Forming, Pressing and Laminating with Vacuum

Where is vacuum used in forming, pressing and laminating applications?
Forming, pressing and laminating with vacuum are popular processes in many branches of industry and in manufacturing technology. These processes are used to join a huge variety of materials together or form them into a specific mould.

For forming, it is important that a clearly defined vacuum is used to bring the material into the mould. An established process and one that is used for many products is thermoforming, which is used to shape plastic foils. For this process, plastic foils are heated to soften them. Vacuum is applied through the mould. This pulls the foil, which has been softened by the heating process, into the mould. Once the foil has cooled down, it holds the shape of the mould. This method can be used to create packaging for food products and other commodities, and even preformed plastic forms for garden ponds.

Pressing with vacuum is used in the wood industry, for example, when several layers of wood are glued together and mechanical pressing cannot be used because of the geometric shape. Vacuum can also be used to attach veneers or to fix synthetics to wooden profiles, for example onto kitchen fronts.

Laminating under vacuum is a process that is used to join different layers of materials together, and one that is commonly used in semiconductors and the electronics industries. Solar modules, flat screens and smartphone displays are created in this way.

Which vacuum solutions are especially suitable for forming, pressing and laminating applications?

Rotary vane vacuum pumps have been proven in forming applications for many years and are considered “state of the art”.

The Claw vacuum pumps are used for pressing, for example for producing furniture. If higher vacuums are required, rotary vane vacuum pumps are the first choice.

Screw vacuum pumps are the preferred vacuum pumps for laminating processes in the production of solar modules, flat screens and smartphone displays because they can discharge leaking gases and vapours without interference.

Examples for the use of vacuum in forming applications:

  • Mould Evacuation – For producing rotor blades for
    wind energy plants
  • Thermoforming – For producing packaging, …

Examples for the use of vacuum in pressing applications:

  • Veneer Presses – For attaching synthetic veneers to
    furniture surfaces
  • Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Moulding (VRTM)

Examples for the use of vacuum in laminating applications:

  • Flat Panel Display Lamination
  • Solar Panel Lamination