This technical information has been contributed by
Engineered Plastic Products, Inc.

Click on Company Name for a Detailed Profile

What is Pressure Forming?

Plastics - Pressure Forming

Pressure forming uses the vacuum forming process - evacuating air from the sealed space between the heated sheet and the mold, allowing atmospheric pressure (14.7 psi) to force the sheet to conform to the mold - with the added step of applying 20-80 psi of compressed air to heated sheet, forcing it to conform to the mold surface.

This added step requires a supply of compressed air and additional sealing device on top of the sheet. Additional clamping force is used to prevent breaking the seal when applying high air pressure. The additional pressure results in superior surface finish and more accurate mold reproduction.

Is pressure forming a new process?

Pressure forming has been around since the 1960's primary for thin-gauge sheet for packing applications, but it wasn't used much for industrial parts until the early 80's.

What is pressure forming capable of providing?

Pressure forming is proving to be a valuable technique for the computer, electronic, furniture, industrial, and medical industries. It is enabling them to get parts into the market quickly that have the look of injection molding, without the lead times or tooling expense. It can provide the structural integrity, aesthetics and design flexibility usually found only in injection molded parts.

More specifically, pressure forming is capable of providing:

Is the process faster than injection molding?

Tele-electronic equipment manufacturers found that pressure forming is a good alternative to injection or structural foam molding when they needed small volumes of parts very quickly. It is not designed to compete with injection or structural foam molding in high-volume or complex design requirements. However, it does offer some very real advantages where tooling costs, short lead times or low volumes production are factors.

Product life cycles have changed in the last 4-5 years. While they used to be on the order of 3 years, it is now more likely to be 8 -12 months, particularly for telecommunications equipment. The whole project, from design to production, rarely takes more than 12-18 months

Will it cost me a lot to change my design?

Another factor to consider is that design changes can be made to the mold and secondary fixtures for a fraction of the cost of the same changes in other techniques.

How does it compares to other processes?

A general rule thumb when considering pressure forming is the larger the part or the smaller the volume, the greater the advantage for pressure forming. Here are the specifics:

Besides tooling, there are few other factors to take into consideration:

What can pressure forming do for me?

Pressure forming is providing to be a valuable technique for manufacturers of housing for computers, business machines and other electrical equipment. It is enabling them to get parts to market quickly that have the look of injection molding, without the lead times or tooling expenses. It can provide the structural integrity, aesthetics and design flexibility usually found only in injection molded parts.

Cost Savings

Shorter Lead Times

Advantages of Pressure Forming

Engineering Advantages

This technical information has been contributed by
Engineered Plastic Products, Inc.

Click on Company Name for a Detailed Profile


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