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:
The Kaysun Blog is a valuable year-round resource for advice and information about complex injection molding. We have our subscribers to thank for its continued popularity, and look forward to providing you with even more helpful insights throughout 2019.
For now, let’s take a look back at the four most popular blog posts of 2018:
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.
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.