Why convert to vacuum forming?

The majority of components and parts used in the manufacture of today’s commercial and leisure vessels are fabricated in GRP. In many cases this traditional method of manufacture can be replaced with a vacuum formed plastic equivalent, in particular non structural components.

Interform Marine is uniquely placed in the market place to work side by side with marine engineers to design and develop vacuum formed parts suitable for use in the construction of marine vessels.

The benefits of using vacuum formed parts are numerous and include:

  • Vastly reduced manufacture lead times
  • Decreased weight
  • Minimal retooling costs
  • Increased aesthetics
  • Repeatable, standard dimensions
  • Cost effective low to medium production runs
  • Frees up a significant amount of production space
  • Clear plastic prototypes available to check fit and function

The Interform Marine team is part of the Interform Group of companies and can draw on over 30 years of specialist vacuum forming knowledge and expertise. The team can be called upon to be as involved in your project as you wish, be it purely in a manufacturing role or with the assistance in the design and development of bespoke vacuum formed products.

GRP vs Vacuum Formed parts

GRP vs Vacuum Forming Manufacturing & Assembly Lead Times for a Comparable Product

GRP Process (simplified) 22.5hours
Vacuum Forming Process 1hours

The vacuum forming process

One of the benefits of vacuum forming is that it is relatively simple to manufacture a prototype from existing GRP products. The similarities between GRP tools and vacuum form tools means that a liquid resin can be poured into an existing GRP product, which can then be used to produce a vacuum formed replica. These parts will not be optimised for strength but serve to give an indication as to whether the product in question has the scope to be vacuum formed.

Once the initial proof of concept has been produced the Interform Marine team can work with your engineers to develop a vacuum formed replica, ensuring that the required strength is built in, suitable thicknesses of materials are recommended and that the vacuum formed replica will meet your quality standards. Any design enhancements can be added in at this stage and tooling can be optimised to use as few tools as possible.

Vacuum forming also has the benefit of being able to offer colour matched finishes as well as different material effect finishes such as stainless steel, carbon fibre, brushed aluminium and various woods.

We will work with you to help find the most cost effective method of forming the parts that you require. This can involve ordering material from stockists for one-off or prototype work or direct from a material manufacturer for large volume production.

Interform has two 5 axis and two 3 axis CNC machines along with a skilled assembly team who can trim, fabricate and bond formed parts together to produce high quality products in a repeatable and timely manner.

Interform specialises in the production and delivery of one offs through to medium volume production runs. We ensure that we deliver on time and keep within customer production schedules. Call off orders, contract orders and one offs can all be catered for.