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Complex injection molding is a viable solution for many projects, but there’s often hesitation in using it because of confusion about which material matches the job. While “thermoplastic” and “thermoset” sound similar and both are appropriate for a wide range of applications, the material properties of these two resin categories and how they behave during processing ultimately reveal the best fit.
It’s a world of handheld devices we live in today: smartphones, tablets, GPS assistants and specialized power tools for the shop, lab, kitchen and garden. Medical facilities depend on portable digital devices to care for patients, contractors align studs with pocket-sized levels, troops perform safely in the field with reliable, high-performance equipment and gear, and households are stocked with all kinds of gadgets that make life easier.
Metal-to-plastic conversion is a decades old concept, and it remains a popular option for addressing concerns about component or end product cost, weight, manufacturability and compliance. While metal-to-plastic conversion is effective, many industries — notably automotive, defense and medical — are leaning into it further in order to reap more benefits by consolidating multiple existing parts into a single complex injection molded plastic part.
As criticality of use ratchets up on injection molded products and devices, plastic components are expected to perform to stringent quality and regulatory standards.
Injection molds are a necessary and typically expensive part of any critical use plastic component project. Oftentimes, protecting this considerable tooling investment is overlooked until the mold breaks down or experiences another serious problem that bottoms out the bottom line. With good reason—emergency repair expenses on top of the time, productivity and product lost can be staggering.
Manufacturers of rugged electronic devices (and their end users—for example, the military) count on their “rugged” devices to perform in challenging real-life conditions, and survive being dropped. Therefore impact resistance is a critical feature in product design and starts with material selection.
When working on an innovative medical device that could potentially save lives, it’s often crucial to get that device to market as quickly as possible. Every day you save in product development is an extra day people who need your device will have access to it. In addition, development timelines impact your company’s competitive advantage — if a competitor releases a similar device before you, they reap the rewards of being the first on the market. Lack of product development experience, overextending timeline and budget, and compliance with industry regulations are just a few reasons why medical devices and products often go over their projected timeline, but many of these issues can be avoided with the proper planning and manufacturing partnerships.
Almost nothing impacts the quality of the final injection molded product as the tool itself. That said, the pressure is on when it comes to securing a tooling quote. And here’s the trick: there is no trick. It’s all about information and reliance on those with expertise in the matter. It’s why we developed a whitepaper about it, which you can download now. Meanwhile, here are five tips to help get tooling quotes right.
With the rise of electric vehicles, new technologies, and tougher fuel standards, the automotive industry is booming these days, and so is the plastics industry. With manufacturers looking to make lighter, less expensive components, while also installing new electronics and their housings, there have been numerous innovations involving plastic automotive parts and designs in 2017, and there are even more on the horizon.