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Vacuum Forming - Press Cutting Process

Press cutting is an efficient way of cutting vacuum formed items from the original sheet of vacuum forming material. It's often used for punching small products out of the plastic sheet, rather than punching features into the plastic sheet, which can easily be achieved with roller cutting. As well as cutting the shape, the cutter can be used to cut holes for cables, euroslots, clamshell packaging and any other product features.

Press cutting

The press cutting process works as follows :-vacuum forming press cutting process

  1. The vacuum formed product is placed inside a cutting press, on top of the die and below the punch and stripper.

    The punch has a a series of cutters in the required shape, whilst the die has a series of holes for the cutters to slot into. The stripper is spring-loaded to push the leftover sheet off the punch at the end of the process.

    Both punch and die have some slots which allow for perfect aligment of the product each time. vacuum forming press cutting process step 2
  2. The press is pushed down to cut the product. The cutters push into the holes in the die and the cut products fall into the space below the die. The springs on the stripper compress.

    When the press is released the spring-loaded stripper pushes the leftover plastic sheet off the punch, ready for the cutting press to be reloaded. Often there's a drawer below the die, which allows for easy removal of the final products.
vacuum forming press cutter vacuum forming press cutting uncut sheet vacuum forming press cutting
press cutter uncut sheet of products press cut final products

What can be achieved with press cutting vacuum formings ?

Press cutting is very suitable for items where great precision is needed. Press cutting is very much a manual process, with the product hand-loaded into the press and the press manually compressed. This makes it slower and more expensive than roller cutting. It's particularly suitable for products where the roller cutting process doesn't provide the accuracy required. Press cutting can't be used for making holes or features in the side of a vacuum forming, as the cutter is always pushed in from the top.


There are other vacuum forming finishing methods - we can advice you on which one is suitable for your products. You can also find out more about our vacuum forming service.

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