Basics of Plastic Vacuum Forming

Posted by Rob Helmke | Tuesday, September 4, 2012 0 Comments

Thermoformed packaging is a complicated discipline that requires a great deal of understanding of materials, and the actual methods used to create the package. Plastic vacuum forming is one of the most simplified of these methods. This process generally mimics many of the thermoforming principles, with potential cost saving measures for the client.

The Process

Vacuum formed packaging is created by stretching heated plastic sheet over a mold. This mold has been created to resemble the item to be packaged. Then vacuum is applied to press the sheet to the mold. Because the plastic sheet is heated, it’s pliable which allows it to form to the shape of the mold. Nevertheless, vacuum formed packaging is mainly used for items shallow in depth.

The Benefits of Vacuum Forming

Overall the costs of vacuum forming are typically lower compared to a full thermoforming packaging process that utilizes plug assists.  The cost of plastics is lower because of using single surface molds as well as thinner gauge plastics. Likewise, the costs of machinery are reduced because of the simplicity of the production process. The packaging does not require as much detail and therefore allows for a faster cycle times in most cases.

The Drawbacks of Vacuum Forming

Even though this process is simpler in production and cheaper in costs for machinery and materials, it does have some limitations. Because the machinery used to develop this process does not lend itself to great detail, there is a relative lack of control over the plastic material used. It is also somewhat difficult to reproduce the same packaging because of the vacuum forming process. There is greater variation between one package to the next.

Plastic Ingenuity provides various packaging processes to fit the needs of our clients including vacuum forming. Since vacuum forming is a relatively simple process in comparison to the custom thermoforming process, it provides clients a customizable packaging method at an affordable cost.

The Secrets of Successful Packaging

Topics: Custom Packaging, Design, design, Electronic Packaging, packaging, packaging design, plastics, plastics industry, retail packaging, simplicity, vacuum packaging