Cut time to create vacuum forming prototypes by 60%.

RedEye cuts the time to create vacuum-forming prototypes by 60 percent.

Thermoformed plastics are everywhere in the consumer world, from covering your disposable coffee cup to boxing up your carry-out sandwich. Producing them is a fast-paced business that needs good prototypes to ensure the pieces look and function just the way customers expect. RedEye helped one packaging company seize a competitive edge by shrinking the cost and turnaround time for producing these crucial tools. Said one company executive, “RedEye exceeded our expectations without exception.”

Vacuum forming is a thermoforming process that uses heat to form sheets of extruded plastic. Consumers see it everywhere from the plastic coffee lid on their morning java to the clear plastic box their sandwich was delivered in. Although thermoforming is most commonly used for packaging, the cost and time saving advantages apply to a broad spectrum of products and industries.

“LINDAR Corporation is a plastics thermoforming company that serves customers in food packaging, paint sundry, medical and custom OEM markets. Upon recommendation by one of their best customers, LINDAR turned to RedEye to create quick, cost-effective thermoform packaging prototypes. Find out how the team at RedEye saved them time and cut costs while delivering a high quality tool.

Reducing turnaround time Like any business, LINDAR is always looking to accomplish more in less time. In order to keep their competitive edge and satisfy customers, LINDAR needed to reduce turnaround time of their thermoform prototypes. Additionally, they were unsatisfied with the end product and the level of service other agencies provided.

LINDAR was excited to try RedEye’s Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology for creating new packaging thermoform prototypes. The LINDAR team had tried Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) prototypes in the past, but they were brittle. “Ninety percent of our packaging projects require the use of hinges. RedEye’s FDM technology allows us to create functional thermoform molds where other technologies fail,” says the LINDAR team.

Another advantage of using RedEye’s technology is the tools created are inherently porous, which is beneficial when vacuum forming, eliminating the need for vacuum holes (small vents in the tool). This unique property, a result of modified build parameters, is essential to thermoform a prototype part with good detail. If air becomes trapped between the sheet stock and the tool surface (in corners for example), the part is not formed correctly. The quantity and placement of the vents directly affect the quality of the formed part. Vent placement also affects the cycle time of the forming process. At RedEye, this porosity is designed into the rapid prototype, eliminating the need to locate and drill vent holes completely. RedEye manufacturing tools offer excellent feature detail and fast vacuum cycles while eliminating the labor and time related to drilling vents.

In addition to producing a quality thermoforming tool, service providers need to complete design revisions and form parts in just a few days. Ultimately, they needed a service provider that could react in timeframes that are continually compressed. The LINDAR team says, “Our customers want to have concepts designed and thermoformed for review as fast as possible.”
So, when one of their best customers requested RedEye service, LINDAR agreed to give it a try.

The Solution:

The LINDAR Corporation was able to offer their customer an innovative solution that was appropriate for their company and its objectives. “By using RedEye, we have reduced our thermoform prototyping time by 60%,” LINDAR commented.

The technology offered at RedEye has streamlined LINDAR’s rapid tooling process. Combining the advantages of the 3D CAD and FDM technology, vacuum forming can be completed quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. “RedEye exceeded our expectations without exception. We are happy to have chosen RedEye as our digital manufacturer of thermoform prototypes,” says the LINDAR team.

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