Plastic Thermoforming


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Experience the versatility of our thermoforming process, capable of shaping materials into complex forms for a range of applications. Shop Now.

What Is Plastic Thermoforming?

Thermoforming is a widely used process for shaping polycarbonate sheets in various industries. It is commonly used in the manufacture of products such as dome skylights, motorcycle windshields, helmets, and more. Excelite polycarbonate sheets are designed for thermoforming on standard equipment, offering flexibility in shaping methods and applications.

There are several methods of thermoforming polycarbonate sheets, including drape forming, heat forming, and vacuum forming. Among these, vacuum forming and drape forming are the most frequently used because of their efficiency and flexibility.

When compared to acrylic sheets, polycarbonate sheets require more careful control during the thermoforming process because of their unique properties. It’s essential to dry polycarbonate sheets before thermoforming because of their water absorption rate of 0.3%. Failing to adequately dry the sheets can cause bubbling during the process.

One important consideration during thermoforming is the hard coating on polycarbonate sheets. While heating makes the polycarbonate sheet flexible, the hard coating is not similarly flexible and may crack under heat. If thermoforming is required for your project, consult with the Excelite team for a special hard coating designed to withstand this process.

Found Something Interesting?

Thermoformed skylights are an eco-friendly solution for daylighting systems, allowing natural light to permeate indoor spaces while providing insulation.
Test Tube Rack
Our state-of-the-art thermoforming machines are imported from the USA. We use IR heating ovens to evenly heat the polycarbonate sheets, ensuring optimal conditions for thermoforming
screen printing on plastic
Skateboards crafted through drape thermoforming boast a perfect curve, strengthening them and more flexible. This process allows for the creation of durable, high-performance skateboards with superior resilience.

Why Use Thermoforming for Polycarbonate?

Thermoforming is a versatile and cost-effective method for shaping polycarbonate sheets into various forms. It’s an excellent choice for projects that require complex shapes or large parts that can’t be achieved with other fabrication methods. Thermoforming is also beneficial for creating prototypes or small production runs, where the high tooling costs of other methods may not be justified.
Thermoforming Polycarbonate

Advantages of Thermoforming Polycarbonate

  • Versatility: Thermoforming can be used to create a wide range of shapes and designs, making it suitable for a variety of applications.
  • Cost-effective for large parts: Thermoforming is a cost-effective choice for creating large parts, as it doesn’t require expensive tooling.
  • Quick process: Thermoforming is a relatively quick process, especially for simple shapes.
  • High-quality finishes: Thermoforming can produce parts with high-quality finishes, reducing the need for additional finishing processes.
Bonded Acrylic sheet document holder

Disadvantages of Thermoforming Polycarbonate

  • Limited to certain shapes: While thermoforming is versatile, it can’t be used to create complex or intricate shapes.
  • Requires skilled operators: Achieving precise forms requires skilled operators and careful control of the thermoforming process.
  • Potential for stress fractures: If not done correctly, thermoforming can cause stress fractures in the polycarbonate sheet.
plastic thermoforming

Thermoforming Process for Polycarbonate

The thermoforming process involves heating the polycarbonate sheet until it becomes pliable. The sheet is then placed over a mold, and a vacuum is used to draw the sheet into the mold, forming it into the desired shape. The sheet is then cooled to harden it in its new shape. It’s important to control the heating and cooling process carefully to prevent stress fractures or deformations.

plastic thermoforming

Types of Thermoforming Machines

  • Vacuum Forming Machines: These machines use a vacuum to draw the heated sheet into the mold. They are excellent for creating complex shapes and can be used for a wide range of parts.
  • Pressure Forming Machines: These machines use air pressure to force the heated sheet into the mold. They offer higher detail and precision than vacuum forming machines.
  • Drape Forming Machines: These machines use gravity to drape the heated sheet over the mold. They are excellent for creating large parts or parts with simple shapes.

Why Work With Us

With over 15 years of polycarbonate fabrication and machining experience, Excelite specializes in the fabrication of polycarbonate and acrylic sheet products, ensuring top-notch quality and precision. We are committed to providing the best manufacturing solutions tailored to your unique requirements. 

Whether you have a detailed drawing or just an idea, our team of professionals is ready to turn your vision into reality. Enjoy the benefits of our services, including:

In-house Design & Tooling

Exceptional Accuracy (+/- 0.005″ Tolerances)

Comprehensive OEM & ODM Services

ISO 9001:2008 Certification

Direct Manufacturer Advantage

We invite you to partner with us and experience a seamless, efficient, and quality-driven production process.

Why Choose Excelite For Your Projects

Excelite has over 15 years experience on polycarbonate and acrylic fabrications,we will provide you best manufacturing solutions for all your polycarbonate or acrylic made products,just send us your drawing or give us your idea,we will make it for you !

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