Connect with us

Electric Signs

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

A look at thermoforming



Thermoformed materials are found virtually everywhere — computer shells that many people gaze within for eight or more hours a day, the knobs on your car stereo or the telephone that pleads for your attention. More well-known to the sign industry, however, pan and embossed thermoformed faces comprise a large portion of the business for wholesalers and larger electric-sign companies.

ST spoke with several companies involved with thermoforming plastic sheets. With this overview, they offer insights.

Thermoforming basics

There are two types of thermoforming: pressure forming and vacuum forming. Pressure forming typically uses thin-gauge plastics for small objects that are made in large quantities, while vacuum forming is done for pan-faced signs, which have a more significant margin for error.

Thermoforming incorporates thermoplastics, of which there are two types: amorphous and semi-crystalline. Because semi-crystalline materials (such as polypropylene and polyethylene) tend to turn limp under severe heat, amorphous materials — such as polycarbonate and conventional and impact-modified acrylic (IMA), as well as lesser amounts of acrylonite butadiene styrene (ABS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — are generally used for vacuum forming.

Thermoforming requires a temperature range of 300



Who’s Steering Signs of the Times?

We dive into the history of the sign industry’s oldest trade journal, highlighting some interesting facts about how it all started to where it’s headed. Did you know that Signs of the Times is nearly 120 years old?

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular