Repeatable and reliable part production isn’t a given when a project is first presented to Kaysun.
Well before the injection molding equipment is made ready for a run, experts in the in-house Quality Lab are at work gaining deep insights into the part design, thoroughly examining the part practicalities and potential pitfalls, and identifying areas for improvement. Kaysun project and quality control engineers and those of the customer collaborate to share knowledge, make adjustments, and arrive at the best possible production process, tooling, and application outcome.
Undoubtedly, design engineers assume a lot of responsibility when developing parts with tight injection molding tolerances. When margins are as slim as +/- .001 inches in some medical, automotive, industrial, and consumer applications it’s a given that design drives injection-molded part performance. Likewise, the design is the first place to seek answers should something go wrong with the tight tolerance part.
Managing tight tolerance injection molding — and, by extension, taking some pressure off of designers — is done most effectively when you follow these three expert tips:
Tool design is an essential and sometimes underestimated part of injection molding. Often, tooling is principally discussed in terms of expense since it can be among the largest investment an OEM makes in a project.
Generally speaking, Design for Manufacturability (DfM) is the process of consciously and proactively designing products to optimize all facets of manufacturing.
DfM methodology aligns engineering and production in the design phase, ensuring cost and time efficiencies, superior quality, regulatory compliance, and end-user satisfaction.
Central to maximizing these DfM benefits is prioritizing Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) within the larger plastic part analysis to assess risk probability. Identifying and addressing problems early in the product development process prevents costly issues that could impact manufacturability such as plastics selection, tight tolerances, and secondary operations.
An estimated 80% of a project’s costs are determined within the design phase.1 For injection molded parts, tooling often consumes a good share of the budget and decision-making, but it’s not the only consideration.
Value-added services (also known as secondary operations) are essential and sometimes overlooked during design because of their injection molding post-processing status. However, identifying the proper value-added services early in the project timeline can help eliminate injection molding defects that could ultimately lead to costly fixes.
On the whole, the global plastics market value topped out just shy of $580 billion in 2020. Of that revenue, the injection molding application segment held the largest share at just over 43%1 — a strong indicator of how plastics are fast becoming manufacturers' primary solutions to weight, sustainability, and compliance challenges.
But, injection-molded components are only reliable solutions if they perform to the expectations of industries that increasingly depend on plastics such as the automotive, electronics/electrical, and construction sectors. Performance is largely dictated by the resin chosen for a specific injection-molded part, but which material is the right one?
For an accurate answer, manufacturers turn to Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of plastic components and custom injection molders experienced in all aspects of testing.
There’s no denying that pandemic-related, weather-influenced, and manmade disruptions have caused chaos within the plastics industry. For OEMs, finding injection molding solutions during these turbulent times is problematic. Finding knowledgeable molders to take on complicated design, engineering, injection molding, and other challenges that less skilled molders can’t handle is equally as difficult.
OEMs across many industries can attest to the benefits of plastic injection molding. It’s ideal for consistent, affordable production of a wide range of high-quality complex plastic parts that can withstand about any environment.
That’s reason enough to rank injection molding high on the list of go-to solutions, but there’s more. To better understand how and why manufacturers use the process, let’s take a look at the individual merits of the top 14 benefits of plastic injection molding (listed in no particular order):
A surprising number of projects are completed without using a prototype tool. The general idea is that prototype tooling is an extra, unnecessary step that increases cost and decreases development and production times.
Actually, the opposite is true. Custom injection molding done without a prototype tool typically leads to a series of required production tool adjustments that are both costly and disruptive. The perceived savings of skipping prototype tooling quickly evaporate, and the higher risk of part defect introduces the possibility of incurring legal expenses and other related costs.
Depending on the complexity of the application, prototype tooling generally accounts for about 20-40% of overall production tooling costs. It's not an insignificant investment, but one that's well worth it when you consider the advantages.