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Main enay rmdet title:

~ : A ~ F P W & h g M S g w
- n d B d i t i a a b

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

5. Cooling of Thermoformed Parts. . . . . . . . .

Means of cooling the formed part
Non-conventional cooling methods


&moformingMaterials' Chemical Descriptions . . . . . . 135

k f i n s


6. Trimming of Thermoformed Parts. . . .

Tools for trimming


7. Thermoforming Equipment

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

Single-station thermoformer
Shuttle thermoformer
Rotary thennoforming equipment
Continuous in-line thermoformers
In-line thermoformer
Linear thermoformers
Pneumatic thermofpnners
Hydraulically operated thermoformers
Mechanically operated thermoformers
S k i packaging equipment
Blister packaging equipment
Snap packaging
Vacuum packaging
Packaging machinery
Control mechanisms

b ~f plastics

8. Thermoforming-RelatedMaterial Properties. ... . . . . . . . . 111

Glass transition temperature
Heat deflection temperature
Softening range and hot strength
Specific heat
Thermal conductivity
1 16
Thermal expansion
Heat of fusion
1 17
Thermal diffusivity
1 18
1 18
Thermal stability

Regrind utili&on




Solvent bonding
Adhesive bonding
Riaigidizing thennoformed p&s
, 187
Bonding nwltipk parts
Finishing and decorating thennoformed parts


Foreword rui

' I 8 &


1 2 . ~ & b e d a n d C o m p e t b g F ~ P r. .~. .~. .~. . . . . . 193

Forming processes p r f d lower bmperahlres
Packaging coa@iw f d a g
Litalions for themnoforming
I.jection and e x t ~ ~ ~nroIdihg
Blowmolding and mktmoldhg
Plastisol or slush molding


i P

A E~emplarypropertis of thennoforming materials
B E ~ e m p wpraperties of film materials
C Trade nmes and materials manufacturers
D Conversion factors





kith air "overlay" of t

of detail$, stnwE mgatbxl the
principles hd&l. Hence, 'his book is an ideal t&t for all plstics
engineers and &xMeians and for pdymer &emis& Ye$it is at l&ast
equally valuable to &emoformas and those who utilize thermoformed
products. The generic terminology employed is espwially appreciated
in that students are not lost in a maze of unfamiliar, nondescriptive
jargon, Dr. Gruenwald has, however, provided an invaluable delineated
description of thermoforming prowses replete with practical 'bow-to"
problem-solving guides for even the most sophisticated professional in
the field. And these experts will be every bit as comfortable with his
terminology as novices.
Themofurmhg is a highly interdisciplinary technology encompass4ng chemistry, physics, materials, mechanical engineering, and thqmodynamics competence. Its breadth, shady grandiose, may f a n e even
to metals; several alloys are now known to have remarkable plasticity,
and probably many more will be di~overed.Indeed, it is quite likely that
glasses will be comrnody thmoformed. But the great growth in therinofodng will undoubtedly continue injlastics materials. Dr. @menwald has indimted the c b h M e properties of polymerics for differihg
applications; thus, Ms tmt'ls eqecidly useful for palmer chemists who
must 'WIoPph&cnMieri& 'foT specific groups of applications. Engimrn i~ extndiq'md ehnetehg A h and sheet will benefit from the
processing parameters img and the products thereof.
guide that will enable them
effort so often experienced
fw tihe %VG&@QB of melds for (eqmially) complex parts. This sok is
sspecMy uscfulhforr n e c h ~ engineers
in that it delineates of the
fact-, bkt$ing ~ r m o d p a q i c s important
in the design and constru&m iBPt3lmaformingsystems. Operators will find "everything you
ever wanted to know" about the technology of thermoforming, enabling
them to improve productivity, minimize down-time, and greatly keduce
map.Quite likely, Dr. Gruenwald's suggestionswill lead to considerable
benefits to those who read and practice by this rematlrablk exposition of

Director-Metalliding Institute
Director-Engineering Research Institute
Scientist in Residence
Gannon University
University Square
Erie, PA 16541

operational sequences of standard equipment, the properties of normally

used raw materials, and the peculiarities and advantages of major and
minor forming processes. Also examined were cognate fo&g processes that compete with thermoforming.
This guide is intended to be comprehensive, a goal whose attainment
is limited by the breadth of the field and the rapid evolution of new
products. Several areas of intense development have been emphasized
in the original book and have been further expanded and brought up to
date for the second edition. These are as follows: (1) The vast expansion
in regard to the availability of polymeric materials. This relates not only
to the widening in copolymer and alloy compositions but also-as seen
especially in polyolefins-in the increased multitude of polymerization
processes. (2) The remarkable expansion of the materials' properties has
further been amplified by the application of orientaticm and crystallization processes. (3) Where desirable properties have not become
obtainable by these two means, one has found ways to obtain them by
laminations or coextrusio~sof different materials or by surface treatmats.Thesetypes of materials can be expected to gain the fastest g6iW.b
rate in bani= packaging materials.
After studying rbe main chapters, the reader should glance at Chapter
and Comp3ag Forming Processes." At that stage,
the information d6nived from a few experiments should
to envisionUiemwt efidient processes and operational
that the ma&r can join the successful businesses that
produ&on methods to manufacture thermoformed parts
at dlPmdb tw$ts.Many zrf these methods were considered impossible
b y m p 25 y m s ago.
The limit&and disadvantages of thermoforming pracesses are
explicitly dhxmsd in this book, not to discourage, but to shaq.~nthe
t&mician's mjnd in finding ways to minimize them.
Same tables and an extended index are found on the concluding pages
to blp the casual reader find numerical d&a and additional Momtion
on subjects of interest. The reader should be cautioned u,in mmY



represent only
part of all the
possibilities for
plastics items, but the total market is so large
that if only a fraction of it
to thermoforming, sizeable business


opportunities exist. In 1997 the growth rate for the next 5 years is
to maintain 4 to 6%.TheBvsiness Communications Co., Inc.


(Norwalk, CT) writes that "packaging of all types is a $100 billion

business in the U.S. and that the market value of plastics used to package
medical, pharmaceutical and specialty health-care products was $801
million in 1995." The Rauch Guide (Impact Marketing Consultants,
Manchester Center, VT) to the U.S. Plastics Industry states that "the U.S.
sales of plastic resins and materials reached $150.5 billion in 1996.
Among the several (five) technological advances that will contribute to
future growth of plastics, the further development and use of barrier
plastics for packaging applications occupies the first rank,the expansion
of coextrusion film in flexible end uses were mentioned as second.'Both
are pointing to a respectable growth in thin film themoforming. The
third reason mentioned, "the further development of plastic blends,
alloys and copolymer technology," will attain benefits also for the
heavy-gauge thermoformer.
The various thermoforming processes are based on the recognition that
rigid thermoplasticsbecome pliable and stretchablewhen heated but will
to their original rigidity and strength when cooled. For most
plastics molding processes the temperature of the material is r&d until
it turns into a liquid-like but highly viscous material. This m a b it

The formed sheet must be cooled to become rigid again, and, finally
excess material around the circumference must be trimmed off.
cooling and heating processes represent the most time-consuming ste
and must, therefore, be painstakingly arranged.

sf conveying heat to the plastic

Yeating of the Plastic

Steam heat represents an ideal convection heat source both in regard

to heat output and uniform temperature distribution. Its convection heat
transfer coefficient is 1000 times greater than that of air. However, the
application of steam as a heat source is limited to cases where the
generated condensed water poses no problem and where this very limited
temperature range (212F) can be tolerated. Presently, steam heat dorninates the production of polystyrene foam parts and foam boards. Steam
heat had its day at the beginning of thermoforming, when toys etc. were
fabricated from celluloid using the twin-sheet steam injection process

for thin films is approximately 0.02 to 0.05 W/sq in. x OF

e temperature of practical radiant heaters ranges between

Physics of radiation heating

1200F Surface


sheet, reflection losses, which normally account to no more than 4%, can
be ignored. Energy losses due to transparency in certain wavelength
regions, however, can be significant for v e v h i n films. From transparency in the visible region one cannot conclude whether the sheet will be
opaque or transparent at the frequency of maximum heat radiation. As
seen in the graphs of Figure 2.2 (pages 8 and 9), transparency increases
markedly as the thickness of the film decreases. Sheets of 118" thickness
will absorb practically all infrared radiation. On the other hand, thin films
of less than 5 mils will be inefficiently heated when irradiated in certain
infrared regions, e.g., fluorocarbon polymer films are transparent up to
7.5 microns. This is similarly true for thin polyolefin (polyethylene,
polypropylene) films. In these cases radiation passes through the film
and heats the surrounding chamber, which then indirectly heats the film
at a higher wavelength. But the rise in heater temperatureresults in higher
energy losses. On the other hand, a radiation in a less suitable frequency
be applied to advantage by letting the energy penetrate deeper
into the sheet material, thus avoiding scorching the sheet surface and
making it possible to irradiate at a higher wattage.
The relationship between heater surface temperature and heat energy
transfer can be estimated using the Stefan-Boltzmann relationship:

E = Radiation energy per unit area in

tefan - Boltzmann constant 0.17 13

vi@ of heater and plastic surfaces (assumed to be 0.9)

in OR (Rankine) equal to O


Figure 2.1. Blackbody radiation (courtesy of I ~ C OInc.,

~ , Niles, IL 60648)@

higher wavelength range, 4 to 7 microns. This is important when herrnoforming thin sheets or films because each' @tStic materid &?sorbs
infrared radiation in distinct regions. Only absorbed radiation is utilized
for heating the plastic directly. The remainder will just b a t Up the even
enclosure and thus i d i m t v heat the sheet or will be lost to the outside.
The *onion of radiation that is reflected by the sheet is insignificant
and nearly independent of the wavelength and namrally independent of
sheet thickness. Unless one wishes to themofom a mplasti~


+ 459.6

$1& emitted energy E when heater surface ternor 15WF (1960R)and the plastic surface

; I

sq ft - hr

sq in.

If emissivity would be lowered to only 0.5 at a constant w

Wlsq in., the heater surface temperature would rise to 1225OF.
the radiation in each case is spread out over a wide band of
(see Figure 2.1, page 6), the bulk of energy would be radiat
1000F at approximately 3.5 micron
1225F at approximately 3.0 micron
1500F at approximately 2.5 micron
Energy emitted from a heater surface rises drastically with inoreas
emperature. The primary emitter surfaces of near-infrared
F , / !lrelatively small (tungsten wires), but the bulk of heat will be radiated
the indirectlyheated quartz tube. Still heaters are spaced at wide interv
and must, therefore, be increasingly distanced from the pl
relative motion or oscillation of either heater or plastic is advanta
for streak-free heating. Because radiation from the wires travels
directions, reflectors behind these heater elements are essential.
Heaters with totally enclosed resistance wires or bands occupy a lar
area but still require the reflection of the radiation emitted toward
opposite direction. This type of heater can be seen in the photographs of
large, automatic thermoformers (Figures 2.3 and 7.15, page 91). Finally,
surface ceramic or metallic heaters are spread out over the entire area of
the heater assembly. These units are backed by a thermal insulation to
reduce energy losses (Figure 2.4).
The importance of high sugace emissivities for the efficiencies of
resistance heaters is frequently overemphasized. One hundred percent of
94 ,the electric power will be converted to heat in all cases. Most of the heat
-*absorbedby the plastic will be due to radiation, and most of the heat lost
o the environment will be due to air convection. Reduced emissivity will
raise the temperature of the heater, thus shifting.fie radiation toward the
hear-infrared range. Only a few thin, clear films, such as polyolefins and
:J fluorocarbon polymers, tend to absorb this kind of radiation less efficiently. For such pigmented or heavier films and sheets this shift is
actually an advantage, because the shorter wavelength radiation will
penetrate and generate heat deeper in the plastic.
The concentrations of pigments in colored ~fieetsiue generally low


C w d c Warm radiators- Asray of heaters mounted on top of oven

U a t e d Internationale, Ltd-, B d ~ d h o bRep.


Physics of &on

enough so that no significant variations will occur. Carbon black may be

one exception and may increase absorption in thin films. White pigmented sheets may show somewhat higher reflection losses, but only in
the near-infrared region.
Although conventional hot air convection ovens might have to be
modified to obtain better temperature uniformity over the entire sheet,
the problems of obtaining consistently homogeneous heat distribution
when using radiant heat are enormous. This is especially true if the sheets
suffer from excessive gauge variations. There is a great temperature
differential between the heaters, the frames, and the various clamping
devices. In some cases the latter two must be water cooled; in others they
are heated or at least preheated. Nevertheless, every square inch of the
plastic should ideally have exactly the same temperature at the end of
the heating cycle unless special heating schemes are desired. The difficulty of obtaining a low temperature gradient also throughout the thickness of the plastic sheet will later be covered.
The sketches in Figure 2.5 illustrate how to compensate for heat losses
occurring at the outside edges. It can readily be seen that less radiation
strikes the plastic on the outskirts of the sheet especially when tl:
distance between the heater and the plastic is great [arrow points hitting
each square of the sheet in Figure 2.5(a)]. Therefore, either additional
heaters must be mounted at the outer edges and especially outer comers
[Figure 2.5(b)] or the inside heaters must be spaced farther apart [Figure
2.5(c)] or energized at lower wattage.
To appraise these inevitable energy losses at the corners and edges,
one must consider the view factor of an installation. In this case the
surface area of the heater is identical to that of the plastic sheet. The
parameters, which can be obtained by dividing the sides by the distance
between the heater and the sheet
M = heater widthldistance and N =
,-heater lengwdistance), just must be entered into the graph in Figure 2.6
to read the resulting view factor on the y-axis of the graph. This value is
identical to the fraction of the total avekae
" radiant ieat that strikes the
Example: Assuming that the dimensionsfrom Figure 2.7 for the square
sides are 25" and the distance between the heater and sheet 5", the values
for M and N become 2515 = 5. The resulting view factor is, therefore,
F = 0.7, meaning that 30%of the energy is directed outside of the plastic
In practice the results are much worse because this reduced amount of
energy is not distributed evenly over the whole surface. Figure 2.7
illustrates this uneven distribution. in which case only the most central



- -








- ,

Figure 2.5. Heater arrangements for obtaining good heat distribution.


at (he heater edges will lessen these edge losses. Sandwich

(simulflttDWs exposure of the plastic to radiation from both
$ m y 221~0 mitigate both radiation and convection losses. When
h heam are u d , the lower heater banks should ha



ve the sarfmeto prevent the W t from contacting the 1

Thermal properties of plastics

Roll-fed automatic thermoformer. Length of solid arrows inaicates ume

of film are exposed to cooling prior to forming.


~ a ~ a d ii.e.,
n using
~ , wire mesh screens of various densities and
on metal grates under or above the heaters), one can
&t&lish the most effective temperature profile. For long pro,runs it becomes more practical to obtain such zoning by usWad of screens-individually controlled heater banks, which
bpms-%me should keep in mind that the leading edge of the
R which leaves the oven first, loses more heat than the trailing

The heater edge with baffles to reduce heat losses (Figure 2.8).
properties of plastics

s are poor heat conductors (Table 2.1). Therefore, thick sheets

healing time caq be rduced by &eheating the material and

:hatan intermediatetemperature. This is, however, seldom done
kdds under 114" thickness. One vendor (Fiwre 2.9) sumlies for

by the manufacturer of thermoforming equipment. Again, polypropylene

can serve as an important example. During heating the sheet is expanding
to such an extent-partly due to the melting of the crystalline portion-that it would contact the lower heater banks if the parallel clamping
rails would not be led at a diverging path at those regions. These
difficulties might become exasperated by the shrinkage that might occur
in the longitudinal direction if the sheet has been pulled excessively
during extrusion.
The necessity for observing the upper boundary of the thermal stability
of the plastic material will be emphasized later. The surface appearance
of plastics, such as gloss or mat finish and especially imprinted surface

the oven for irregular time intervals until the forming equipment or
manpower is ready for continued processing. At higher and steadier
production rates, the oven temperature will probably be set higher, but
the sheets must be withdrawn of the oven according to an established
time schedule to prevent tearing or thermal degradation.

the sheet is recommended.

Heating equipment for plastic sheets

Convection ovens were originally the most common devices used

heat plastic sheets for thermoforming. They are still the preferred w

200 feet per minute are crucial to obtain temperature uniformity and
adequate heat transfer. Good thermal insulation of the oven walls and the
strategical position and size of entrance and exit doors increase energy
efficiency. A typical forced-circulation air oven is shown in Figure 2.10
and a practical means for hanging sheets on trolley tracks in Figure 2.11.
When sheets are heated horizontally to better utilize the heater space,
they are supported in trays. These should lined to protect the surface
of the plastic. A polytetrafluorocarbon-coatedglass fiber cloth lining is






o b and Haas


2 . u

The lowest cost gas-jired infrared heaters are surface combustio

burners in which the gas-air mixture is burned at the surface of either

combustion occurs in a metallic tube with no openings inside the

chamber. This also minimizes drafts.
Cross section of catalytic heater (coufiesy of Vulcan Catalytic Systems,



Fig@@? 2.4). The flat plate heaters have an integral insulator at their
back side and should be arranged to occupy the whole surface of the
heats assembly. They are the ones that are most interchangeable
radiant panel heaters. The concave heaters radiate also to the
ersed in front of a
surface. They require a greater distance to the plastic sheet.
B e c m the heating wires are tightly imbedded in a highly emitting
white ceramic body, they are protected from oxidation and can
deliverup to 40 W/sq in. at surface temperatures up to 1400F.Their
heat-up time is approximately 5 minutes. Intricate heating patterns
can be established either by means of individual heater embedded
mputer program utilizing a scanning infrawith a coating providing a color indication
per heating operation are also available.
heaters (usually called calrod heaters)
ater construction due to their ruggedness,
life. They consist of nichrome wires or
into flat strips. Magnesium oxide, which is
r, serves as an electrical insulator to prevent
1sheath. Heat-up time is very long, and
heat output is only moderate, not easily controllable, and deteriorating with time. Their low efficiency is mainly based on the required
extended distances between heaters and the plastic.

minutes is required.

M i s c o n c e ~ t i dm
a ~ persist regarding an alleged drop in energy efficiency with radiant heat elements due to the fact that often heater times
=st be increasml with passage of time. The emitted energy of quam
kting denlen@ iWMins fairly constant. If less than the original heat
the plastfo ahat, it is usually due to the reflectors having accu*.ted
as ~rodlt~tion
progresses. On the other hand, metal-sheathed
and plate hea@t'$ anit less heat as the nichrome wire gradually
Bxidizes- The -, now with a smaller diameter, will conduct less
'wtricit~, a d , -m,
will uwand deliver lower wattage. A variable
compensate for this

Heating of the Plastic

life span, and the larger panel or plate heaters have the longest. The life
expectancy will drop somewhat with increasing temperature, but frequent and deep temperature cycling may also affect heater life, mainly
on account of movements caused by differences in the thermal expansion
of resistance elements, ceramic insulation, and metal sheathing. There-

Judging the con&

ternpemture of the hated sheel



i J ' ) li


areas where they escape can sometimes be spotted from the rising plume.
~tis advisabb to install at those points a very low-powered exhaust hood
s u f f c i F f@ s k b off the fumes without causing drafts.

bmperature of the heated sheet

sheet temperatures and the maximum

mabli~hingthe most praotical spot within the

b tQ start out with heating a sheet to its maxi-

full-time utilization o
ers are provided with
for optimal heat utili
hanged-the obtained part
other detailed areas that the

Sophisticated heaters employ schemes to cut down heating times by

moving heater and sheet in unison over the mold OF by starting the heating
cycle with a surge of power. For single-unit heaters this is possible only
with quartz heating elements with tungsten filament heaters that will
instantly emit full power and, therefore, need only be energized while
the material is heated. Ceramic heating elements have a greater heat lag.
Therefore, more time must be allotted for changes in temperature settings
until the heater output corresponds to the new irdjustnent. At the other
extreme,-convection ovens may need hours of warm-up time until they
reach temperature stability.


Heating of the Plastic

arranged in a row or the installation must be equipped with a sensor

having a 90" rotating mirror.
A low-cost method for establishing surface temperatures can be util-


for radiation pymxneay (adapF

,Slwkie*IL 6(XKI),

heating process. Some control devices utilize the sagging phenomenon

and terminate heating when signaled by a photoelectric cell. This criterion, however, cannot be indiscriminatelyapplied to all plastics, because
some materials may already be overheated when they start to sag.
A once established optimum heater output adjustment set by a timer
may not repeatedly result in the same sheet temperature. Minor line
voltage fluctuations, ambient temperature changes, or sheet gauge fluctuations may significantly alter the actual sheet temperature. Multiple
heat-sensing devices inside the heater tunnel are used ex@nsively for
control purposes. Even though their indicated temperature does not
coincide with the sheet's temperature, the relative temperature changes
detected by these devices might still be indicative of the aberrations

occur due to the

Heater controls


t e



To control the temperature of the plastic sheet or film, two avenues

can be taken. In simple cases the heaters are powered at a constant energy
level, and the desirable sheet temperature is obtained by controlling the
heating time of the sheet or the advancement rate in case of automatic
roll-fed thermoformers. If acceptable production cycles can be maintained?there should be nothing wrong with such a simple arrangement.
In those less sophisticated thermoformers the heaters are directly
powered by the electric line voltage. The temperature of the heater
will rise until oven losses will qua1 current input. Thermally
well-insulated ovens overheat unless plastic sheers are continuously
being fed into it. Therefore thermal overload relays must be present in
heaters. Until equilibrium is reached, the owator must individually
decide on heating time. Furthermore, small line voltage variations must
by heater time adjustments. Similarly, heater output-but
energy efficiency-is lowered in time when belectrical
resistance of the heater wires or bands increases doe to oxidation of the
or when heater and reflector surfaces become contaminated,
Identical replacement heater elements will have a higher wattage than
adjacent older tieaterr

{eating of the Plastic

In general one can state that, in resistance heating, all electrical energy
is converted into heat. The efficiency with which this energy is conveyed
to the plastic to be heated is mitigated by the amount of heat conducted
or radiated to the machinery and mainly by convection of heated air.
Unfortunately, these losses can range from 50 to 90%. The claims of
some heater manufacturers showing that their elements provide 96%
energy efficiency do not make allowance for such cited losses. Losses
occur mainly in the overall equipment and not in the heater elements.
The abounding information published in regard to energy e
energy cost, applicability, and cost of heaters for thermoforming
considered biased or pertain to special circumstances only. The
many thermoformer producers offer a choice of heaters confi
present, still no clear winner has emerged.
When thermoforming takes place on automatic machine
production scheduling requires a certain output, cycle times
constant. In such cases heater output, which can compensate for ch
in line voltage, sheet gauge variations or fluctuating heat losses, m
established. Two basic electrical controls have found applications.
In a less sophisticated open loop control mode the
heaters can be adjusted by an operator via percentage tim
maintain a constant output. For a closed loop control
necessary that the power-switching device either obtains
the heat-sensing thermocouple in the heater so that its tem
constant or, preferably, that an infrared sensor scans the
make sure it remains constant at the desired level wit
of an operator. In both cases simple mechanical contactors, merc
switches, solid-state relays, or silicone-controlled rectifiers are be
used as switching devices. Applicable controllers would be temperat
controllers and programmable controllers.
With the increasing spread of computer technology the possibil
for using infrared sensors for measuring film and she
have been expanded. The operator can not only display
tures on a computer screen and compare those valu
can also, by means of an operator interface, program tern
or set up the heating process. Apparatus manufacturers are respondi
to these needs by supplying heater banks with individual heat control a
monitoring indicators for each element, thus making it also easy to sp
burned-out heating elements.
For example, one thermoformer is keeping erocess d
by applying computer-integratedmanufacturing (CIM) methods. A
grammable controller (PLC 5 from Allen-Bradley Co.) is logging
data points each cycle. Most of them relate to temperatures, both for
heaters and the molds. Other data keep track of press moveme
kes and constancy of vacuum, always comparing act

!I ,I,?

2.15. Articulating clamp frame (courtesy of Brown Machine, Beaverton, M

sheet ai' fihheating, as well as for the forming and stripping

s, the plastic-stockmust be restrained firmly between two frames.
frames usually consist of profile irons to which nonslip gripping
s are mount&d (coarse abrasive cloth, rough rubber pads, weld

Thermoforming Molds

IVERSEAND UNIQUE kinds of molds are used for thermoforming. As


matter of fact, the low cost of molds and the short lead time
required for tooling up have led to this forming method being favored
over others in many applications.
Generally, only one side of a mold is required, which-depending on
+&& s ape of the formed part, thk desired appearance, and the process
wsed-may be a male, or positive mold for drape forming or a female,
. or negative mold for cavity forming. The determination of which one to
choose becomes more critical the deeper the part to be formed is. When
forming shallow, low-profile parts, the reduction in wall thickness is
minimal; therefore, the selection will depend more on appearance. If fine
mold details must be duplicated, then the side of the plastic sheet which
touches the mold surface should ultimately be the one that becomes
visible. Sometimes, a more rounded or smoother appearance is desirable,
Pr the sheet material may already have a pleasant textured surface that
Wuld be affected when it touches the mold. In these instances the side
.that does not touch the mold should eventually be the one that becomes
visible in the formed part. It must be realized that a closer dimensional
control will be obtainable at the mold surface side.

Figure 2.17. Gripping clips. Mounted on film transport chain of thermo

tesy of Kramer & Grebe GmbH, Biedenkopf-Wallau, Germany).

spatter, etc.). These frames are pressed together by C-clamps, tog

clamps, air cylinder operated jaws (Figure 2.15), and cam or spring-h
devices. Sufficient clamping force must be provided to prevent
liberated internal strain, frozen in during the extrusion of the sheet, fr
pulling the sheet out of the frame during reheating.
Roll-fed automatic thermoformers grip the sheet securely at the sid
by means of spring-loaded pin chains running in chain rails (Figure 2.1
or gripping discs mounted on the transport ch@n(Figure 2.17).
On equipment where only a few pieces a day are formed
become necessary to heat the clamping frame so that the sheet material :
at the flanges will also heat up. The heating of these frames may also be
necessary to obtain a better grip of the sheet. In other cases, such as the
chain rail of an automatic thermoformer (Figure 2.16),water cooling is
r;+d to keep sheet-gripping pins at toleraw temperatures.


Reduction in wall thickness: male and female molds

Under all thermoforming conditions in which pieces are shaped from

a flat sheet or film, the surface area must become larger and, therefore,
the gauge thickness thinner. One of the decisive factors for this thinning
is the draw ratio. Many times a draw ratio of 3:l just means that the
thickness of an area of a part is just one-third of the original sheet
thickness. Unfortunately, three different ways to define that ratio with a
comparable numerical value exist, and in each of these cases the values
depend also very much on the specific shapes of the part formed.
(1) For irregularly shaped objects the draw ratio is difficult to establish


ssure-forming procof the unformed sheet.

projecbd line passing through the deepest depression of the them

mainly biaxially stretched.

me foamed or biaxially oriented sheet products and the cast

The difference between unidirectional and biaxial stretching can

always nonuniform and increasingly progressive with the advancement

of the forming process steps. Furthermore, each shape yields another
number. Three simple examples should be cited to illustrate how these
numbers relate. The values in the table refer to a cubical container formed
from a square sheet, a hemispherical bowl, and a cone formed from a
circular sheet.

Draw Ratio

the three-dimensionalillustrations will show

Draw Ratio

Draw Ratio

Cone (60")
Final material

Available sheet area

A x B - C X D+E(2C+20)

A x B - C x D, resulting in a flange of heavy

Available material area

&a to to fom& aut d-ik
Figure 3.1. Drape forming over male or positive mold.

culated wall thickne

cut into small pieces-or s
thickness determined with
banslucent or transparent
dark line on one side w

*so show the extent of draw in any one direction on obl


Reduction in wall thickness: male and female rnoldr

~nthe c s e of a female mold the opposite occurs. The plastic sheet will
apart until it contacts all four vertical mold surfaces (Figure
3.71, resut~ngin extremely thin-walled comers. Again, the rounding of
edges will h e b to retain sheet thickness at tolerable values.
- in Figufe: 33, several other means for eliminating webbing are illus-



(a) positisn square or rectangular parts diagonally on vacuum box.

When a snapback box is applied, the same effect can be obtained by
it with four 45" gussets in the comers, instead of the 4%
- -rotation of the mold.
(b) Use web catchers or web pullers. These are smaller parts of variable
shape that utilize a portion of the excess corner material.
(c) Mount a ring assist (approximately 2 times the diameter of the mold)
and one-eighth its height to the vacuum box.
e a combination of male and female molds. In effect this is
equivalent to lowering the mold height by the amount the base is
-Techniques of preventing webbing are not limited to changes in mold
design. At lower sheet-forming temperatures the sheet will retain more
tenacity and mb'beriness, enabling it to more easily retract during the
latter stages of forming, which should also be slowed down somewhat
so that the makerial has more time to contract. For large parts, increasing
b e temperature ,in localized areas could be beneficial. Using extruded
sheets with a higher drawdown ratio (higher orientation) can also reduce
the likelihood of webbing. Sheet materials that contain a small amount
of cross-links will also reduce webbing.
Multiple male m ~ l d smust be spaced sufficiently apart to prevent
webbing. A distance of 1.75 times the mold height should be adequate.
In many instances, to save material, male molds are located closer
ese cases drod or strip fastened to the upper clamping frame
must be used to sepaa'tely form each part. One such illustration is shown
in Figure 10.6.Automatic,roll-fed machines?which have no upper frame,
use the identically performing grid-assist male forming technique.
hterchangeable mold cavities are used for many plastic processing
methods, but none of them can parallel the benefits achievable with
&rmofoming. Because thennoforming molds are neither subject to
mely high pressures nor require tight tolerances to prevent penetraof a liquid resin, which could bond the various parts together,
ng mold depth or adding dividers for a certain overall shape has
e standard procedure. The photo in Figure 3.9 pichues five differte shapes all formed in the same basic late mold- w ----h n a ~rnnfiml6iwdwas &hanged by easily replaceable i&s.
Figure 3.10 contains






Figure 3.9. Plates fonned in molds with qui

Gabler Maschinenbau GmbH, Luebeck D-23

Figure 3.10. Dividable formsel

",""- -. --- ----'-- --- rexcessive flashing.
In thermoforming, however, circumstances are more complex. The
finite-element method, when applied to injection molded parts, allows a
modest grid density to be selected and still receive satisfactory information. The finite elements usually consist of triangular shapes to allow
better representation of curved edges. In deep thermoforming the most
desirable information must be searched in a highly stretched area that.
occupies only a small speck on the original sheet. Therefore, the analysis
must be conducted in several steps so that the system is not overloaded
with an unmanageable number of elements nor misses out on important
detailed information.
Condensing the model by neglecting the sheet thickness (the third
dimension) and by assuming membrane formulations is seen as an
acceptable simplification, ?cause bending forces are only encountered
at the sheet edges.
The viscoelastic behavior of all the thermoplastics used for thermoforming presents the greatest stumbling bl&k to obtaining an allencompassing solution. This process is carried out at elevated temperatures (250 to 750F) where the modulus of elasticity is approximate
10to 150psi, reflecting also the applied forming pressure and at
rates around 1 second. The forming predominately takes pl
biaxial (not necessarily equibiaxial) extension mode. Unfortunate1
physical data that could be inserted in such mathematical equa
have not been gathered on those polymers and are difficult to o


mntebediate model, incorporating experimental observationis with aim-

E' ' At present there are t h m

97.2) derived from C-PITA and Accuform @fin,

T-dm2.2. MI three programs allow the uer
ter screen, apply pmsslue
observe in &ps how it


The designer must put some ledges, protrusions, or dimples into th

mold, not only for providing reference points for taking measurement
but also to keep critical regions better constrainedduring cooling. These
markings are ?specially helpful when cutouts or holes are incoyorated
into the p a i .Apositive support is also required if accurate trim dimensions must be upheld.
Because maintainable tolerances can vary so widely with the kind of
equipment andmaterial, no specific numerical data are given here. Past
shmM he the best criterion. As a guideline, mold shrinkage
should be assumed to be approximately 0.005 in./in. for male molds and
nearly double @at for female molds. A lower mold shrinkage is found in'
the cellulosics and rigid polyvinyl chloride (0.0035 in./in.); high mold
shrinkage materials are the acrylics, polycarbonate, thermoplastic polyesters, rind oriented polystyrene (0.008 in./in.). Materials with excessively high mold shrinkages include all the crystalline materials, such as
high-densfty polyethylme, polypropylene, and the fluorocarbon poly-(~.025
in./ia). However, these numbers must be used cautiously
because the following conditions may alter them significantly:
(1) Mold temperature: A 15F temperature difference can change
shrinkage by up to 0.001 in./in.
(2) Size and shap$.?&@rs: These refer to the degree to which the part is
restrained in tlie mold and to 'the effect a greater wall thickness has
on the temperature profile.
(3) End-use temperature: Due to normal expansion or ccintraction proportional to the coeff~cfentof thermal expansion, part dimensions
continually vary with changes in ambient conditions.
(4) Extreme use conditians: Shrinkage will reach peak values after first
exposure b the highest use temperature. This is especially important
to considei-when heat s,terilizationis applied,
(5) Sheet orientation of'mtfutied sheets: Drawdown during extrusion
might cause a shrinkage differential of 0.002 in./in., with the shrinkage in the machine dinsfion being higher thzin in the transverse

8 will have to be a

irregular ~4
of mold
can occur i-i

draft sides i
ing lugs i~

Where part tiimrnsion b h w m lm than Q.Win./itl., it is

advieable t~ W m e w h a t ovmized m1& in the c m of male molds
mol&, This is ,so that subsequent
to the mold
t&e need d
s d b .
jammed or digx

use tempemre iand d . e r to

gome water inside) f o r t W t

danced molds a~ more likely to cause warpage. Any

f the following conditions should become suspect:
ded sheet wall thickness due to irregularity in
gauge, uneven heater output, unequal cooling
air draft. Slight shrinkage and thus movement
hours after forming. Perfectly formed parts
ocde warped if either packaged too soon or
that strain becomes introduced in the parts. In cases
ay lead to blocking of stacked parts along the
e advantageous to incorporate several denestto prevent crushing of stacked parts during
f Figure 3.15 and magnified in the foreground
ng shell are shown. This sample
At the right side the uniform
shown. In the background the
merchandise is shown. The positions
g formed parts from becoming
aed during transDort is illustrated in

ais g e ~ s l hy
id omrt as possible.

