Enhance Your Thermoforming Molds with Additive ManufacturingWhether they are on your car, at the grocery store or in your company’s break room, thermoformed products are a part of everyday life.
Thermoforming is a collection of manufacturing methods commonly used for the production of high volumes of lightweight plastic parts, such as blister packaging and disposable cups, and larger products like automotive wheel covers and refrigerator door panels. The process works by heating a plastic sheet to a pliable temperature and then forming it around a mold. Two of the more common methods are vacuum forming, which draws the sheet against the mold with a vacuum, and pressure forming, which instead uses compressed air to force the sheet onto the mold.
Typically, these molds are machined out of wood or aluminum. However, companies have started using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) as an alternative process to produce molds faster and more efficiently.
Turning to FDM and additive manufacturing can advance your thermoforming applications in the following ways: