How can vacuum forming reduce your capital expenses?
When people think of plastics manufacturing, they often jump straight to injection molding. This highly customizable process is high in start up cost but provides a low unit price. That can make it difficult for start up companies to make the capital expense leap into manufacturing.
Vacuum forming, also known as thermoforming, can be a good alternative for large parts and simple shells. This process works by heating up a large sheet of plastic and then drawing down around a form. It delivers a shelled part and can be post processed on a CNC machine to add holes or other features.
What are the tradeoffs?
When it comes to large parts, vacuum form tooling is significantly less expensive than injection mold tooling. A plastic storage bin might cost $80,000 - $120,000 to create injection mold tooling, but only $15,000 - $30,000 to create vacuum form tooling. You will definitely pay a higher unit price for a large vacuum formed part, anywhere from 4 to 10 times the cost. But if you’re just getting started testing your market and need a small run of units, this may help you significantly with cash flow.
Vacuum forming can also be done on smaller parts with similar cost relationships to injection molding.
To learn more about vacuum forming, check out our webpage or schedule a consult with our team today.