Our world is one of handheld devices. Medical facilities depend on portable digital devices to care for patients. Contractors align studs with pocket-sized levels. Troops rely on high-performance equipment and field gear. Households are stocked with all kinds of gadgets to make life easier.
As injection-molded plastic parts continue to gain popularity as versatile solutions for complex applications, OEMs in a variety of industries carry at least one injection molding supplier on their approved vendor list.
The question isn’t one of need, but rather if the injection molder is a supplier because of convenience or strategy. Continuing injection molder relationships based on limited past experience, price point, or anything other than proven capabilities is risky; inconsistencies in product quality or delivery expectations can break your supply chain. Suddenly you could be left scrambling to stop the domino effect of the disruption, and probably ignoring other business growth opportunities.
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.
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.
Federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards coupled with heightened consumer sensitivities to the environmental impact of using fossil fuels are tightening fuel consumption requirements for the auto industry.
Polymer science has made tremendous strides over the years, rapidly advancing the ability to compound a variety of resins with fillers and reinforcements that provide a vast amount of structural and chemical integrity.
Surface finish on plastic composites can vary a great deal, depending on the physical and chemical properties of the polymer blend as well as the parameters of the injection molding process.
The first objective for a custom injection molder is working with the customer to determine how important the surface finish is for the appearance and/or performance of the final product. For example, does the product need to be eye-catching or simply functional? Depending on the answer, the material selected and the desired finish will determine the settings for the injection molding process, and any required secondary finishing operations.
Overmolding is a value-added injection molding method for improving plastic and metal substrate performance and aesthetics. While seemingly simple, the process has a number of underlying complexities that must be carefully considered to ensure your overmolding project meets all goals and expectations.