Best Plastics For Vacuum Forming

Know-your-plastics-pic Best Plastics For Vacuum Forming - Plastic Mouldings Northern

Do you know which are the best plastics for vacuum forming? There are many different types of plastics that are used in vacuum forming, each of which has a set of characteristics which come from their atomic makeup, properties and range of additives. The ideal characteristics for vacuum forming materials are easy to form with a low forming temperature, thermal strength and good flow, high impact strength, and low levels of shrinkage when cooling.

Read on to find out more about some of the materials we use here at Plastic Mouldings Northern Ltd. Hopefully by the end you will know which are the best plastics for vacuum forming!

ABS – A low cost plastic with incredible impact resistance, is easy to machine, and is very good for thermoforming. It is an excellent choice for machine housings, retail store fixtures, and point-of-purchase displays or any other product which requires impact resistance or durability.

Acrylic – Acrylic is easy to fabricate, bonds well with adhesives and solvents, and is easy to thermoform. It has superior weathering properties compared to many other transparent plastics. Good choice for durable signs, displays and shelves, as acrylic provides outstanding versatility, durability, and aesthetic qualities.

APET – Known for its robustness and its resistance to shocks. It also has a good resistance to internal pressure and stress cracking. Commonly used for high-volume, thin-gauge packaging.

ASA – This plastic has high impact strength and is durable and is UV stable, meaning it performs better outdoors. It is frequently used for housings, such as telephones, and for exterior trim, such as grilles and door mirrors, on cars. It’s UV stability also makes it ideal for garden furniture and outdoor signage.

ESD – Is used to avoid static charges in order to protect from electrostatic discharge (ESD). To ensure reliable handling of highly sensitive components, static dissipative ESD plastics may also be used, which significantly reduces the damage to or destruction of components during production. ESD is lighter in weight, has excellent weathering resistance, and provides good protection against thermomechanical stress.

HIPS – High Impact Polystyrene, is a tough, rigid plastic with high impact strength which can be guillotined, punched, or sawn easily, and is readily available in a wide variety of colours. Used widely for toys, packaging, signs, display and point of sale. It is also particularly suitable for thermoforming meaning various shapes and objects can be produced from this material.

HDPE – Used for the manufacture of products that require greater strength and stiffness. It is easy to fabricate and weld and can also be thermoformed. It is widely used in the production of such things as; chemical tanks, chopping boards for food preparation and outdoor and indoor playgrounds.

PETG – A transparent plastic sheet with good impact resistance and outstanding thermoforming characteristics which is perfect for applications that require deep draws, complex die cuts and precise moulded in details, without sacrificing structural integrity. Popularly used for packaging trays across various industries.

POLYPROPYLENE – Polypropylene is a low cost, chemical resistant plastic which has excellent aesthetic qualities as well as having a slippery, tactile surface. This makes it ideal for plastic furniture or anything which requires low friction.

PVC – Is also a low-cost plastic that is Strong and stiff. It is easy to fabricate and thermoform, as well as being easy to weld and machine. PVC is used in a variety of applications in the building and construction, health care, electronics, automobile and other sectors, in products ranging from piping and siding, blood bags and tubing, to wire and cable insulation, windshield system components and more.

So, now you know which are the best plastics for vacuum forming. If you are looking for vacuum forming for an existing or upcoming project and need some advice give our team a call on 01388 777 700 or email us on

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Plastic Mouldings Northern Ltd
Unit 4. Longfield Road
South Church Enterprise Park
Bishop Auckland
Co Durham
DL14 6XB
Phone: Tel: 01388 777 700
Fax: 01388 777 733