Radii at ed
They not Ohr
improve the ?j
there can be mr'
formation on
of the part. R ~ $ I
and are mere 13

b pa% from t
b mold but also
mf chill m d a
325).Shaq c m w cao lead to web
so astry the
sf brittle failure


9 A


Surface appeamcaa-

. ;,

F l p f16. Undi.drmt forming can prevent s t a c k . problems (courtesy of Marbach
mi L ~ ~ ~ - I Q G . , M
~ ~


appearance of large

3.16 %'bw
-FtB t%@ Lblld do& not odymaintab the distance
lids b~&*-s
g d f i t and tightness despite minor
l!Wwpm container and lid

cloth is also effective in


With little pmpmthxt Ulese shells cao be made to serve

as molds for! W m temperature curing epoxy-casting compound. These
vided with the
air passages and cooling
castings ca$
me useable as mold blanks for alasting multicavity
tubes SO thdd
perties of epoxies are well suited for long producform. The tE@
,cycles. If copper cooling coils are embedded in them,
tion runs at $3
ill improve only somewhat, but it still will
their heat I
ction runs.
g over several square feet, plastic molds are
For large m
or spray-up process using glass fibers as
prepared by a
polyester resins as binder. At
called gelcoat) is applied to the polyvinyl
fist, a smood
ed by a thin layer of a formable fine glass
ts, chopped glass mat or
up the surface layer. A
an be bonded with a resin paste
to theshell to con
mold, If msamratixl
polyesters have beg
should not
exceed 150F;e p ~ ' 4
The manufacturitlg
&ds was drastically reduced when
metal spray prwr
eposition on suitable patterns
were introduced. LI
b stat with the deposition of
a thin stainless steel
backing; another G
with a thicker la3
preferably with other


Figure 3.17. Mold details for raised characters. Small circles show air vent holes.

not become visible.

Mold materials

Aluminum moll
either prepared bj
t % ~ aluminum
m e s it necessary to ~ W I I W ~ E # J
ha water through the F-doI'ing,
t heat. For rapid forming
-Ids. This should t

~ulus,ano ml;




paitem. initla

are needed Tdfthy

ng. ?'his can fi2Ik,,.=,

olds can not^ agce*afn@

should be considered.



Air M


porous meM molds have the advmtage that no d d h g of vent holes

is required. Their disadvantagesam:prolonged cooling times,increased
fragility,and the possibility of reducd porosity over h e .


Mold plugs

OUCH MECHANICAL FORCES are of increasing interest, air pres-

re is still widely used to accomplish the forming task. It is agentle

of this pressure is attained. If higher forces are required or if it becomes

and pressure forces

is e

case, atmospheric pressure, wherever it

oint. The pressure difference or vacuum

, = 0.4912 psig or

8 7 1
<; t

nical F

Vacuum, Air


Therefore, working parameters shodd not be selected too close to the

vacuum capabilities of the equipment, because these conditions may not
be obtainable under adverse low-pressure weather conditions, making it
necessary to readjust cycle time.
For any vacuum-formed part one must consider the volume of air that
must be removed to retain the actual force sufficient to form the last
dimple in the part. Both requirements are counteracting each other.
Voluminous parts will require the evacuation of a large amount of air.
This may drain the leftover power of the vacuum, resulting in improper
figuration of the last detail. On the other hand, shallow parts will be
formed quickly, leaving adequatejforce in reserve. In the first case some
power can be saved by filling large voids in male molds with closed cell

Many kin& of vacuum pumps can be used. Reciprocating piston,

d i a p m , sliding vam~otary~
eccentric rotor pumps, etc., all establish
s g d v w u m but & 1- capable of e v ~ a large
~ volume
of air
qwkkly. FW this remm &my t
q connected to an air ~.eservoir(surge tank)
@atservesas a vacuum atxxufiwlzltor.
tbe otha hand, air blowers can
~ o v large
b m
of air, although somewhat limited in the
due to their c c m f i d vacuum. Com& e @ m are ideal in both respects a d are very
Timy m,ilot fottpdl h cammereidly built equipment. They
i o pb ~ 6 w 1
m e hr .soair and should be equipped
with silamm mia mund-attenuating enclosure.

Vacuum agcwdabrs or surge tanks

With the exception of some of the rmly used vacuum sources, the
vacuum for forming the par@will be suppki f s ~ mvmu s-9
8 bald. Far
that can rapidly evacuate the s p w
small parts in a roll-fed automatic tbemoZ-t
for finding space f a r ,stank having volume that is sixfdd the:
volume of the spme7to be evacuated. This
Id correspond ta a 15-gal
surge ta& wJtm4bdngtwenty 16-ozcups under 4 net forming pressure
of 12.5 @g (approximately 25 in. Hg) vacuum. These parameters are,
&!&fore, generally cited in the literature. However, to apply the same
conditions for forming aspa, the surge tank would need to have acapacity


Vacuum, Air Pressure, and Mechanical Forces

If the forming process includes a pressure-induced billow or prestretch

forming step, the surge tank of larger capacity should be selected.
Otherwise, the pressurized air must first be vented before the application
of vacuum to prevent excessive loss of vacuum from the surge tank.
It is evident that the positioning of the heated sheet in reference to the
mold must ensure an airtight seal. This may sometimes be difficult to
attain on very tall male, drape fonnings.

Application of vacuum forces

ssures or may deflect excessively. For pressure

muons applicable to pressure vessels must be obeyed.
mold might require a clamping force of several tons,

In applying a vacuum, many variables are encountered. In general,

vacuum pumps operate constantly to maintain vacuum in the surge tank.
The gauge readings fluctuate with each cycle. On the other hand, blowers
and air ejectors are turned on only for the time vacuum is required. They
quickly establish a constant pressure differential. In either case the
vacuum on the formed part must be maintained until it is sufficiently
cooled to resist the material's inner forces, which tend to revert the part
to the original shape and may cause warpage.
The faster the vacuum can be applied, the better the appearance of the
part. On occasion, a slower forming rate may be called for when large
pieces made up of heavy sections are produced. The slower cooling rate
in these cases will allow a longer forming time, enabling the material to
flow in a viscous mode. When using tall male molds and where webbing
becomes a problem, slowing down the forming step and reducing forming temperature may give the plastic more time to contract in the
transverse direction, thus eliminating web formation (see Figure 3.6 on
page 41).
In many cases the vacuum supply line leading to the forming table can
also be used to conduct compressed air to the mold box. After the main
vacuum valve between the surge tank and vacuum box is closed, a brief
blast of compressed air can detach the part from the mold by the reversed
flow of air through the multitude of air passages in the mold. However,
better results are obtained-specially
with tall male molds-when air


in which the vacuum force is replaced by an air pressure

pposite side, one must consider that it is more complia satisfactory seal for pressurized air. The forming force

pressure gauge should be installed. It is important

mtmce to the mold, so that the cold air will never

he heated sheet. Sometimes, the air is guided over

rn blowing large billows that must stay hot

formed onto the mold.

Vacuum, Air P

Mechanical farming

mica1 B P ~ S

Compressed Air

Continuous CLamP

Plastic Sheet


Air Vent

Ywuun Ducts

43. EWafgedemstw&i@
v k of~a reprochetiondetail abtahedby pressure
Ctq?) and vwum fonmisg @tm8113).

m f o h~ g has become popular mainly for s m d parts. Its

tolerances are improved and that formderably. It is capable of duplicating fine
e. previously mentioned dielectric heaters

Mechanical forming

As indicated previously, thermoforming is not limited to pn

techniques; various mechanical forces may be applied instead.
The simplest application of mechanical forces is utilized in
mensional forming. In this case the heated sheet is laid over a c u d
mold that usually has a soft thermally insulating surface. Gravity
normally suffice to bend the sheet and duplicate the shape of the mo d~
and no stretching, which would change wall thickness, occurs.


candsctive r n d molds c

n n o d i . M y controlled
The qplir:&on of mold heat

or irietalpdi-filled plastic m l d s sr otlbrer waterhawing low thermal condtw:tivity am"& Qn sheet-fed

~fsuch a hi
ie migh
nother possltal
losen, to alten
~olant.The wa
le importa
one realize
' ' :ne shou~a
Eibility c
engineeril exceeding the
pt at higher p
-one of the111c;i
:speed of heat
lply defined a
lse experience
~s I second coo11
e above example.
ning production ti
tion in running speed
served cooling
wmtctr to the expected
s, derived from ti
:t between metal
:dly reduced. Limitec
r crystalline n
?s that impede coolini
rime instances it may pay tu L
rming temperatures. s~lcl
Icooling time will all
more, on rollming cycle only one cooling cycle We
the help of m ~ l t Ilc;*
, ~ ~ ~
n described in Chanter'


Ids--due to heir heat buildup-are


&est ( 4 2 wide*numb

a mld temp-


frorn $le mld itJ160F.


wrature, the more shrinkage can be expected.




. 4.

Tdmmlng of Thermoformed Pads


ssion-molded parts and degatmetimes pose problems, the

r thermoformed parts is an

round ones. If round

mount of trim can be
y 10%(see Figure 7.17 page 95). Only if an in-line extruder is
will continuous regrinding and recycling of excess material
tly. Still the reworking of materials involves
iated specifically with it.
no single, immutable time for trimming. Often, a smoother
the material is still warm. Electrically heated
in special cases, but low-heat conductivity of the plastics
heat-up time. High-production parts are frequently
old. When stacking is not immediately pere machine, multicavity formed parts should be left connected
skeleton with a few narrow links to prevent that one part

are formed, which must match in size with metal parts,

stacking are mostly performed in another piece of equipto room temperathe formed part was
any different ways, originating
paration can occur
plied. The force to be exerted is
scribed in the stress-strain diarittle fracture, requiring generally much less force, takes place
abrasion and saw cutting, including routering and nibbling

Trimming of Tlwmodormed Parts


hot gas jet, and laser beam cutting and, maybe, w

Tb minimize dust problems,

The thermal separation pmxssear entail odor pdliem8. Some disad-

a d f e d rafes m s t be selected tie avoid heat

Tools for Mmming

The simplest tools represent sometimes specially shaped knives and

scissors. Steel rule dies are convenient to manufacture and work v W
well with thin parts if all cutting is performed in one plane. They c0nsis-t
of hardened, sharpened strips of steel 1/16 in. wide and 1 to 2 in. tall-

arance should be provided. As can be seen

in the next chapter,'a heavier piece of
m i n g than for forming (Figure 7.10).One
uses a trimming die to cut the hot sheet
to a thickness down to 10 mils, regardless of
still suffkient to keep the sheet in place
trimming is completed


Trimming of T

Tookfor trimming

w Parts


'on of star cracks. The published shear strength values for


not indicate the required forces accurately, because too much

sheet thickness, accuracy and sharpness of the tooling, and
d cpdity of. the cut.
heated wire can be used to advantage for separating
c ham parts, resulting in a very smooth edge.
xes, for which dies would be too expensive, must be manually
r ith programmed automatic tools. Nibblers represent an


se theythe
do not generate many dust particles. However,
popularity that routers and saws have gained.

E O ~ $&ed

i W t become necessary to debur the cut edges. This can

Hshd 1&er with a sharp edged scraping bar, a file, fine


in secondary processing, the three to

impacting the sheet at a speed of 3000 feethec
severs the plastic much faster and more
at the opposke side of the sheet to
collect the small amount of w&r and
ral or glass fiber-filled materials a fine
But ahis also causes some wear in the

of a laser beam results in a

C02laser may cut through

b t B M for'heat damage and environ-

B nsocssary, parts should be annealed

b f \ ~ e ~ ~ l o s i c sother
m d s h e e ~ v e very
n thick



F to prevent

N THE PRECEDING chapters the various components involved in the

overall thermofonning process were described. Due to the great variety of processes, thermoforming equipment may assume many dissimilar
shapes. At one extreme, hardly any equipment is required. Aside from
an oven, makeshift molds alone may satisfy all requirements for a
operation in which only a limited number of simple curvature
parts have to be produced. At the other extreme, every 2 seconds a fully
automated thermoformer. as shown later in Figures 7.23 and 7.24, can
start with pellets and shape multiple parts occipying an area UP to 21"
by 13".
The material-if supplied in sheet form-may be fed manually or
lifted by suction arms to the forming machine where it is clamped in a
metal frame. Larger and heavier sheets may first be heated in any of the
described heating ovens, either while suspended or lying flat. Mediumsized sheets are conveyed into the oven clamped in a frame. Ovens with
infrared heaters can temporarily be slid over the frame. On the other
hand, the frame with the sheet is usually pushed in to the oven when
sandwich heaters are employed. If the material is taken from rolls, it is
essential that a dancer unwinder is utilized to convert a gentle unwinding
rotation of the heavy roll into the sudden movement required for the
advancement of a new section of the sheet to be formed. The edges of
the sheet are grabbed by pins or wedge-shaped teeth attached to chains,
on both sides of the sheet. The chains, which glide in rails, transport the
sheet through the heated tunnel ovens, the form press area, and sometimes also the trim section if it is part of the machine. Depending on
material and machine layout temperature control (heating or cooling)
must be provided to keep the plastic in grip. The endless chain returns
for picking up new material. Electric servomotors, which provide a
Smoother and better controllable indexing motion, have replaced the
type mechanical rack-and-pinion arrangements.
To obtain high productivity, the heater tunnel is divided into two to
four sections, each identical in length to the indexing stroke. Temperature
zones are usually laid out in receding order. Heat p;ofiling does 'not only



Thermoforming Equipment

Rotary thermoforming equipment


heating oven for forming heavy-walled parts that require an

heating cycle. Subsequently, the fourth station was utilized for
t o r robotic trimming. Again, the sheet heating cycle will dictate
prr,d Qn speed. Because all other steps are performed during the same
as the heating cycle, good production efficiencies are achievable.
machine is shown in several of the following illustrations.
a drawing and a plan view of a four-station rotary thermotop and bottom heaters can be subdivided, and the bottom
nL !wma&ommodated for a downward motion to follow the sag of the



Figure 7.3. Cut sheet modular themofonnet ( c o r n y of Brown Machine,Beaverton,

MD 48612).
Shuttle thermoformer

Shuttle-forming equipment virtually doubles output and conserves

energy consumed by the heaters. This necessitates a second mold and
forming station and also two clamping frames, which can be shuttled ia
succession from the oven to mold station A and from the oven to mold
station B, respectively. A double-ended therrnoformer as shown in
Figure 7.4 can be operated with two crews producing two different parts.
An infrared sandwich heater occupies the encased space between the two
Rotary thermoforming equipment

Greater productivity can be generated if three or four workstations are

arranged around a central point. Only one mold and one forming station
are needed. Three or four clamping frames mounfid on a horizontal
wheel and a means for rotating them from one station to the next are
required, compared with the single-stage formers. An operator must be
present only at the first station, where the frame is opened, the formed
part removed, and a new sheet inserted. Station two provides heat to
soften the plastic, whereas station three is the site of both thermofoming
and cooling. The fourth station was originally added to accommodate a

Therrnoforming Equipment

Continuous in-line thennofonners


cools in mold B.
ennoformers have an intermittent film-feed me&to the next position after completion of the forming
of drive systems are employed to obtain smooth
Figure7.8. Horizontal shuttle mold machine.Sheettravels vertically downward. Molds
shuttle left to right. Forming station ;emaim s W i 0 n (w-Y
of F%-Js&~
& Equipment, h.

ntinuaus thermoformers are depicted in the followFor thin films, efficient cooling can take place while the plastic
remains on the mold. In other cases, after adequate rigidity is attained to
allow removal of the part from the mold, final cooling is canied out down
line by forced air convection.
The output of formed parts can be nearly doubled when two cooling
cycles in a row are utilized. This may iy especially necessary when
working with materials of low thermal diffisivity, such as polY~ro~~lene.
m e previously mentioned shuttle-mold principle has, therefore, been
applied alm to continuous thennoformers by utilizing horizontally or
vertically reciprocating mold pairs. As shown in Figures 7.8 and 7.9, the
heated sheet travels v e ~ c a l l ydownward (Zdirection), whereas the two

icts the Model 44 Thermofomer, protunnel. Figure 7.14 is a close-up of the

be considered the smoothest running

Figure7.14. Mechanical drive lieage of thennoformer shown in Figure 7.13 (C

of Irwin Research & Development, Inc., Yakima, WA 98902).

Continuous in-line themfonners

Therrnoforming Equipment

Automatic chain rail adjust (optional)

MP I1 precisely controls the chain rail positioning facilitating immediate changes in sheet width. A gear box and motor operate each of
the adjust points. The rails can also be automatically moved into a V
shape, either narrower or wider at the former, to compensate for severe
sag or orientation in the sheet.

Heating elements
Calrod Standard. Ceramic and quartz optional.
PID Heat control (optional)
PID Heat individually controls up to 48 thermocouples and 84
heat zones. Heaters can be assigned to different thermocouples to
match the heat zone layout to the product. Tunnel length and width
can also be adjusted by turning off heaters as part of the product
recipe. All parameters are part of the product recipe, stored on hard
disk for fast access. MP 11's optional video control shows configuration of the tunnel, all temperature setpoints, and all actual tem-

Model $4: Maximum 2Sa" above or k l ~ w

sheet line
Model 44Mini-MagMaximum 5.50'' above or below sbeet line

: 3.78" per platen (at 6" closed height)

Mini-Mag: 8.50" per platen (at 2 0 closed height)

ntrol functions are accomplished via the Micro-Phaser

standard. Other colors availble upon request.

