Why do you need a Cooling Bolster for your Vacuum Forming Machine?

Why do you need a Cooling Bolster for your Vacuum Forming Machine?

26 octobre 2022


The appeal of using a bolster is that it allows you to use aluminium tools of various sizes that do not require their own individual internal cooling channels. The aluminium tool is simply bolted down on to the bolster.

Cooling bolster

The bolster consists of a copper tube which is in direct contact with the lower and upper aluminium plates of the bolster. Providing that the aluminium mould/tool is bolted down to the bolster, then the temperature of the bolster will be transferred to the mould/tool. Chilled medium can be pumped through the copper tubing to maintain a lower temperature or heated medium can be used to raise the temperature of the bolster if required.

If a customer is carrying out large production runs with conventional materials e.g., HIPS, ABS, PVC, PETG etc then they will probably want to use cooled medium to stop the tooling from overheating which creates longer cycle times.

If a customer is vacuum forming polycarbonate, then they will probably want to use heated medium to maintain a temperature in the region of 115 – 120C to get the best quality vacuum forming’s.

Additional equipment required for a bolster (customer supplied)

Temperature controller

This piece of equipment regulates the temperature of the medium that goes through the copper tubing in the bolster.

temperature controller

The temperature controller is a peripheral device, which take over the temperature control (heating, cooling, or holding) of a medium for the manufacturing and production process.

Temperature control units typically use either oil or water as the medium and are available in various configurations and sizes. The unit should be selected based on the on the customer’s process, and tool weight. Formech recommends that the customer contacts a temperature controller manufacturer directly to discuss their specific requirements

(Unit shown is a Tool Temperature TT-181.


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