Heavy Gauge Thermoforming vs. Thin Gauge Thermoforming

Thermofab provides heavy gauge thermoforming which is also known as thick gauge thermoforming. We do NOT provide thin gauge thermoforming  and recommend that you contact a company that specializes in packaging for your thin gauge thermoforming needs.  Confused? Read more below.

Heavy Gauge Thermoforming versus Thin Gauge Thermforming.  Now we are truly delving into the real nitty gritty on thermoforming and additional detailed clarifications! 

Heavy Gauge Thermoforming or Thick Gauge is what we do here at ThermoFab. Enlosures will typically range in thickness from .060-.310 or thicker. 

Thin Gauge Thermoforming - when you think of Thin Gauge Thermoforming - think think plastic packaging - .005-.030 inches and this is not something we provide.

It's important to understand the different applications of heavy gauge thermoforming and thin gauge when figuring out what type of thermoforming company to approach for your project. Most thermoforming companies do one type or the other because the equipment for each is completely different.

Heavy-Gauge (or Thick Gauge) Thermoforming

Heavy Gauge Thermoforming Custom EnclosureHeavy-Gauge thermoformers, such as ThermoFab, manufacture parts with typical thicknesses in the range of .060 to .310. This thickness creates sturdy, rigid enclosures--perfect for enclosing things like the electronic equipment in super computers. Materials used in thick-gauge thermoforming include UL certified, flame-retardant ABS, polycarbonate, and a PC-ABS blend. Low volume orders are common, and a quality thick-gauge thermoforming company can do economical low-volume runs.

 In addition, heavy-gauge thermoformers must consider aesthetics--how the enclosure looks--since the enclosure is not going to be discarded like packaging but is actually part of the product itself. For customers concerned with branding, the look of these enclosures--from color to logo placement--is an important part of the thermoforming process.

Thin-Gauge Thermoforming


Thin Gauge Packing ExampleThickness and volume are the main differentiators between thin-gauge and thick-gauge thermoforming. When you think thin-gauge or "in-line" thermoforming, think packaging materials--from clam shell packaging to medical device packaging to food packaging. Think of the packaging your razor blades or your child's favorite action figure or Barbie comes in. Think of the packaging that surgical masks come in. Think of the packaging tray that neatly holds your favorite chocolate chip cookies. Think thin -.005-030 inches in thickness. Also think high volume. For example, if your company produces 10 million razor blades a year, you'll need 10 million packages for the razor blades.

Thin-gauge thermoforming creates a part that's flexible--one that's meant to be bendable and compact. The materials used for thin-gauge thermoforming include clear PVC, PETG, and styrene. When it comes to many consumer products or small components that need to be packaged, thin-gauge thermoforming is the way to go. When packaging food and certain medical products, cleanliness and sterility are of the utmost importance (think of your plastic milk bottles, many of which are made from styrene, or think of the packaging that holds delicate surgical equipment, such as scalpels). A quality thin-gauge thermoforming company will have a "clean room" with proper ISO certification where it manufactures packaging for food and medical-device applications.

We do NOT provide thin gauge thermoforming  and recommend that you contact a company that specializes in packaging for your thin gauge thermoforming needs.

Finding a company that can meet your volume requirements and deadlines is critical. At ThermoFab, our award-winning thick gauge thermoforming process takes your 3D files to finished parts in just 4-6 weeks.

Send us your Cad Files for a design assessment.