Thermoforming is a manufacturing process where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, formed to a specific shape in a mold, and trimmed to create a usable product. The sheet is heated in an oven to a high temperature permitting it to be stretched into a mold and cooled to a finished shape. 3D Composites applies this method by printing the tools that are used as molds and then vacuum forming material onto them to create finished parts.

Acrylic (PMMA), Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polystyrene (PS), and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) are some of the thermoplastic materials used. The thin-gauge or heavy-gauge thickness of the sheets can help determine the use. Sheets less than 1.5 mm are usually for disposable packaging, and thicker than that (from 1.5mm to greater than 3mm) are used for a more permanent cosmetic nature, such as surfaces of cars, refrigerators, and electrical and electronic devices.

Benefits and Usage
The most beneficial aspects of thermoforming are its low tooling and engineering costs and fast turnaround time that make it ideal for prototype development and low-volume production. Other advantages are on-the-fly product enhancements, weight savings in handling and transport, wider design scope and choices, aesthetically-pleasing looks, and wide flexibility for small and large product designs.

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    ACS Partner Brand Line Up revise 2020 new - Thermoforming