Sustainability is an increasingly urgent concern for businesses.
On one hand, consumers, industries, and governments demand greater transparency into brands’ environmental, social, and economic impacts. On the other, companies’ own future viabilities depends on the long-term sustainability of their business strategies.
Conversations around sustainability have jumped the tracks from nice-to-have to must-have. And plastic injection molding, as an integral part of so many manufacturing processes, is part of the conversation.
The design of injection molded parts can be incredibly complex. Sometimes, it’s a byproduct of what’s needed for the application; other times, it could be a result of over- or under-thinking what needs to be accomplished.
Working with a custom injection molder that relies on Design for Manufacturability (DfM) practices to establish realistic design goals and production expectations is a significant advantage. However, there are certain design considerations for injection molded parts an OEM can contemplate — and correct, if needed — before collaborating with a molding partner and their DfM team.
OEMs across many industries enjoy the benefits of injection molding. It’s ideal for consistent, affordable production of a wide range of high-quality, complex plastic parts suitable for nearly any application and environment.
Requesting injection molding quotes is a standard practice for manufacturers looking to manage the costs associated with a program. Comparing injection molding price estimates may generally answer, “How much does injection molding cost?” It may even lead an OEM to select a molder based upon the bottom line.
However, price point doesn’t necessarily denote value.
Quality drives performance in any product. For critical-use applications, the stakes are even higher. End-user safety, health, and lives could be jeopardized if a product malfunctions.
To mitigate high degrees of risk, manufacturers must have the utmost confidence in their injection molding partner’s experience with tight tolerance injection molding.
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.
Identifying and addressing problems early in the injection molded product development process prevents costly issues that could impact manufacturability: plastics selection, tight tolerances, and secondary operations. Fortunately, two methodologies — DfM and FMEA — help manage injection molding risk.
First, we need to explore the meaning of DfM. Design for Manufacturability (DfM) is the process of consciously and proactively designing products to optimize all facets of manufacturing. It aligns engineering and production in the design phase, ensuring cost and time efficiencies, superior quality, regulatory compliance, and end-user satisfaction.
Maximizing DfM's benefits depends on prioritizing Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) within the larger plastic part analysis to assess risk probability. FMEA is but one example of the technical expertise required to successfully execute DfM for complex applications. It also underscores the importance of partnering with an injection molder experienced in DfM to reap the following benefits.