1clamps. Tools can be simply modified to accept the

t h d e d inserts to each tool.

shows the camelback arrangement of the Model

would be positioned to the right of the thermo7.13. For a l l control functions it utilizes the


converts the trim

Themdts&w Equipment

EP$ine 7 a h-Wfhemwfod* system for solid a@ foatlbsra thee%parts (Kiefel

Extarmat (cmttbq dPJctetics~
~c& &- r

A comparable setup is shown in Figm 7.26. This Wefel Extrumat

in-line system is designed fm converting both solid and foamed sheet to
formed articles.
Linear thermoformers

There are, however, other types of automatic feed thermoforming

machines in which the sheet keeps moving at a steady speed instead of
the usual start-stop mode. They can be fed either from rolls with the film
first traveling through a heater tunnel or from a film emerging directly
from an extruder. In one case the set of molds, the clamps, the plugs, and
all vacuum connections travel in unison with the sheet on a moving
conveyor and return in a loop when the forming is completed. The set of
molds could also be arranged firmly at the circumference of a drum. In
both cases the need of multiple molds restricts such formers to large
volume productions.
Figure 7.25 shows the schematic of a simplified continuous linear
thermoformer by the Linear Form Pty. Ltd. A simple conveyor with 18
molds proceeds at the linear speed of 69 ftlmin, qctated by a film or
sheet extruder or a film-heating tunnel. A second conveyor, driven by
the same motor, transports the heated film and preforms the p"t by
means of a cam-actuated protruding plug. Final forming takes p h e ' b ~
means of a blast of air. The need for le_ak-prone rotating'manifolds for
mold-cooling water is circumvented by the use d W W air for part and
mold cooling.
A new rotarv thermoforming: m a c ~

Thermoforming Equipment

be adjusted for the right length of travel. Another

food packaging, the possibility of contamination by
include the facts that most tvues are not

rmoformers are as versatile as, but more complicated and

than, pneumatic thermoformers. One reason is that
n always need a return line. Hydraulic movements are

low, noisy, and dirty. This is no longer the case. Better

Figure 7.26. An in-line continuous rotary thermoformingdrum 1s a~recdyfed by a sheet
extruder to provide 71,000 container lids per hour (courtesy of Irwin International,
Yakinta, WA 98902).

mounted on a continuously revolving drum rotating at approximately 10

rpm. The film or
directly above the
necessity for providing heating tunnels and saves energy; however,
extruder output must be tightly controlled to the roll former. Because
molds for deep drawn parts would squander much material at the edges,
the depth of formed parts is limited to 1 in.
Pneumatic thermoformers
A number of different motions must be performed b thermoforming
equipment. Besides the transportation of the sheet we$ the movements
of the molds, the plug assists, the in-mold trim die, and the stripper plate
must all be well coordinated. These motions can be accomplished by
pneumatic, hydra
of them.
Pneumatic thermoformers were popular because they are least corn..
because m
plicated and very versatile. They are fast and
moving parts are lightweight
tly f .aW '"


tenkce hours a& required for hydra&ic equipment,

airing leaks, especially where stringent demands
items. More care must be exercised to set up
in vrouer seauence. However. because these

e platen stroke depth must be fixed

action design is used. The shortest
&&a connection with-independentlypowered
precise indexing-necessary
&mmplished with DC servocontrols are used with
A4bugh this machinery
L md for a certain


Themofarming Equipment


thermofomers have the lowest frequency of maintenance reguirements.

Power consumption for the me&mkal part of this equipment is negligible, whereas energy requirements for heating and cooling the plastic
ase dependent on bulk of output.
Skin packaging equipment

operation completes the process as in all other

Thermoforming processes are not only employed to manufacture
structural parts or packaging containers but have been specifically modified to incorporate packaging and sealing. For instance, with skin packaging, the items to be enclosed are placed on a piece of printed cardboard,
which is air permeable and rests on the plenum chamber. After the plastic
film is sufficiently heated, the mounting frame is lowered to obtain an
air seal with the cardboard, and the vacuum is quickly applied. The
softened sheet will stick to the specially coated cardboard and tightly
adhere to the packaged goods. No molds are required for this process.

the utiGz&on of the machine's entire work area.




Web feed



Figure 7.28. Small thermoform packaging machine (courtesy of Paul Kiefel GmbH
Thermoformmaschinen, D-83395 Freilassing, Germany).

Tirornat VA automatic form, fill and seal machine (courtesy of Kraemer

GmbH & Co.KG, Maschinenfabrik, Biedenkopf-Wallau, Germany).

introduction of the inert atmosphere and the motions performed by the

package container, the vacuum box, and the sealing film are pointed out
in Figure 7.32. Figure 7.33 presents a close-up view of the equipment
shown in Figure 7.30. The sealing chamber in which evacuation and
flushing also take place is seen in the center. The photo in Figure 7.34
demonstrates the variety of jobs performed by this machine and the
environment in which it is used.


h' *re

7-31.schematic of vacuum packaging process.

packaging machine in processed meat plant (courtesy of Kraemer

KG,Maschinenfabrik, Biedenkopf-Wallau, Gemany).

Figure 7.32. Layout for vacuum and gas flushing pmess.

Themoforrning Equipment

and the-now at low cost available-personal computers have the advantage that they can be programmed to automatically
and continually readjust certain processing conditions to correct for
inevitable aberrations, such as gauge thickness, heater output, and other
variations, detectable by sensors attached to the machine.


materials should be suitable for

thewfbnniog processes. Such materials, when heated, will exhibit
a reductib in their modulus of elasticity, their stiffness, and their


load-bearing ~ q w i t y To
. understand these relationships it becomes
h o w how temperature changes affect the physical propernecessary
. plastia. We are too much accustomedto assume that our everyday
materials, suph tiis wood, concrete, glass, metals, and textiles, remain
unchanged b&ween 0 and 200F.


as mercury is at room temperature. High

materials (most thermoplastics) or materi-

the material remains a

ill never become a fluid liquid

between each link of the long
easily sliding past each
W P thermal decompo-


Thermoforming-Related Material Properties

Sof-tning range and bt strength


will exhibit still another transition at their crystalline melting point,

which is usually much higher than the glass transition point.
Heat deflection temperature

The heat deflection temperature, a change in mechanical properties,

represents a more practical temperature limit for the materials used in
thermoforming processes. The literature usually lists two values. The
first, determined under 264 psi loading, is the value far determining the
temperature up to which rigidity for light mechanical load applications
relevant to large parts is retained. The second value, determined at a
quarter of that l d , 66 psi, represents the upper temperature limit for
applications to small, stubby parts.
This temperature, or in some cases a still higher temperature
limit-sometimes called the no-load deflection temperature-is extremely significantfor thermoforming, since the material temperature of
the formed part must be below this temperature to be safely talcen from
the mold, Otherwise, gravitational force would collapse or distort the
formed part. In view of this fact, the mold temperature setting should be
at least 20F below this temperature.
For many plastics the differences in loading have a minimal effect on
the deflection temperature; however, for others they are significant. Tbe
lower loading k a m e introduced when tests on nylon resulted in an
unacceptably law value of 160F for the heat deflection temperature
versus 450"~;which was obtained when loading became reduced to just
one-quarter of it (66 psi),
Softening range and hot strength

At still higher temperatures the material's behavior will again stabilize

heated sheet when the relatively low force of gravity k c ~ m e ss

n areas or, in more severe cases, to punctures in the

Specific hear

Thermoforming-Related Material Propetties

polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PSI, plymethyl m e t h ~ l a t e

(PMMA), and polycarbonate (PC), is indicative for the much wider
processing window for rhese materials. In comparison, the semicrystalline polypropylene (PP) has only a very narrow range. The height of
the plateau becomes indicative for the force that has to be exerted during
themofonning;in this case PVC and PC are higher than the other plastics
and polypropylene is the softest at forming temperatures.
To W r understand the stmctural differences in these materials, one
should visualize the two extremes: (1) a low molecular weight thermoplastic, having low intermolecular forces on one side and (2) a cured,
highly cross-linked thermosetting resin, such as a cured phenol formaldehyde plastic, on the other. The first will rapidly turn into adwreasingly
viscous liquid, having passed quickly through the elastomeric range.
Thus, it exhibits a very narrow softening range and a low hot strength.
The W r will remain quite rigid up to a temperature where thermal
decomposition takes place. It has hardly any softening range and such a
high hot strength, that thermal forming becomes highly restricted. Both
kinds of plastics are unsuitable for thermoformhg.
Therefore, plastics suitable for thennoforming have been specifically
selected and developed over the years. Generally, much higher molecular
weight thermoplastics are used for extrusion and calendering purposes
than for other processes. Thus, the film and sheet materials n o m d y
fabricated by these processes contain a higher proportion of the higher
molecular weight polymer. The opposite is true for injection molding
and rotomolding processes. In these, lower molecular weight thermoplastics are used because the heated resin must have a sufficiently low
viscosity to flow through the gates of the injection mold, or the p u l a
must be able to coalesce (melt together) easily when rotomolded. In both
cases the plastic will cool and solidiQ while its shape remains constrained in the mold.
In the extmsion process, the material will leave
and the sheet will cool and solidify in the
need for constraint. However, in most cases the ~heetpasses
thereafter through roll stands, not only to cool the sheet but
improve gauge uniformity and swface evenness (gloss) Or to
surface texture. These are some of the teasons
can be expected to produe parts with better met
other Process.
parts made of the same generic material by
Aside fmm high molecular weight, some tendencies at
level will favorably affect the softeningrange and the
arrangement of tbe elements in a ring structure will make
mom volumirmus and less likelyYo slip past each other.
po]ycarbonates, anal the aromatic (ben
among others, fall into this m ~ pm.

There ;
of differe


Thermofoming-klated Material Properties

ture by lo.Water serves again as the standard, receiving the number 1,

to which all other materials are compared. For instance, polystyrene has
a specific heat of 0.32, which means that 0.32 Btu is required to heat 1
lb of it by 1F. In Table 2.1 @age 16) the values of a few plastics are
listed in comparison with other common materials. With the exception
of water, most materials have a lower specific heat than plastics. A more
detailed listing can be found in Appendix A, which presents properties
of a wider range of thermoformable plastics.
To use these values, one must realize that they represent a weight
relationship. Because substitutionsare mostly done without changing the
gauge thickness, the variations in specific gravity must be taken into
account. The specific heat, which can be accurately determined by
subjecting the material to a differential scanning calorimeter test, increases slightly with rising temperature and jumps markedly when
crossing the glass transition temperature. Therefore, listed values must
cautiously be applied for calculations spreading over a wide temperature
range. Published data can show great variations whether measurements
were taken at room temperature or at a temperature range related more
to thermoforming.

Heat offusion


for thermal expansion and contraction are identical. Prob-

with a high mff~cientof thermal expansion in the range of 7 to 10 x

in./in:"P are the cellulosics, polyolefins, and plasticized polyvinyl

Thermal conductivity

There are also differences among plastics in regard to heat conductivity. These values are listed as Btueftlsq"F-the num
which are conducted through each square foot in 1hour if the
difference is 1F and the thickness of the piece is 1 foot. Th
values between plastics and metals is apparent. Espec
sheets are being formed, the low~onductivityof plastics
heat energy transfer. With excessive heat inputs the plastic su
blister or start to scorch,even though the center region has not Y
its softening stage. That is why sandwich heaters are recommen
why a brief delay between the heat and forming cycle may
for letting the heat soak into the center of the sheet. ~ccordingto
observations heating times can be reduced for heavy-gauge sheets w
shorter wave radiation (visible light), which peneQtes deeper into
sheet, is being employed.
Thermal expansion

The linear coefficient of thermal expansion is eXpre

Because the plastic sheet expands more in @ Mllbr a
sheet is observed during tb@h t flof@

es: the almost clear low-density

slowly and accelerates until the crystalline


Water absorption

Thermoforming-Related Material Properties

shrinkage to final dimensions will take days, because the rate ofrecvstallization decreases as the temperature drops. Rigid plastics will stop
crystallizing once cooled below a certain temperature. Proper design of
the mold-cooling system can ensure uniform cooling, thereby forestalling warpage in formed parts.

Thermal Wfbdvity
The use of the material constant, thennd diffusivity, would be ideal
for establishing cooling times for thermofonned p m because the time
required for cooling the heated and formed plastic sheet is propaioaal
to the second power of the material thickness and inversely proportional
to its thermal diffusivity. Furthermore, tbermal diffusivity is clearly
defined by its relationship to other establishable constants:
Thermal conductivity

x Specific heat However, a problem arises when one considers that all three materid
constants are not constant over the whole temperature range encountered
in thermoforming. In addition, the latent heat of fusion becomes absorbed
into the thermal diffusivity too. Therefore, published values for thermal
diffusivity vary widely, depending on the temperature limits selected fm
their determination.

material of lower density, etc.

Thermal stability

forcibly, due to 1Ss load

[ ~ R O P . 271. a m v e n t i d


mocouples or thermistors) are not suitable for checking

water absorption

plastics vary greatly in their capacity to absorb water.
some plastics, such as the polyolefins, absorb almost no water, whereas
and nylons may absorb it assiduously. Although no problems
based on water absorption may appear under normal conditions-on
occasion unpredictably-it can intermpt production. Therefore, it is
important to understand this phenomenon. Freshly extruded film and
sheet tend to be completely dry. Even if a sheet were submerged in water
period of time, the material would still be practically bone
absorbed just at the surface will rapidly dry off during heating
e-absorbed water will only slowly permeate
sheet. Although listed water absorpafter 24 hours of submersion at room
ay occur only after weeks or months.
Depending on the relative humidity of the ambient air, the water
content of a sheet-if stored detached freely-will vary significantly.
Fortunately, several months of high humidity are required for moisture
@penetratetightly stacked sheets or rolled film. Problems may arise only
a weekend or other lengthy producwhen warm moist air enters the cool
The slow rate of water permeation represents also the cause of diffid t i e s during thennoforming. Although the moisture in thin films or on
@B surface of sheets will rapidly escape during heating, the absorbed
s stays trapped and vaporizes inside
ue haze or bubbles of various sizes. The result
ill appear to be hazy or foamy and display a
ing with the thickness of the sheet, a drying time of one to several
in an air convection oven at a temperature below the heat distortion
eets must be dried, individually supported,
ly, for many processors this is not worth
st discarded. Probably it would be more
pped in paper only) for a period twice
high humidity (months or years) in a
d dry, heated room. If only a few pieces
and no ovens are available, drying can be accomplished in
ofoming equipment by the use of several repeated very brief
ycles. It is always advisable to keep rolls and sheet stacks of


Orientation and crys&lltzation

I henofomling-Related Material Properties

moisture-absorbing plastics tightly wrappa+--usually in two layers of

polyethylene film-whenever not used.
Chemical effects, which means breakdown of the polymer molecule
due to moisture content, are not to be expected during thermofoming.
But because webs and edge trim are mostly utilized during reextrusion
of the material, thorough drying is necessary for all the plastics subject
to hydrolysis (polycarbonates,polyesters, urethanes, ek.1 before reprocessing.
Water absorption data for plastics are listed also in Appendix A. But
its magnitude is not proportional to the trouble it can provoke. In
materials listed with values greater than I%, the water is acting as a
plasticizer and can be seen essential for warding off brittleness (nylons
and cellulosics). A polycarbonate sheet having just 0.1%moisture content will blister during thermoforming, whereas a 5 times higher moisture
content in cellulosics or nylons is readily tolerable. Materials with values
less than 0.03% should not be expected to cause trouble. The detrimental
effect of moisture on materials depends very much on the rate of
absorption and the rate of hydrolysis at the processing temperature.


o n m@her hand, hardly any force must be exerted to form or stretch

these differences in orientation, two examples each are

polystyrene and polymethyl methacrylate.
extruded as a sheet will have an orientation due to its flow
and the gentle pull of the takeoff rolls. This can be proven

Orientation and crystallization

Orientation and crystallization of plymetie m8,tetials bring about

peeuliar arrangements of polymeric chain segments in the o t h e r w i ~
amorphous base material. Theirgreat e f f aon materialVQ~efies
it essential to know and control them. As is often the case, gemralid


supporting a square of the sheet with known dimensions between thin

plates coatd with polytetrafluoroethylene or covered with talc and
exposing it for several minutes to a temperature approximately 50F
below the W t temperature. The amount of shrinkage will be proporthd mount of orientation, approximately 10% in the extrusion
direction atlddess than half of that in the cross direction. Excessive
orientation mfiy y e problems in thermoforming if the sheet is not
clamped tighkl~r,or it may cause excessive mold shrinkage in the orientation directiq, resulting in distorted parts.
If an extruW polystyrene sheet is given a biaxial orientation by
stretching it fsrcibly at distinctly lower temperatures than its glass
transition t e m m ~ r (220F),
the resulting biaxially oriented polystyrene
will have drastically altered properties. The sheet has

