A thermoforming specialist for 40 years, the GROUPE MAILLARD INDUSTRIE (GMI) and its subsidiary ITS provide technical support for constructors working in a wide variety of sectors, in the design and manufacture of simple parts or more complex functions by means of thermoforming. In combination with other technologies in which we have expertise, such as welding, rotomoulding or polyurethane, GMI is able to deliver complete functions.
From design to industrialisation and production, GMI has all the human and technical skills required to find the right solutions for your projects, both in terms of technical parts and plastic sub-assembles as well as for aesthetic parts.
GMI integrates the design and manufacture of prototype and serial moulds and tools into its industrial facilities.
Expertise and skills in thermoforming
Integrated design office
Thicknesses from 2 to 15 mm
2200 x 3000 x 600 mm capacity
Large capacity oven
5- axes Machining Centres
assembly of complementary functions
Specification / Ecodesign by our design office
Prototype – Tools – Certification
Production of simple or complex parts, in small to large series
GMI demonstrates its technical expertise in shaping plastics by thermoforming by offering a complete, overall solution.
Its industrial process guarantees conformity of parts, safeguards deadlines and optimises productivity.
In combination with other technologies in which the Group has expertise ( welding, rotomoulding or polyurethane), GMI is able to deliver entire projects.
Equipped with the latest software packages for CAD data processing (CATIA V4 / V5, Solidworks software…), the design office provides flexible, responsive support for all your thermoforming projects.
Working directly with the design office, the Tools division creates the thermoforming moulds (CADM).
These moulds are generally made:
— In medium or machinable board mainly used for prototyping
— In stratified resin or monobloc
— In machined aluminium
— Modular tools
— Tools with movable elements
— Regulated tools
The Tools department is responsible for managing moulds and draws up the maintenance plans for recommencing production at a later stage. Tools that are not being used in production are stored in a secure site.
We are able to accept all projects thanks to a comprehensive fleet of machines.
Large-scale automatic and semi-automatic thermoforming machines are able to produce simple or technical parts measuring 3000 x 2200 mm/ Max forming height 600 mm.
Preparation of the material
To offer its customers high quality products, GMI has invested in a large capacity oven which is used to prepare the thermoplastic before forming.
After thermoforming, the parts are sent to computer controlled 5-axes machining centres which are able to perform any type of machining or technical profiling combining precision, quality, repeatability and productivity.
A finishing workshop completes installations and oversees controls and assembly: gluing, ultrasonic welding; marking – screen-printing- painting, riveting, assembly of accessories and insets…
Storage and logistics
The parts produced in our factories are stored in secure warehouses before shipping.
For products requiring regular, JIT transport, GMI oversees bespoke procurement logistics.
GMI oversees the return and processing of thermoformed parts at end of life in its own recycling centre and issues a recycling certificate.
Thermoformed parts are used in many sectors
Thermoforming is a moulding technique that consists of taking a plastic sheet, heating it to soften it and then taking advantage of this malleable state to shape it in a mould.
Stage 0 : A mould is placed on a mould tray which can be moved on a vertical axis on the inside of the machine crate.
Stage 1 : A thermoplastic sheet, of variable thickness, is positioned and then restrained on a frame which ensures the sealing of the crate containing the mould.
Stage 2 : Infra-red, ceramic or halogen electrical panels heat the sheet from one side and the other until it reaches the right temperature for shaping, which can vary depending on the type of material and the thickness of the sheets.
Stage 3 : Once the optimum thermoforming temperature has been reached, the panels withdraw and the sheet, which has softened with the effect of the heat, is injected with air to stretch it (bubbling operating which can be more or less pronounced) The mould is then moved into the upper position to form the part.
Stage 4 : A vacuum pump is then used to evacuate the air between the mould and the sheet so that the sheet can be stretched and held in place against the mould.
Stage 5 : The sheet is then cooled naturally by exposure to air with the help of fans and/or by regulating the mould. When the part has cooled sufficiently, it can be removed from the mould without risk of deformation or sticking. This stage is very important as it impacts the dimensional adjustment of the sides. The thermoformed parts can then be sent to the finishing workshops.
Thermoforming technology has many benefits:
— Competitive small and medium series process compared with traditional technologies
— Possibility of making large parts
— Quick to put into production
— Large production runs using multi-cavity moulds
— Low tooling costs
— Over moulding of inserts
— Technical machining
— Accessories assembly
— Marking, screen-printing
The GROUPE MAILLARD INDUSTRIE sources thermoplastics (thermoforming sheets & boards) from leading European chemists in order to offer its customers a large selection of materials and to guarantee traceability and outstanding quality.
The R&D division works in partnership with plastics processing laboratories and research centres to develop special thermoform materials that fulfil specific criteria: anti-fire standards, chemical permeability, defence, environmental and food quality standards.
Experience in thermoforming makes GMI a proactive partner able to guide you in choosing the perfect material for your project.
— Heat, UV and shock resistance
— Mechanic resistance
— Chemical resistance
— Alloy (ABS-PMMA / ABS-PC…)
Variants are possible in multi-layers:
— Co-extrusion (ABS-PMMA / ABS-TPU…)