Up until the 1940s achieving necessary product functionality at the lowest cost was usually done by any means necessary. However, during the height of World War II the scarcity of materials and components drove General Electric engineers to find material substitutes, many of which reduced project costs and improved overall product performance. Thus, the approach of finding cost-effective manufacturing solutions without compromising product functionality or quality — later dubbed “value engineering” — was born.
We all know that carbon dioxide (CO2) — a greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels — is a major culprit in environmental degradation.
Companies had tried unsuccessfully for years to find a cost-effective way to incorporate CO2 into plastic in order to minimize dependence on fossil fuels and substantially decrease greenhouse gases. Recently, however, several plastics manufacturers discovered that using a copper catalyst could be the solution.
Thousands of medical industry professionals, thought leaders and suppliers met in Minnesota October 31-November 1 at Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) Minneapolis 2018 — the midwest’s largest medical technology trade show.
As both an exhibitor and guest at MD&M, the Kaysun team learned a lot about what’s currently happening and evolving in the medical industry. Here are three of the most talked-about trends:
It can occur in just about any injection-molded part or product — yet the experienced injection molder knows how to eliminate warpage from the production cycle and maintain a steady throughput of high-quality product that meets all customer specifications, including dimensional accuracy and tight tolerances.
Insert molding is an injection molding technique that can provide effective solutions for a wide range of design and production needs.
The first step is custom-building a tool to accept a solid component or product (insert). The insert is placed into the tool, and thermoplastic resin is injected into the tool cavity, coating the insert/product in a smooth layer of plastic. After cooling, the tool is opened and the product is removed and inspected.
Injection molded parts and components can be cost-effective solutions for projects spanning a breadth of industries, yet project budgets can quickly escalate if design flaws or tooling deficiencies lead to re-work. No OEM can afford the wasted time, money or materials, not to mention the lag in getting products to customers or to market.
Maintaining tight tolerances is a top priority for many complex injection molded parts and components. Understanding the nuances of resins and how they impact tight tolerances and overall product performance can be complicated. It's essential that an injection molder's engineers be looped into the project early — ideally in the design phase — to weigh in on resin selection. Otherwise, certain material characteristics that could affect tight tolerances and, ultimately, influence outcomes may be inadvertently overlooked.
For many OEMs, multi-material injection molding is a smart and versatile solution to producing complex components and parts. The ability to incorporate multiple polymers, metals and other non-plastics into the molding process to accommodate threaded holes, inserts, lenses, etc., simplifies assembly and generally enhances end-product performance.
Not taking the time to properly determine shrink rate can have a big impact on the quality of an injection molded part's geometry, performance, and appearance.
To facilitate this calculation, materials suppliers typically provide shrink rate numbers based on ASTM Standard D955 and a .125-inch thick plaque with a specific gating size and location. Although a good place to start, this value is usually not accurate enough for many products, especially critical, highly complex parts.