Thermoform is one of the commonly used production methods for the production of high volume lightweight plastic parts such as disposable plastic containers, automotive wheel covers or refrigerator door panels. A plastic sheet is heated to a bendable forming temperature, and formed into the desired geometric shape in a mold. Or the plastic layer is vacuumed with the help of a compressed air to take the shape of the mold.
In the traditional production method, these molds are aluminium. However, companies are in search for new alternative processes to produce molds faster and more efficiently.
As a solution FDM is used.
- Reduced Lead Time And Costs: Depending on the geometry, sheet metal forming molds produced with FDM can be completed in less than 24 hours. Compared to the traditional CNC production method, a 50 -70% reduction in mold cost and a 60-80% reduction in lead times were observed.
- Design Flexibility: As it is possible to produce parts with complex geometry with FDM technology, you can develop your mold designs as you wish.
- Easy to Manufacture Direct from CAD Design: In FDM, it’s easy and quick to make design updates on your mold design from a digital CAD file. You can produce mold models with different designs in CAD environment according to your needs. In this way, you can avoid the problems of producing spare molds, accumulating stock products and costly processes.
- Ergonomic Factors: Thermoplastic molds are generally much lighter than traditionally produced metal molds. With the design freedom you get with FDM, you can produce and design lighter molds without sacrificing durability. This provides improved safety for machine operators by making molds more ergonomic than traditional tools.