The Difference Between Vacuum Forming vs Low-Pressure Forming

Vacuum forming and low-pressure forming are common processes in prototype processing. The principles of the two seem to be similar on the surface, but in fact there are certain differences. The following is an analysis of the difference between vacuum forming and low-pressure forming.

1. Vacuum Forming

Vacuum forming is to use the original template, make a silicone mold under vacuum, and pour liquid materials (PMMA, ABS, PC, PE, PETG, PP, PS, PVC, etc.) under vacuum, so as to clone a copy consistent with the original prototype. Vacuum forming is a widely used manufacturing method to make everything from consumer packaging to automotive components. This process is mainly used for small batch customization of prototype models. Generally, it is more cost-effective to use this method in the production of dozens to hundreds of samples.

vacuum forming to make prototypes

While vacuum forming is often the most cost-effective choice for small to mid-range production quantities, other plastic manufacturing processes can be more affordable for very large production runs. Vacuum forming is only viable for parts with relatively thin walls and simple geometries. The finished parts may not have a consistent wall thickness, and concave parts with a deep draw are difficult to produce using vacuum forming.

2. Low-Pressure Forming

Low-pressure molding injection molding is a new process applied to rapid prototyping. The principle is to mix liquid materials (HDPE, PC, TPO, HIPS, PVC or ABS) push into the mold at room temperature and low pressure after being uniformly mixed. Products are formed through chemical and physical processes such as polymerization, cross-linking, and curing of materials.

low-pressure forming

This process has the advantages of high efficiency, short production cycle and low cost. It is suitable for the production of small batch samples in the product development process, and the production of large products with a relatively simple structure. Typical applications of low-pressure forming would be bezels, bases, housings, aesthetically designed enclosures, covers, and equipment panels. Pressure-formed parts are very commonly used for medical devices, recreational equipment, outdoor housings, transportation and construction equipment, retail items & point-of-purchase displays, and outdoor equipment.

Difference: The difference between pressure forming and vacuum forming mainly depends on the air pressure. Vacuum forming is mainly used to copy small prototypes (such as ABS, PC, acrylic, etc.) in small batches, while low-pressure molding is used to replicate large prototypes, such as car bumpers, medical instrument chassis shells, instrument panel prototypes, etc. .


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