Technology

High Pressure Forming

Discover the “Niebling process”

Rely on the experts for high pressure thermoforming

With the development of the process, we brought high pressure molding technology to life. Our comprehensive knowledge of the technology and broad engineering expertise will ensure the success of your project.

  • Complex 3D decorative and functional plastic parts
  • Enormous accuracy in shape and positioning
  • Extensive flexibility in design and decoration

During the Niebling HPF process, a film or laminate is initially heated to the glass transition temperature on both sides without contact. The material is then deformed at a pressure of around 100 bar (1,300 psi) over a tool, namely without contact on first surface. With the help of this technology, complex 3D geometries can be produced from plastic films and substrates. When shaping, printed symbols, graphics or patterns remain precisely positioned. This accuracy is a decisive advantage of the HPF process compared to conventional vacuum or thermoforming processes. HPF also has great advantages when processing matt or structured foils, since with conventional thermoforming matt films appear shiny and the process heat can damage textures or coatings. In addition, constant distortion that results from shaping can easily be compensated for by distortion printing.

High Pressure Forming (HPF) benefits at a glance

Comparison of HPF with traditional Vacuum- / Thermoforming

High Pressure Forming (HPF)Vacuum- / Thermoforming
Material temperatureGlass transition Melting
Material distortionLowHigher
Precision (3D-shape)Very HighLess
Precision (positioning of symbols)HighLess
RepeatabilityHighLess

And this is how it works

High Pressure Forming – HPF by Niebling

With Niebling’s high pressure forming technology we were able to design and form complex 3D shapes for Injection Molded Structural Electronics (IMSE).

Marko Suo-Anttila
SVP Engineering & Operations, TactoTek

Creating complex 3D components

High Pressure Forming is part of the Film Insert Molding (FIM) process, which enables fabrication of plastic parts with a decorated surface and integrated functionality. During this process, a plastic film, usually decorated with prints, is shaped and trimmed before being placed in an injection molding tool for one upt o three component injection molding.

Film Insert Molding – FIM by Niebling

Individual Decoration

Films are printed with decoration, symbols and for In-Mold Electronics with conductive circuits. Electronic components can already be placed.

Heating up

Contactless heating of film from both sides just up to glass transition temperature, not melting temperature as in traditional thermoforming.

High Pressure Forming

Forming station clamps the film in between to form the film precisely over a heated forming core with help of heated high pressure air.

Injection Molding

After 3D formed film is trimmed, film insert is injection molded to end product with benefits having film on first surface.

Design + Function

The finished product has precise positioned decoration and might already include functionality (In-Mold Electronics).


FIM benefits at a glance

  • Free design by precise alignment, fine lines and gradation
  • Best scratch characteristics and chemical resistance for first surface
  • Piano-black with deepness effect for high-class appearance without sagging
  • Backlighting possibilities for symbols, graphics and pattern
  • Integration of functionalities like touch, sliding and narrowing sensors
  • Decoration of complex 3D-shaped part geometry

Have look on our applications section to see examples of high pressure formed FIM and IME parts, being part of mayn well-known products.