How Thermoforming Works

This simple guide explains the step-by-step process for creating a part by thermoforming plastic.

1 - Loading

A sheet of forming-grade plastic, usually ABS, is loaded into clamps in a forming machine.

2 - Heating

The plastic is heated. The temperature is determined by several factors, including material thickness and color.

3 - Waiting

As heat is absorbed by the material, the plastic becomes flexible, stretches and begins to droop.

4 - Stretching

The flexible plastic is lowered over the mould once it has reached the desired temperature.

5 - Forming

Powerful vacuums remove the air trapped between the plastic and the mould.

6 - Cooling

The plastic is cooled with fans until it can retain its shape.  The excess is trimmed away and recycled. The part is now ready for assembly with other parts or for packaging.