The thermoforming secret behind the trend of red American PP cup


The cup might seem only a simple object with a very few economical value, but it has been studied thoroughly. The shape means that these cups can be stacked without clung together but a shape that, at the same time, can be easily removed from the mold during the production.

The curved lip to avoid one cup from sinking too tightly to the next, the bottom more rigid to allow more air flow between the stacked cups, the rigidity of the cup itself so that the cup don’t bend when filled, but also don’t have too much grip.

WM Thermoforming Machines, the Swiss manufacturer of thermoforming machines, has delivered four in-line plants last year, two of them for the American market where this type of production is “traditional”, the other two in Europe, where the big red cup is a new tendency.

The In-line plants are the model INTEC FT 900/3, which start the process from the automatic dosing and feeding of the PP granules and finish his work with the recycling of the scraps which are reduced to flakes and re-sent to the dosing unit at the end of the line.

The line is equipped with the new extrusion group manufactured completely by WM Thermoforming Machines, the N.EXT 75 which has a screw diameter of 75mm and two co-extruders N.EXT 45 with a diameter of 45mm. The total extrusion capacity of the group is 1,096kg/h.

The process continues with the flat die head of the extrusion that feeds a vertical laminating calendar composed by three rolls which produce the extruded sheet having a width of 930mm and a thickness ranging from 0.2-2mm.

The sheet is then transported in line through a toothed chains system to the thermoforming machine model FT 900, where the products take shape. The FT 900 can use molds with a maximum size of 880x520mm and has a clamping force of 75,000 DaN and thanks to the tilting system of the movable platen that can rotate up to 75°, the formed cups can be easily removed by the lower half mold.

The cups are formed and cut in-mold, removed with aspirating spindles and sent to a collection cage. The stacked cups are then sent by a conveyor belt to the Rimming Machine, a completely WM production, with three rotating screws. The rimmed cups follow their way to the counting, packaging and boxing units ready to be delivered to the final customer.

The advantages of the In-line system is the real reduction of energy consumption, since it can produce 120,000 cups per hour, reducing waste and reducing the personnel necessary to manage all the system, said WM.

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