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The Role of QA in Thermoforming Perfection

A thermoformer’s engineering team can provide a range of advice and technical support to create solutions that meet your needs and those of the marketplace. One of the most important stages where the engineering team’s involvement can be vital is quality assurance.

With their guidance, some activities a QA team can conduct to promote uniform dimensional accuracy, structural integrity, and cosmetic consistency throughout all in-process and finished parts and assemblies include:

  • Documentation: A skilled and experienced QA department should fully review, monitor, and document pre-defined quality requirements throughout the thermoforming process.
  • Measurement: The quality assurance department should have at its disposal a full range of measurement equipment, including FARO Arm, color measurement, digital calipers, tint meters and more state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Inspections: A quality assurance department should be leveraged to provide in-process and final inspections to customers for ease of mind.

As you investigate thermoformers, ask about their engineering capabilities in quality assurance, their commitment to total quality management, and how they address any non-conformance.

Please contact us at our Southern California headquarters today at 714-894-5566 or info@Tru-FormPlastics.com to learn more about our manufacturing solutions and how they can meet your needs.

Teaming for Innovation

When developing solutions, manufacturers should team with their thermoformer on technologies and best practices to meet cost, time, and performance criteria. Here are some key points for collaboration:

  • Engineering: The thermoformer should analyze your product’s function, brand attributes, user perceptions, and strategic plan to develop a list of parameters.
  • Budget: Be sure to share with your thermoformer your budget and other financial considerations that can impact production decisions.
  • Packaging: The thermoforming company should have access to critical information about the product’s protection needs and packaging process.
  • Timing: Speed to market can be essential so make sure you reach an agreed-upon timeline with your thermoformer since the timeline often affects design choices.
  • Concepts: The thermoformer you choose should work collaboratively with stakeholders on design concepts, soliciting feedback to implement into the final solution.

By teaming with your thermoformer on the design process, you’ll realize a final product that furthers your company and brand in today’s tight market.

Please contact us at our Southern California headquarters today at 714-894-5566 or info@Tru-FormPlastics.com to learn more about our manufacturing solutions and how they can meet your needs.

Pack and Ship: Thermoforming Doesn’t End with Forming

Depending on the thermoformer, a company can gain access to much more than just design and production capabilities. Some thermoforming manufacturers offer a complete array of secondary services for one-stop-shop convenience, such as custom packing and shipping, all under one roof.

If you’re looking for a thermoforming partner, here are some things to ask about their distribution capabilities:

  • Inspection: Once the product is ready to go out the door, ask if your thermoformer conducts a complete inspection of the product beforehand.
  • Customized Packaging: Check to see if the thermoformer provides customized packaging to prevent damage to your finished parts.
  • Direct Shipping: If you want your products to go straight to the end user, see if your thermoforming partner will ship directly.
  • Global Reach: Depending on where you need your parts to go, you may want to find out if your thermoformer can ship globally and understands any requirements for doing so.

Please contact us at our Southern California headquarters today at 714-894-5566 or info@Tru-FormPlastics.com to learn more about our manufacturing solutions and how they can meet your needs.

The Value of Vacuum Forming

In thermoforming, plastic sheets are heated and shaped on molds through a variety of different processes. And one of the most common ways to mold parts is through vacuum forming.Vacuum forming involves a series of specific steps:

  • A material blank that has a length and width greater than the finished part is loaded into a clamp frame to be carried through the process.
  • The blank in the clamp frame moves into an oven where it is heated to the forming temperature. At the forming temperature, the material is softened and pliable.
  • The material is then moved from the oven to the forming station. The softened blank is sealed on the deck of the tool. In some instances, low pressure air will pre-stretch the material to enhance wall thickness uniformity on the finished part.
  • A vacuum is drawn between the blank and tool to form the softened material against the tool surface. In pressure forming, while the vacuum is drawn to avoid air entrapment, positive air pressure is applied on the non-tool side of the material to force the material against the tool surface.
  • An option for the process when using female tools is to use a ‘pusher’ or ‘plug assist’ on the non-tool side of the blank to control and improve material distribution in the finished part.
  • The (now) formed part, while still in the clamp frame, is removed from the forming tool.
  • The clamp frame releases (opens) for part removal.
  • The formed part is now ready for the next step – trimming.

Vacuum forming boasts many advantages, including design flexibility, low-cost tooling, and fast turnaround, making it the perfect choice for custom plastic designs – and providing users a competitive edge.

Please contact us at our Southern California headquarters today at 714-894-5566 or info@Tru-FormPlastics.com to learn more about our manufacturing solutions and how they can meet your needs.

Tru-Form Plastics to Showcase Thermoforming Expertise at MD&M West

Full-service thermoformer will share latest medical packaging and enclosure capabilities at largest medtech event.

