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Vacuum Forming

The History of Vacuum Forming...

Vacuum forming is one of the oldest methods of moulding plastic, with a history which can be traced back for more than a hundred years . Whilst there was a limited usage until the middle of the twentieth century, the introduction of more readily available plastics in the mid 1950s saw a rapid increase in the popularity of the process. Early product ranges consisted of the relatively simple items such as containers and lids, together with various food packaging products.

Visualisation of the vacuum forming process

The development of many different plastic formats together with the technology advances in the industry have ensured that vacuum forming became one of the most efficient and cost effective processes of satisfying the explosion in demand for plastic products, being a relatively simple process involving vacuum, heat and air. The method employed is to use vacuum to evenly apply pressure over the material whilst heating sufficiently to allow it to be pulled down over the master tool. Once this is achieved the material is cooled rapidly using large fans until sufficiently cool to allow the material to be removed from the tool whilst retaining the shape and surface texture.

These technical advances have during the past 50/60 years have seen plastic evolve into one of the most universally utilised materials in modern manufacturing, the results are common place in our every day life, with plastic components being used in a range of products from simple disposable containers to the advances in space exploration.

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