Materials

Because light gauge thermoforming is performed at relatively low temperatures and pressures, the custom molds used to shape the product can be made from several types of materials with varying melting points. The best mold material for a given application depends on several factors, including part quantity, quality, and the desired aesthetic. Common mold materials include plastics, wood, steel, aluminum, and layered metal.

When choosing a plastic material for the thermoformed product, it is important to consider the strengths and limitations of each material type as they relate to your product’s end use. Key factors to consider include:

  • Transparency
  • Rigidity or flexibility
  • Formability
  • Mechanical toughness and impact strength
  • Chemical and weather resistance

Kiva Container stocks a wide selection of high-quality plastics, giving customers more freedom when it comes to meeting various aesthetic and functional requirements. In addition to our stock selection, we can also order custom materials for more specialized applications. Our options include:

  • PVC
  • RPET
  • PETG
  • Styrene
  • PET
  • Polyethylene
  • Conductive styrene
  • Polycarbonate
  • Acrylic
  • ABS
  • Statrite M809
  • S680
  • HMWPE
  • HDPE
  • Kydex®

Thin Gauge Thermoforming vs Thick Gauge Thermoforming

Process

During the thin gauge thermoforming process, roll-fed sheets of thin gauge plastic are heated until soft and malleable. The heated material is then placed over the custom mold, and a press or vacuum is used to force the material into the mold’s contours. Once the material has completely cooled, the thermoformed product is removed from the mold. Thick or heavy gauge thermoforming uses the same general process but is optimized to handle thicker sheets of plastic.

Material Sheet Thickness

Thin gauge thermoforming is best suited for materials under 0.08 inches thick, while heavy gauge thermoforming is preferred when working with materials ranging from 0.08 to 0.50 inches thick.

Applications

Thin gauge thermoforming is typically used to create thin, recyclable plastic packages and containers that are intended for disposable use. From clamshell packaging to thin plastic trays, these products are essential for packaging and displaying cosmetics, food items, medical devices, electronics, and more. Other examples of thin gauge thermoformed products include:

  • Disposable cups
  • Trays
  • Lids
  • Blister packaging
  • Displays
  • Clamshells

Heavy gauge thermoforming, on the other hand, is better suited for creating durable, longer-lasting components or packaging solutions. This process is typically used with thicker and more resilient plastics such as polycarbonate, ABS, HDPE, PVC, Kydex®, and Royalite®.

Examples of heavy gauge thermoformed products include:

  • Dash panels
  • Pallets
  • Liners
  • Airport luggage and baggage handling totes
  • Durable enclosures for medical imaging machines, fitness equipment, and domestic appliances

Capabilities

At Kiva Container, we have the manufacturing experience and equipment to meet your thermoforming needs. Our wide range of in-house fabrication and tooling capabilities allow us to carefully customize each packaging or material handling product to your exact specifications. Services include:

  • Die cutting
  • Silk screening
  • Pad printing
  • Welding
  • In-house tooling
  • Sheet-fed forming (max size 46″ x 54″)
  • Roll-fed inline forming (max size 23″ x 18″)
  • Hot stamping
  • ESD processes
  • Secondary routing and trimming
  • In-house design to production tooling
  • Cleaning and bagging

Custom Light Gauge Thermoforming Molds and Products

Light gauge thermoforming plays an essential role in creating attractive and functional packaging solutions for everything from everyday consumer items to medical and electronic devices. At Kiva Container, we manufacture thermoformed packaging products for the food and retail industries as well as niche markets such as aerospace, agriculture, and electronics. Our diverse experience and fabrication services allow us to create innovative solutions that overcome various industry-specific packaging challenges.

For more information about our light gauge thermoforming capabilities, please contact us or request a quote today.

  • Capabilities
    • Die cutting
    • Welding
    • Pad Printing
    • Silk Screening
    • Roll Fed Inline Forming (Max Size 23″ x 18″)
    • Sheet Fed Forming (Max Size 46″ x 54″)
    • In-House Tooling
    • Secondary routing and trimming
    • Hot stamping
    • In house design to production tooling
    • ESD processes
    • Cleaning and bagging
  • Materials
    • PVC
    • Styrene
    • PETG
    • PET
    • RPET
    • Conductive Styrene
    • Polyethylene
    • Acrylic
    • Poly Carbonate
    • Statrite M809
    • S680
    • ABS
    • HDPE
    • HMWPE
    • KYDEX