What is thermoforming?
The process involves heating a plastic sheet until malleable and then applying it over a mould. A vacuum can then be applied to “suck” the sheet onto the mould to make the part. The part is then separated from the mould, and the excess material trimmed off.
Why do tools need to be temperature controlled?
During the moulding process, the sheet material is heated to the forming high temperature. Unless the tool temperature is controlled, the very hot sheet will make the tool progressively hotter, resulting in poor quality parts with unpredictable tolerances. To ensure good quality, repeatable parts, Big Bear maintains the constant temperature of the tool using temperature controlled tooling.
Prototyping allows us to carry out moulding trials to best understand the finished part and make adjustments to key elements such as the finish and thickness, weight and rigidity of parts. It is a key opportunity to ensure that the finished part will meet requirements before investing in aluminium tools.