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Heavy Gauge Thermoforming Services – Update

Heavy Gauge Thermoforming Services

Manufacture thick gauge materials with SSI

Have a project that requires a thicker gauge material? The SSI team can help. Our thermoforming machines and engineers can work with plastic materials up to 0.45 inches thick.

What is Heavy Gauge Thermoforming?

SSI typically thermoforms materials ranging from 0.062 to 0.450 inch gauge. Materials under 0.062 inches are considered thin gauge, while those at the higher end of our range (approximately 0.15 inches and up) are considered heavy or thick gauge:

  • 0.010–0.062 inches → Thin gauge thermoforming (not typically performed at SSI)
  • 0.062–0.150 → “Standard” gauge thermoforming
  • 0.150–0.450 → Heavy (or thick) gauge thermoforming

“Standard” gauge is a somewhat informal term, but it can help differentiate what we might consider a “typical” gauge from truly heavy gauge material since not all thermoforming manufacturers can work with thick gauge materials. 

Heavy gauge thermoforming has a wide range of applications, but the greatest benefit of thick gauge materials is rigidity. Thicker plastics can offer improved structural integrity and durability, but simple dimension and tolerance needs can also influence the decision to choose a heavy gauge.

Material Options for Thick Gauge Thermoforming

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a popular choice for heavy gauge thermoforming, as the material can heat and form efficiently without suffering from irregular thickness or forming defects like webs, chill marks, and thinning. ABS is also a common choice because it offers significant cost savings over composite heavy gauge materials.

Depending on the application, however, we may recommend a different plastic material for heavy gauge projects since the mechanical properties you require may differ from what ABS offers. Other good choices for heavy gauge applications tend to include:

  • Polycarbonate
  • PVC
  • Polyethylene

Our engineering team will work with you to determine the best fit for your project.

Heavy Gauge Applications

Since the main benefit of heavy gauge plastic is rigidity and durability, plastic components that tend to use heavier gauge materials often require impact resistance and frequent use. This means heavy gauge materials are often a good choice for use cases including:

  • Automotive dashboards, door panels, and bumpers
  • Industrial equipment housings and enclosures
  • Medical device panels
  • Commercial trash can lids
  • Air ducts and other HVAC components

Book a Meeting with a Heavy Gauge Thermoforming Expert

Want to see how our capabilities — heavy gauge or otherwise — might fit your project? Let us know how to reach you, and you’ll hear from Tonya or Suzy within 1 business day.