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Focused On Unusual Work, Thermoformer ShapeMaster Tackles Broad Range Of Materials
Yangzhou Chengsen Plastics Co.,Ltd | Updated: Mar 20, 2018

ShapeMaster Inc. is expanding its production run capacity with the installation of a new computerized numerical control machining center.

The Ogden, Ill., company took delivery of a new Haas DM1 machining center in early January and is setting it up to create tooling and to trim thermoformed parts, ShapeMaster co-owner Ken Cooley said in a phone interview.

The Haas CNC will improve efficiency and flexibility, Cooley said.

“It is high speed with fast tool change and a small footprint,” Cooley said.

The new CNC is ShapeMaster’s fifth and will relieve some of the pressure on the other machining centers that have been running in excess of 40 hours per week. The CNC machines and routers perform a wide range of tasks cutting plastic, foam, metal and wood for ShapeMaster’s broad production strategies.

Cooley said his company delves into a broad range of materials and processes, “much broader than the usual thermoformer.”

In thermoforming, it does vacuum forming, pressure forming and drape forming. Alongside thermoforming, ShapeMaster can provide injection molded parts from the firm’s 135-ton Nissei press installed two years ago. Some products combine thermoformed or molded plastics with components made of wood, metal or fabric. ShapeMaster can build its own injection tools in-house using its six CNC machining centers. It oursources complex tools.

One multimaterial example is a nutritional development chamber for piglets that ShapeMaster developed and married with technology from the University of Illinois.

The main chamber is vacuum-formed ABS. Doors are molded from polycarbonate. The product also incorporates fabric, so a sewing step is part of the assembly, along with adding metal parts. ShapeMaster has made hundreds of the specialized chambers, which have attracted interest worldwide. ShapeMaster markets the chambers globally and pays royalties to the University of Illinois.

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