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Specialists in thermoforming, vacuum forming, pressure forming, and twin sheet forming since 1972
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Thermoforming Conversion Case Stories!

Trike Conversion Kit Light Bars

California Sidecar, a 30-year industry leader in motorcycle trike conversion kits, was looking to find ways of cutting costs with a specific focus on the type of materials used to make their conversion kits. Obviously, due to lower volumes and high impact and structural requirements, fiberglass is a choice material for most of the applications on their kits. However, because fiberglass dominated, several components were sourced as fiberglass where plastics were more suitable and economical. One such component was the light bar assembly, a cosmetic rear panel that adds additional LED lights to the conversion kit for style and safety. It was determined that an ABS vacuum form would not only prove to be more economical but also resulted in an easier assembly process and weight elimination.
The process of converting the light bars from fiberglass to an ABS thermoformed plastic component required addressing a few design characteristic requirements necessary for the light bar’s function and aesthetics. Firstly, in order to achieve a class-A painted surface on the exterior of the light bar, a female mold would be necessary with a polished surface free of even slight imperfections. Secondly, the opposite ends of the light bars required undercut (or die-lock) features so that the final assembly would show no trimmed edges in order to achieve a high-end appearance. Since the undercut edge geometry was on a curve, hydraulically–controlled indexing details were selected to mold the undercut geometry. These undercut details would then subsequently open up and allow the vacuum form to index from the mold cavity. Due to the mold size and deep-draw geometry a cast aluminum mold proved to be far more economical than an aluminum mold cut from billet. However, given that a CNC-cut surface was necessary to achieve the required finish it was determined to use a Renboard-cut foundry pattern with hand-constructed run out data. A very high quality cast aluminum mold with minimal porosity was developed and the mold surface was benched to perfection. Lastly, during the thermoforming process, a matched surface plug assist is utilized to achieve adequate material distribution and consistency. In the end a very high-end and aesthetically pleasing light bar was introduced to two of their Trike models providing the cost savings they needed while maintaining critical appearance and performance requirements.

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© 2011 Techniform Industries Michael Robinette

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Techniform Industries Thermoforming Disclosure:
Plastic Fabrication through Plastic Thermoforming Process can be done at low prices - as if you were buying direct and saving or even going over seas - but instead your supporting local and the creation of Made in the USA plastic thermoforming jobs! Typically plastic clamshells, blisters and trays are purchased overseas because they are thought to be cheaper! Not true. Vacuum Thermoforming offers an alternative and supports the Made in the USA innitiative.

Utilizing thermoforming equipment, Techniform can make your plastic product sucessful, unique, fun, and most importantly innovative by thermoforming plastic. Your success is our success. In some circles are even considered consultants to the plastics thermoforming industry. As one of the leading thermoforming companies we specialize in the forming of thermoplastic sheets by heating the plastic material and then pulling it down onto a mold surface to shape it with a thermoforming machine. Techniform is a full-service thermoforming service provider specializing in custom thermoformed parts via vacuum forming, pressure forming, and twin sheeting medium to heavy gauge parts. We only utilize the manufacturing process referred to as thermoforming where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temp, formed over a die to a specific shape in a mold, and trimmed to create a custom plastic vacuum formed product. Call or email us today for more information on how you too can be proud to be part of the Made In The USA movement!


Techniform Industries a Division of Sandusky Technologies, LLC | 2107 Hayes Ave, Fremont, OH 43420 | 888-858-7975 |
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