Heavy Gauge Thermoforming

Heavy gauge thermoforming is a manufacturing process that uses heat and vacuum to form a flat piece of plastic into a fully customizable shape. Throughout the Louisville region and across the Midwest, Owings Patterns is the leader in reliable, responsive heavy gauge thermoforming. From tooling design to thermoforming plastics, we can take you from prototype to production in as little as 4 weeks.

Heavy gauge thermoforming employs plastics ranging from .060″ to .5″ thick )compared to thin gauge thermoforming, which forms plastic sheets .060″ and less). The team at Owings Patterns has deep expertise in the array of plastics available and identifying which are ideally suited to each kind if application.

Custom Molds in Thermoforming

Heavy gauge thermoforming employs not only heat and vacuum, but also molds to form the plastic. Owings Patterns engineers use CAD software to custom-design molds that precisely fit your unique needs and product specifications.

Only when the mold is 100% accurate to the product design is it placed into the thermoforming machine, where parts can then be thermoformed from the type of plastic that suits the product’s application.

Vacuum Forming in Thermoforming

In vacuum forming, a heated sheet of plastic is stretched over a male or female mold and a vacuum is applied between the mold and the sheet. The vacuum pulls the heated plastic sheet tight to the mold. Once the plastic sheet cools, the plastic will now retain the shape of the mold.

Vacuum forming is a less expensive option compared to injection molding and other forming processes. It can also get products to market at a faster pace. The benefits of vacuum forming are low tooling cost and quicker product prototyping.

Heavy Gauge Thermoforming Applications

Heavy gauge thermoforming can be used in just about any industry. The majority of Owings Patterns’ clients who use heavy gauge thermoforming are in the appliance, heavy truck and construction equipment and automotive industries.

Regardless of industry, if your product calls for a heavy gauge plastic thermoformed application, Owings Patterns can take your design from prototype to production faster with our TruRapid Solution. Applications include:

  • Bezels
  • Enclosures
  • Protective Guards and Shrouds
  • Custom Dunnage
  • Liners for Appliances
  • Interior Cab Components – Dash Panels & Consoles