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What are Thermoforming Heaters?

Thermoforming heaters are specialized devices that generate the precise heat necessary to soften plastic sheets for molding into diverse shapes. This transformative process is key in creating packaging, automotive parts, and more. By controlling temperature with finesse, these heaters ensure flawless product formation. Intrigued by the science behind the heat? Discover how thermoforming heaters are shaping the world around us.
Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

Thermoforming is the method of heating and molding materials in order to make specific products. One of the materials commonly used in thermoforming is plastic sheets or plastic film that is measured in a variety of thicknesses and sizes. There are also a few ceramic thermoforming heaters that work well for wood and other low temperature substrates. No matter the material being used in the thermoforming process, thermoforming heaters are used to create the heat necessary to mold the products.

There are many different types of thermoforming heaters, including electrical infrared thermoforming heaters, convection heater ovens, and gas thermoforming heaters. Electrical infrared thermoforming heaters are usually made with ceramic, quartz tubes, lamps, metal-sheathed tubes, flat-faced panels, or open coil wire elements. Ceramic is the most common material used in thermoforming heaters because it allows heaters to be a small size and can be used in a zonal heater, which heats gently but has a high efficiency level. There are some ceramic thermoforming heaters with a maximum temperature of 1,292° Fahrenheit (700° Celsius), with standardized voltage levels from 120 up to 480. These heaters can easily be mounted on an angle iron grid work for easy access and use.

Plastic is often shaped using thermoforming.
Plastic is often shaped using thermoforming.

Single thermoforming heaters are equipped to form plastic as thick as 3/16 of an inch (0.48 cm). Another feature of this type of thermoforming heater is the ability to form a mold without the placement of a vacuum box underneath it, which is necessary with other types of thermoforming heaters in order to accurately create the mold shape. There is also a clamping on these thermoforming heaters that can be either air-powered or manually altered in order to adjust to various sizes.

Thermoforming double heaters, on the other hand, are operated entirely by electricity and have an enclosed heater area. Air clamps, loading stations, and upper plates can be purchased separately to further enhance the heater. These heaters have a control wiring of 110 volts and up to 15 pre-programmed sequences. The movements of these thermoforming heaters are powered by hydraulics in order to ensure a powerful, yet smooth, process.

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    • Plastic is often shaped using thermoforming.
      By: Denis Dryashkin
      Plastic is often shaped using thermoforming.