Glossary of Terms

a superior end result, in the shortest amount of time.

New to thermoforming and its related processes? We get it – there’s a lot to take in. To help you along, here are definitions for several common industry terms.

Keep in mind, from the moment you come to us with your design idea, you can rely on ThermoFab’s proprietary blend of methods that has a decades-long track record of customer success. So leave the legwork to us so you can stay focused on what matters most: a superior end result, in the shortest amount of time.

Drum-Buffer-Rope

A production planning technique that helps manufacturers create production schedules that are protected from the adverse effects of "Murphy" events. Learn more about DBR and lean manufacturing at ThermoFab.

EMI Shielding

Application of a protective copper substance to protect enclosed electronic products from electromagnetic interference (EMI). At ThermoFab, we do all shielding in-house to ensure the highest quality. 

Heavy Gauge Thermoforming

Thermoforming of plastic enclosures with wall thicknesses ranging from .060-.310 inches. Heavy-gauge thermoforming involves a plastic part that, in essence, "becomes" the product. For example, think of your computer or a medical device at the hospital. The plastic enclosure not only covers and protects the delicate electrical components on the inside, but also makes the product look better.

Injection Molding

Process that involves heating plastic pellets or granules until a melt is obtained. The melt is then delivered to a split-die mold where it is allowed to cool into the desired shape. The mold is then opened and the part is ejected, at which time the cycle is repeated.

Plastic Enclosures

A custom plastic exterior enclosure that surrounds and covers electronic or electromechanical devices. Such enclosures are typically used in the medical, industrial or computer industries. See product gallery by industry.

Plastic Pressure Forming

Thermoforming technique that involves forcing a heat-softened plastic sheet against a mold, usually female, by introducing compressed air to the backside of the heated sheet. See chart below.

Plastic Thermoforming

Method of manufacturing plastic parts by preheating a flat sheet of plastic and bringing it into contact with a mold whose shape it takes. 

Plastic Vacuum Forming

Automatic draping of a heat-softened plastic sheet over a female or male mold. See chart below.

Secondary Operations

Addition of inserts, mesh, and other features to custom plastic enclosures. Ask how ThermoFab’s process puts more detail in the original part reducing the requirement for secondary operations.

More on vacuum forming and pressure forming

Process

Description

Types of Parts or Projects

Best Material

Process

Vacuum Forming

Description

Process of draping heated sheet plastic, typically over a male mold, then applying vacuum to pull the sheet against the mold

Types of Parts or Projects

Tote trays and other shapes that don’t require sharp detail

Best Material

GP ABS
FR ABS

Process

Pressure Forming

Description

Process of molding a heated sheet of plastic, into what is typically a female mold, using air pressure and vacuum to pull the sheet against the mold

Types of Parts or Projects

Covers for Medical and other industrial equipment that require sharp detail and intricate features not formable using a vacuum forming process

Best Material

GP ABS
FR ABS
FR PVC/Acrylic

Our 6-Step Proprietary Approach

What happens after you contact ThermoFab with a design concept? Here’s a look at our tried-and-true approach that’s been decades in the making.

 

See our 6 steps