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Overmolding is a unique injection molding process that results in a seamless combination of multiple materials into a single part or product. It typically includes a rigid, plastic-base component overlaid with a thin, pliable, rubber-like thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) exterior layer or other materials using either a single-shot (insert molding) and two-shot (multiple-shot molding) technique.
Given the promised speed and generally low price points, commodity injection molders are attractive to OEMs in many industries. However, deals struck with these molders — overseas and domestically — can pose potential problems in communication and quality, among other issues.
An approved vendor list isn’t meant to be static, and if you’re treating yours like it’s written in stone, you may be doing yourself and your business a disservice.
Critically evaluating vendor performance on a regular basis not only helps you identify and weed out those that aren’t consistently meeting expectations, it also provides an opportunity for vendor consolidation.
With the freedom to create new features and cost-effectively achieve process efficiencies, it's obvious why many design engineers prefer to use complex injection molding to create plastic parts and components.
What isn’t always clear, however, is the myriad considerations required at the onset of the process. Among them is selecting the appropriate materials to make the actual mold as well as plastic injection molding materials for the part. Here are key points to keep in mind when working through it with an injection molder partner.
Moldflow analysis is a frequently used term in the injection molding industry but it is often poorly understood. The process uses a sophisticated computer program to analyze and predict the flow and cooling of plastic during all phases of the injection molding process. Since there are different levels of analytical software available, selecting the right one for your project is as important as interpreting the data for successful results.
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.
In this age of global competitiveness and tough regulation, superior quality is the name of the game in differentiating you from competitors and increasing your market share.
OEMs in various industries are designing increasingly complex components, products and devices with higher injection molding tolerances that must meet stringent quality standards, regulatory compliance and cost-effectiveness. This can be achieved through scientific molding, the best designed and controlled manufacturing process possible.
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.