Forming processes

Thermogeformtes 3D-Elektronik-Bauteil

Forming processes for packaging, technical products and conformable electronics

We specialize in the manufacture of innovative 3-D applications made of plastic and the improvement of existing ones. We develop new methods, processes, and technologies for packaging, technical components, and electronic products.

Our focus is on thermoforming, also known as deep-drawing, and similar shaping processes. We design new control systems for forming processes, develop methods for specifying the forming behavior of materials, help you optimize your molded parts, and identify sources of error.

We transfer topical themes such as digitalization, Industry 4.0, and machine learning to thermoforming and hence make a significant contribution to the use of processes by material suppliers, machine and mold manufacturers, and processing companies in this sector.

Our motivated team looks forward to working with you to overcome challenges and push boundaries.

Our services for optimum forming processes and molded parts


Analysis and optimization of forming processes

We analyze, simulate, and optimize your forming process


Selection and development of technologies

We assist you with concept development, selection and development of heating and forming technologies

Testing and optimization of molded parts

We optimize your molded parts and molds


Material screening and comparison

Make use of our expertise when selecting materials



The most important questions and answers on our R&D services in the field of forming

Test Center Packaging

Visit our processing technologies pilot plant in a virtual tour

Forming air impact technology 2.0

An IGF project is developing innovative forming air impact technology processes for thermoforming applications. This involves using a precisely directed airflow in order to subject semi-finished products to both a mechanical and thermal impact. This influences the forming behavior and enables the process to be controlled in a customized way.

Further information about the project can be found here.


Analysis and optimization of forming processes

We analyze your forming processes using our experience, material/machine/process data available to us, and the active use of our technologies. Geometry measurement is achieved using projection and scanning processes. We use infrared measurements to determine the temperature of the plastic inline during the forming.

If needed we test your manufacturing process experimentally on our thermoforming test rig or using a numerical simulation model, so allowing the targeted rectification of faults. Based in the acquired data, we advise you about parameter and mold optimization for manufacturing your molded parts.

We assist you, for example, with:

  • Optimization of your processes right through to molded parts that meet requirements
  • Data analysis and causal analysis for your production processes
  • Determination of optimal process parameters for efficient and economical production
  • Development of concepts for the production of innovative products such as conformable electronics

We make your process effective!

Selection and development of technologies

Regardless of whether you are dealing with existing or new moulded parts - we help you from concept to production.

Based on your requirements or sample applications, we create a production concept and evaluate conventional and innovative heating and moulding technologies. We show you the individual advantages and disadvantages.

In addition, we further develop existing technologies or design completely new ones.

We use various material and process databases, draw on our experience, rely on an experimental, numerical simulation for functional analysis and parameterization and use statistical methods for technology analysis.

Here we can help you:

  • Selection of suitable and development of new technologies for efficient processes and novel products
  • Reducing the use of resources through more efficient technologies
  • Optimization of your manufacturing processes
  • Development of test technologies for the formability of materials
  • Production of novel moulded parts

We get your technology into shape!

Material screening and comparison

The material that is used largely determines whether your requirements on the molded part are met. We can assist you with comparing and selecting suitable semi-finished products. Besides using our material database we also use a variety of methods for characterizing plastic materials.

Depending on the application and required properties we select a suitable method for testing the material behavior.

The concept of measuring the forming properties of materials, as well as associated methods, is something we are constantly working on. You also benefit from this knowledge.

We can, for example, assist you with:

  • comparing and selecting suitable materials
  • selection of characterization methods for your materials and applications

We make your material effective!

Testing and optimization of molded parts

We check the requirements of your products and use experimental tests and numerical simulation to identify improvements. This can, for example, concern the load limit, geometry, or permeability.

You receive concrete proposals from us as to how to modify your products and what technologies to use.

We assist you with:

  • the development of molded parts and molds
  • evaluation of your molded parts
  • identification of potential improvements
  • selection of materials and technologies

We make your molded part effective!

FAQs - the most important questions and answers

A selection of commonly asked questions about forming processes.

How does one determine what material is most suitable for thermoforming?

There is currently no generally accepted definition of thermoformability. It is often understood to be the mechanical deformability of the material during forming. There are already methods for measuring this, for example the uniaxial and biaxial tensile test, TMC (thermoforming material characterization), bubble inflation, and thermoforming using test structures.

What is forming air impact technology (FIT)?

Forming air impact technology involves using a nozzle system to direct compressed air in the upper tool onto the semi-finished product. This causes both a mechanical and thermal impact on the semi-finished product. By selecting suitable nozzle parameters, the forming process and also the wall thickness are influenced.

What contribution does Fraunhofer IVV Dresden make in the field of conformable electronics?

Conformable electronics are dynamically deformable, structural 3-D electronics. Cost-effective, planar, and conventional processes are, amongst other things, used for the assembly and printing of these components because the shaping is only performed in the last step. We have in-depth experience of thermoforming, process and technology development, and experimental and numerical simulation. This know-how is the basis for forming hybrid semi-finished products into the desired shape.

Is it sensible to use numerical simulation for thermoforming?

The correct use of numerical simulation leads to a greater understanding of the thermoforming process and to more effective development work. Whether this benefits your situation or not depends on your particular application and must be determined. We do this taking account of the materials, process, and specific objective.

With complex technologies or molded parts, such as conformable electronics, it is essential to use numerical simulation for effective process dimensioning and parameterization.

How can artificial intelligence be used in thermoforming?

By systematically acquiring and evaluating material, machine, and process data, it is possible to link information via "artificial intelligence", to identify features, and take actions. There is also anonymous exchange and processing of data between the participants of the value-creation chain. Machine learning and "deep learning" significantly improve the process monitoring and quality testing during the production.