WESTMINSTER, Calif., December XX, 2018– World-class thermoformer Tru-Form Plastics, an InterTrade Industries Company, will highlight its advanced thermoforming capabilities at the annual MD&M West February 5-7, 2019, in Anaheim, California. At booth #1554, Tru-Form will share a selection of its custom-designed thermoformed medical packaging and enclosures as part of a complete suite of customizable services to turn clients’ visions into tangible results that range from engineering and design to full-scale production.

Tru-Form leverages state-of-the-art thermoforming equipment and a range of core competencies from an ISO 9001:2008 certified Southern California manufacturing facility, including:

  • Design expertise from a team with decades of creative experience
  • Rapid development of molds and prototypes for reduced time to market
  • Engineering and quality assurance capabilities to meet the exacting needs of the industry
  • Flexible methods for thin gauge packaging and heavy gauge assemblies
  • Competitive pricing

With all of these assets in house, Tru-Form takes a comprehensive approach to translating clients’ inspiration into an array of innovative solutions for use in a variety of medical environments, from functional sterile thin gauge plastic packaging items like trays and clamshells to sturdy, reliable medical device enclosures made of heavy gauge plastic.

“With over 100 years of combined experience serving many of the world’s largest medical device manufacturers, we offer the proven expertise to meet the dynamic needs of the medtech industry with innovative, next-gen thermoformed solutions,” said Director of Innovation John Hoffman. “We are eager to talk with attendees at MD&M West about how we can collaborate with them on packaging and enclosures to help bring their medical devices to life.”

To learn more about Tru-Form Plastics, visit Tru-FormPlastics.com, call 714.894.5566, email info@Tru-FormPlastics.com or meet them in person at booth #1554 at MD&M West.

About Tru-Form Plastics, an InterTrade Industries Company – A world-class, full-service custom thermoformer with more than 100 years of combined experience located in Southern California’s Orange County, Tru-Form’s offerings include design, rapid prototypes, production, assembly and distribution. The company is well-positioned to meet a variety of needs. The company serves a wide variety of industries including medical, aerospace and defense, architectural lighting, automotive, consumer, and OEM. To learn more, visit Tru-FormPlastics.com, call 714.894.5566 or email info@Tru-FormPlastics.com.

Tru-Form Plastics to Participate in World’s Largest MedTech Event Showcasing Thermoforming Expertise at MD&M West

Custom thermoformer will showcase medical packaging and enclosure innovation at MD&M West.

WESTMINSTER, Calif., January 25, 2019– Full-service custom thermoformer Tru-Form Plastics, an InterTrade Industries Company, is bringing its innovative medical packaging and enclosures to MD&M West February 5-7, 2019, in Anaheim, California. Exhibiting at booth #1554, Tru-Form Plastics will display a selection of its custom-designed heavy and thin gauge thermoforming solutions and share how its creativity, flexible methods, and collaborative approach are central to delivering solutions that fit the unique needs of the medtech industry.

Headquartered in Southern California, Tru-Form Plastics’ manufacturing facility offers extensive design, production, assembly, and distribution services. To produce precise medical product packaging and enclosures, it leverages its core capabilities, including:

  • A design process that starts with a full engineering review
  • Technical support to take a customer’s design request from concept to completion
  • Mold, fixture, and tool building, the start of any successful product
  • Machining, trimming, and finishing to produce the most delicate and complicated products
  • An experienced QA department for accuracy and consistency

With these comprehensive capabilities in house, Tru-Form Plastics is well-positioned to exceed customers’ expectations for innovative, reliable, and functional solutions, including thin gauge plastic packaging items like trays and clamshells as well as medical device enclosures made of heavy gauge plastic.

“MD&M West showcases the latest manufacturing solutions for medtech professionals, and we’re pleased to take part again this year,” said Director of Innovation John Hoffman. “With a host of cutting-edge yet practical applications on display, we hope to inspire attendees as they set out to discover new ideas – and address new challenges – so they can leapfrog their performance in 2019.”

To learn more about Tru-Form Plastics, visit Tru-FormPlastics.com, call 714.894.5566, email info@Tru-FormPlastics.com or meet them in person at booth #1554 at MD&M West.

About Tru-Form Plastics, an InterTrade Industries Company – A world-class, full-service custom thermoformer with more than 100 years of combined experience located in Southern California’s Orange County, Tru-Form Plastics’ offerings include design, rapid prototypes, production, assembly and distribution. The company is well-positioned to meet a variety of needs. The company serves a wide variety of industries including medical, aerospace and defense, architectural lighting, automotive, consumer, and OEM. To learn more, visit Tru-FormPlastics.com, call 714.894.5566 or email info@Tru-FormPlastics.com.

