Last Updated on October 30, 2023 by assistant
Vacuum blister forming, or vacuum thermoforming/forming is a plastic process that creates parts or packaging by heating a plastic sheet and using vacuum pressure against a mold. Plastic packaging, lighting, advertising, decoration, and other industries commonly use it. In this article, we will take you through the vacuum molding process.
The Origin of Vacuum Forming
The roots of the vacuum-forming process date back to the mid-20th century. Vacuum blister forming, originally for the pharmaceutical industry, revolutionized packaging, enhancing protection, visibility, and customization. At the same time, advancements in plastics and manufacturing technologies have paved the way for innovative packaging solutions.
Understand the entire process of vacuum blister molding
Mold preparation: The manufacturing process of vacuum blister molding is closely related to the mold. The final blister pack or packaging tray requires the shape of the mold. Typically, vacuum-forming molds are made of aluminum, steel, or composite materials.
Plastic sheet heating: Thermoplastic sheets like PS, PVC, or PET are heated until pliable.
Sheet Placement and Forming: A heated plastic sheet is placed over a mold, and the vacuum pulls it tightly. Vacuum pressure ensures that the plastic follows the contours of the mold precisely, forming the desired blister or tray shape.
Cool and solidify: Once the plastic sheet forms the mold shape, it cools and maintains its shape. Cooling methods can include air cooling or water cooling, depending on the specific requirements of the material and product.
Excess material or rough edges are trimmed, and final touches are made for the end product.
Vacuum forming applications
Various industries widely use the vacuum-forming process. Below are the most common areas.
Packaging Industry: Vacuum blister molding plays a vital role in manufacturing blister packaging and trays. This process provides excellent product visibility, protection, and customization options.
In the automotive industry, vacuum forming is used to manufacture parts and components. Its ability to produce complex-shaped, lightweight, and durable parts helps improve the efficiency and aesthetics of automotive design.
Electronics and Appliances: Vacuum forming creates cases, casings, trays, and covers for devices. The process provides cost-effective production and design flexibility.
In healthcare, vacuum forming is used to package medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare products. Ensure product integrity, tamper resistance, and easy product identification.
The difference between vacuum forming and vacuum thermoforming
Commonly, “vacuum forming” and “vacuum thermoforming” are used interchangeably in common terminology because they refer to similar manufacturing processes. But there are some subtle differences between the two.
Vacuum blister molding: Vacuum blister molding specifically refers to the process of using vacuum pressure to form plastic sheets into blister packaging or packaging trays. The packaging industry commonly uses it to create clear plastic blisters to contain and protect products such as consumer goods, electronics, or pharmaceuticals. In vacuum forming, the main goal is to create a cavity or blister in the plastic sheet that corresponds to the shape of the product being packaged. The process involves heating and stretching the plastic sheet over a mold, and then applying vacuum pressure to pull the sheet into the mold, forming the blister shape.
Vacuum Thermoforming: Vacuum thermoforming, on the other hand, is a more general term that covers a wider range of applications beyond blister packaging. It refers to the process of heating a thermoplastic sheet, shaping it on a mold, and using vacuum pressure to shape the plastic into the desired product or component. Vacuum thermoforming finds application in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, and general manufacturing, for producing a range of components such as automotive interior panels, casings, pallets, and casings. The process involves heating a piece of plastic, applying vacuum pressure to pull it toward the mold, then cooling and trimming the molded part to its final shape.
The reason why we write this article is to give everyone a preliminary understanding of vacuum thermoforming technology. Vacuum blister molding is a specific application of vacuum thermoforming. It focuses on the production of blister packaging and packaging trays, while vacuum thermoforming covers all aspects. More widely used in the industry.
The vacuum-forming process has come a long way since its inception and remains an important technology for creating packaging solutions and plastic parts across industries. Its ability to produce precise shapes, provide visibility, and offer customization options makes it a valuable manufacturing process in today’s plastics industry. If you need custom processing projects such as plastic casings, please feel free to contact us. Ruitai’s advanced vacuum casting technology can help you complete the processing.