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Advantages Of Pressure Forming

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  • 05-05-2022
Advantages Of Pressure Forming

What are the advantages of pressure forming? This article looks at pressure thermoforming and typical applications for pressure forming.

What is Pressure Thermoforming?

The pressure thermoforming process is a fantastic plastic manufacturing technique under the umbrella of plastic thermoforming methods available in the industry. 

The manufacturing process of pressure-forming involves a 2-dimensional thermoplastic sheet heated to its optimal in a pressure box. Its heated sheet is positioned over a custom mould or tool. 

Professional engineers will then apply positive air pressure above said sheet to bear its weight; its material is pressed into the moulded surface to create a 3-dimensional shape. The moulded part will eventually cool and harden so that engineers can move it onto the next processing stage for further specification. 

How Does Pressure Forming Work

Advantages of Pressure Forming

Pressure forming has a wide range of advantages and capabilities as it enables professional engineers to create sufficient thermoformed components with immense detail compared to vacuum forming or others. 

Customers can get the moulded side of a pressure-formed part identical to an injection-moulded part with a similar airflow. Yet, you may be able to do so at far lower tooling costs than alternative two processes like foam moulding or RIM moulding. Plastic parts that are pressure-formed tend to be a fantastic alternative to fibreglass, wood and sheet metal. 

The female mould allows for the pressure forming process to be far more advantageous as the mould can be pre-textured much like an injection mould; however, the textured surface will transfer into the finished product. 

You can have embossed wording, style lines, ribbing, moulded-in different textures, tight corners and logo incorporated into the final part.

Its advantages include the following:

  • It has an immensely high level of precise detail and can conform to various stringent tolerances of the specific industries you require the products for
  • They are a fraction of the original or a lower tooling cost (approximately 1/3 or less) than you may be expected to pay for injection moulding processes
  • It is highly cost-effective, especially regarding low-moderate quantities of 300 up to 5,000.It can curate and form parts with functional sharper details and fine cosmetics, for example, undercuts, logos, lettering, louvres and vents
  • Pressure forming has rapid prototyping properties, and it is relatively quick to market
  • It can form substantial parts. 

Typical Applications for Pressure Forming

Plastic thermoforming is a technique used by leading component suppliers for self-service vending machines and kiosk devices and equipment. They can create high-quality plastic kiosk enclosures that will enhance performance. 

Pressure forming and vacuum forming allow for vastly unique advantages perfect for the marketplace and kiosks; they provide high-quality alternatives to traditional metal enclosures with custom colours, moulded-in branding, surface texturing, and sleek and modern geometry designs. Plastic thermoforming techniques will allow your kiosk to stand out in material performance and visually.

The process involved in plastic thermoforming, such as pressure forming and vacuuming forming, is fantastic for suppliers of mass transit within the rail industry. 

It is uniquely suited to the needs of those requiring mass transit for the interiors and exteriors of rail and railcars. The materials used are incredibly durable and lightweight, for example, FST, FMV 302 and Doc 90.

It has an extremely attainable cost whilst enabling higher design flexibility, especially for interior components.  It opts for features such as advanced tooling, undercuts and tooling embedded surface finishes that allow for complex geometric parts to be constructed, surface texturing and closely matted component assemblies. 

Designers and engineers also have access to a wide range of pre-coloured, paint-free materials using this method. 

Pressure and vacuum forming are now one of the leading choices for plastic production from several manufacturers that produce medical diagnostics equipment and devices. 

They are predominantly used for gantries, housings, enclosures and covers for electronic or mechanical components. 

Exterior and interior covers or panelling structures are critical for industrial applications and material handling for mass transportation and shipping. 

These covers and panelling will ensure that your products are tightly fit inside containers properly so that they cannot move about and break if they are fragile or prone to damage.

Pressure thermoforming helps manufacture several component parts for OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), who deal with plenty of industrial equipment. 

Plastic manufacturers provide custom plastic thermoforming components suitable for the handling and construction industry. Ensure you specify your requirements and job role to obtain the perfect material handling thermoformed products. 

Plastic thermoforming and value-added services with leading manufacturers tend to produce various products with plastic components; the following are also included:

  • Medical Equipment and Devices
  • Bus and Mass Transit
  • Railcar
  • Aerospace
  • Unmanned Systems and Vehicles
  • Industrial and Heavy-Duty Equipment
  • Self-Service Vending Machines and Kiosk Service Equipment
  • PPE Medical Gera and Face Shields
  • Electronic and Sensor Enclosures
  • Food Service Devices and Equipment
  • Wastewater management components
  • Portable toilet components

Plastic thermoforming uses its large parts alongside professionals with their rapid prototyping expertise to ensure they meet demands for large equipment enclosures, electronics and prototypes. Traditional methods are limited, yet large part thermoforming can create parts up to 96" by 120".

Any additional parts created as an add-on tend to be far more cost-effective than conventional forming techniques. Prototype tools can be produced using CAD files with synthetic resin or wood resin; these parts tend to be finished within 10-15 days of initial production. 

Plastic thermoforming (Vacuum and pressure forming) has, over time, become the primary plastic production process of choice amongst the industries leading manufacturers and providers for the production of heavy equipment and agricultural vehicle components. 

It is an engineering method in which plastic thermoformed parts provide an impressive range of rugged materials and design options; they will allow your tools and equipment to stand out both in regards to their performance and overall aesthetic nature. 

Common materials used with Pressure Forming

There is a wide range of materials that professionals use for pressure-forming methods, such as:

  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): Such material includes an extensive array of adaptable resins that strive to meet the UL flammability ratings
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA): This includes a popular plexiglass material with incredible scratch resistance
  • Polycarbonate is a high-impact plastic capable of resisting immensely high temperatures
  • Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG): This material is known for its formability and durability
  • Acrylic/PVC: Such material is known for meeting the very highest ranks of UL flammability. High-Impact Polystyrene (HIPS): It is an incredibly low-cost resin
  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE): It is a material perfect for the next projects that require plenty of high-impact strength to complete and is cost-effective
  • Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO): It provides excellent outdoor performance
  • ABS/PC: You can achieve a stunning high gloss finish whilst attempting to meet the same ratings that one might receive using Acrylics and PVC materials. 

Are you looking for Pressure Forming or Vacuum Forming services in the UK? Follow the link below to find out more about our bespoke services.