Injection molding is a versatile process for creating high-quality components and parts from plastic resins. In injection molding, the plastic material is heated to liquid form and injected under pressure into a mold. Once there, it is carried through channels — called runners — to mold cavities machined in the shape of the finished part or product. After cooling and solidifying, the two halves of the mold are separated and the finished parts are ejected from the cavities. The next step of the process is typically a quality check. Mold design and product design are critical aspects of injection molding. As such, good injection molding design is necessary to ensure that the process runs smoothly.
Topics: custom plastic part design
In all areas of manufacturing, success comes from paying attention to the details. In injection molding, one of those key details is precise, high-quality, well-designed tooling. The injection mold tool is the mold or die into which material is injected to form parts during the molding process. The impact of tools on injection molding cannot be understated. Tooling is a major investment that accounts for a large portion of a project’s budget and must be precise in order to guarantee high-quality output.In this post, we’ll consider the aspects of injection molding tool design, how to ensure that tools are manufactured correctly and why they are so important.
Injection Molding Tool Design
While tool design is a key component of injection molding, there are numerous smaller details that go into the design. They all add up to the effectiveness of the molding process in producing quality parts. Below, we’ll look at each aspect of tool design and the role it plays.
Topics: injection molded tooling
The concept behind plastic injection molding is relatively simple — to inject heated liquid plastic substrate into a mold, allow the liquid to cool to a solid, eject and repeat. This simplicity lends itself to the versatility, efficiency and availability of injection molding, but it can also lead OEMs in need of plastic injection molded components to attempt to bring those processes in-house.
Almost always, these OEMs will find that in-house injection molding leads to unforeseen cost and logistics concerns, and quickly becomes a liability to the bottom line and even the product’s quality. Instead of bringing these processes in-house, the more productive step here is outsourcing plastic injection molding to an expert in the field.
Advantages of Outsourcing Injection Molding
When you hire another company for plastic injection molding, you gain access to several advantages. These include:
- Outsourced infrastructure: The upfront investment for injection molding machinery is sizable. Injection molding machinery is typically built to undergo millions of cycles and near-constant operation, and the cost reflects this. If an OEM only needs to operate injection molding machinery intermittently, to produce smaller quantities, the length of time to recoup that investment stretches far more than is reasonable. When you outsource injection molding, you are able to make use of someone else’s investment, freeing your capital for core competencies, innovation and other areas.
- Guaranteed expertise: With in-house injection molding, if it isn’t a core competency, you’re likely to be learning (and training) on the job — and thus paying for both of these processes. Part rejects and production errors come directly out of your bottom line, to say nothing of the time lost. With a molding partner, you are guaranteed to be working with an expert — while also freeing yourself of a training or hiring burden.
While plastic injection molding is one of the most cost-effective manufacturing processes available, it is all too easy for unexpected and unnecessary cost additions to drive up the overall price of a project. If this is a situation you have encountered, or if you simply wish to know ways to reduce injection molding costs, the below tips may help.
Topics: custom injection molding
As innovation and technology continue to advance within plastic injection molding, part tolerances are becoming tighter and tighter. Generally, a tight tolerance is defined as +/-.002 inches and a very tight tolerance is +/-.001 inches. There are many factors that impact tight tolerance including part complexity and size, raw material selection, tooling and process conditions. As such, getting the design right is crucial when working with a product that requires tight tolerances.