A. This is using a vacuum to pull heated and softened plastic sheet over a tool thereby forming the part.
A. Tooling that matches the inside surface of the part, is fixed to a vertically moving platform. Plastic sheet is clamped in a pivoting frame above the tool. Top heaters slide over on rails to soften the plastic. Then moved back to allow air to blow and pre stretch sheet. Tool platform is raised, vacuum applied which sucks & forms the softened plastic over tool. When cooled, the tool is lowered with a little air pressure. Clamp frame is raised and part removed for trimming.
A. If your design has not too many undercut areas or fine raised and recessed points, or very large section changes, making the draw too deep. Then most designs can be vacuum formed.
A. Vacuum forming is considered the cheapest method to produce parts for low to medium volumes, mainly because of low cost tooling.
A. Tooling dependent and material choice, however +/- 1mm is realistic Although some area might be held to +/- 0.5mm.
A. Almost any thickness could be formed, although typically 1 –5mm frequently used.
A. Yes thinning always occurs, therefore early input by us, on part design if possible, will ensure that the changes in feature are kept to a minimum and that the feature flow as best they can
A. The surface finish is dependent on a number of issues, that include complexity of part, thickness of material, gloss level of material chosen, heat required to form part and design and finish and venting of tool. However generally surface finish is very good and fault free.
A. ABS smooth or embossed ,HIPS,PVC,PP,HDPE,CPS,CHD, PC including Lexan and Kydex, PETG which covers almost every product requirement from fire retardancy to electrical conductivity.
A. Yes, but it will depend upon the part design on 2D drawing to determine if it can be machined or hand made, more likely hand made is usual from 2D data. If the part is seen to be more complex, we can offer conversion to CAD 3D data as a priced service.
A. Iges data is preferred, however at cost we can get Catia and other native CAD data translated for use on our CADCAM. Our CAD stations operate Unigraphics.
A. Vacuum forming requires a taper on side faces of about 2-3 degrees, this helps the forming and flow of material, but more importantly is essential to be able to withdraw the tool from the moulding.
A. Yes deep features can be formed as long as they have required taper and do not thin the material too much. To ensure the sharpness of features a plug assist is sometimes used, this pushes onto the opposite side to the vacuum and can be manually applied or by machine adaption.
A. Vacuum form tooling is not expensive, making it cost effective for prototype quantities and low to high volume production. Tooling can be made in wood and MDF for basic proto feasibility parts. CNC machined resin board tooling, allows for finer tolerances and detail to be achieved and will be able to last to produce potentially, thousands of parts. Aluminium tooling offers the optimum solution to surface finish, texturing and part volume capability.
A. The size is limited by the common max sheet size of 2240×1220 vacuum form machines can produce several or one part per time in this sheet. The bigger the machine deeper features can be achieved.
A. Yes they can, we produce all routing, trimming fixtures and jigs needed to add all production features to your components. The edges will be as smooth and free of burrs as possible.
A. Using MDF tooling maybe a couple of hundred, with resin board tooling maybe a few thousand, and aluminium tools will be capable of many thousand and last the product lifetime.
A. First parts are limited to the completion of tooling, which depends upon quality of CAD or Drgs. received. Vacuum forming is not a fast process like injection moulding. The cycle time is slower due to the generally non-automated nature, needing an operator dedicated to the machine. However typically first off parts would be available 3-4 weeks on receipt of an order.