In this article we help you choose the best vacuum former for your project. By vacuum former we are referring to the company or organisation – not the machinery.

Why choose a vacuum former?

Vacuum forming is an established manufacturing process whereby plastic and similar substrates are formed into the required shape or design by the application of a vacuum to a sheet heated over a mould. It is used to manufacture

  • industrial & automotive parts and components
  • Point of Sale / Point of Purchase retail display products
  • Medical devices and components
  • Signage

In addition vacuum forming is also used for rapid plastic prototyping, with its low tooling costs and fast production times.

Are all vacuum formers the same?

No. Any vacuum forming project is made up of three parts: the vacuum forming machine, the team responsible for the project and the support services required for the project.

Firstly, machinery varies in lots of ways. From the quality of the finished item to the speed of processing, from efficiency of its production to the types, sizes and thickness of substrates that can be used, the machine will have a major influence in your decision. Discuss the machinery’s capabilities in detail with your prospective vacuum former. Ask about the benefits the particular machine will bring to your project. Take the machine for a ‘test drive’. And ask about Plan B – what happens to your project if the machine breaks down or requires servicing?

Choose an experienced vacuum former

Experience is usually important and especially so when it comes to vacuum forming. Across all the stages of the project – from clamping to finishing, the skill of the team overseeing your project will affect the quality of the product and the time required to deliver the products at the required quantity. Ask about the company’s experience not just generally but specifically with the type of product you want manufactured.

In addition, ask about the support services that are available. Is the tooling design and made inhouse? Is there advice on the best material for the project?  If finishing is required is this completed inhouse and if so what are the capabilities of the machines & people used for finishing processes? These finishing processes may include CNC routing or laser cutting.

Choosing a vacuum former is crucial to the successful delivery of any project so take time to check out the capacity, capabilities and experience of your manufacturing partner.

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