Mayfield Plastics is a leading provider of custom plastic thermoforming, including pressure forming services. In addition to manufacturing, Mayfield Plastics will also provide engineering support, from product design through manufacturability and has a strong commitment to quality – Mayfield Plastics is also ISO9001:2008 registered.
Pressure forming is an advanced plastic manufacturing process whereby a plastic sheet is molded to a complex and detailed shape. Pressure forming is an enhancement to the vacuum forming process. With traditional vacuum forming, the parts are being formed by creating a vacuum on the mold side of the sheet. Since atmospheric pressure is 14.7 pounds per square inch (PSI) this is the theoretical maximum forming pressure available with vacuum forming. With pressure forming, a pressure box is added to the non-mold side of the sheet. The hot plastic sheet creates the seal between the pressure box and the mold. Air pressure up to 60 PSI is then added to the non-mold side of the sheet in addition to pulling the vacuum on the mold side. This can effectively increase the forming pressure 3 to 4 times what is available with vacuum forming.
This added forming pressure enables creating thermoformed parts with much sharper detail. The appearance on the mold side of a pressure formed part can look virtually identical to an injection molded part but at a much lower tooling cost than injection molding or other alternative processes such as RIM molding and structural foam molding. Pressure formed plastic parts are also a good alternative to sheet metal, fiber glass or wood. Pressure forming is especially advantageous when using a female mold. The mold can even be textured just like an injection mold so the texture is formed directly into the finished part. Features such as style lines or an embossed logo may also be incorporated into the formed part. Pressure forming is ideal for medium to large sized parts with moderate production volumes.
Advantages of pressure forming include:
- Lower cost tooling than injection molding (less than 1/3 injection molding cost)
- More cost effective for moderate quantities (300 – 5,000)
- Able to form very large parts
- Able to form parts with fine cosmetic or functional details, such as vents or louvers
- Able to confirm to stringent tolerances
- Rapid prototyping and quick time to market
Mayfield Plastics’ sales and engineering teams can provide you with guidance on selecting the right plastic manufacturing process for your needs. If pressure forming is right for you, we will convert your design to a 3D model for manufacturing.
Various applications of pressure forming exist. Typical applications would be bezels, housings, aesthetically designed enclosures & covers, and equipment panels. Pressure formed parts are very commonly used for medical devices, transportation and construction equipment, retail point-of-purchase displays, and outdoor equipment. A wide range of colors, textures and materials are available to be pressure formed.
Some of the materials most commonly utilized in plastic pressure forming are as follows:
- ABS – impact resistant, available in a variety of colors, textures, flame retardant grades
- PC – impact & high temperature resistant
- HDPE – inexpensive; impact, chemical and cold temperature resistant
- TPO – good durability, impact resistant
- HIPS – cost effective, available in a variety of colors
- PVC – impact resistant, available in a variety of colors, textures, flame retardant grades
At Mayfield plastics we have several pressure forming machines and can handle parts using a sheet size up to 72” x 94” and formed up to 30” depth.
Mayfield Plastics’ capabilities include a long legacy of expertise in pressure forming across various industries including medical devices, electronics, enclosures, etc.
Our state of the art facility in Sutton MA boasts over 60,000 sq ft and some highlights are as follows:
- ISO9001:2008 registration and a dedicated in-house Quality team
- Experienced in-house Tooling department
- Design& Engineering Team to partner with you throughout the process
- Expertise in Trimming and various Secondary Operations
For more information about pressure forming and how Mayfield Plastics can put our expertise to work for you, please contact us.