Formix Plastics – Tooling Information
Rotary Vacuum Forming
Our three station rotary vacuum forming equipment can continuously produce parts using a sheet as large as 5 feet x 8 feet. The first station requires the operator to load new material and unload formed parts while the other two stations are heating the sheet and forming the parts. The second stage heats the material through computer controlled ceramic zone heating elements. This ensures that every section of the sheet is heated to the proper temperature so the part can be formed as needed. The third station forms the heated sheet by placing it in or on the tool so the vacuum can move the material into the cavities of the mold. The machine pictured is set up to make practice targets. The entire process to make 4 each of these targets in a single tool can be accomplished in 2-1/2 minutes to as fast as 90 seconds.
We also have a shuttle type machine for smaller parts or smaller runs. The maximum size sheet we can use in this machine is 40 inches x 52 inches.
Tooling costs depend on the number of cavities and the material used for the tooling. The more cavities, the higher the tooling cost, but the cost per finished part will be less. We calculate the optimum number of cavities based on the number of parts per year required. The right selection of the tooling material is very important, it determines the initial tooling cost, the cost per part and the quality of the parts. We offer 4 different selections: aluminum, fiber-glass, wood and epoxy.
Aluminum tooling will last 250,000 cycles or more, remains very accurate, but the price will be higher than other tooling. Fiberglass tooling is inexpensive and suitable for short to medium runs, but it may become brittle, repairs are difficult and form stability is not very good. Wood tooling is the least expensive alternative, but we recommend it only for prototyping or short runs. Epoxy tooling is extremely rigid and costs slightly more than fiberglass. It will last up to about 100,000 cycles, but is just a fraction of the cost for aluminum tooling!
In addition, we can add water cooling to aluminum to shorten the cycle time, therefore reducing the price per part. Please consult with us, we will take the time to explain the advantages and
disadvantages using different tooling materials for your product.
We trim parts using a computer controlled robot. This picture shows the four targets being trimmed completely by the robot. This provides the customer with consistent parts that are dimensionally accurate. We also have another robot that is used on smaller run parts.