Alfond Advanced Manufacturing Lab For Structural Thermoplastics

Thermoforming Cell


The tailored blank produced in the tape layup cell is transported by an ABB 6650S Industrial Robot mounted on a rail system spanning the entire manufacturing line to the thermoforming cell. This cell quickly heats blanks in the Sopara Infrared (IR) Oven, where they are subsequently transported to a 700-Ton Utah Hydraulic Press for molding. The press supports 1800mm x 1200mm (71” x 47”) heated platens, for large mold designs. the industrial robot provides a crucial time saving advantage.


650-Tonnes (700-Ton) Hydraulic Press – Utah

This 700-ton capacity press can accommodate a wide range of mold designs with its 1800mm x 1200mm (71” x 47”) T-slotted platens, integrated with electrical heating elements, and unique opening distance of up to 1100mm (31.5”). The press platens can process materials at up to 450°C. This press also incorporates built-in forced convection cooling channels for rapid mold/blank cooling, to achieve required part crystallinity. Applications of thermoforming vary, and can encompass anything from straightforward shapes to complex, detailed parts. The ability to quickly 3D print a thermoplastic mold and demonstrate the successful manufacture of a subsequent part in the thermoforming cell is supported by industries consistent need for accelerated prototyping and development prior to bringing a new product to market.

Infrared Oven – Sopara

This Sopara, custom designed, infrared (IR) oven incorporates short-wave IR lamps which can produce temperatures up to 450°C (842°F). The oven size is great enough to fit blanks as large as 1800mm x 1200mm (71” x 47”).