Thermoforming is, in general, a production process that consists of heating a plastic sheet, so that when it softens it can be adapted to the shape of a mold by pressure, vacuum or other methods.
It is mainly used with materials such as PP, PE, PS, PET, PVC, PLA, among others. This technology specializes in the production of all types of packaging for the food industry (yogurt cups, packaging for eggs, individual tubs of butter/jam, etc.), products with holes (such as flower pots), or various plastic containers (blister packs for electronics, transparent packaging, etc.).
At the industrial level, the equipment consists of different stations, each of which performs an operation on the material, which passes through continuously.
- Sheet supply, which supplies material to the rest of the stations.
- Heating station, which heats the semi-finished material to the appropriate temperature.
- Forming station, which shapes the sheet.
- Punching station, if necessary, as in the case of pots or containers to let steam escape.
- Cutting station, removes excess material and collects waste.
- Stacking station, collects the formed parts.
Recent advances in thermoforming have made it possible to process paper fiber (pulp) in this way to produce very high quality food grade containers or cellulose packaging.
In this case, the production process for cellulose packaging is different from that of plastic packaging, as it requires fiber preparation, forming, and hot pressing to remove water and reduce moisture.
PET Packaging Network, through partnerships with Asian manufacturers, can provide thermoforming equipment, either for plastics or cellulose pulp, that meet the highest European and Japanese manufacturing standards.