Thermoform Tooling


Custom tool designers and machinists since 1962. 

A thermoformed package is only as good as the tooling on which it's formed. Dordan exercises complete control over the thermoform design and tooling engineering and development process, ensuring the production of consistently high quality thermoformed packaging.

CNC machine for thermoform tooling

CNC machine in Dordan's in house tool room

Dordan has an in house tool and die shop, where all thermoform tooling is machined and assembled. All production tooling is NX CAM/CNC produced out of stainless steel by the same team of packaging engineers that develop the thermoform packaging design. Tooling components like assist plugs, die build ups, headers, end-of-arm fixtures, etc., are also machined, built, and assembled in house. This integration between thermoform design and tooling facilitates quick turnaround of cost competitive, thermoformed packaging solutions.

Thermoform Tooling Process and Capabilities


In house tooling for scheduling flexibility.

  • Dordan produces prototypes on NX CAM/CNC machined prototype aluminum tools. Prototypes are a "1-up" of the anticipated, multi-cavity production tooling.

  • Dordan engineering proves out the tool paths during the prototyping stage; then, upon prototype approval, replicates them (step and repeat) for machining the production tooling. This provides more intelligent quality control, because the tool paths have already been proved out; thus, production issues can be identified and remedied quickly by eliminating inconsistent tooling as a variable.

  • Production tooling ancillary components, like assist plugs, die build-ups, locators, trim headers, etc., are produced and assembled in-house, utilizing the same machining centers and NX CAM programming as the form tool.

  • All prototype and production tooling is measured and checked for quality before coming off the CNCs by the same team of engineers that develop the NX thermoform design. 

  • All potential thermoforming challenges like flow lines, material distribution, draw-ratios, form-to-cut tolerances, etc., are addressed and minimized through a fundamental understanding of the interaction between design, tooling, and production.

  • Material shrinkage is calculated into all thermoform tooling development and cut die design, meaning that the production part will be on-spec with the customer-approved engineering design.

  • Dordan develops movable tooling components to allow for forming and stripping thermoformed parts that require aggressive undercuts.

  • Dordan offers standard steel-rule dies, stainless steel-rule dies and tooling, matched-metal tooling, and modified cutting dies that are designed for complex cutting and clearing operations.

  • Dordan designs and builds its own end-of-arm tooling fixtures for automatically stripping formed parts from the plastic web after die cutting via robotics. 
  • All thermoform tooling is inventoried in our temperature-controlled warehouse and maintained to full working condition.

Thermoform tooling

CNC machines thermoform tooling at Dordan Manufacturing