Theuse of plastics has in the modern times grown tremendously. This inturn has led to the application of various technologies in order toachieve the desired products from the plastics. One of suchtechnologies is the “Thermoforming.”Thermoforming is a manufacturing process of heating thermoplasticsheets to become malleable in order to form a certain shape in amold, allowing it to cool and solidify, and then trim it to form ausable product(Ray Products, 2015).It produces strong, lightweight, and unified products quickly andefficiently. The plastic sheet is kept in position by clamping itinto a holding device. It is then heated using an oven or radiationto soften it for flexibility. The malleable sheet is heldhorizontally over a mold and pressed into the mold via vacuum, air ormechanical pressure. The sheet adapts the shape of the mold and isheld in place until it solidifies. The excess plastic is trimmed offfor recycle and the formed product released from the mold(Custompartnet, 2015).
Despiteits wide usage in molding plastics into desirable and usefulproducts, the technologies have moth merits and demerits. One of itskey merits is that, it requires low cost to run due to the fact that,it’s needed equipment such as tools molds are available at lowcost. More so it is not a complex technology to use, and can be usedto produce large containers or plastic products. It is also helps inmolding plastic wastes into more useful products, and in turn helpingin maintaining the environment clean. However, the technology outputrate is somewhat low. This reduces the number of products producedper given time. Additionally, its dimensional accuracy is not thatprecise, and lastly, the corners of the products made fromThermoforming aren’t that strong.
Fig1.1 (Custompartnet, 2015)
Thermoformedproducts include food packaging cans, plastic toys, trays, aircraftwindscreens and disposable plastic cups and plates. The following arepictures of products designed using Thermoforming technology(Custompartnet, 2015).
Custompartnet.com,.(2015). ThermoformingProcess.Retrieved 19 October 2015, fromhttp://www.custompartnet.com/wu/thermoforming
RayProducts,. (2015). LearnAbout the Thermoforming Process.Retrieved 19 October 2015, fromhttp://www.rayplastics.com/learn-about-thermoforming/thermoforming-basics/