Thermoforming

THermoforming

Thermoforming process produces plastic parts using heat, and later moulds use vacuum or pressure. It is inexpensive to manufacture blister packs, trays, and cup lids. A flat plastic film or sheet is heated during this process, followed by pressurised air. Sometimes the sheet is shaped under a vacuum. In the process, three-dimensional moulded parts are created. The output is restricted to the packaging, consumer goods, toys, and automotive industries.

The thermoforming process starts with material preparation. Bioplastic forms sheets and is dried with a certain moisture content to prevent degradation and maintain consistent quality. Then the material is heated by placing it in a heating station or oven until it is pliable. Now the heated sheet is placed over a mould and fastened in its place. The air is removed from the space between the sheet and the mould using vacuum forming. Pressure can also be applied, a process called pressure forming, to form the material into the mould. This is followed by a cooling process where the mould is solidified. Finally, the mould is opened to remove the plastic part. Trimming and finishing are crucial to getting the desired output. Once the finished product is out, it is sent for quality check and necessary changes are made.

The process is not standard and can vary depending on the bioplastics used. It is important to consider the manufacturer’s guidelines while processing bioplastics.