Orientation and crystallization

Thermoforming-Related Material Properties

stresses. When improperly balanced, a PMMA part that comes into

contact with certain chemicals can become crazed and cracked. Fo
reason, part surfaces and edges are usually protected. Generally, the
thermoforming of polymethyl methacrylate parts should always be done
at sufficiently high temperatures to prevent the possibility of crack
formation during later use. This is also recommended for many other
materials, e.g., polyethylene terephthalate.
The biaxially oriented film materials that have reached high-volume
applications for packaging are polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyamide.
Similar drastic changes in properties are experienced in several forming processes that compete with thermoforming, such as solid-phase
forming and cold forming (see Chapter Twelve).
On the other hand, with some polymers, crystallization will take place
spontaneously-without applying external forces-but never instantaneously. For crystallization to occur, the material's temperature must be
lower than the melting point but not too low, since the chain segments
must remain mobile enough to arrange themselves in a three-dimensional
orderly fashion. Due to restraining forces of the angular chain link
interconnections, polymer materials cannot crystallize completely. Because the chain links within the crystalline region are more closely
spaced than in the surrounding amorphous regions, semicrystallinepolymers always consist of a mixture of two different identities. They are
(with some exceptions) opaque and become transparent only when
heated close to or above their melting point. The higher the crystalline
content in a polymer, the higher will be the specific gravity and the
modulus of elasticity (rigidity), but brittleness can increase too. Crystallization can sometimes be prevented or reduced by rapid cooling
(quenching). If chain segment alignment has been accomplished by
orientation, alignment to ofderly crystallites is usually excluded. Caution: crystal polystyrene is not at all crystalline. It was so termed because
parts molded from it have a "crystal" clear appearance. ~emicrystalline
polystyrene, having a (syndiotactic) stereospecific arrangement of the
styrene monomer units, is just now, under the trade name Questra by
Dow Plastics, being developed for special engineering applications Its
heat deflection temperature of 210F (versus only 170 to 200F for
amorphous polystyrene) is comparable with that of engineering *ermoplastics.
Light can be shed on these complexities by considering the behavior
of several currently available thenyoplastic polyesteks. First, a low
molecular weight poly(ethy1ene glycol terephthalic acid) ester was pm
duced. This material was unsuitable for molding useful Parts be
weight material became transformed within a
this ]ow
days into a highly crystalline Substance *at

#d above its crystalline melting point, it converts into a viscous

@wever, it matured into very important materials when its

tRT textile fibers are gained by highly orienting unidirec-

known pc
tionally tl
sionally s
that are b
vroducts r

aexhibited by chemically identical polyester segments. AS

@ 8.2, the injection-molded preform (at left) represents a
clear partk t c~nsistsof randomly arranged polymer segments. I ~ S
mechanical mrties are isotropic because no orientation has yet taken
+phc~.It is GI?
!W because crystallites have not been able to form due to
rapid cooling
is stretched t;
When such 2
held at belod
transition pol'
somewhat mu
moving the n
polymer segn

exposures 911 t
ing mass.
By exchant
Iments ;

rial will crystallize into a completely white appearethylene glycol with butylene glycol the chain
~ ~ rof this
i composition
~ s
are semicrystalline

Thermoforrning-Related Material Properties

Orientation and crystallization

and mainly used filled and glass fiber-reinforced as injection-molding

compounds. A highly mineral-filled version, Enduran from GE Plastics,
with its ceramic or marble look and feel is thermoformable and used for
solid-surfacing applications in kitchen and bath, rivaling DuPont's Corim, the composition of which is not disclosed. The processing of these
sheet materials at 112 in. thickness represents the extreme in production
time requirements. At 350F the heat-up time can stretch up to 1 hour
and the following cooling time half an hour.
Later on, many more thermoplastic polyester formulations that have
found wide applications both for injection molding and thennoforming
with great emphasis on the packaging sector were introduced. Various
schemes have been found to obtain the wanted properties of the final
product by regulating or completely eliminating the crystallization process. This has been accomplished by disturbing the regularity in the
polymer chain with the introduction of differently shaped monomers or
by compounding in micronized filler particles. The ethylene glycol
component (E in PET) may be substituted by cyclohexanedimethano1or
cyclohexylene glycol (C in PCT and also G in the copolymer PETG) and
the terephthalic acid by either isophthalic acid or 2,6-naphthalene dicarboxylic acid (N in PEN for polyethylene naphthalate ester). It is important to remember that, with the increasing molecular fraction of ring
segments or ring size in the polymer structure, the use temperature
becomes elevated. Thus, the melting points of the various polyesters
increase from polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) 437"F, over PET 482"E
PEN 523"F, to finally PCT with 545F. Other desirable properties are
often also improved. The gas barrier properties of PEN are approximately 5 times better than those of PET.
Due to the great variability of possible combinations caused also b
the multiplicity of copolymer formulations, the chemical identification
of commercial products bkcomes confusing. The crystallizable polyethylene glycol terephthalate (CPET) contains a nucleating agent *at
speeds up crystallization. However, due to a remarkable increase in
molecular weight the crystallinity content can be restricted to approximately 30%. This results in a product combining some optimal properties:


(1) Higher rigidity and better temperature resistahce

(2) Good low-temperature toughness
(3) Good barrier properties

These attributes have made CPET an ideal material for opaque'

ovenable food-packaging trays. They are suitable for cooking of food in
either a microwave or a conventional Oven- When consulting Table 2'2


~ m r #A
a sheet.
On the


Thermoforming-Related Material Properties

Manufacture of starting materials

There are two reasons for the thermoformer to become familiar with
the various processes employed by manufacturers of film and sheet
materials. First, different processes may require variations in formulation, such as stabilizers and lubricants, and they usually demand polymers of different molecular weight and melt viscosity. Second, the
suitability for thermoforming of materials from different manufacturers
may vary. Changes in thermoforming processing must invariably be
made when using film or sheet of different origin, even though the basic
plastic material remains the same. These differences are primarily caused
by variations in melt viscosity and frozen-in stresses. Stresses released
during the thermoforming process may also have an effect on shrinkage
or warpage of formed parts.
Most available sheet materials are produced by the screw extrusion
process, which employs medium to high molecular weight polymers that
should be subject to minimal heat stress. Because pull-down is required
to maintain a constant thickness, the produced sheets contain a certain
degree of stretch (approximately 10%). This will become noticeable when
the sheet is being heated prior to thermoforming. The sheet will tend to
shrink in the machine direction (approximately 5 to 15%) but possibly
expand somewhat (0 to 5%) and thus sag in the cross direction. The degree
of stretch can easily be determined by placing a square piece of it on a
silicone or polytetrafluoroethylene-coatedmetal sheet for 15 minutes in
an oven at a temperature approaching the forming temperature.
Thinner films are usually produced by the chill roll casting process in
which the polymer is heated to a higher temperature, but less strain is
incorporated in the film due to the short distance between die and chill
Polyethylene film and'some olefin copolymers are produced in large
volume by the blown film extrusion process. The melt is extruded
through an annular die and blown up into a very large-diameter bubble.
The film is then collapsed, folded or slit, and wound up in rolls. Because
the polymer is stretched in the longitudinal and transverse direction, the
obtained film has good mechanical properties. These products, however,
differ considerably among various suppliers.
Vinyl sheets, a few polyethylene, high acrylonit~le,and acryl0nitrilebutadiene-styrene polymer sheets have also been produced by a dendering process. This process requires a considerably higher ca~ifal
investment and is, therefore, restricted to very high-volume usages'
Usually, even higher molecular weight resins are used. The compounded
material is first homogenized in high-intensity mixers, planetary ge?
extruders, or on tv~o-rollmills and then the sheet formed in the llp

Coextruswns and laminates


rolls of a four-roll stack. Further smoothing occurs while

sheets are free of

materials must be used if high gloss becomes a

rusions and laminates

t r u W and laminated sheets have gained favor for thennoforming

s no other practical molding process
es so easily obtained by thermoforming.
is meant the formation of a sheet product by
re extruders. It is not necessary to
ne die. The layers may also be combined
ally as long as the materials are hot enough
be employed when either two or
W I I Jor~calendered
sheets are combined or bonded,
an a l w extruded
sheet or material layer is coated with an
ginally, laminates were obtained
e-plated steel sheets. Now, they
act pressure between rotating

Therrnoforming-Related Material Properties

(2) Parts are subject to ultraviolet radiation on the outside, but a lower
cost material suffices to provide mechanical strength. Three outstanding examples in this area are: (a) the acrylic multipolymer film
(see Korad in Appendix C) laminated to acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) or other sheets; (b) coextruded sheets consisting of
acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylateon the outside over (high impact)
ABS; and (c) polyvinyl fluoride film (see Tedlar in Appendix C)
bonded to ABS or other thermoplastic sheets.

determined by the quality of the outside layers of a sheet. Inferiorquality center layers may have negligible detrimental effects, as long
as good bonds between the layers can be ascertained.
(4) No material that could provide all the properties required for the
particular application is available. In food packag~ng,where lowoxygen permeability, low-moisturepermeability, and heat sealability
must be provided, coextruded films have gained wide usage. These
barrier materials.

above). In the case of an in-line thermofoming p m s s

Mechanical properties

Material economics

veral y-,
long-term performance data should not be overlooked. For
materials, graphs can be found which relate to and sometimes
lohg-term performance. This kind of behavior cannot be expressed in simple numerical values, as the other above-mentioned properties. consequently, even for the expert, it is difficult to apply valid data
for comparisons. The three primary factors should be briefly cited:
(1) Creep, the slow deformation occurring when plastic parts are subjected to a constant force at a certain temperature. This can change
the shape of the part in time.
(2) Fatigue, sudden failure in a part subjected to long periods of cyclic
loading or vibrations.
) Aging, the slow degradation of properties due to the influence of
environmental factors (temperature, chemicals, radiation) acting on
the part material. Exposure to strange environments combined with
external loading may cause sudden failure, which is more related to
ntal stress cracking.


Regrind utilization

Thermoformins-Related Material Properties.


This formula is based on the fact that when materials are replaced,
dimensional variations are, at first, not a factor. However, because the
replacement material may result in differing properties, additional aspects can affect the actual part cost. Two of these should be elaborated:
(1) Rigidity: Most parts used for any structural application (including
packaging) are designed for certain minimum rigidity values at the
highest temperature of use andlor a minimum resistance to impact.
Therefore, if the replacement material is superior in these respects,
reductions in wall thickness should be considered concurrently.
(2) Processing: Shear resistance and heat stability (among other properties) will greatly influence extruder output and the reprocessability
of trim regrind. The latter is especially important for many thermoforming processes. Again, if the replacement materiJ ensures either
higher outputs or higher yields, savings in processing could be

yield in square feet per pound the following equation

Some important formulas should be specified, because the designer

must always keep in mind the relationship between sheet size and weight.
The specific gravity of the material, which is contained in any materials
brochure or handbook (seeAppendix A), must be ascertained to determine the sheet weight or the weight per square foot.

film of 7 mil thickness with outer diameter of 4 11.4''

Sheet weight:

= Length, in.


roll form, the following formula is helpful to

length of film in feet:
(Outer dia, in.)2 - (Inner dia, in.)2
Film thickness, mils

x Width, in. x Thickness, in.


x Thickness, in. x 5.20

Example: A pigmented acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrenecopolymer s

0.125"thick is listed as having a specific gravity of 1.07 @cm3.A s
2 ft. by 3 ft. will weigh:

One square foot of this sheet weighs:

are made on a roll-fed, thin-film machine or heavyEhmmd~smer.This necessitates, unless just,a few pieces are


Therrnofotming-RW Material Properties

to maintain a set virgin-regrind ratio. If this ratio stays high in favor of

regrind, contamination and degraded polymer may accumulate over time
and may make it difficult to maintain highquality specifications. Under
those conditions it might become advantageous to seek applications
where mere regrind material will suffice. After cascading down in
properties a few steps, eventually some of the resulting material will ehd
up being discarded or fed into other recycling schemes; see the end of
the next chapter.
As stated elsewhere, the thennoforming conditions are seldom so
severe that molecular breakdown might occur. This usually takes place
during extrusion where the material is exposed to high pressure, shear
and high temperatures, and the danger of introducing moisture with an
improperly dried regrind material. Polyolefin resins generally degrade
due to thermal oxidation and result in a material impossible to process
due to excessive sagging of the sheet. Polyvinyl chloride and other
chlorine-containing plastics suffer from hydrogen chloride formation.
The reduction in molecular weight and with it the deterioration in
properties becomes f b t n o t i d l e in the drop of impact strength or in
yellowing of the material. Only severe degradation will also show up in
loss of modulus of elasticity and yield strength.

Chemical Descriptions

:FORE SOME KEY properties of the most important plastic materials

r e desdmd, a few remarks that may apply to any of them must be

)pendig k lists most plastics used for thermoforming processes

ped by &emical name to avoid favoring any one brand. Because in
noforming applications commodity resins are often used, this tabun appears logical even though in a few cases only one commercial
's available. On the other hand, some important
y.not known by their chemical composition, and
:are still b&ng sold without any indication of their composition. To
the reader $ these cases, another list has been added to the Appen;.This supple~nentdlist, Appendix C, identifies proprietary plastic
al order using proprietary trade narnes-some of
names-along with the manufacturer's name,
, and application (thermoforming, packaging, or
ial machinery parts).
Ir the sake &consistency and avoidance of misunderstandings, all
k a l name#,ma spelled out. Occasionally, the better known abbreare added ia brackets.
rical values are taken, where possible, from manufacturers'
-1-5s charts and f b mhandbooks. Unavoidably, not all these values
ative crf a specific material within a group. Those

Thermoforming Materials' Chemical Descriptions

ms in trimming. They are especially appropriate for

The cellulosics contribute strength and stiffness to
ich can be transparent and also easily colored or
ved stabilization has made them suitable for outdoor
they are available in food grades.
rming, cellulose-acetate-butyrate (CAB) has gained
cellulose-propionate has better clarity, toughness, and is

importance of the various materials used for thermoforming processes,

these materials will be treated in related groups. Descriptions of them
are brief and cover only general properties and behaviors. The final
selection of a material from the vast number of commercially available
materials is, of course, an individual decision that will include other
criteria, as well as personal preferences.



Acrylics, which are more descriptively designated as polymethyl

methacrylate, are well suited for thermoforming due to their high hot
strength and wide processing temperature range of 290 to 350F. No
other material behaves similarly during thermoforming. Their excellent
optical properties and clarity are augmented by outstanding outdoor
stability and rigidity.
Cell cast acrylic sheets have the best optical properties and lowest
shrinkage but are highest in cost.
Continuous cast sheets are produced by casting a viscous, partly
polymerized monomer onto a metal belt. They are nearly as good in
physical properties but may show slight optical distortions.
Extruded acrylic sheets are lower in cost but are not optically perfect
and can have up to 15% orientation in the length direction.
Modifications of acrylics-many of proprietary composition-have
mitigated their brittleness, reduced their cost, and improved many of
their other properties.


At one time the cellulosics were the preferred material far f

regain their position.

All cellulosics represent chemical reaction products of cellul
which can be obtained from either wood or cotton linters.

Polyolefins comprise a great number of plastics, which have in com-

man that they consist only of carbon and hydrogen atoms and do not

contain any ay~licgroups. They can be recognized by the feel of their

surface, whit& resembles paraffin wax, their low molecular weight
They we all resistant to water and aqueous solutions and may
swell, but do ndi dissolve, in organic solvents unless heated.
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polymerized according to the
high-pressureprocess, represents the earliest commercial product. This
process resulkdin highly branched polymers that are soft and translucent
due to their l w crystallinity. Variations and improvements in polymerization catalp@ have yielded polymers with significant variations in
densities, su* u the high-density polyethylenes (HDPE), polymerized
in a low-pres~$%jsolution
polymerization process. The structure of these
products C O & ~ of mainly linear chains that facilitate crystallization
and are, therefow, white and opaque. Further developments have folnal property alterations possible, such as the linear
lenes (LLDPE) and ultralow-density polyethylenes
wt metallocene catalysts, which are based on singlegemdry catalyst technology, allow the production of
ith &&ly tailored properties due to th.ose catalysts' capatrolling molecular weight and copolymer structures within
. But lei^ higher prices must be balanced by their imce, and slight variations in their processing must be
preferred m l t index values, which are reflective of the
fsr thennoforming polyethylene plastics only
OPylene and its copolymers have a low specific gravity of 0.90
s), thus resulting in very
ed on their high deg
arge parts even if they
fore, polypropylene becomes
engineering thermoplastic resins. Ma

Therrnoforming M&tia$'

Chemical Descriptions

p y l m copolymers at9 on the d e t for pmb that must resist impact

f o m . S;irnilar to polyethykm~~
hpvemenrs in polperiza.tim techiqum have lad to low-mduk~~po1ypropylerxgrades, which exhibit a
wider ternm g e than presently a d flexible plyvinyl chloride

Stymrre polymers

olefin monomers have
that can generate poly-

forming, yielding a high degree of orientation and

g of the &wi.This sagging can

e been described extensively. Their

Thermoforrning hbt&&'


Chemical Descriptions

of p o l y s in~ their products

lene oxide alloy platks.

lities. B ~ l wwell

propylme copolymer, as well the ethylo o p ~ ~ ecan

r , be ~ m o f o r m e dand pro(3) @@@U-raistant
stysne copoljnnm and (high) impact styrene
,(BlR$)copdyme~shave gained great acceptance for thermofonned
to their ease of processing, reasanable cost, and good
werall properties.
(4) Byrene~methylmethacrylate copolymers have improved outdoor
and wether resistance.

pletely by the extended use of .coextmda;d

acrylonibrile-styrene-acryl* coplphers (AS&).

