A Comprehensive Guide to Vacuum Forming Production

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Even though you might not know what it’s called, you’re probably already quite familiar with vacuum forming and thermoforming. You’ve no doubt eaten plenty of to-go dinners from plastic containers and then washed them down with beverages served in disposable cups. You may have also tried to cut or pry open your share of sturdy plastic clamshell packages and then victoriously tossed them aside after retrieving their well-protected contents. In your car, you can see thermoformed consoles and interior components in any direction you look. In addition, you can find vacuum-formed components on a surprisingly diverse variety of products that range from gourmet chocolate packaging to space station control panels!

Global Thermoforming, Inc. is here to help no matter what you desire to vacuum form! We offer the full range and scope of precision vacuum forming services for small business operations, and our team of experts is standing by at all times to help you take your idea from concept to production. So if you’ve ever asked yourself, “Is there a quality vacuum former near me?” the answer is always yes! We offer scalable services to fit any budget and a customer-driven service experience that’s second to none. Here’s a look at how vacuum forming production works and a few ways that it can benefit your small (or large) business.

vacuum forming production

What is Thermoforming?

Thermoforming involves heating up vacuum forming plastic sheets to a pliable forming temperature and then forming that material in a mold to create a usable product. Thermoforming differs from injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding, and other forms of processing plastics but will often use many of the same pliable materials. We’re also always interested in working with our customers to develop eco-friendly manufacturing solutions. New raw materials are regularly entering the marketplace, and we have to remain competitive in terms of both costs and carbon emissions.

What Are Some Common Applications for Thermoforming?

Vacuum forming technology offers a limitless number of applications in virtually every industry. We already mentioned how ubiquitous thermoformed products are in the foodservice and automotive industries, but it certainly doesn’t stop there!

Vacuum-formed products are used in agricultural operations long before your food gets served in a vacuum-formed container. Seedlings are lined up in vacuum-formed trays that are durable enough to withstand the rigors of transportation and planting yet thin enough to stack neatly out of the way when they’re not in use. Today’s growers have become increasingly more sophisticated, and we can help them quickly create innovative and cost-effective products. We enjoy assisting hydroponic farmers and supporting the next generations of farmers and ranchers to stay ahead of the curve.

When it comes to consumer electronics, we love to create packaging for products that haven’t been invented yet! We can also form enclosures for your concept models so that you can show your investors a prototype. In addition, we can vacuum form custom shipping trays and packaging for all of this season’s hot new products, and they’ll precisely conform to your product’s features. This will help you keep your products safe and protected, and it will increase the perceived value of your products. You’d be surprised at how much extra today’s consumer is prepared to spend on products with better packaging. Likewise, we can help you gain a competitive edge in the marketplace by enhancing the presentation of your products.

The COVID-19 pandemic has largely influenced new operations standards, and that’s certainly been the case in the medical industry. We’re proud to help keep patients and first responders safe with reusable and single-use face masks manufactured from thin-gauge plastics. We can manufacture components in chemical-resistant materials, and we’ll make sure that you are meeting all current safety labeling requirements. We make it a point to stay informed on all current federal and occupational labeling requirements. We’re always prepared to move quickly as new guidance is handed down from regulatory agencies.

Our single-use products can replace many pre-sterilization procedures and reduce preparation time for procedures. We also offer competitive pricing on setup costs. As new products become necessary to meet changing needs, we ensure that they’re in the field quickly and inexpensively.

How Can I Start the Process?

If you’ve ever wondered how an idea becomes a product, a lot of it begins with having a working prototype. If you’ve ever watched ABC’s hit series Shark Tank, you should already be familiar with the concept. Unfortunately, investors rarely have very vivid imaginations, and you have to show them a working model to prove that it’s more than just an idea. That’s where we come in!

No two projects are the same, and if you have complete drawings and project details in hand, we can often return a quote in 1-2 business days. Once the order is approved, and we have a prototype, our production lead time is about six to ten weeks. Of course, the size and complexity of the order will ultimately dictate the production schedule, but we always offer industry-leading lead and turnaround times.

If you’re not an experienced designer, we specialize in helping inventors from all walks of life stay at the cutting edge. When you contact us for a quote on your project, we’ll work with you step-by-step to develop a model ready for prototyping. Then, once you approve the order, we’ll get it in your hands so that you can test it out. Thomas Edison famously discussed all the ways he learned how not to make a light bulb, and you often need to be the first one to make those critical mistakes before you take your product to market.

After you’ve worked out all the bugs, the next step is going into production. No order is too big or too small, but large orders have cost benefits. Bulk ordering will usually get you better pricing, but one of the great benefits of vacuum forming is that our machines don’t require much setup time to manufacture different products. Once we have your designs and modeling specifications in our database, we can fulfill future orders for you at any time. If you run a home-based drop shipping business or a Just-In-Time manufacturing operation, you’ll always have our manufacturing resources to back you up!

What is the Manufacturing Process?

The vacuum forming machine can be toolled for items of just about any size. Smaller items are typically formed on machines with solid aluminum tooling, and more oversized items are formed on machines with cast aluminum tooling. We have the machinery to handle both large-scale and small-scale operations and will determine the most optimum and cost-effective setup. Just-In-Time manufacturing has eliminated many traditional manufacturing approaches, such as the outdated idea of storing a large inventory of unfinished materials and unsold products. The modest savings that bulk ordering offers can be a false economy when you think of the costs of storage and other fixed costs. Many companies learn the hard way that their product can become obsolete very quickly. We’ll help your business grow gradually and responsibly and adapt to volatile market conditions.

How is Global Thermoforming Staying on the Cutting Edge?

Global Thermoforming has strived to be the industry leader in custom vacuum forming solutions for over three decades. We know that a vacuum forming machine is only as good as its products. New products, designs, and materials constantly hit the market, and we have to be ready. This means partnering with suppliers and toolmakers to ensure a seamless transition for each new model year or development phase.

There’s an immense amount of competition in today’s global economy, and managing your manufacturing and operational costs is crucial to your survival. Most industries are subject to the conventional challenges of supply and demand, but they affect all businesses more or less equally. We depend on our customers for our survival and have a vested interest in helping them find ways to tighten their belts. This means different things for different companies.

We offer a fully scalable operation and the same standard of service no matter the size of the order. If you’re a large manufacturer already in operation, we can help you find ways to reduce your per-unit cost. If you’re interested in bringing a new product to market, we’ll privately and confidentially collaborate with your designers and engineers to develop a conceptual model. No one knows the current limits of a vacuum forming machine yet, and we always welcome the chance to put ours into service and help our customers meet new challenges head-on!

We also take our commitment to eco-friendly manufacturing seriously and are excited about the possibilities that PLA plastic offers. Polylactic acid-based PLA filament is made from corn starch, and it’s one of the most popular materials used for 3D printing. PLA plastic is a creative way to enjoy many benefits as conventional plastic but manufactured from biodegradable organic materials.

When you’re looking for vacuum forming near me, our team at Global Thermoforming, Inc. is here to help. Contact us today to get a free quote!

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