During this manufacturing process, thin plastic sheets are heated in order to make them easy to manipulate. Once a sheet reaches a pliable temperature, it is formed over a male or female mold. After being cooled to a finished shape, the end product is trimmed in order to increase its usability.
Many uses are available for thermoforming. One of the more common is packaging, particularly rigid packaging for food and consumer goods, but it has many other applications. Because sheets of varying thickness can be used, this technique is equally applicable to creating toys as it is to building permanent surfaces on automobiles.
Thermoforming has a number of advantages. One of its main draws is that it is very adaptable to a customer’s design needs. With a fast turnaround time, it can be used for last-minute shipments or as a quick way to develop a prototype.
It is also a relatively low-cost means of production: the materials are optimized for cost effectiveness and can lead to lower tooling costs. Finally, the results can be very aesthetically pleasing. Colored and paintable plastics are available, allowing for a wide range of customization to meet customer needs.