Injection molding is a complex, dynamic system with multiple, interacting factors—all of which impact performance, cost, and quality. One of these factors is the injection molding machine tonnage calculation, also known as the clamping force.
Injection-molded and blow-molded plastic parts are so pervasive in everyday life that the two processes are sometimes thought of as interchangeable. While the two may be used in an individual application — perhaps a blow-molded fluid reservoir is attached to a custom injection-molded medical device — injection molding and blow molding serve different purposes and markets.
An increased speed to market is a distinct competitive advantage, but making speed your first priority can jeopardize injection molding process efficiencies — and product performance.
Accelerating speed to market and upholding quality doesn’t need to be an "either or" proposition. Early in the design phase, seek out an injection molding partner that thinks and delivers beyond the standard injection molding process. If your ultimate goals include preventing costly rework, and eliminating defects and unanticipated product failure, look for an injection molder with expertise in mold filling analysis, scientific molding, and other time and cost saving process methodologies.
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.
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.
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.
Some injection molders claim to provide custom services, but the industry lacks a clear definition of what “custom” really means — resulting in some manufacturers contracting with molders that are woefully unqualified to accurately produce highly specialized designs. Just because a molder can facilitate development of an original tool doesn’t constitute a truly custom service (or ensure a desirable outcome). Many of these molders are limited to producing simplistic designs and lack the ability to engineer complex plastic parts with precise specifications and tight tolerances.
The practice and purpose of qualifying a tool is at the very core of scientific molding. This critical step ensures consistent and repeatable production of flawless molded parts by having engineers push the tool relentlessly under realistic conditions (and sometimes beyond). Their goal is to identify and correct weaknesses before the tool is called into action.
Here’s a look at the basic step-by-step process of scientifically qualifying a tool: