State of Thermoforming Conference Mumbai December 2017

We just finished our annual thermoforming conference in Mumbai, India on 11th December 2017.  At the conference, we spoke about new trends in the Thermoforming Industry along with new innovations in Machines, Moulds and Sheets.

How can Machinecraft Help with Thermoforming Machines?

This is the talk by Rushabh Doshi from Machinecraft, India which was presented at the conference. The talk has been recorded as a talk with a friend who is keen to explore the field of thermoforming. 

What is the talk in a nutshell?

We all know what thermoforming means, but for our viewers who are new to this; thermoforming is a 2 step plastics processing - you need a plastic sheet as the raw material which the thermoforming machine then heats (thermo) and then either uses vacuum or pressure to make the part (forming)

There are two types of thermoforming machines - one’s to process thin sheets like PP, PET, PS with the thickness ranging from 0.2 to 2 mm and ones to process thick sheets like ABS, PC, PE with the thickness ranging from 2 to 12 mm.  Machinecraft makes both of them. 

The PF1 Series is a thick sheet thermoforming machine - the design has sheet insert area, frame locking, heating system, mould platen system and plug system. 

The process is to load the machine with the plastic sheet - this can be done manually with safety lights, roll-fed & autoloader option for certain materials and sheet sizes. Once the sheet is loaded, the pneumatic cylinders lock the sheet and create the vacuum in the chamber below.

The Sandwich Heaters which are set as per a profile using Zone Control System on the PLC then come forward to heat the sheet. The Sag and Pre-blow sensors on the machine give the PLC feedback about the height of the sheet above and below. This is critical for material thickness control in the final part. =

Post the heating time set on the PLC using the HMI, the heaters go back and the mould platen moves up using either Pneumatic Cylinders or Servos. Air is then applied in the form of vacuum in the case of a vacuum forming machine or Air is blown from a chamber above the mould on the Plugin case of Pressure Forming machine. 

This makes the thermoplastic in the shape of the mould. The part then cools using the cooling blowers and water mist on the machine. 

Machinecraft’s PF1 Series come in various standard sizes and customer built sizes as per the customer’s part- the machines also come with many automation & sensor options. 

The INLINE Series is a thin sheet thermoforming machine. The machine is of forming areas 500x600 & 600x800 mm. They are either 3 station or 4 station machines with stations being that of the heating-forming-punching-holing-stacking mechanism. 

The machine is loaded with a plastic sheet roll on the roll stand. The sheet then enters the machine using the spiked chain on the machine. The chain is designed to accommodate materials like PP & PET both. The Sandwich Heaters which are set as per a profile using Zone Control System on the PLC then come forward to heat the sheet.

The next station is the forming station which comes with easy mould changeover system. The mould is placed on this system where the part can be made using either vacuum or pressure. The press comes in Pneumatic & Servo options. The next station is the optional holing station which is again servo driven with the cutter to make holes if any on the formed product. The next station is called the punching station which perforates the plastic sheet using steel ruled floating die optimised for even edges on the final part. This station is fully servo driven to provide a high and accurate torque for the perforation. The final station is the stacking station. This station comes in simple pneumatic driven down-stack, up stack or servo is driven stacking with A-B stacking option. The stacker can also come with a pneumatic push system. At the end of the machine, there is an unwinder to collect the waste material to be used again in regrind. 

Machinecraft’s USP in the INLINE machines is that they are the most cost-effective solutions in the market with around 30 cycles per minute. 

But for people with higher appetites, we have partnered with a Turkish Manufacturer of machines - Erkur for a high speed 60 cycles per min fully servo driven with all safety features machine. 

Machinecraft can provide you thermoforming machines for all your requirements with the better customer experience and industry know-how. For more information about our company & its history in India, you can view the detailed talk on YouTube.