What is Thermoforming?

Face Shield Cleanroom
July 29, 2020

Thermoforming is the primary manufacturing process Brentwood uses. Thermoforming is a timely and cost-effective solution for heavy equipment enclosures, diagnostic housing, packaging, in-transit shipping solutions, and more. This process is highly versatile, having countless applications and methods that can be utilized to fit each customer’s unique project.  

The two main types of thermoforming are vacuum forming and pressure forming. Each utilizes a different method to achieve the desired shape with varying finishes.

Thermoforming Process Illustration

Vacuum forming is the most common thermoforming method and is used for parts that do not need significant detail. The vacuum forming process consists of heating a plastic sheet in an oven to a pliable forming temperature. The sheet is stretched onto a mold, while vacuum holes and grooves in the mold remove the air from between the sheet and the mold. The formed part is then cooled and trimmed to the desired size.    

Pressure forming is a more advanced process that can achieve intricate features, geometries, and textures that cannot be achieved using vacuum forming alone. The pressure forming process is similar to vacuum forming in that a plastic sheet is heated in an oven to pliable forming temperature and the air between the sheet and the mold is removed. Pressure forming includes an additional top tool that adds pressure from above the sheet, forcing it against the bottom part of the mold as the air is vacuumed out via holes and groves in the mold. 

Brentwood’s heavy gauge and light gauge capabilities utilize both vacuum and pressure forming techniques to fit each customer’s unique project. Our skilled designers work with each customer every step of the way, ensuring that all of their needs are met. Learn more about our process and start thermoforming with confidence today!


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