About Plaxall

Company Profile

Founder of Plaxall, Louis H. Pfohl

Founded in 1938 by Louis H. Pfohl (1903-1986), Plaxall was a pioneer in the thermoforming industry. In that year, Plaxall was commissioned to produce formed plastic domes for a counter display. Through trial and error, Plaxall made the initial domes by heating plastic sheets on gas burners, then forming them over matched wooden dies using a huge foot press. The process was crude but effective, and marked the birth of thermoforming.

James Pfohl, Louis's son, grew up working in the business after school and during vacations. After graduating from Harvard Law School and completing military service in the Marine Corps, Jim joined the company full time, working with his father to manage the business. He took over leadership of the company after Louis Pfohl passed away in 1986. Louis Pfohl's daughters also played significant roles in the business: Ann Pfohl Kirby, one of the first female graduates of Harvard Law School, helped on the business and legal side; and Lynn Pfohl Quigley, a graduate of Harvard's Graduate School of Design, helped on the architectural side.

Plaxall has pioneered many advances in the thermoforming industry. The wood molds of the 1930's have been replaced by today's precision cut aluminum dies, Gas burners have given way to precision heating elements, and historic foot pedals have been replaced with computer controlled hydraulic cylinders. With each innovation and modernization, Plaxall's equipment and techniques have remained on the cutting edge of thermoformers. Utilizing the latest tools products are digitized in our Renishaw Digitizer, designed in Pro/Engineer, and cut in our Haas CNC Machines.

Plaxall Innovations
  • Originated Pressure Forming process
  • Invented "In-Line" equipment to automatically form, trim, and stack
  • Coined "Thermoforming" to encompass both vacuum and pressure forming
  • Developed Matched Mold forming method
  • Introduced CAM-Action thermoforming tools
  • Developed Planetary Blanking (flangeless) or thermoformed parts
  • Created Slidepax package to accept slide in backing
  • Created Clamshell or Foldplax package with self-hinge
  • First to Employ "In-Line" printing and hot stamping

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