Arlington Machinery offers equipment in two main plastic thermoforming categories. The two types of thermoformers can be grouped in the sheet fed category or the roll fed category.
Arlington Machinery also offers several different types of auxiliary equipment in thermoforming, such as pull roll and low profile granulators, sheet pre heaters and winders and shears for finished products.
Sheet Fed Thermoforming Equipment
A single sheet or “sheet fed” thermoformed is fed one sheet at a time. The process is as follows: Operator loading, oven heating, vacuum, and then cooling/unloading.
In a shuttle or rotary machine, multiple steps of the above can be performed simultaneously. For example, with three stage rotary thermoformer, the operator loads on sheet in zone one, one previously loaded sheet has been indexed to the oven section, and a third sheet is in the form and cool section awaiting removal. The rotary process allows multiple steps to occur simultaneously therefor increasing production rate. The tradeoff however is that these thermoforming machines are relatively large and costly to procure and install. A large production rate is often required to justify the cost. These used thermoforming machines are usually offered at a seller’s location to avoid moving the machines multiple times.
Sheet fed thermoforms have many options and technologies to consider. After mold size, oven type is one of the most important aspects to consider. Below are a few styles that are offered on the used market.
As newer machines take on newer technologies we have seen in the used market a shift towards PLCS for heat control and servo indexing. Other important options to help with your thermoforming business is twin sheet forming, plug assist, robotics, and automation for your process.
Roll Fed Thermoformers – Inline Thermoforming Equipment
Inline or “roll fed thermoformers” are higher output machines than the sheet fed style. These machines work in a continuous process and can be run directly from the extrusion sheet process if desired. Because the process if automated they can produce a large volume of products. These machines are typically used in the food packaging, and blister, clamshell packaging industries. The flexible plastic sheet is feed in to the thermoforming machine where is heated and formed, then it is conveyed to be trimmed. This trimming action can either be part of the thermoformer or a completely separate machine called a Trim Press. The trimming action separates the product from the excess scrap plastics (skeleton). The scrap plastics can be conveyed to be recycled and the products can be either discharged or stacked.
Inline thermoforming can have many options such as servo plug drive, deep or shallow draw heights, and width of forming. Most thermoforming machinery of value in the used market are servo driven machines.