Vacuum formed trays can also be made from other types of plastic, such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Read also : Plastic Cup Molding : Thermoforming VS Injection Molding

Talk to the Expert of Vacuum Forming Mold

Hongzu has decades of experience in the thermoforming industry, and we can use that expertise to help you determine the best way to get the vacuum thermoformed packaging results you need. Whether you are looking for a one-time project or ongoing support, we have the thermoforming tools and resources to help you make it happen. Please contact us today ! 


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