Custom Louver (Custom Thermoforming)
Q2, 2021

With all the great feedback that we received from our last video regarding the medical lock boxes, we decided to keep this going. Today we’ll be doing over how a custom louver is made. If you don’t know, louvers are usually parallel slips often used in windows or doors to regulate light or airflow. This specific type of louver is known as a butterfly louver that is used in an agricultural setting. It starts as an extruded sheet of high-density polyethylene which is then vacuum-formed and then machined on a 3-axis CNC machine. To produce these louvers, we begin with receiving the material from our supplier. This specific material is black high-density polyethylene with a starting gauge of an eighth inch. This extruded sheet of HDPE is placed in the clamps of a vacuum forming machine and is sent into an oven to heat up to its forming temperature. Once the sheet has reached pliability it is then pneumatically removed from the oven and placed over a mold. For this specific job we are using a male mold so the material will rise up from the bottom and protrude into the material.

Once the mold is in position, you will see the vacuum turn on as the material is sucked down onto the mold in the video. That material takes the form of the mold and it begins its cooling stage. Once it is done cooling, the form part is removed from the clamps and then is trimmed to get rid of excess scrap which is then recycled. The part is held onto a fixture by a vacuum which is placed on a 3-axis CNC machine- this part requires seven holes to be drilled, eight cuts to open up holes for rods to go through that act as hinges, and that is finished off with a cut to length.

The overall finished size of these louvers is about 73 inches long by 37 inches wide. Our customer has used regular louvers in the past for their operations, however they came to us with a design in mind to increase airflow and reduce operating costs so instead of your regular horizontal louvers we are now producing these completely custom louvers that are more efficient for the customer.