Assoc. & Co., Inc. - FAQs
What is Thermoforming?
Thermoforming is the process of shaping flat sheets/rolls
of plastics into parts through the use of heat and
pressure. A secondary trimming process may be required
to achieve the final part. The trimmed material is
reground and recycled.
What is the difference
between vacuum and pressure forming?
Vacuum formed parts are made by applying a strong
vacuum between a heated thermoplastic sheet and a
molding surface. Pressure formed parts are made using
the same principle, but by simultaneously pressuring
one side of the sheet, while inducing vacuum on the
What are the main benefits
Thermoforming has several advantages over other processes.
Economical prototyping, low cost tooling, short lead
times, and the ability to R&D are some of them.
Thermoforming is efficient and very cost effective
and allows for the replacement of many costly glass,
metal or fabricated parts.
What is the difference
between thin and heavy gauge forming?
Thin gauge forming is usually used for packaging parts
such as blisters or clamshells, disposable parts such
as trays and inserts and temporary displays. Thin
gauge plastic ranges between 0.001" - 0.06"
and is done on automated high speed in-line machines.
Parts are trimmed on automated hydraulic trim presses
or roll die trim presses.
Thick gauge forming is used for a wide variety of
products including P.O.P. Displays, enclosures, housings,
panels, structural and functional products. Thick
gauge plastic ranges from 0.06" - 0.50"
and is done on either automated or hand fed machines.
Parts are usually CNC trimmed to ensure consistent
Helmy has the capability to form both thin and heavy
What types of plastic
material can you thermoform?
Helmy can form most types of plastics including ABS,
HIPS, PS, HDPE, HMWPE, PP, PET, PETG, and PVC. Helmy
will match custom colors and custom textures and will
specify other requirements such as FDA approved medical
and food material, electrostatic discharge material,
and fire retardent material.
What types of toolings
are used in thermoforming?
Three types of tooling are commonly used:
Machined Aluminum Molds - are usually done on CNC
machines from generated CAD files and can be either
male or female. They hold very close tolerances and
can be mounted on temperature control bases and used
with or without plug assist molds.
Cast Aluminum Molds - are usually used for parts
with large draw ratios and can be either male of female.
They are cast at a foundry from a pattern machined
or built by Helmy from wood and composite material.
They can also be mounted on temperature control bases
and used with or without plug assist molds.
Temporary Molds - are usually made for prototyping
and short production runs. These molds are usually
made from wood or composite material and are cost
efficient. They normally produce prototype parts that
are used to judge fit, form and functions and to establish
the required R&D before going to final productions.
What is the typical
lead time for a project?
Helmy prides itself on doing everything in-house therefore
providing customers with efficiency and quick lead
times. A typical project can take anywhere between
4-10 weeks to start production. However, lead times
can vary based on the complexity of the projects,
the lead time of raw materials and the needs and requirements
of each customer. Helmy regularly completes projects
in 2-4 weeks lead time but has also collaborated with
customers on other projects for months before going
to final productions.
What are the typical
stages of a project?
The typical steps to a project are as follows:
Design Stage: If a customer has their own design
and drawings, this step is eliminated. If not, Helmy
can take their ideas and specifications and generate
several design concepts and 3D presentations for their
approval. Once a concept is approved, mold engineering
drawings are generated.
Prototyping Stage: If required by customer, a prototype
mold is generated and samples of the parts are made
to judge fit, form, and function and to determine
applicable plastic material and color. R&D is
done at this stage.
Final Tooling Stage and material ordering: Precision
Aluminum tooling and all forming and trim fixtures
are made and material is ordered based on the size
of the tooling.
Production: Upon arrival of custom extruded material,
production commences. First time production runs usually
take a longer time then re-runs since it takes time
to register and document the machine and the set up
Shipping: Products are shipped either in one lot
or warehoused for lot releases as established by customers
Why should I choose
Helmy for my plastic forming needs?
Because our education is in design and engineering.
Our 15 years experience is in challenging and quality
plastic forming. Our desire is to help make every
customer successful. Because if our customers are
successful, we are successful.