Oil and gas are natural resources harvested from beneath the earth’s surface. Sophisticated production, gathering, processing, transmission, and distribution systems can expose industry workers to the risk of natural gas poisoning — even in the oil business, as some underground crude contains natural gas.
The poisoning causes varying degrees of illness, from fatigue and headaches to the potential for suffocation if left untreated. Natural gas & oil industry OEMs understandably take the threat seriously and routinely issue personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep workers safe.
The power grid in the United States is shorting out. What began in the 1880s with some isolated power generation systems is now straining to support an estimated 7,300 power plants, and millions of miles of high- and low-voltage power lines in order to service about 200 million customer sites nationwide.1
The increasing number of rolling blackouts, prolonged outages related to natural disasters, and the looming risk of cyberattacks all point to the need for an electricity infrastructure overhaul. It’s an issue of ongoing debate in the political arena. In the meantime, energy distribution sector OEMs are actively seeking solutions to stem the impact of the current flagging power grid.
Many manufacturers are turning to their suppliers for guidance and innovation as much as for parts and products. Solutions for the energy distribution market must be versatile and reliable, which aligns with the benefits of injection molding.
Injection molding is a dynamic, complex process that, simply by the nature of its many variables, requires some testing and adjustments to get it just right before you can start production.
The first injection molding process of the 1800s was run on manual machines and was itself very basic. Plastic was forced through a heated cylinder and into a mold using a plunger. Pressure and time were the main predictors of success, but it was dubious. There was no consistent way to measure the manual process of squeezing plastic into the shape of the mold.
In theory and practice, industrial automation has been part of the U.S. manufacturing sector for decades. The data-driven world of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has given rise to production lines attended by smart robots and technologies alongside their human counterparts — and a host of benefits. Enhanced injection molding process control, faster production and secondary operations, lower error rates, and safer workers all have some connection to automation.
Requesting injection molding quotes is a standard practice for manufacturers looking to manage the costs associated with a program. Comparing injection molding price estimates may generally answer, “How much does injection molding cost?” It may even lead an OEM to select a molder based upon the bottom line.
However, price point doesn’t necessarily denote value.
Repeatable and reliable part production isn’t a given when a project is first presented to Kaysun.
Well before the injection molding equipment is made ready for a run, experts in the in-house Quality Lab are at work gaining deep insights into the part design, thoroughly examining the part practicalities and potential pitfalls, and identifying areas for improvement. Kaysun project and quality control engineers and those of the customer collaborate to share knowledge, make adjustments, and arrive at the best possible production process, tooling, and application outcome.
Undoubtedly, design engineers assume a lot of responsibility when developing parts with tight injection molding tolerances. When margins are as slim as +/- .001 inches in some medical, automotive, industrial, and consumer applications it’s a given that design drives injection-molded part performance. Likewise, the design is the first place to seek answers should something go wrong with the tight tolerance part.
Managing tight tolerance injection molding — and, by extension, taking some pressure off of designers — is done most effectively when you follow these three expert tips:
Identifying and addressing problems early in the injection molded product development process prevents costly issues that could impact manufacturability: plastics selection, tight tolerances, and secondary operations. Fortunately, two methodologies — DfM and FMEA — help manage injection molding risk.
First, we need to explore the meaning of DfM. Design for Manufacturability (DfM) is the process of consciously and proactively designing products to optimize all facets of manufacturing. It aligns engineering and production in the design phase, ensuring cost and time efficiencies, superior quality, regulatory compliance, and end-user satisfaction.
Maximizing DfM's benefits depends on prioritizing Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) within the larger plastic part analysis to assess risk probability. FMEA is but one example of the technical expertise required to successfully execute DfM for complex applications. It also underscores the importance of partnering with an injection molder experienced in DfM to reap the following benefits.