\ '

and are well suited for thermofoming.

tance is required. Plastics in this last group

few industrial and aviation applications due

e monomers are commercially used to produce

I acc


copolymers are more accurately deution of the various monomers within



it bi

L ~ S I

@Y I


to manomem that combine under

Transparent materials

Thermoforming Materials' Chemical Descriptions

& Azdel, hc., DuPont Automotive Products and Quadrm

coT. and

acrylonitrile-butadiene-styreneterpolymer, which can be made by graft

copolymerization as well as by blending two copolymers,
Blends of different polymers have also been called alloys, to signify
the synergistic effect observed in certain properties of these compounds,
In most cases, however, the properties of alloys lie somewhere in
between the properties of their component polymers. This may also be
true for their prices.
The properties desired in an alloy could be any one of the following:
clarity, ultraviolet resistance, heat resistance, low-temperature impact
resistance, strength, processability, and last but not least, decreased cost.
Many copolymers, blends, and alloys have already been mentioned in
this chapter, and a large number are listed in Appendix C under their
proprietary names. Alloys have gained importance, given the broadening
use of plastics for highly specific applications in large quantities.


recent years a number of very long fiber-reinforced thermoplastic c

at least 50F beyond the melting temperature or the softening ran
the resin before it is formed and solidified by cooling in a mold.
inexpensive forming process is often referred to as thempkastic

provided for forming.

matched-mold aompresrsicm rnoldi

$listed in Appendix C.

m e optical clarity of materials is critical where thermoformed parts

are intended either for gluing-type or for packaging applications. Naturally, any transparent material can be made opaque by the addition of
pigments. A small mount of pigmentation renders a material translucent, which m m s that although much of the light will pass through it,
objects behind it are concealed or cannot be seen clearly. Thin films of
translucent m~Grialsmay appear transparent as long as the object is
laced in contact with it. Surface roughness will also affect the clarity
and brilliance of transparent materials.
The table below lists some of the naturally transparent and translucent
a l s :
Transparent P W c s

Translucent Plastics

Cellulose acetatet .
Cellulose propionate
Cellulose acetate ktyrate
Ethylene-vinyl aleb@kcopolymer
Styrene-butadiene copolymer
Styrene-acryloniuile copolymer
Polyvinyl chloride
Nnylidene chloride &polymer
Polyethylene tgr=phthalag
Polysulfone ,

High-impact polystyrene
Polyvinylidene fluoride
Fluorinated ethylene propylene
Polyethylene terephthalate
Pdybutylene terephthalate

A number of commonly opaque polymers have been made available

also as transparent or nearly transparent materials. Because opacity is
On the presence of crystallinephases, transparency can be obtained
by Preventing the formation of crystals, e.g., the addition of another
cQmunomeror the rapid cooling and stabilizing of the W o r n polymer
chain segments by cross-linking or orientation. If the size of the crystal&& can be restricted to a size below the visible wavelength, the plastic


Thermoforming Materials' Chemical Descriptions

Barrier materials


will also appear clear. This can be achieved through the addition of
microcrystalline nucleating agents.
Barrier materials

For the food-packaging industry the barrier properties of the plastic

material are of great importance. Because glass and metals are totally
impervious to any other substance, they have provided idad packaging
materials for centuries. However, their high cost and weight have limited
their use, When lower cost plastics became available, they were tried as

also give either rise to permeability or diminish it. The

unappealing. The permeation of oxygen into the

can turn fatty foods rancid, but in other cases the

(P), which according to the equation


weight) of the gas.

Barrier materials


t by the film material to become useful as a packaging

Is0 I
J. One the oldest and still low-cost film material-the surfaceand b$
materr f it were stronger (especially in tear resistance) and
,e fc
y a mE
~tthat !
.e plasr
)rd, CA
pplied 1
e ca
I. In 0th
3 introauce
ent high-A.
nd thur
the CQI
lume f o ~
r e larninatc
als, a tougl
e good
ma1 adhes~
>rial layers
ation of thl
ce of m

occur,which means swelling and buck-

ue goods the
.cal Co. ca
ng film. The same
is utiliz
The specia
f scaven mi
lr vacul
sed cor
a product of u
Amoco Chemicals (Chicago, L)unaer
.- ..ater-containing content requires a steal., mLb,,,


Materials' Chemical Descriptions

it might become necessary to select a somewhat higher water permeable

outer layer, e.g., by replacing the polypropylene film by a polycarbonak
film layer. Its water permeability at sterilization temperature is about
equal, but at ambient temperatures it is 10 times larger than that of
polypropylene. Such a structure facilitates after retorting the drying out
of the intermediate polyvinyl alcohol layer.
The best barrier materials cannot be extruded into a film material
unless they are copolymerized with other monomers. The neat polyacrylonihile, polyvinylidene chloride, and polyvinyl alcohol films can
be obtained only by a costly solutioncasting process, whereas the
corresponding copolymers can *beinexpensively converted into a film
material by an extrusion process that becomes even more attractivew h e ~
several layers are produced simultaneously in a coextrusion process.
Some common three-layer coextruded films are:

(1) High-density polyethylene inside low-density polyethylene to increase stiffness and reduce loss of moisture
(2) Acrylonitrile copolymers inside polypropylene to produce gas b
rier properties
(3) Ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymers inside nylon or polypropyle
to obtain gas and aroma barrier properties
(4) Vinylidene chloride copolymers inside high-impact polystyrene
polyolefins to obtain gas and moisture barrier properties
(5) Nylon within lowdensity polyethylene to obtain gas and moistu
barrier properties.
As some of the distinct packaging structuresjust two examples sho
be cited:
(1) For blister packaging of pharmaceuticals 2fluomethylene, 2-mil low-density polyethylene,
vinyl chloride laminate, each bonded with a thin adhesivelay
(2) An old competitive material, the regenerated cellulose film
phane, coated on both sides with nitrocellulose lacquer (the
synthetic multilayered packaging film) should be mentioned as
first moisture-resistant, gas-, and aroma-barri(;r film.
The structuring of barrier films has been enlarged by increasi
number of layers to five and seven. The development
for packaging applications is still progressing, an
market domination-partly initiated due to customer
already taken place during the last 10
names (old and new) are listed alvhabeti

Barrier materials





(PVDF) tie-layer resin for nylon
12 to PVDF
copolymer, rubber modified
Coextrudable ethylene
copolymer tie-layer for
multilayer barrier structures
Coextrudable tie-layer
material for Barex
Ethylene-vinyl alcohol (60 to 75
molQ) copolymer
Co. Biaxially oriented, high
barrier polyvinyl alcohol film
onal Urethane prepolymer adhesive
Ethylene-vinyl alcohol
copolymer, laminated within
nylon or.polyolefin films
Coextrudable grafted polyolefin
tie-layer material
Aromatic polyamide highbarrier resin
Polyvinylidene chloride coated
(both sides) on polyethylene
terephthalate film
Coextrudable ethylene copolymer
tie-layer for multilayer barrier
Vinylidene chloride-vinyl
chloride copolymer film
solvent-sofubleainylidene chloride
copolymer for high-barrier coatings
Amorphous nylon resin
(hexamethylene diamine and
iso/&rephthalicacid polymer)
sladitive for ethylene-vinyl
dcohol copolymer for



Thermoforming ~aterfals'Chemical Descriptions

Selar RB

DuPont Films


Shell Chemical

Soarnol D Morton
Aristech Chemical

Laminar blend of nylon or

ethylene-vinyl alcohol with
polyolefin for packaging
Coextrudable styrene-isoprenestyrene block copolymer
tie-layer material
Ethylene- (29 mol%) vinyl
alcohol copolymer
Polyolefin with anhydride

It is evident that for applications where mass production and automation

are so important, the development of suitable machinery and an efficient

process is of equal importance. For some of these the reader is referred to
Chapter Twelve, "Related and Competing Forming Processes."
The usage of plastics in packaging has made great inroads during the
past decade and is expected to expand further in coming years. Besides
performance attributes the packaging industry is much affected by appearance, physical size and shape, and customer preferences. Therefon,
many changes for the future should be anticipated, including efforts cw
developing workable recycling processes. Some of the possibilities afe
to improve the compatibility of the various multilayer components or &e
mechanical separation of incompatible components.
Electrical properties

Plastics surfaces will easily become electrically charged

its effectiveness
environment and


Thermoforrning M&#V

Chemical Descriptions

b gmund, Wfi4 an
~ ~ m a d g a $ e h a v e b owt of t
md appjicationof v&ws them
under expenditureof
c d processes into a useful pxv&&,
No problems &~ulQexist with IQ
tmse ~f f w o y generated was
such as sheet and film edge trims p m ' f h t d in-rbe extrusion paces
hag a the mgrttld is
and well mixed in a constant propo
W-the M n material. U the dormer has to c o b t the


made to reutilize the materid extensively

low mlded plydhylene
am bn m t suitable plasti

+as t&

biomass dais,

textile fibem if tbe rnoleca

the repmxdng of the

drnany of t h w p m
VioIet radiation,heat,

he chap


mgad t~ tbe behavior of pl&m&

Chemical Descriptions



case of fire.

1 cases legislative ruling$ will dictate which of the various

to viobnt o M u n e o n s in

ExtraMy f l m a b 1 pla&.cs,
m h as nirocellulm, have Iwg been
m h d . Makwn plastics am about gn a pas with the above-mentioned
other circum~tances,
q d c 9natural materials. Hawever, dm to
a involved m fires seems to be higher.
tias am mw available cornwith flame
rewant i u e i m k l3eawe t b m contribute
r s a n e proprties, and make processing more
etiffkwlt, they @re4 only when necemary.
n m k d Wmtw qrts for the detmnkatjesn of flammability '
hm multipiied tial ally during the l a dec&.
Wl, they cannot
dnpkmte di the possible fim d m .This becomes cbar to all those
who want to start a f
to gasdim. For the beginning,
the fuel must be available in a s u f f i c thin
~ form (pslper, film, or small
sticks) to raise its tempemre beyad i@bmuddwampdtion point.

still be cognizant of potential

witn tne materiak supplier to ensure that the most suitable
% for a particular application is secured.

mdecular weight polymers constitute the major component

materials. They are basically nonreactive under
conditions. Most of them can be used for food, and some of them even find uses as body

ties we made of highly chemically reactive, low

-campounds commonly called monomers, which as
does not pose. a.problem to the plastics user. These

e hi

_ _ . A *


omen were de-

th r h&& -tat
of hydrogen atoms exhibit hig
ikmM with a low content. T k w two extremes
side and t
h W y arom

W; awy were eliminated from all plastics intended for

@kms.Other materials, including catalysts, emulsi'awa,ldlredto perform the polymerization, and ddi-

rs,'lubricants, pigments, fillers,etc., are

eompunciing.Some of those that could

lynxss on the other.


available, should be employed
- - widely
contact can be anticipated.

&so highly mineral

More worrisome

the themud

have dwys k e n traced to e a h n moao~[i&,

position of the Etlel source mu.

nave illso D
ng conditions.

nn a cormive acid.
'&%the padaging field by improper






fl THERMOFORMING PROCESSES have evolved from the first

w n g method where live steam was used both for heating and
5 flat thermoplastic sheets (camphor plasticized nitrocellulose)
b t o u r e d mold. The various ways of preparing a plastic for the
g and most of the machinery for accomplishing the formdiscussed in detail. Here, only the proper selection and
forming of a sheet or film material will be described.
e basic forming processes employing pneumatic pressimple forming tools-a clamping frame, a concave or
and a convex or male mold-we shall examine increasingly
installations. All such variations were developed to offset
less proficient, basic methods.
to follow, the illustrations commence with an
t (not showing the heaters) and concentrate
an th
nts taking place during forming.



~ m eshapes
can be obtained without @euse of a mold.
the uniformly heated sheet is sealed to a plenum
vacuum atd
box or table). If either vacuum
chamber, the pressure difference will
outward. To repeatedly obtain the same
ssure must be controlled for each piece
Figure 10.1 depicts
Ive that regulates the
of thce perimeter can
102ciepicts one part
I wi* a W-dimen-.











Material thinning at apex of spherically blown shapes: (a) height to

0.2, apex thickness 80%. (b) Height-to-diameterratio 0.5, apex thickness


B, including transparency with

Figure 10.1. Free forming with vacuum (courtesy of Rohm and Haas Co., Philadelphia,
PA 19105).

minimal optical distortion, be-

B soft sheet does not touch any mold surface. Unfortunately,

sfthe sheet proceeds at a very low rate.

mmonly assumed that the wall thickness of a blown shape will

&I thickness as is observed when inflating a rubber balloon.
b,this is only true for cross-linked polymers. Thermoplastic
$% thin out nonunifonnly: the area in the center becomes the
W theBtreanear the clamping frame the thickest. Because small
bdi%@mes affect the modulus of elasticity, unevenly heated
lot be formed by this method. In fact, most thermoplastics
shaped forms that are easily punctured. Only three transBkk, due to their tenacity and thermoelastic behavior at

excessive reduction in thickness at the -apex, a

ratio of 75% appears to be the practical limit.


formed shapes obtained with a flat and a three-dimensional

(courtesy of Rohm and Haas Co., Philadelphia, PA 19105).

Figure 10.2.

&ape forming: (a) male mold with heated sheet, (b) and (c) vacuum
zlfter frame was lowered, (d) drape formed part still on mold.

Figure 10.4. Cavity forming: (a) female mold with heated sheet, (b) and (c) vacuum
applied to mold, (d) cavity formed part.

cavity, Otherwise, the process is ideal for fabricating parts wlUl a sturay
frame, because the wall thickness at the frame or edges will remain
_ _ ._
i:, p a to the original sheet thickness. The thinning of ccDntoureu
,lLticularly noticeable on sharp inside comers, which, therefore, snoula uc




l l e third basic themoforming method, shown in Figure 10.5, utilizes

a male, positive, convex, or drape mold. The sheet is again cl-----' '-"
frame. When the material is sufficiently heated, the frame
until the sheet seals to the vacuum box. Because the mold projects w w aa
5 or UIG
the sheet's plane, the sheet will first contact the eleivatea
----. m
_ -r-c'hamnld
and start to solidify there at nearly the original trucwss 01 UIG DII--The remaining area of the sheet is stretched during iwownward movefhs
ment, and further thinning occurs when the vacuum quickly
sheet to contact all mold surfaces. Here, too, the areas formed I
the weakest areas of the part.
In some cases the material's distriburim
.can. be marginally

A -

I I ~ - - ~

are to be uspd for cavity forming, no special provisions

aL drape formiag, however, the upper frame member should

!A a

, and grid to pull down the sheet to the vacuum box

nvidual mold. Otherwise, the sheet might form a web
molds (see Figure 10.6). Since conveyor-fed thermo.Y w upper frame, a grid assist must be used, which is
& - top movable platen.
".be produced either by the cavity or drape forming
&ling one to pinpoint where to have the greatest m a k i d
mers of a female mold cornspond to outside corners
F.nowever, many other aspects, such as surface finish and
Jf also dictate which type of mold to use (See Chapter


Bilkw drapefoming

Themoforrning Processes

kshould neither mark nor cool the heated sheet during contact.

elv vet), will not need temperature control.

and the following processes suR~cientmachine opening
platens is required. The opening must be at least 3 times the

If ory& wants to use a male mold for producing the same part, a
alanced distribution of the material can be obtained by utilizing anb r modification supplementary to that used in plug-assist forming.
rf these processes is called billow drape forming or reverse draw
ng ( s e e - ~ i ~ u r10.8)
e and the other process i; termed vacuum
snap-b@ fmming.
f i e b t e d sheet is first sealed to the plenum chamber and a bubble is

Figure 10.7. Plug-assist forming with cavity mold: (a) heated sheet inserted between
mold and plug, (b) details of mold showing efficient air removal through slots and
grooves, (c) mold raised and plug inserted, (d) vacuum applied to mold and part formed.

Plug-assist forming

Because in general a balanced distribution of the material over the

whole part is desirable, prestretching the sheet prior to contacting the
cooled mold surface is advantageous. There are several techniques for
doing this. Naturally, this additional step prolongs production time and
machinery investment expense.
In plug-assist forming, illustrated in the drawingeof Figure 10.7, the
shortcomings of the cavity and drape forming processes cancel each
other out. When using a female mold, the bottom part would become
thinnest; therefore, a male plug should first contact the*heated sheet
without cooling it and drape it until the plug is close to the bottom of the
cavity mold. Only then is the air between the female mold and the sheef
evacuated to accomplish the final cavity forming step.

---EUef valve, (,-) mold @ insdrted, vacuum may also be applied- to



Themadwming Processes

Reverse draw withplug-assistforming

extended outside the box by air pressure. This will stretch the sheet,
resulting in a spherical shape thinnest at the apex. When the male mold
is lowered, it will first contact the thinnest part of the sheet at the apex
of the bubble. On further closing, some of the air must be vented, as the
bubble decreases in size and eventually reverses itself completely. The
final forming of the article is again done by a vacuum drawn through the
male mold.
Snap-back f

This forming method,sketched in Figure 10.9, is closely related to the

preceding one. The o d y difference is that the bubble is first
vaouum md, therefore, is concave instead of convex. This process
ctrill m b or mark-offs bemuse no plug is used. The sheet
daes not have to be drawn the full height of the male mold if the draw
rsltio is high. after inserting the male mold, the vacuum in the plenum
chamber is released, and the material is allowed to snap back. A vacuum
must be applied to the d e mold to complete the forming step, and/or
the pressure in the box must be raised

ntinues to stretch uniformly until the male mold

Figure 10.9. Snap-btxAc f d w :(a) heam$

hillnw formed with vacu~n.W

throughout or strengthdicibusly varying the size

lister, the penetration of the plug, and the temperamre ofthe plug.
e reverse draw with plug-assist forming method (Figure 10.10), a
is first blown upward. Instead of a male mold. the h u h h l ~initiallxr



just by'simultaneously e v a c d n g both mold halves. The formed

Tine 1fl.U. Tnppedsheetforming. Leftsheet hdd by vacuum to porous heater plate;

0-& % d i s k & to mold. Righe heated sheet famed by vacuum and/or pressure and
fmd part when press is closed further.
h i v e s will

air cushion fisl front of this plug. The billow will be reversed in a folding
or rolling &mr while the plug is l o w d pgure 10.1Ofb)], After the
plug reaches its frnal position, located at a set distance from the female
mold, a vacuum is applied to the female mold, and the forming and
cooling of the article are completed.
Trapped sheet pressure forming

Another thermoforming process that has captured a very wide application is the trapped sheet pressure forming process. It is the method of
choice for thin, biaxially oriented materials, such as polystyrene or the
polyolefins. If highly oriented sheets are clamped only in frames and
heated, the liberated retractile forces may easily lead to excessive thinning or rupture of the sheet in certain areas. In the trapped sheet pressure
forming process (Figure 10.1I), the sheet is primarily held by vacuum
to a porous heater plate heating the thin sheet rapidly and uniformly. The
edges of the sheet are restrained to the female mold. The sufficiently
heated sheet is rapidly depressed into the cold mold when the vacuum is
switched to air pressure. By using an elastic seal and equipping the molds
with steel knives, trimming can be accomplished through a brief additional exertion of pressure. This process represents the fastest thennoforming method.

