Top 10 Thermoforming Machines Manufacturing Companies in the World

This is an extract from an article by Kenrick Van Hoek from Batelaan Kunstoffen Netherlands. 

I am Kenrick, CEO of a thermoforming company in the Netherlands and would like to share my search for a new thermoforming machine manufacturer.

The thermoform market (+-16 billion turnover) is a relatively small market compared to the total plastic market worldwide (+-650 billion turnover) but it is rapidly expanding. Because of the low mould cost and quick ‘time to market’ the technique becomes more and more popular with designers and engineers.

” But this brings a problem: thermoforming machine manufacturers can not keep up with demand ”

Due to the success of the technique and the prosperous economic situation a lot of vacuum forming machine builders have a two year waiting list would you like to buy a machine.

The European market identifies 3 main thermoform machine builders:

The companies named above are all specialist in the field of thermoforming but can currently not keep up with the market demand for thermoforming machines.

How to select an industrial thermoforming machine manufacturer

As CEO of a big thermoforming company myself, I was challenged to find another trustworthy supplier for our thermoform machines. This search let me to more than 10 different thermoform machine builders worldwide. None of these companies could however answer to what I requested.

” I could not find a reliable thermoform machine ”

  • With a delivery time of less than 16 weeks
  • That uses universal parts so my company is not depended on 1 supplier for spare parts
  • That lets my engineers set up the machine under two hours
  • Where my engineers can control the heating very precisely per zone
  • With a proven design made by a company with 30+ years experience
  • Where the essential parts are from A-brands2

I almost gave up on finding a machine builder which could provide exactly this. I almost ordered a 380.000 euro machine with Geiss and almost accepted a two year waiting list.

” Until I found this company I almost ordered a Geiss machine ”

BMW or Mazda?

I must admit, companies like Geiss offer the very best quality of thermoforming machines, these machines are like BMW’s. They are reliable and fast but expensive. That is why these machines used to be the machines of choice for my company, until I realized that not every product required a ‘BMW Badge’ to produce the results we needed.

I realized a ‘Mazda’ would offer our company sufficient quality, reliability and speed to go up against my competitors and would cost me only half the money.

What makes a thermoforming machine manufacturer expensive

” I will not buy a thermoforming machine if the essential parts are not A-brands ”

For example I really prefer a thermoform machine to have Elstein heaters, Bush pumps, Festo cylinders and Servo motors. These parts are however not the main reasons that a thermoforming machine often costs + 300.000 euro. It is the labor cost that goes into building a machine that makes it so expensive. That’s why I found the solution with this company, they have such a professional and automated process that they can offer high quality thermoforming machines at almost half the price.

Original Article, click here.

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Visiting our first Customer in Europe

In Feb 2018, we visited our first customer in Europe - IMATEX based out of Belgium.

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In the image below; you can see that the company had the first machine made by our founder Mr. B P Doshi and then the next machine with automatic sheet loading system made by our technical head Mr. Rajesh Doshi.

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Both the machines are 10+ years old and still running strong. It is always good to meet old customers and revive history. The company continues to make custom parts for advertising industry in Europe.

Material Handling Trays for Automotive Industry using Vacuum Forming

India- a country thriving on "Jugaad" - finding cheaper alternative methods to achieve the 80% of the results. In my weekly post, I'll be show-casing stories around Indian Manufacturing

Material Handling has always been a challenge for a manufacturer. Even if the parts are manufactured with the best practice, if they are not handled properly during transportation- it results in part defects and rejections.

One such story was that of an automotive part supplier - the company used to deliver the wheel rims to the automotive manufacturer in wooden crates. But this caused the rims to bang against the walls of the box during the bumps on the way from the part supplier's factory to the automotive manufacturing plant.

20% of his parts were always damaged during the transportation and he had to come up with a solution. He quickly looked at Plastic Processing Technologies around him which could help him. He approached a Plastics Processing Company in India which had the manufacturing capability of processing plastics using technologies like Injection Molding, Roto Molding and Thermoforming.

The Plastics Processing Company analysed this problem and came up with a solution using Thick Sheet Thermoforming. This is what they came up with - an HDPE based Material Handling Tray that snaps the rims so that it doesn't move at all during the transportation. The plus point was the mould cost was not as high as the injection molding one and the turn-around time was quicker too.

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The Plastics Processing Company could manufacture this part using Machinecraft's PF1 Thermoforming Machine which can process Thermoplastics like ABS, HIPS, HDPE/LDPE and PC from 2 mm to 12 mm thickness.

The tray decreased the rejects from 20% to 0%. The production of the material handling tray can be seen in the video below

The machine in this video is Machinecraft's PF1 Series with forming area 1500 mm x 2000 mm and max. depth 500 mm. For more information on the machine, click here.

Machinecraft Launches Twin Sheet Thermoforming Machines

We have been researching since the past 2 years on Twin Sheet Thermoforming Technology. We just designed & manufactured India's first Twin Sheet Thermoforming Machine. 

