Plastic Thermoforming Materials
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
Clear thermoforming materials like PET make for high-clarity visibility. Used most notably for soft drink bottles and similar containers, PET is designated 1 under the Resin Identification Code. This plastic is the most commonly used due to both its lightweight durability and easily recyclable elements. The nearly flawless transparency of PET makes it ideal for custom vacuum-forming for retail packaging.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
The heavy-hitter of the plastic world. PVC is one of the more impact-resistant thermoforming materials, meaning it can take a pretty good beating for all its ability to be molded and customized. Durable, reliable, and a great ratio of benefits versus cost. Able to be either translucent or opaque and easily colored, PVC is strong yet recyclable like any other plastics.
PETG (modified Polyethylene Terephthalate)
A chemical modification of thermoforming materials can create a new plastic grade. A small change to the makeup of PET grade plastic makes PETG; a hybrid of PVC and PET. What changes in the modification? PETG gains a lower melting point than its predecessor, making it much similar to PVC in appearance, strength, and performance. Perhaps the only downside of PETG is the higher cost of the material, but with the added benefits of both thermoforming materials.
RPET (Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate)
Cost-friendly and relatively economical, RPET is made from recycled PET with much of the same properties as its host thermoforming materials. Its downside, unsurprisingly, is a slightly weaker durability than PET, compromised by the recycling process. A more rigid material but can fall victim to fracture in colder weather. However, RPET upholds the level of clarity of PET even when recycled and helps with post-consumer waste.
When it comes to thermoforming materials, Polystyrene is harder and stiffer, making it easier to punch or cut. Because of this, its use in making everything from CD cases to the housing units for smoke detectors is invaluable. It is customizable and colorable, making it a great choice for your custom thermoforming needs.
A Note About Gauge
A plastic’s gauge is its thickness. Sunrise Packaging is capable of processing between 5-gauge and 80-gauge thermoplastic materials. It is important to note that material changes by getting thinner after heat is applied. By starting with very thin plastic, you could be at risk of an even thinner end product. For example, a 20-gauge thermoplastic material will end up about 16 after being heated. Contacting our knowledgeable sales representative about thermoforming plastic capabilities as well as the properties of various thermoforming materials will ensure the best final product for your custom thermoforming needs.