Thermoforming

Thermoforming is a manufacturing process where a thermoplastic sheet is heated and formed under pressure. 

Press forming of a biobased composite seat:

Three thermoforming presses are available at SLC-Lab:

Pinette Press Zenith 2
A computer system is linked to the press so that a fully controlled cure cycle can be carried out. The number of pressure and temperature levels is unlimited. There is no possibility to apply vacuum. Forced cooling is possible thanks to the two bottom plates which remain at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

Fontijne Press
This press is produced by the company Fontijne Holland. The load is applied using a hydraulically driven actuator that moves the lower plate towards the upper plate. Both plates can be heated electrically. The press is very versatile. It is possible to mount different set-ups on the press plates. Forced cooling is possible: both plates are equipped with tubes to allow water or air to cool the plates. 

Recently, the Fontijne system was expanded by the installation of metal foil infrared heaters. These heaters from Krelus show very high efficiencies at wavelengths which are relevant for the heating of polyolefines (PP, PE) and polyamides.

 

HACO Press
The HACO press is a big industrial-size thermoforming unit, mainly used to shape thermoplastic composites. Thermoplastic prepreg sheet is pre-heated and then shipped into the mould for deep-drawing. Various moulds can be fitted and pre-heated if necessary.