There was a time when thermoforming was the inexpensive solution for cheap parts. A time when it simply couldn’t achieve the level of precision, detail and consistency that could be achieved with other methods and materials. A time when you kept thermoformed parts hidden under more attractive bodywork. Well, we’re proud to say thermoforming is still an inexpensive option, but that the days of it being an also-ran in terms of precision and profile are long gone.
Cost and Time Savings
The thermoforming process requires a relatively low level of forming pressure, so tooling can be constructed less expensively than tooling used in other processes. Depending on the part size, thermoforming tooling can be considerably less expensive than injection and blow molding. Tooling can be produced in a very short timeframe relative to other plastic processes and you can also expect faster production turn-around for large volume runs compared to rotationally molded or fiberglass reinforced plastic processes. Quick tooling turn around combined with faster production runs, results in quicker time to market.
The thermoforming process lends itself well towards an array of materials, which come in a vast selection of colors, finishes and textures. Custom pre-colored plastic sheet can be used to give the final part a showroom worthy finish, which eliminates the need for post-production painting.
Robotic Automated Trimming
Some companies have a five-axis trimmer. More ambitious ones have seven-axis trimmers. No one had a nine-axis trimmer. No one until Hampel, that is. Knowing we could take this technology further, we partnered with some of the brightest minds in robotic integration to develop the first nine-axis trimmer in North America. They said it couldn’t be done. They said it was impossible. Guess we just didn’t hear them.
Our automated trimming equipment enables us to successfully trim parts of various sizes, materials and tolerance requirements to exacting specifications and unparalleled consistency. Slots, holes and perimeter trims at nearly any angle can all be accommodated with our precision automated trimming equipment.
Alternative to Steel and Fiberglass
With the rising costs of steel and fuel, OEM manufacturers are realizing the benefits of thermoformed parts. Thermoforming produces parts that are equal or in many cases superior in strength and longevity to parts manufactured out of steel and fiberglass. The various plastics available may also be lighter in weight and will not rust out like steel or have the inherent brittle attributes of fiberglass. Steel reinforcements can be encapsulated into the plastic in the twin sheet forming process resulting in a final product that is as strong as steel, but has all of the benefits of plastic. Examples include Hampel’s patented Steelspan® pallets and Hampel’s Calf-Tel Pen System front.
Large Single Piece Part Capability
Hampel can produce parts up to 7’ x 11’ with a 70” draw, which gives manufacturers and OEM’s a superior alternative to multicomponent assembly or more expensive and time consuming materials and processes like steel and fiberglass.
Nearly all thermoformed materials are recyclable resulting in very little waste in the thermoforming process. Rather than sending scrap to a landfill, excess material is collected, granulated and extruded along with virgin resin into new sheet.