Thermoforming

Vacuum Forming

Providien has been a world-leading thermoformer of highly aesthetic, complex medical device enclosures and other plastic vacuum formed products for more than 40 years. These decades of experience have helped to make Providien a trusted and competent leader in the plastics industry and a valued source for all your plastic forming needs.
Providien’s proprietary approach to vacuum formed manufacturing allows for better design, improved functionality, reduced cost and increased aesthetic appeal.

What is Vacuum Forming?

Vacuum forming is a simplified version of Thermoforming. With the forming process, an extruded sheet of plastic is heated until it is brought to a formable temperature. The sheet is then removed from the oven and placed over the mold. Vacuum is then applied and the part takes on the geometry of the tool or mold. An optional plug assist may be used to help maintain uniform wall thickness and reduce thinning for parts with deep draws. The sheet is then placed into a 5-axis CNC trimming station, where the part is trimmed to its final dimensions. Any necessary holes are also drilled at this stage, completing the product for its final use in the device it was manufactured for.
This technique is used to make a wide variety of plastic parts and can be manufactured into any number of different required shapes for your company’s manufacturing needs. Some specific parts that Providien specializes in manufacturing include:

  • products for the aerospace industry such as seat backs, tray tables, overhead bins and bezels
  • products for the medical industry such as medical furniture, imaging systems, tissue staining equipment and gene sequencing systems
  • products for the commercial industry such as kiosks, carts, radomes and security/scanning devices

Why Use Vacuum Forming?

Vacuum forming has several potential advantages over other plastic production methods in many situations. Companies that have a need for large parts or multi-part uses, a need for products with high levels of gloss and/or clarity, and/or a need for a moderate or large annual volume part requirements often turn to Providien for their product needs. Because of the cost-efficiency and quick production time of the whole process, the production system also works to accommodate companies with a tight tooling budget or a need for a rapid product development.

Vacuum formed parts can be a great option when large, cost effective parts are desired. Because it can also help achieve high levels of gloss and clarity, these well made parts may be a good option when those aesthetic requirements are a necessity for the product or products that your company needs manufactured.

Materials Commonly Used

A variety of materials are commonly used in the process. Here is a list of some of those materials, along with the benefits they provide to help make your product the top-performing product you need it to be: The process can use ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), which includes a broad range of resins used in a number of different applications which can be formulated to meet UL flammability standards. Clear materials are also common in vacuum forming and include Acrylic (PMMA – Polymethyl Methacrylate, Plexiglass®) which has good scratch resistance, PETG, (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) which has good impact strength and forms very well, Polycarbonate (Lexan®, Makrolon®) which has very high impact strength and performs well in high heat environments. Plastic forming can also use other materials such as PVC/Acrylic (KYDEX®/Boltaron®) which meets the most stringent UL Flammability rating, (UL94-V0) is available in aviation grades, and is available in custom color at low minimums. Other common materials include HIPS, (High Impact Polystyrene) which is a low-cost resin, TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) which performs well in outdoor applications, HDPE, (High Density Polyethylene) a cost-effective material for applications requiring high-impact strength), PC/ABS, which can achieve a high gloss and also meets UL94-V0, and other materials as well.
The vacuum forming technology is a great option for a wide range of products and offers the benefits of cost effectiveness, a rapid development process, a high quality gloss and clarity capability and the ability to accommodate moderate to high volume production numbers.

Providien – The Best Choice for Your Company’s Vacuum Forming Needs

Providien, in its 40 year history, has created a solid reputation as well as long-standing relationships with a variety of well-known companies in the medical device, aerospace, commercial and industrial industries. Providien’s commitment to providing the highest quality products and the finest service in the industry make our company the best choice for your manufacturing needs.

 

Providien is also a leader in plastic pressure forming.