In the previous articles, we all know that many plastic products in daily life are made by thermoforming/vacuum forming process. The production principle of all thermoformed products is the same.-heat the plastic sheet in temperature, and then soften it and be absorbed onto the mold surface to shape the plastic products. However, according to the thickness of the product, we distinguish between “thick sheet” thermoforming and “thin sheet” thermoforming.
The thickness of the material is different. The material used in the thick sheet vacuum forming industry is a plastic sheet, it is a plastic plate, which thickness is 1-15mm thick, the materials are stacked one by one because they have a certain thickness, the material for sheet forming is generally only 0.2-1mm thick. because the thickness is a bit thin, material can be rolled up into a roll of “coiled material”. as show as below two pictures, the right is the material for the “thick sheet” thermoforming, and the left is for the “thin sheet” thermoforming.
The machine for “thin sheet” plastic product is different from the machine for making “thick sheet” plastic product.
The models of machines are different. The machine in the thick plastic sheet industry is a semi-automatic vacuum forming machine, and the production time is relatively slow, most of the time, it is necessary to manually put the materials into machine, and only one product can be produced for each time. For “thin sheet” thermoforming, coils are used, almost all the machines are fully automatic machines. The coils are automatically cut and heated for a period of time, resulting in faster production efficiency.while the thin film blister uses a high-speed machine, which is very fast. “Thin Sheet” thermoforming machines are smaller in size and cheaper, while thick sheet thermoforming machines are larger in size and generally require two or three people to operate and are more expensive. Although they are different in size and price, their working principles are almost the same-heat the plastic sheet in temperature, and then soften it and be absorbed onto the mold surface to shape the plastic products.
The post-processing methods are different. The cutting edges and holes in the “thick sheet” product industry are all CNC cutting, but the “thin sheet” product industry is punched with a knife stamping.
CNC processing is more flexible. It can make the holes in any position of the product, and the size of the holes can also be flexibly controlled. However, the hole position cannot be changed at any time when make by the knife stamping, and it can only be processed at one time in many cases.
The application of the product is different.
From the material, “thick sheet” vacuum forming plastic product generally uses ABS, PMMA, HDPE, PVC, PC, etc., “thin sheet” vacuum forming commonly used materials such as PVC, PET, PP, PS, PETG, PC, etc.
From the point of view of purpose, “thick sheet” vacuum forming product is usually used for machine shell, display frame, advertising, plastic cover, plastic parts and plastic housing, fitness equipment shell, beauty equipment, medical equipment shell, golf cart, toy car body kit, plastic panel, refrigerator liner, household appliance etc. “Thin Sheet” vacuum forming process is generally used for hardware, electronics, cosmetics, food, medical and health care products, toys, daily necessities, such as digital packaging or transport tray packaging.
From the technological point of view, the “thick sheet” vacuum forming process is more complicated than the thin sheet vacuum forming process. The thick sheet edge milling process includes several processes such as milling and grinding. Therefore, the price of thick sheet vacuum forming is generally higher than that of thin sheet parts.
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