Miles Fiberglass & Composites Adds Large Vacuum Thermoforming Capabilities
In 2008, Miles Fiberglass and Composites installed a thermoforming machine capable of processing molds as large as 110 x 110. This is the largest thermoforming machine of its type in the Pacific Northwest. This process is faster and more cost effective than open molding and is a welcome addition to the Miles Fiberglass facility. When compared to open molding, thermoforming has a faster tooling process, can be modified quickly, and parts can be produced faster. Using this vacuum thermoforming process also gives Miles Fiberglass the ability to adapt the strength and flexibility requirements to match the application.
Miles Fiberglass can turn parts from start to finish in as little as three weeks using their thermoforming process. We have the ability to do everything from novelty parts to industrial and structural parts, says Lori Luchak, President of Miles Fiberglass and Composites, and we are excited about the additional flexibility of the vacuum thermoforming process."
What is Thermoforming?
Thermoforming is a manufacturing process where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, formed to a specific shape in a mold, and trimmed to create a usable product. The sheet, or "film" when referring to thinner gauges and certain material types, is heated in an oven to a high-enough temperature that it can be stretched into or onto a mold and cooled to a finished shape.
Benefits of Thermoforming
Thermoformed parts have a superior finish to traditional fiberglass and allow for wider material and a variety of color choices. Overall aesthetics are superior when using vacuum thermoforming because it uses a combination of heat pressure and vacuum pressure to form precise details and intricate undercuts. Other design advantages include molded in vents and ribs, textured surfaces, and various part sizes. Also, thermoforming machines give you the ability to quickly and inexpensively modify parts as needed to demands for the customer.