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Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) is a symbolic language that is used on engineering drawings and computer-generated models to communicate geometric dimensions and allowable tolerance for various parts. Not only is this a useful exercise for product design, it’s also helpful on the manufacturing floor because engineers and operators can quickly see the degree of tolerance that is required for each part.
Converting metal parts to plastic is becoming an increasingly standard practice in a number of industries from automotive to defense and public safety. The decision to use plastic instead of metal seems like a no brainer given the many advantages like lighter weight, lower material costs, quicker manufacturing times and extended tooling life.
While the injection molding process is a mainstay for many industries, it isn’t static. Molders are continually challenged with evolving their knowledge and use of emerging tooling technologies, materials and trends to make products that are competitively advantageous and profitable for manufacturers.
Commodity plastics are versatile materials appropriate for a breadth of applications. However, specialty or complex injection molded parts like those required for medical, fire, and safety industries may contain requirements that mainstream polymers can’t fulfill, such as chemical resistance, fire retardant properties and mechanical grade strength.
Faster time to market is a distinct competitive advantage, but making speed a priority can jeopardize injection molding process efficiencies — and your product performance.
Controlling costs is a huge part of any project. Materials can be expensive, especially advanced or specially-engineered resins, so you want to get as much bang for your materials buck as you can. One way to do this is the proper use of regrind.
There is always some unused thermoplastic material that is left over from injection molding, typically taken from mold components such as gates, flash, runners, and sprues. What's the point in wasting it.
Critical-use medical devices are essential in the performance of important and often life-saving tasks. As such, they often boast complicated designs and functionality that require the expertise of a complex injection molder to produce. However, that’s only part of the equation.
The complexities of engineering a plastic part or product for use in a critical-use application must translate to moldability. If a molder is inexperienced in mold design and process optimization, there’s a good bet they won’t be familiar with methodologies essential for creating a highly efficient production process such as scientific molding and, more specifically Design of Experiments (DOE) within scientific molding. This article discusses key steps tool and process engineers take to ensure consistent and repeatable manufacturability of flawless molded parts.
There are several options for prototyping your designs—the one you choose really depends on what you expect to accomplish with the prototype. For example, is the prototype just for show or will it be subjected to some testing? The most common prototyping options are SLA/SLS, urethane cast, soft tooling, and hard tooling. But which is right for your component? Read on to discover the advantages and disadvantages of each.