The more OEMs learn about plastic overmolding, the more they want to use this injection molding process to solve application-specific challenges ranging from soft-touch or stylish consumer products to field-use devices that require extra protection and user-friendly features. Not only does overmolding improve functionality, performance, and aesthetics, it lowers total production costs — which is pretty rare these days.
Each new plastic injection molding project has three inherent goals: performance for the customer; production efficiency for the manufacturer; and, reliability for the end user.
These goals are reasonable. The challenge lies in accomplishing all three within a desired timeframe and budget.
To do so, injection molding plastics engineers turn to Design of Experiments (DOE) to identify flaws during the process design phase that might otherwise derail project success.
When it comes to remaining competitive in the global marketplace, speed matters. Manufacturers want injection molded parts that deliver the most product functionality at the lowest cost — and they want the parts quickly to get to market first and fastest.
Injection molders understand the pressure manufacturers are under. They're also attuned to how injection molding design, engineering, and production expertise can greatly speed up development time.
Custom injection molding is a go-to for OEMs across a range of industries because of design and engineering precision, production repeatability, and cost-effective solutions.
Injection molders understand that consistently delivering defect-free parts and products to these standards is a top priority and a true value-add to their OEM partnerships.
Quality assurance begins in the design phase. Engineers are faced with many decisions, but among the most important are those that impact the end of the injection molding process — what has to happen to ensure the plastic part ejects cleanly?
Managing the total cost of an industrial or consumer new product development (NPD) project lies in balancing the bottom line with needs.
While choosing a low-cost plastic injection molder seems like the path of least resistance (and least cost), this supplier may not take into account all long-term soft costs: designing for quality, speed to market, and risk reduction.
Successful custom injection molding requires process management that’s guided by expertise and precision timing. Tool and process engineers are front-and-center in the product and tool design phases, ultimately making decisions and guiding the steps necessary to ensure consistent and repeatable manufacturability of defect-free injection molded parts.
Insert molding is a process that requires an insert — typically metal — to be pre-placed in the tool for injected plastic to flow around. Encapsulating the insert with plastic creates a single molded plastic piece that’s generally stronger than one created using secondary assembly.
Insert molding can be accomplished through two methods:
- Manual insert loading: The generally more cost-effective way to approach very low-volume applications or extremely complex part geometries
- Automated insert molding: A better choice for part consistency. It minimizes human error, improves efficiencies, and ensures optimal cycle times.
Securing an insert in plastic requires precision and a thorough knowledge of how each individual substrate reacts to conditions during the injection molding process.
The impact of the widening skills gap is of ongoing concern for manufacturers. The 2018 Deloitte skills gap and future of work in manufacturing study reports that the average time to fill skilled production worker positions jumped from 70 days to 93 days between 2015 and 2018, surpassed only by finding engineers, researchers, and scientists which bounced from 94 days to 118 days over the same time period.
Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) is a symbolic language that is used on engineering drawings and computer-generated models. It communicates geometric dimensions and allowable tolerances 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.