Flexibility First with Thermoforming

Thermoforming offers many benefits over other types of molding. And one of the most significant benefit is the flexibility it delivers. With thermoforming, manufacturers have a variety of options both pre-production and post to achieve their desired outcome, including:

  • Design: Your thermoforming vendor’s engineering and design teams can assess all the variables and requirements involved, develop design schematics, and create drafts to formulate the exact components needed to take your idea to execution.
  • Material Selection: A wide variety of materials can be used in thermoforming depending on the part being produced. Each different plastic has its own unique properties and benefits so your thermoformer will work with you to match the best material for your application.
  • Color and Texture: Depending on the look you want to achieve, thermoforming can produce parts to your exact specifications through the use of colored plastic material, silk screening, paint, and in-molded textures.
  • Finish: Your cosmetic requirements may also mean you need a certain finish. Fortunately, with thermofoming, you can achieve high-gloss, semi-gloss, and even metallic touches as an integral part of the manufacturing process.
  • Product Changes: Once complete, it’s easy to make changes to your design with thermoforming without big upfront costs so you can feel confident about making improvements.

The variety of options thermoforming offers yields advantages other processes can’t compete with, making it an ideal approach for any application.

Please contact us today at 714-894-5566 or info@Tru-FormPlastics.com to learn more about our manufacturing solutions and how they can meet your specific needs. 

Who Needs EMI Shielding?

EMI, also known as electromagnetic interference, is a disturbance in the operation of electronic devices caused by external sources that affect the electrical circuit. One approach to prevent this interference is the use of an EMI shield, a protective enclosure placed around devices to block signals.

Thermoforming can make the use of protective plastic shields simple through integration during the production process. When thermoforming, shields can be applied to the plastic sheet before forming to protect sensitive components by:

  • Sprays
  • Paints
  • Brush-on coatings

These protective films often contain metals like nickel or copper to deflect interference. As EMI is now regulated throughout the globe, use of these materials requires compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency (among other local agencies), so look for a thermoforming partner that is fully certified by UL on the substances.

Please contact us today at 714-894-5566 or info@Tru-FormPlastics.com to learn more about our manufacturing solutions and how they can meet your specific needs. 

Accuracy and Precision with CNC Trimming

To finish a thermoformed part, a variety of trimming processes can be used. The process selection depends on the quantity being produced, part specifications, and the tolerances needed. Options include hand trimming, die cutting, air router, and for the greatest precision, axis computer-numerical-controlled trimming, also known as CNC trimming.

When it comes to CNC trimming, the more advanced thermoformers use five-axis centers – as opposed to three-axis – to produce parts with repeatable, close tolerances. With this approach, the five axis are identified as W-Y-Z (length-width-depth), with two additional degrees of freedom sometimes referred to as C and B. It is crucial that the CNC trim fixture always duplicates the size and configuration of the part’s forming tool, meaning, that it look identical.

During the CNC trimming process, the part must be held securely and immobile, typically through the use of a vacuum system to lock the part against the trim fixture without clamps. This approach also allows for full freedom for trimming on the non-tool side of the part.

Two of the biggest advantages of CNC trimming are:

  • Part design revisions involving trimming can be easily accomplished with a CNC program change
  • Multiple part configurations can be generated from a single formed part by different trim(s)

Please contact us today at 714-894-5566 or info@Tru-FormPlastics.com to learn more about our manufacturing solutions and how they can meet your specific needs. 

What to Look for in a Thermoformer

When you’re selecting a thermoformer, consider looking for a partner that offers turn-key services to optimize your efficiencies and savings. Among the key processes a full-service thermoformer can offer are:

  • In House Molding: Your thermoformer should have the pre-production experience to take your idea from prototype to production.
  • Machining: Precise manufacturing is critical so look for a thermoformer with the latest equipment and up to date industry standards for quality performance.
  • Trimming: Integrated CNC trimming will ensure delicate details and close tolerances for consistent, accurate parts every time.
  • Finishing: For cosmetic enhancements, identify a partner with expertise in material selection, color, texture, paint, and other details for a part that meets your specific needs.
  • Fabrication: It’s best to find a thermoformer who utilizes advancements like ultrasonic welding to join plastic pieces together, especially small ones.
  • Assembly:  If you have a more complex project, the ideal thermoformer will offer multi-part assembly.
  • Packing and shipping: Look for a vendor that will custom pack your items to prevent damage and ship them, using bar coding that aligns with your objectives.

By using this checklist as a guide, you’ll be able to choose the right thermoformer for a complete part that meets your expectations– no matter how complex.

Please contact us today at 714-894-5566 or info@Tru-FormPlastics.com to learn more about our manufacturing solutions and how they can meet your specific needs.