Thermoforming is a manufacturing process in which thermoplastic sheets are heated, softened, clamped onto a mold, and made to conform to the shape of the mold or forming tool. It is ideally suited to large-volume runs of small items. This article focuses on major phases of thermoforming, namely, sheet transportation, heating, forming/cooling, and trimming, and different thermoforming techniques: basic female forming; basic male forming; matched-mold thermoforming; plug-assist thermoforming; pressure bubble plug-assist vacuum thermoforming; vacuum snapback thermoforming; air-slip thermoforming; and trapped-sheet, contact heat, and pressure thermoforming. It concludes with a discussion on machines and the economic concerns of thermoforming.
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