 This is Machinecraft PF1 Series with Twin Sheet Forming Capability with Forming Area 1000 mm x 2000 mm

This is Machinecraft PF1 Series with Twin Sheet Forming Capability with Forming Area 1000 mm x 2000 mm

Twin-sheet thermoforming produces a double-sided, hollow panel with features on both sides of the exterior to create multi-dimensional housings and enclosures, strong yet lightweight, as housings for hardware and components, pockets or enclosures or panels that require thermal or acoustic insulation.

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Twin-sheet thermoforming can replace two processes with one, save time and labor, produce a seamless part and create a stronger structure so you end up with a lighter, cheaper component.

The top sheet is drawn into the top mold and the bottom sheet is drawn into the bottom mold. The two molds are pressure welded together at designated points around the perimeter.

The top sheet is drawn into the top mold and the bottom sheet is drawn into the bottom mold. The two molds are pressure welded together at designated points around the perimeter.

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What are some of the applications of Twin Sheet Forming?

Can you think of products around you that can be made using Twin Sheet Thermoforming Technology?

Machinecraft participates at Plastpol 2017

24th May, 2017 - Day 2 at Kielce, Poland. Kielce is around 180 km from Warsaw. The city is busy all year organizing expos at the Targi Kielce which is the main exhibition center of the city. This year, Machinecraft decided to exhibit at Plastpol 2017 since the company has been getting a lot of inquiries from the CEE (Central and East European) region. 

Economic Facts about Poland v/s India

  • Population - 38 Million v/s 1.3 Billion
  • Population Growth - 0.038% v/s 1.33% 
  • GDP - 500 Billion USD v/s 2 Trillion USD
  • GDP per capita - 12,000 USD v/s 1500 USD per person per year
  • GDP growth - +3.9% v/s +7.5%

Plastpol 2017

Being the first time at Plastpol, the company decided to get a small booth of 12 sq.m

Hall A - Stall no. 137

We were fortunate to discuss the Plastics industry in Poland and in India with many Polish Thermoformers. Although the footfall was small, we did get queries from quite a few companies especially for our INLINE Series - Form Cut Stack Machine for Food Packaging and PF1 Series - Thick Sheet Forming Machine for Automotive, Sanitary, Infrastructure, Luggage Industry. 

Machinecraft was one of the few companies from India participating at the show. The company promoted the Make in India and Manufacturing in India campaign. 

Impression of Plaspol 2017

Thermoforming Market in Poland v/s India

Interesting fact about the thin sheet thermoforming industry in Poland- most of the big companies in Poland such as Covaris, Greiner Packaging, etc. are multi-national and non-polish. Once a small company reaches a certain output per month (approx. 10 Million Euros Top Line), the bigger company buys them out. This is an issue for Poland according to a Polish Thermoformer since none of the big companies are Polish. 

Big companies do 7000 Tons/month of food packaging applications. The entire Indian market is dwarf-like when it comes to the Polish market for Food Packaging. Such is the state of Retail in India. But, we see the market picking up and developing in the next few years. The potential in the Indian market is 10 fold when compared to the Polish market mainly because of the high possibility of internal consumption. 

Another interesting fact by a Polish Thermoformer was that Poland is one of the cheapest countries in the EU when it comes to workers - the average mechanic cost in Poland is about 1700 Euros/mo. Comparing this with India, the average cost of a mechanic at a factory would be around 400 Euros/mo. About 4x cheaper. The abundance of manpower in India is the key to the growth of the Indian economy making it easier for Indian companies to start with new businesses quickly. 

Conclusion

The Indian economy must learn from developed economies like Poland and drive retail and overall consumer consumption by offering more developed products especially using Plastics and Plastics Processing technologies. People in the region can only drive the engine by thinking and develop new applications that reduce waste and optimize the output in the region. 

Plastpol was a good show for the company, exposing the power of Indian manufacturing and service to the CEE and Visegrad region through Poland. We are fortunate to be one of the few companies from India with a global presence. 

For more information you can mail us on rushabh@machinecraft.org to know about the thermoforming market know-how in India and Europe. 

We're back from K2016

Machinecraft @K2016 

It's been a month, we are back from the K show at Dusseldorf. We had an overhauling response for our displayed thick sheet machine. We would like to thank every visitor and would love to hear feedback about our stall at the K show. 

Replacing FRP based Well Covers with Vacuum Forming

September, 2016. Machinecraft visited Kalix, Sweden to install the PF1 Machine 1500x1500. The client purchased second machine from Machinecraft, Mumbai, India. 

 Beautiful Town of Kalix

Beautiful Town of Kalix

 Customer Factory at Kalix, Sweden

Customer Factory at Kalix, Sweden

 Customer Starting the HMI on the PF1 Machine

Customer Starting the HMI on the PF1 Machine

The company was making water well covers using FRP. The old process of making the part using FRP was slow and costly. They decided to move to a more sophisticated technique of vacuum forming. The company will now start manufacturing water well covers using Machinecraft's PF1/1500x1500 machine.

To know more about PF1 Series, click here.