For manufacturers that produce complex, critical-use plastic parts and components, making sure that exact specifications and dimensions are met during production is crucial to success. Even a miscalculation of just .005 inches can spell disaster for the product and cost thousands to fix.
With scientific molding, however, manufacturers can use advanced sensors and sophisticated software to monitor each phase of the injection molding process, and make sure critical variables like temperature, flow rate, fill rate, and cooling temperature remain consistent. Scientific molding engineers are specifically trained to understand what happens to plastics during each phase of the injection molding process, down to the molecular level, and know how to correct any variations that might occur within a matter of seconds. This gives the component much higher repeatability, and 10x greater control than traditional molding methods—significantly reducing costs.
Sound complicated? It can be, but hopefully I can clear some things up with an inside look at how that process works:
Scientific molding is really just the approach that you take to developing the injection molding process. It’s a systematic approach, there’s a lot of buzzwords around using RJG but you can do scientific molding without using RJG. It’s really having a defined and methodical approach to establishing your process and doing many DOEs (design of experiments) throughout the process development so you can see impact on your dimensions versus your process window, and help steer you to developing the largest process window to achieve the dimensional results required.
For the scientific molding approach, you first start with establishing your rheology curve of the material to find out where it flows best, what kind of fill rates you should be using with the specific material, and you’re able to identify that with just doing a simple rheology curve during the initial stages of process development.
And then from there you go through your steps of filling the part out 90% – 95% full, and then getting into your transition points to your pack and your hold pressures. But, all of that is in conjunction with then starting to evaluate your highs and lows of those pressures and times, and melt temperatures, so you can then establish what has the most impact on your dimensional results, and then also what is your processing window.
Scientific molding allows you to establish a robust process up front, which then will translate to continued quality product throughout the life of the program.
Want to learn more about how scientific molding can help OEMs save time and resources, while increasing quality and repeatability? Download our Scientific Molding whitepaper below.