Twin-sheet forming

For twin-sheet forming two sheets of plastic must be heated. They are
then inserted together between an upper and lower female mold half,
illustrated in Figure 10.12. The pressure of the closing molds will weld
at the circumference the two sheets together An opening or hollow
;tllows air to enter. Forming can be done either with compresscd


we bonded together. WzMn $hem e t h e apm the part mus be cooled,

Figure 1U.1
uressure fon

mmbay detail of a double oven, four-station twin-sheet

W C Machinery Corporation, Itasca, IL 601%3.

sheet forming the mac

detail of such a ring

parallel a@me,nt of boa molds is

thin fil

m a must be wide enough t~ 0xmt aa inward

f o d m d a pad at the inside. Raking the heat by
there will impmve the bond and will becorn essenfi

low we
the rnt


k con;

-sheet forming is widely practiced in the

que for the efficient packaging of mostly

with injection molders. Many parts can now be produced by this

thermoforming process which, in regard to surface appearance, cannot

The processes described up to this point utilize a vacuum or an air
pressure limited to practically 14 psi. Although these pressures suffice
to shape a heat-softened plastic sheet or film into rough contours, they
cannot force the plastic into distinct engravings and low- or high-relief
designs of a mold. However, many of these outlined forming methods
can accomplish that if the relatively feeble vacuum force becomes

this additional pressure at the former's disposal or by matched-mold

It must be stressed that this change makes it necessary to secure molds
that have considerably higher strength, better surface quality and details,
as well as vent holes or slots that are smaller and more prudently located.
Molds and pressure boxes need a solid foundation on the mold tables.
The seals must be well designed and the clamps strong enough to prevent

Mechanical thermoforming

A number of the previously described forming methods incorporate

mechanical forming steps applied concurrently with the action of an air
pressure differential. Those were the bar assists and the hekious applicausually heate; to a slightly lower temperature, because higher t'orces Carl
be safely implemented. If forming takes place at taperatwe6 below fhe
glass transition temperature of the plastic,
is not w m i u
thermoforming (see Chapter Tivdve).




thehe: & 'ns duction in sheet

l=mblg, md cooling,
111~into the farmed part.
.&ni$iizd ~
~s m s cracking,

them indistinguishable from injection-molded parts. (This is illustrated

to pressure vessels have to be obeyed. Although all these changes

increase expenses, mold costs should still amount only to one-quarter of
that for injection molds.






materials that retain appreciable

itable for this process,



as developed into an important

s it possible to maintain
local mismatch between
rocess for making egg
tics are formed, it is
mmodate the thickest
yield laterally within



are several a l W m in rubber pad and fluid pressure-formi*

. What-they have in common is that only one mold half is
, that higher forming pressures are applicable, and-probably
atest advantage-that all forming takes place under compression,
reduces the likelihood of tearing. The high mobility of low

thermoforming processes

Adjusting ~RWBA'

ubmk d i q & p p fbmhg: (a) heated sheet inserted in opened press,

and pun*
k m&Eainidg hydraulic pressure bnstant. (c)

plastic Wore f o h n g &d leid high

pn a new w h i n e , an

a&e'Ule rckguired





sheet and film


well WOEthe satisfactory material runs out. Under no circumstances s h h d the old material be ueuscd to the last sheet. It is only possible
troubles on vwiations in material if samples from
material can be submitted to a laboratory. One
t of always retaining at least a dozen sheets of the
se can either be used--in case of trouble with the new
hine settings are all right or otherwise
tests conducted side by side with both
old and new rxWxial will show differences in:

(1) M a t e r k ~ e n s i o n s sheet
gauge uniformity
(2) Surface i ~ r f e c t i o n s
(3) Degree of;a$entation (affecting shrinkage and distortions)

After ascertain* that the above conditions are praperly m& it is best
to follow the m a t w ~upplier'smcommendations. Invariably, they will
stress in their brq#a&i which conditions are of importance and which
must be followed.'%n praxss contiitionsare altered, it is wise to keep
record of it. In a shoae+@, one am compile one's own troubleshooting
guide, which will l e d @?avery high percentage af c o m t assessments

that may arise are reviewed in this

equipment,makrhk, and processing.

see pages 179-180), the Thermo8h& a d Film is.reproduced in

4U d W apparently similar problems.

wall thicE
ng, and pn
tions, all t
:ss must bt
:t may unl
d may turn
I The desig
?art's applicati
the overall de5
of environmer
rials were rank
to everyday envir
Such a listing \
noplastics, (b) pl
er), (c) thermoset
define the envin
:e, since those conaltlons
kart's use, e.g., durinv tr
itions, rough handling
lanical stresses form
"" Or pressures, flexing, impacting, ana vibratio
cs are quite sensitive toward changes in tempb,,,,,,
8s aggressive chemicals. Combinations of these influc
their application or at least require the selection of a higl
nore costly grade. Low-temperature exposure endangers brittlei excessive dimensional shrinkage and high temperatures, pos183



sible softening and buckling.

to swelling, softening,
tensile loading,


Assembly d bonding


n, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Un-







'9 . .

, ,



orby t
and Ei
ing mi

washers ?
sheet can
Probed ta I
within tolg

Design Considemtions

i : .

; ,it2,'4
fixtures must be provided for rolling out the air bubbles and maintaining
the desired shape while the resin cures under exothermic conditions.
Such fixtures may be constructed from wood or reinforced polyester
resin without the need for labodans smoothing of the outer surfaces. A
thermoplastic sheet that is compatible with the unsaturated polyester
resin must be selected. The contact surface might have to be cleaned,
roughened, or coated with an interlayer to ensure a lasting bond and
@ extended use of such parts. Figure 11.?
b @&process.
rermoformed container which has provisions For properly stacking and
of Portage Industries Corp., Portage. WI 53901).

I b ,

nlieve mwtrining stresses may be advantageous (exposure to 10to 20F

below thehait deflection temperature for 1 hour).
Attentim~must also be paid to the packaging and storing of thermoTo reduce required space, one may be tempted to stack
formed p a s tightly. This not only may cause deformations of the formed
dso lead to cracking during storage or shipping. Figure
on the left-hand side how incorporation of support steps
in the d e b af the farmed part can produce parts that can be placed
of each othec, whether for nesting e m ~ t ycontainers or
h a


1 .




VAJ. b this s a a ~ h s s


of my of these stretching methods, thia type of orientation has found

m y urn. TIM properties most hpmved are modulus of e l d e i t y and
rigiditytregismwe to fracture, and sometimes to environmental stress
c&w. Chemical mistmix L enhanced, but gas or vapor barrier
pmpith only in sonre caseis.

warm forging k geryerally uaed when the dwve

parts with m s ~ i vm
e sections. The heating times
1 b u r for 1-in.-thick blanks, which is not a poblem
rn available. b some caws microwave heating

ab lowe tempem-

12.1. Polycarbonate distribution transformer cover formed on metalworking

sat ambient temperature(courtesy of Madern Plastics, September 1960, p. 137).


Related and C o m e r i g Fonning Processes

e by ib elaqpd lip. A plug stretches the preform

corn ;rts a ~urprise.In mttdurgy


alloy composition and aystal

um of successive cold drawing and annealing

over conventional thermoforming are the

total equipment, savings in energy, and complete
s by National Can Co. (Jacksonville, FL)is also a
It starts with the thermoforming of a barrier lamisr the structural plastic is injection molded and the
ite is subsequently inflated to the size of the pack-

materials mu& be free of surface irregularities, and lubrication is essential. The elastic spring-back is considerably larger t h that experienced
with metals. 'Iherefore, in many cases the extent of forming with plastics
must be exaggerated. Sometimes, excessive frozen-in stresses will have,
to be relieved by solvent vapor treatment or by annealing.

chapters. These advantages

Packaging contahar

two main disadvantages connected with the commo

hitations fer tbrmoforming


ng pmcwss sin aixommodate two she&

of dif-


~ m w t d m b e ~ w ~ ~ ~ c i a





by P


,m with fhe help of a spin-welding


properties of thermoforming materials


materials most frequently used in thennoforming

two tables (Appendix A and Appendix B). As
formed parts are differentiated throughout the
on of materials has also been chosen for the two different
table in Appendix A refers to the material properties
interest for heavy gauge structural parts. Therein are
anical properties and the thermal boundaries
specific gravity and the prices reflect 1997
ose; natural color extrusion compounds in
listed because material costs occupy the overe cost of durable structural parts. The relative
potential savings when substituting higher speals with such of lower specific gravity. In some cases,
be obtained &om primarily sheet producing compaor.lower prices than extrusion molding comwunds.





1QP-180 2-3













189 pi) -280
182-140 3 3 4 5




M H - &
PEEK ~ B ,











0.92-0.93 0.50
0.950.96 0.45
0.904)91 0.35



0.92-0.94 0.70
























hl* @m3tramrni&oll




1.50 5.8
1.80 7.0
4.40 1$,8


properties of film materials

MATWIALS LISTED in Appendix B are preferably chosen for
kaghg applications. Since they have just a short-lived use, they
films yielding either flexible containers, or if
be accomplished through surface
s are burst and tear strength. Especially
ospace packaging, gas and moisture transmisdered. Because of great variations in film
kness, 'eost comparisons per weight are not very useful; therefore,
r prigti%are no longer listed in this edition.



ASTM Test Method

100 in2.24 hr.atrn


cedlulm ffltns
1. Wlulose m e fCA)
2. Cslluloseacete~~t~(CAB)5-9
3. R e g e n e r ~ ~ , o o a t & 8-18




4, ,lw density (LDPE) 15-3 100-700 1040

5. FU&@Q%W, high density(HDPE) 2.5-5 2 5 4 0 NA
6- -men0
7. Ethyle~svlnylacetate capolymef


8. IOnOmer
Halogen atam oantainingRlms
S. w

l chl019de.rigld Ipn=]

10.Poryvinyichloride, plestidzed
1 1. Pdy&i fluaide
12. Fluethybnepropyene


19.5 5004M l&?5















' 0.25




3-1 5










26-50 W-40 ll(r-490 10-700

loo400 20
11o-280 60-1000
s l 1 9 17-48. 33a600

13. ~ t ~ i f l w x ~ e n e
5-10 56150 23-33 33o-wl
14. EtIqiemio h M f l u m aap.IEmE)
150-250 35-40 3!5o-mu ~ 1 3 0 0
15. W V W COPP)
7-24. 30308
5-10 '
3-30 13-35 27Mjoo
17.Pdyme(hylmethaaylete,(PMMA) 8-12
18. F!oly(&ylet?a tmphthalate)



19. PdyuiMchlaride (OP\1C]

20. Mnylidene chloride wpolpw

21. F'dymlfde (nylon 6)
Other Important films
22. Qpolye~W(PETG)
23. l'dymbxprts (PC)








8-14 25Q44 1313








O p q a supam&Sembpkdline



Nwa Chm&k Inc


Funchrtal grmps containingpo&d%fin














r aw
a l3w
r ksam

B & % f i b ~ r r r z l t h l ~ .~ ~ 31PF
Glass fiber mat rdnf, ameKph.enginwing ptastic shad

5 P Chemicals lnc.
(Food) packaging

Dow Chemical

Bayer Corp.
Shdl Chemical
DuPont Co.
DuPont CoriEvl Products
Shell Chemical
BP Chemicals
GE Plastics
GE Plastics

Styrene-maleic anhydride terpolymer

Polycarbonate resin
Polyarnide 6 film (PVdC-coated)
Biaxidly oriented pdyamide 6 film (WdC-coated)
Polyamide 6 resin and polyamide-ethylene copolymer
Aliphatic polyketone resin
Long strand glass fiber reinf. thermoplastic
ASA and aaylonitrile-ethylene-styrene
Nucleatedcrystalline polyethylene terephthalate resin
Biaxially oriented (irradiated) polyethylene shrink film
Polytrimethyleneterephthalate resin
Coextrudable tie-layer for polyacrylonitrile
Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styreneterpolyrner resin

Coextnrsion adhesive tie-iayer

Food packaging film
Food packaging film
Engineering plastic
Weatherable polymers
Thermoplastic sheet
Barrier packaging



Polymer Cop.
Alucobond Technologies
Soivay Polymers
Solvay Polymers
Xcona Corp.
Garland Mfg.
GE Plastics
Geon Co.

Polytdrafluoroethylenebased composition
Extruded polystyrenefoam board
(Foamed) p o l y c a r u
lonomer resins - --- '


fn;gneered palypropyiemmiin


High barrier mterial, 150F

l S l 4 5 5 , weatherable

nylether copolymer

Use up to 450F

4 .

*m USA

230Y Chem. resistance

M.k W r C e s

Ph1Ci Chemiml



~a RL

l2lPotlt Films
DuPont Films

~ m o c ol'dcmmm rod.
Amoco PerformanceProd.
Mitsubighi Gas
Tredegar Film Products
M t d l North America
DuPont Fjlw
DuPont F&IS

~otyetttylene'terephthalk&film resin
High density polyethylenermhn,
m e n e resin
Polyethyleneterephthalate film
Myethylene tefephthalate film msh
Porws, machinable Mocks (4-powderfined epaxy)
P ~ y s u t f o n e / a c r y i o n i t r iday
Pdysulfone/polyeth~eneterephthalate alloy
PdydeAn, anhydride grafted
Cornpms&n-raw monodir. oriented HDPE film
Extra-kw densitv oolvethvliene resin
twphthalate film
\finyiidene chloride copolymer coated PET film
Polyethyleneterephthalate film
m-XvlYlene diamine-adoic acid nvlon resin
Moldable potyeathylenefoam
Modified polyphengened d e
PdyphmyteneoAe/nylon alloy
P c W m w resin
add cqxdyrnea resin
Ccexhuded polyolefin-poiyamide film

(Food) packagingfilm
Ifaod) p a ~ Q n film
Mdd material

Rlm regin
(Food) W n Q
Weat shrink film
High M a r film
OvanaMe lidding
High barrier (co)extrusionresin






Radel A
Radel R
Selar PA
Selar PT,
Selar RB:

-- -


Chemical identikation

Mobil Chemical
Ferro Corp.
Toyo Seikan
Elf Atochem North America
Dow Plastics
Dow Plastics
Klockner Pentaplast
Klockner Pentaplast
Klockner Pentaplast
Klockner Pentaplast
ICI Acrylics
Shell Chemical
Millennium Petrochemicals
Millennium Petrochemicals
Polycast Technology
Plastic Suppliers
Dow Chemical
Dow Chemical
Montell North America
Dow Chemical

Oriented polypropylene film laminate

Clay/calcium carbonate filled polyolefin alloy
Oxygen-absorbingplastic film layer
Nylon 6 laminated ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer hlm
Polyether-polyamideblock polymer
Expanded polystyrene
Polyurethane elastomers
Food grade film and sheets
Thermoform film and sheets
Medical grade film and sheets
Pharmaceuticalfilm and sheets
Acrylic polymer resin and sheet
Crystallizable polyethylene terephthalate
Polyethylene, high and low density and polyprcpytene
Polymethyl methacrylate sheet
Polyvinyichloride resin
Cast acrylic sheet
Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styreneterpolyrner compounds
Oriented and biaxially oriented polystyrene film
Amonitrile-butadiene-styrene terpolymer alloys
Polyvinyl chloride compounds
Pdyurethane1AB.S blend
Extrusion compound
Polypropylene resins
Polycarbonate/aaylonitrile-butadrene-styrene alloy

Heat deflection temperature

(264 psi) or application
190-240F (66 psi)
Oxygen barrier
High barrier
125-21 0F (66 psi)

Low-density cellular sheet

Coextrusion tie-layer resin

Heat seal or tie-layer

Albany International

Dow C h e d d

&num PerformanceProd.
Shd Chemical
Bordm Packaging
Rexene Products
Ids Metals
f Atochem

Uniroyal Technoloav
-. CWD.
~lnir& Technology Corp.
Uniroyal Technology Corp.
DuPont Engg. Polymers
Phillips Chemical
Advanced Elastomer
Dow Plastics
Dow Plastics
DuPont Padcaging
DuPont Packaging
DuPont Packaging

Carbon, glass or aramid fiber reinforced prepregs ,

Acrylic sheet with a aranite mmarance
~emiaystallinesyndiotactic bb~~styrene
Medical grade WC and PP sheet and film
Polyethyleneterephpalate resin
Flexiblefood packagingpolyvinyl chloridefilm
Polypropyleneand copolymer resins
Polyvinyl chloride shrink film
Polyarnide 11 and 12 resins
Styrene-acrylonitrile-definicelastomer alloy
5-layer closed-cell ABS or WCIPBS sheet
Aaylonitrile-butadiene-styrene sheet
ABS/WC or HDPE static control sheet
Polyethyleneterephthalate resin and elastomer alloy
Pdyphenylenesulfide resin
Polypropyleneelastomer alloy
Polyvlnylidenechloride film resin
Coextruded polyolefin-polyvinylidenechloride film
Amorphous nylon resin as adclitive to EVAL resin
Modified amorphous ethylene terephthalate copolyester
Laminar Mend of polydefin and nylon or EVOH resins

Food packaging
up to 275F (66 psi)
(Food) packaging
275F (66 psi)
174F or 156F (66 psi)
High barrier food packaging
Food packaging
Improved coext., high barrier layer
Clear mondayer, high temp. barrier
High barrier concentrate for packag.

