Manufacturers tasked with making products that serve a wide range of functional and aesthetic purposes often turn to multi-material injection molding for solutions – more specifically, to insert molding and overmolding. Since the two processes bear some similarities they’re often thought of as interchangeable, but there are some key differences.
The complexities of engineering an injection molded plastic component or part for a complex application must translate to moldability. If a molder is inexperienced in tool design and process optimization, there’s a good chance they won’t be familiar with methodologies essential for creating a highly efficient production process such as scientific molding and, more specifically Design of Experiments (DOE) within scientific molding.
Let's take a look at the key steps that tool and process engineers take to ensure consistent and repeatable manufacturability of flawless molded parts.
There are several prototype tooling options for your designs — the one you choose really depends on what you expect to accomplish with the prototype. For example, will the prototype be subjected to testing? Does it need to be "dressed up" for presentation? Will it need to meet tight tolerance requirements?
The most common prototyping options are SLA/SLS, urethane cast, soft tooling, and hard tooling. But which is right for your component? Read on to discover the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Manufacturers cannot afford to lose any time in getting their products to market. Advances in technology come rapidly, ratcheting up competition for market share. To ensure success, products must be designed and produced with ultimate precision and efficiency. That efficiency depends on eliminating production delays caused by inconsistencies in the manufacturing process.
When you approach a custom injection molder to produce complex plastic parts or components, determining if the product is suitable for a streamlined injection molding process is one of the first steps.
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) or two-shot (multiple-shot molding) technique.
It’s generally accepted that roughly 80% of a part’s total cost is determined during the design/development phase, and cannot be reduced – or is extremely difficult and expensive to change – once the design is finalized. However, by utilizing a Design for Manufacturability (DfM) approach and the specialized expertise of a plastics engineer, deliberate design decisions can be made to help manage/reduce total part and production costs.
Custom 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 choice for your injection molding project.
According to a recent study, about half of industrial buyers make decisions about adding suppliers in less than 30 days. In that time they vet an average of five suppliers, evaluating each on criteria including market presence, brand strength, and reputation. The most heavily weighted criterion, however, is delivery performance.