Disney + ATI Thermoforming = New Avatar Ride

Thermoforming Disney Avatar

Disney Chooses Associated Thermoforming

ATI Thermoforms Recreation & Fitness Associated Thermoforming Inc.

The Disney design team selected ATI’s thermoforming process for the large wall panels in their Avatar Flight of Passage ride.  Due to the design of the parts, we chose vacuum forming as the specific thermoforming process for this project. The top picture shows just a few of the large variety of vacuum formed panels that ATI manufactured for this project. The Avatar Flight of Passage is a 3D, augmented reality, flying simulator attraction.  Pandora – The World of Avatar opened May 27, 2017, and is part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  The Avatar attraction allows guests to take flight on the back of a mountain Banshee, soaring across the landscape of Pandora.

Challenging, Fun Thermoforming Project 

This huge vacuum formed project presented a variety of challenges.  The project consisted of almost 50 different thermoformed items, each with its own molds and CNC trim fixtures.  To begin, Disney’s designers spec’d a specially formulated KYDEX® plastic that had to remain at a very low gloss level.  Due to this requirement, we employed the use of a glossmeter to determine the amount of reflected light.  The intensity of gloss is dependent upon the material and the angle of illumination.  While this sounds like a small detail,  many thermoformers find it difficult to achieve this low level of gloss. 

Additionally, another of the challenges we encountered with this project was in coping with the large quantity of molds and part numbers.  Also,  the logistics of such a large project with dynamic demands (frequent changes) challenged our ERP system and capacity management.  All in all, this was a unique, fun project for our team, and we enjoyed the many challenges it presented.

Take a look at some of our projects, and see how we can make your custom plastic parts unique.