-- - --


High barrier coextnrsim film


DSM Engineering Plastics

DSM Engineering Plastics
DSM EngineeringPlastics
BFGoodrich Specialty
Dow m t i c s

DuPont Padaging
Emerson & Cuming

hrPont Fnn@-'- '



Nylon-416 resin
PdycarbonatefABSor polyester alloys
Bastform modified meme mabicanhydrideresin
Static dissipativepolyester
Clear s ~ b u t a c l i ~ block
n e copolymer
d-@h-irllpact] p d ~ m e
Polyvinyl &Mde/.ABS allay sheet
I J o l r p h ~ sulfide
~ y l l e n e - m a t add
h ~ salt copotymer,i mresin
Glass sphere syntactic faam
Polyvinyl fluoride film, noworiented
Tetrafluwoethylene-hemfluoropropylene copolymer
PerRuoroalkoxy-fluorocivboncopolymer resin
Ethylene-tetraftuoroethylene c o p o m r resin


3f32OF, (food) packaging film

sod) barrier packaging
High clarity, 15PF


Flexible film and skin pd@ng

Mdd plug material, up to 450F
Surfacing, weathering film
High temperature material

High performancefilm
High performancefilm


(Food) packaging
(Food3 pac@wg

535F tooling
-7 -*Food packaging 21z24_3*?


Packaging .



.-. (continued)

Advanced Elastomer Systems

Albany lnternat~onaiCorp.
AlliedSignal Inc
AlucobondTechnolqes, 1C.. ',I;$
American Mirrex Corp .-,

Bamberger Polymers, Inc.

BASF Pla$rcs Ma*Ws
Bayer Corp.
BFGoodrich Specialty Chemicals
BOC CoatingTectmatcgy
Borden Padt3ing Div. Borden Inc.
BP Chemicals lnc., Earex Div.
Charlotte C h e w Inc.
Chisso America, Inc.
Colorite Plastics Co.
CYRO Industries
Dow CherniczjlCompany
DSM Engineering Plastics
DuPont Automotive
GuPmt Wan Products


W. ~ a ~ m~erttan:
7 . m 42025
. 3 W&hcd Hwse Rd., New Castie, DE 19720
, W E . RaneldphDr., Chicago, IL 60601-7125
46lX W i n n i s Ferry Rd., Apharetta, GA 30202-3914
3801 West Chester Pike,Newtown Square, PA 19073-2387
7350.EmpireDr.,Florence, KY 41042
Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19105
44 Whippany Rd., Morristown, NJ 07962
925Washburn Switch Road, Shelby, NC 28150
1983 Marcus Ave., Lake Success. NY 11042
3000 CMtinential Dr.North, Mwnt Olive, NJ 07828-9909
100 Bayer Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15205-9741
9911 Brecksville Rd., Cleveland, OH 44141-3247
4020 Pike Lane, Concord, CA 94520-1297
One Clark St., North Andover, MA 01845
4440 WarrensvilleCtr. Rd., Cleveland, OH 44128
250 Wilaest, Suite 300, Houston, TX 77042
1 185 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10036
101 Railroad Ave., Ridgefield, NJ 07667
PO. Box 5055, Rodcaway, NJ 07866
2040 Dow Center, Midland, MI 48674
2267 West Mill RCf., Evansville, IN 47732-3333
950Stephenson Highway, Troy, MI 48007-7013
Barley Mill Plaza, Wilrrdngton, DE 19880
Chestnut Run, Wilrnington. DE 19805



(800) a73746
(800)331-1 144
(800)631 -5384
(800) 441-4369

PO. Box302!3,Edison, NJ 08818-3a29

400 Frankfort Rd., k mMy Sb;Monaca, PA 15081-,2298

I W Wdw M.,
VA 22801

RO.43a 58966, Houston, TX 77258-8966

Wctrex USA Inc.

Westlake Plastia Co.

2887 Johnstawn Rd., Columbus, OH 43219

70 Cadiste Place, Stfanford, CT 06902
PO. Bdx 30010, Wlnona, MN 55987-1010
212)F&?TIOII~Am, R m , PA 19612
297 Feny St., Newark, NJ 07105
300 High'point Ave., FWtsrnouth, RI 02871
5005 LBJ Frmay, Dallas, TX 75244
6601 W. Broad St., Rimond, VA 23230
3550 W. Market St., Akron, OH 43893
11 Kent St.. Milford, CT O&El
119 Salisbury Rd., Sheffidd, MA 01257
PO. BOX2463, Hous~OI, TX 77252-2463
800 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis. MO 63167
PO. Box 27328, Houston, TX 77227-7328
90 Monis Awe., Summit, NJ 07901
50 B&er Ave., North Kingstown, RI 02852-7500
444 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
1100-TBoulders Pkwy., Richmond, VA 23225-4035
1840Trans-Canada Hwy., Dorval, Quebec, Canada H9P 1H7
312 N. Hill St., Mishawaka, IN 465484668
PO. Box 860, Valley Forge,PA 19482
601 Willowbrook Lane, West Chester, PA 19382
PO. Box 127, W. Lenni Rd., Lenni, PA 19052

krsion factors

3FOLLOWINGPAGES present conversion factors for property vdues

Allen-Bladley Co., 32
AlliedSignal Inc., 141, C210, C211, C214,

Alucobond Technologies, Inc., C213,

Aluminum, T16
Americas M i m Corp., C2 18,221
Amoco Chemicals, 1'49.C219 221
Amom Perfonnanm Prodwts, IC210, C214,
(215, (217, (219, C220,221
Amadel, (210

ps, 31,128 im, l a , 1 4 , m,$93,

T202,C211, C!ZlC317. (219

126. T151,217
ethylemterephthdmc o p o ~T2,9.124,
Amosorb, 149, C210
Anmdhg, 77,173,187.1'90

Apec. 'a
Appeel, ' a 10
A@, (210
ARCXI ChemicalCo.. (3212,221

B m r g w PO~~BES,

Inc.. C211.221

JhBx, Tt51,621l

Badermaterids 1,@, 1% @ 1% 139,

BAWPIRS~~QM a i & C218,
C219, C Z D t 221

Carboxyl groups, chemical component of

polyesters, 142
Cargill Inc., 155
Carilon. C211
Cascading, see recycling
Casting process. 129
Catalytic gas heaters, 23
Cavity forming, see &o female mold. 35,161
Cell cast acrylic sheets, 136
Cellophane, 149. T206

sable) poly&qba~

151,f311. 2,152(221%

B h M orj:enmtion,46.115, 123, 1B9#1193,

Birweially oriented dm,T28, 140; T148,168,

BWally oriented shaet.37
B h b l l y sttetekd, 36

Billow hmbg, 37,60,6;4,159,165


phticg, 155,157, C211

Cellulose acetate, T8, T28.136, 145, T148,

T202, T206,C219
Cellulose acetate-butyrate,T28,136, 145,
196, T202, T206
Cellulose (acetate-)propionate,T28,54,136,
145, T2Il.2, C219
Cellulosics,T28,21,37,49,76, 114, 117,
CelsiStrip., 30
Celstran. C211
Centrex, C211
Charlotte Chemical Inc., C214,221
Chemical vapor deposition, C217
Chill roll casting, 128
Chill-marks, 53,70, TI81

112,138,194 'I292

W 5 , C217, =I%, 222
DnPmt Todlar,C218.222
DWMBB,a 1 2

W l ~ y(212
l3wBpak a 1 2

C b d & Cb.. 81-2S,C212, a15



Chisso America, Inc., C212.221

Clamping frame,33

Bya&Tt6l. OX1

Cold forming, 122, 195

Cold stamping, 195
Colorite Plastics Co.. C220.221
Competing forming processes, 193
Compression molding, 53
Computer aided engineering, 45
Computer-integrated man@cturing. 32
Conduction of heat,
Continental Can Co., 194
Continuous in-line thermoformer, 85

ffusivity.see permeability
Dlmnsional t o l m , 30,35,48,66, 117
Draft in the mold, 52, TI 80, 185


Pnamed prodactg



Wogen lamps, 24
Rampshire Chemical Corp., (212,222
~ w dT16,54,60,70
mPE,see highdensity polyethylene
Head, see ako thermal
~eddeflectiontemperature, T28,ll2, T202

Heat penetration, 10,24,116

Heat pNing, 25
Head spaling, 104-108,130,149,198, C210,

Heat sSnk compound, 70

Heat W e r liquid, 4
H e a t - s W fib, 127. C215
arrangomf 18,26

Rmhmd C213

Gablar Mwhhenbau. GmbH, 75, %

Earlpad Me.Ca.(213.222
OIIs ionrate, TI&& TaMT
W-B& i n f h d bestem, 22
GE R&IW. 1'24. Tim, ( 2 1 1-215,
Highdensity polyethylenes, 137, T202
High-impact polystpm, T28,148,145, T202
High-temperatuyephities containing ring
structures, 141

Ranas mudant wmpounds, 140.156, C213

Flmm&ilW d p h t i a , 158
R m W h *Inc., CZ18.222
flm-forming pmxss, 176
PEuid ~IWSUI&!b-g,

Impax, (214
Implex, C214

Inert gas atmosphem for packaging, 104. 106

Inftandabsorption, 3, T8, T9

Inhmd heaters, l o , % , 79
Infrand senSors, 27.30.32
Iqjedhn molding, 50,53,66,114,118, 172,198
Inlie themoformer, 95.98
Insehr, 186
Insufficient draw, TI80
Ionomer resin, 139,145, T206,a l l , C213
Irwin Research & Development, Inc, 89-91,M
lnvin International. 100, 102
Izod impact strength, T202
K-resin, C214
Kadel, C214
Kaladar, C214
KamaCorp.. C214.222
Kapton. C214
Keldax, C214
Kiefel, GmbH, 15.7475,lOO. 105.106
Kleerdex, Co.. (214.222
Klockner Pentaplast, C216.222
Korad, 130, C214
K r a e m & Grebe GmbH,107,108.109
Kraton, C214
Krystaltite, C214
Kydex, C214
Kyner, C214
Lamal, T151, C214
Lamicon. T151, C214
Laminar blend barrier plastic, T151, C217
Laminations, 129, 149
hmisan, C214
Landfills, 155
Laser beam cutting. 74.77

R u h Co., (31%222


chpk4I Tfr6

Lexan, C214


Linear bending. 115

Linear Form Pty. Lfd. 100.101
Linear low-dens* palyeltyleag, 137
Linear thermofomtm, 100
Lip rolling, 76.93
Liquid carbon dioxide for cooling, n
Liquid-crystal polymer. ~ 2 2 0
LLDPE, see Linear lowdensity polyethylene
Lowdensi@ p~lyethyle~e,
137, T202


RIW, 65,312

faElnin& 43

Ckh&d, C213
cMlbmd. C213



L I K ~a~1, 4


layer i paehghg films,


M M 3dliw 56


Mold w

Mold plug inat&&, C218

Mdd lp?ags,59



&Ad tempmb~,
RB, 48,7fF, 71
M W m &vmssm,53
M 4 3 t w f m 1%
~ - a 1 5
Mmauto, Crr., 213, CZ20,223

Moct08 &
kc., Tk51, T152, (210,
Ca14, m18, C220,223
T151, a 1 5

s *'


,.' ' : .


N y l q T9,EB, 1 12.115,
142,145, T l l , C

-. .

a58 CtreaPfeal Co,



mtli ~ c a l s CZ1Q
, (21,
Mitad M%kc.,

Mo&ii(2I-amkd aJCe,,
a 1 1 , a16,m.

yacrylonttnle copolymer, T29, 128,

150, T151, T202, C211, C2I8
Polyallomers. 139, 145
Polyarmde, see nylon

ether (oxide), T29, 140,142,
115,143,144, ~ 2 0 2 ,
C213, C217,


Polyphthalamide, C210
Polypropylene, 7, T9,15, 18.2 1, T28.49.60,
71,86.114,122,137, 139,144,145,
T148,150,194.196,T202, T206,
C210, (212, (213. C215-220
Polystyrene, T9,T16, T28,98, 114, 115, 116,
121,122,139,140,145, T148.168,
(3210, ~ 2 1 4a, 1 8
Polysulfone, 21, T29.143, 145, T202, C215,
C217, C219
Bolyt~uoroethylene,T16,60, C211, C213,
Polytrlmethyleneterephthalate ester, C211
Polyunthane compounds, C216, C219
Polyvinyl alcohol, T148.150, T151, TI52
Polyvinyl chloride, 4, T8, T29,49,67,76,
114,115, 117. 127. 134,138,140,145,
Tl48,155,156,199, T202.TU)6,
C213, C216, C217, a 2 0
Polyvinyl chloride alloy, (212-214, C218
Polyvinyl chloride film and sheet, 128, C214,
Polyvinyl fluoride. 127.130, C218
Polyvinylacetateemulsion, C212
Polyvinylidenechloride, 127,141, 145. T148,
150, ~151,194,
~ 2 0 6~, 2 1 2~, 2 1 5 ,
Polyvinylidew fluoride, 141,145, T151,
C210, C213. C214, a 1 8
Porous melal molds. 56, C215
Portage Industries Corp., 191
Post-consumer generated waste, 154
PP,see polypropyleae
F%&e&m, 138
Preprinted films, 190
Press polishing, 129
Presswe forming, 50,60,65,85,171,198
Restretching, 37,59.64.164
Prevail, (3216
Primacor, C216
Printing. 190
Pro-Fax. C216
Propagation tear strength of films, TU)6
PS, see polystyrene
Pulse, C216
Punch-anddie trimming,75
PVC, see polyvinyl chloride
Pyropel. C217
QLF, 149. C217

Quarite, C2 17
Quartz, T 16
Quartz-like film, 149,C217
QuesTech Packaging Inc., 195
Questra, 122, C217
Quick change locks, 45

& Co., Inc., 45, C215, B%#

polymetg, 1 1 1 , 1 1 4 , 1 1 7 : ~ ~ ~
Radel, C217
Radiation heating, 3,5, 12,24,25
Radiation pyrometry, 27
Radio hquency interference, 153
Recycling, regrinding of plastics, 73,97, 130,
Reflection losses. 7
Regaltech, C217
Regenerated cellulose, see cellophane
Repete- C217
Resinite. C217
Retain, C217
Reverse draw forming, 165
Revem draw with plug-assist forming, 167
Rexene Products Co., (217,223
Reynolds Metals Co., C217,223
Reynolon, C217
Ridge forming, 173
Rigidity. 59, 112, 113, 115, 122,130,132,
Rigidizing, 187
Riian, C217
Riveting, 186
Roll-kd themformer, 26,
Rotomoldmg. 114, 199
Rovel. C217
Royalex, (217
Royalite, C217
Royalstat, C217
Rubber diaphragm or pad forming. 175
Rubbery state of plastics, 46.11 1, 112
Rynite. C217
Ryton. C217

Plastics, h.(213,
, C214, CW2,


llldwvw c ~ @ y ~ e r140

Skymfeam, C218
Styroo, a 1 8

machim, 80,169, T7Q

Otllluac, C218

Sw-Piex, (218
Surfkc appemnce, tilitem, d d , textsRe.
18.27.35, a,
57.66, 119,120, 129,
T180, Tl11.190.197
SwWe mi&&, see ~ M o ap lm p t b
Surge taak, 58,62,64,109

S&p, C218
SynWactic plawics, 122,138,139, (317
Syn@, C218
Synauic foam, T16,60,165, (218

T-PoraEad 5.0,46
' h r slnmgfb of films, initial and papgation,

Sagging of heated sheet, 15,27,30,83,112,

SAN, see styrene-acrylonitrile1-

at highesr use temper

pdymecs, 140,141,a l l , a 1 3 ,

41,43.48.53,64,163, TI80

FWics Co., (214.223

,a 2 0
W e s , TI81

X-TC, C220

16, IS, lg.& 4%ll6,117, ULRPE, m~uftsrdow-densiq.

e&Wmt of-

XT Polymer, C220

U l ~C219
T b n m s W d y amtmIId &iikcsl 70
m C219
W&nwvarietions, 3,12,30,39,41,4,51,
T ~ ~ x mat&&,
o W

plyethylem, 137

Ulmbne, &U)

Ultravide4 wdfetion prowion, 130,140,

144, (214

lrcsaatap., a i s , a*,
S0I,,C211, (2216
~ ~ ~ 6 5 . a , M 3

Tmy Piaetics (Ammiwl,Inc., a 9 , m

m,a 1 9
Mon, C219