Since 1946, ILLIG has been at the vanguard of thermoforming systems and thermoforming technology. Our founder, Adolf Illig, literally wrote the book and built a company that became a global leader. With over 20,000 systems in operation around the world, ILLIG’s network serves a wide variety of industries and applications. As an organically grown family business, ILLIG offers the market’s most comprehensive and varied range of thermoforming machines and tools, as well as complex production lines and individual components. A commitment to quality has resulted in numerous breakthrough innovations including tilt-molding machines, integrated decoration technology (IML-T), intelligent software controls, and many more.
Thermoforming is a plastics processing technique that heats and forms thermoplastic materials via vacuum and pressure. A true pioneer, ILLIG has developed many “firsts” in this industry including the first automatic machinery to work from pre-printed roll stock; the first high-speed automatic pressure forming machine for forming and punching in the same station; and the first calculation program to automate basic settings of vacuum forming machines. In 2001, ILLIG was instrumental in the development of the plastic coffee capsule, variations of which include K-cups and Dolce Gusto pods. In 2019, ILLIG launched the 4th generation of RDM thermoformers with the large-format RDM76Kb.
A key attribute of thermoforming is the ability to use materials to form parts with 100% barrier protection, usually in a structure like PP/EVOH/PP. Adding decoration to barrier films creates new avenues for part designers and product marketers, especially in mass-customization environments like supermarkets or specialty food stores. In-mold labeling for thermoforming (IML-T) offers considerable weight reduction opportunities versus similar injection molding labeled parts. Because the label is integrated into the forming process, IML-T reduces capex and floorspace, while providing a wider range of graphic options associated with label printing. And because the material is not pre-printed, there is no gas emission from print colors during heating, and the skeletal sheet can be easily granulated for re-use without contamination. ILLIG has championed IML-T and now counts over a dozen systems in operation world-wide.
Recycled Materials and Thermoforming
The development of the circular economy and a new emphasis on recycled materials lends itself to the thermoforming process. For decades, ILLIG has worked with major resin suppliers, Fortune 100 brands, and multinational plastics processors to ensure that novel materials – bio-based, compostable, recycled, multilayer – can be formed on ILLIG machines. With strong partners in the extrusion, automation, and tooling sectors, ILLIG machines can be configured for all types of plastic products in a wide range of end-used applications including food and beverage, horticultural (plant pots), medical device trays, automotive components, and retail packaging. Automatic parts handling systems are seamlessly integrated into the thermoforming production line for labor-saving efficiencies. Here is a video of a box-filing unit in action.
The ILLIG Group - A leader in Thermoforming
Our business development professionals and applications engineers stand ready to work with you to develop innovative solutions. We welcome challenges, and the doors of our ILLIG Technology Center (ITC) at our headquarters in Heilbronn, Germany are always open to you. New developments in 2022 include the introduction of the new RDF85 thermoformer and a brand-new HMI that will be unveiled in Dusseldorf, Germany at K2022.
To understand the impact that ILLIG machines have on companies’ operations and profitability, we invite you to visit the Case Studies & Articles section of our website where you can read testimonials from our customers.
The ILLIG Group operates eight service subsidiaries around the globe with two production sites in Europe, Heilbronn, Germany, and Sibiu, Romania. ILLIG has been the leader in thermoforming technology for over 70 years. Our US team is based in Indianapolis, IN, with over 80 years of experience in thermoforming machinery, tooling, and materials. With more than 100 patents granted and 20,000 machines built, we never stop innovating for our customers.
ILLIG thermoforming systems are categorized as follows:
- UA Series: sheet processing machines
- RD Series: pressure-assist forming machines
- RDM Series: high-pressure, tilt-mold, trim-in-place machines
- RDK/P Series: high-pressure, steel-rule die machines
- STAL Series: high-speed horizontal trim presses
- Ancillary machines include automated stacking systems, pre-heaters, rim rollers, and granulators