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Thermoforming used for fabrics

Resources | June 1, 2008 | By:

We want to shape a multilayer laminated fabric into a three-dimensional form. What is the process and where can we get the equipment?

It sounds as though you’re describing thermoforming, a process that is used with plastics, but has also been used for fabric. In thermoforming, a material is heated and stretched over a form. After it cools, the excess material is trimmed away. For this process to work, the material has to be thermoplastic: becoming plastic (or malleable) when heated and retaining that shape once cooled.

The material must also have enough give to be stretched over a form. One supplier we found is ZMD International Inc., who confirmed for us that their process has been successful with fabric and fabric/foam combinations, as long as all layers of the materials are thermoplastic and have the necessary stretch.

For more information, contact:

SOURCE ZMD International Inc.

Juli Case is IFAI’s information and technical services manager.

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