How Does Vacuum Forming Procedure Works And Its Applications

Vacuum forming is a procedure that heats a plastic sheet and then presses it over a mold. The sheet is warmed to the point where it can be molded to the shape of the mold. The procedure is very cost-effective and can be used for many products such as phones, tablets, car parts, etc. Vacuum forming is a general procedure, but getting it right demands particular expertise that only some companies have. There are some stages and processes involved in experienced vacuum forming service. By following these steps, your professional team ensures that plastic products can be shaped and formed to fit any size, shape, or design requirement.

How Does Vacuum Forming Work?

Vacuum forming manufacturing procedure involves five significant steps explained below:

Making The Vacuum Forming Mold

Manufacturers utilize cast aluminum, wood, structural foam, or 3D-Printed plastics to create a vacuum mold. Each material has its advantages and limitations. For example, 3D-printed plastics are more straightforward, and one can make more intricate designs in the mold. On the contrary, aluminum may be the right option when strength is a determining factor. Many times, the molds have many vent holes in them. These holes are a way for trapped air to form to stop air entrapment. Furthermore, the mold must be able to run heat to reduce the cooling time of the final product. 

Clamping Process

After putting the mold in the machine, put the plastic sheet on the machine appropriately. The clamp should be strong enough to hold the plastic throughout the forming procedure; its strength relies on the machine. 

Heating Process

This involves utilizing a heater to melt the plastic sheet below the glass transition temperature. The heater comes with a radiation source to conduct its function, and the heating time depends on the plastic one works with.

Vacuuming Process

After extending the heated plastic sheet utilizing pressured air, apply a vacuum to drag and distribute it over the mold’s surface. The vacuum releases trapped air as the plastic sheet takes the shape of the mold. It is essential for the part to cool down enough, as insufficient cooling can lead to the deformation of the final piece.

Trimming And Finishing

Trimming involves cutting off extra plastic materials. Depending on the texture and size, you can trim using a hand knife or band saw. Also, the vacuum-forming products may need additional holes or other designs to complete them. For this reason, manufacturers employ drilling, roller cutting, CNC machining, and many more to make precise and accurate holes and features. 

Applications Of Vacuum Forming

It would be impossible to list every application of vacuum forming. Here is a quick sample of some of the major areas where it is used. Moreover, many people find confusion between thermoforming and vacuum forming but there is a difference between heavy gauge thermoforming and vacuum forming. Thermoforming is a plastic molding procedure where a plastic sheet is heated to a high temperature and then formed over a mold. Vacuum forming is the specific thermoforming procedure where a vacuum is used to pull the heated plastic into the shape of the mold.

Automotive And Transportation

Vacuum forming is utilized extensively inside and outside of all kinds of vehicles. It can be used to make parts that are light enough for airplanes and parts that are strong enough for agricultural vehicles, HGVs, and buses. Vacuum forming plays an essential role in vehicle and car manufacturing. All kinds of exterior and interior parts are produced using vacuum forming. 


It has all kinds of uses within industrial sectors. Vacuum forming can produce strong, weather-resistant parts for heavy-duty machines. For instance, it is widely used in agricultural machinery. It can also make small runs of particular objects, such as custom parts or prototypes.

Household Objects

The average household has vacuum-formed objects in every room. Kitchens and bathrooms will be full of them. Most sanitary ware probably utilizes vacuum forming to some extent. This includes large things such as baths. Your hot tub in the garden was perhaps vacuum-formed too.