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Your Guide to Thermoforming

| Edge-2-Edge Thermoform

~ by Lee Kowalski, think4D Accounts Manager

In manufacturing, where innovation meets practicality, thermoforming stands out as a versatile and efficient process for transforming plastic sheets into a myriad of products, especially within the world of packaging! 

At its core, thermoforming is a technique that involves heating a thermoplastic sheet until it becomes pliable (but not melted) using methods such as infrared heating, convection ovens, or radiant heaters.  The softened plastic is then formed over a mold using both vacuum and pressure, giving it its final shape, and cooled to maintain the shape. 

Because thermoforming is quite versatile, it’s popular for many applications.  At think4D, most of what we produce is in the packaging realm but we have the ability to create for a wide range of industries.  Some of the industries that benefit from thermoforming technology include the automotive industry (thermoforming is used to produce interior components such as dashboards, door panels, and trim pieces) and in the medical field (for the protection of sensitive instruments, custom trays, and blister packs).    

Obviously, these industries wouldn’t use the technology if there weren’t a long list of advantages to doing so.  Compared to other manufacturing processes, thermoforming generally requires lower tooling costs.  It also benefits from the ability to economically deliver low-volume production runs.  When it comes to rigid, thin-walled packaging, generally thermoforming is the process that enables the thinnest wall thickness with high top-load strength.

How about the sustainability of thermoforming?  Because thermoformed solutions are produced from polymer resins, they can be easily molded, customized and engineered not once but multiple times.  It’s a great choice as it generates minimal waste during production, as excess materials can often be recycled or reused.  Moreover, advancements in bio-based plastics are opening new doors to eco-friendly packaging options, contributing to a circular economy.

Because we’re driven by innovation at think4D, we’re upping the thermoforming game with our new Edge-2-Edge technology, designed to make your product stand out on the shelf using two key elements: precisely registered printed thermoforming within 1mm and high-resolution colour that withstands cracking when stretched over edges and rims.  So go ahead, create complex shapes and textures.  If those weren’t enough, you can also add surface decorations like glitter, foil, or even scent to capture customer’s attention. 

Consider trusting think4D with your next thermoforming project… we’ve worked with Disney, Proctor and Gamble, and Gorilla Glue (to name a few) on thermoforming projects that helped set their product apart and we can do the same for you!

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