Thermoforming is a process by which a flat sheet of plastic is heated and stretched or "formed" over a mold of a particular shape. Examples of some common thermoformed products are dashboards of cars or golf cart tops. Usually this products don't have any preprinted graphics that must fit to the shape so the placement of the plastics in relation to the mold are not extremely critical.
Most companies use an expensive and time consuming process of "fitting" art to a mold, forming the printed plastic, readjusting the art to compensate for misregister to the formed part. This process is repeated several times until an acceptable balance is reached between the shape and the art.
The graphics work I do for thermoforming is a more precise method of predistorting art and graphics so they do fit critical areas of the formed part. This method I have refined yields a good fit to the formed part in only ONE generation of the art, thus making for shorter turn around time and vastly lower film and art charges.
There are a wide range of uses for this technology. The Point of Purchase display or POP market is one area that utilizes thermoforming to grab attention and create added value for products. This process is also well suited for lighted vacuum formed signage. Below are some of the products I have produced using this method.