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.
What does 2019 hold for the plastics industry? Several trends that emerged in 2018 continue to be refined and amplified heading into the new year:
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.
We all know that carbon dioxide (CO2) — a greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels — is a major culprit in environmental degradation.
Companies had tried unsuccessfully for years to find a cost-effective way to incorporate CO2 into plastic in order to minimize dependence on fossil fuels and substantially decrease greenhouse gases. Recently, however, several plastics manufacturers discovered that using a copper catalyst could be the solution.
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.
Maintaining tight tolerances is a top priority for many complex injection molded parts and components. Understanding the nuances of resins and how they impact tight tolerances and overall product performance can be complicated. It's essential that an injection molder's engineers be looped into the project early — ideally in the design phase — to weigh in on resin selection. Otherwise, certain material characteristics that could affect tight tolerances and, ultimately, influence outcomes may be inadvertently overlooked.
Injection molded parts and products are common in many industries, so much so in fact that commodity molders are often the go-to for injection molding projects. This can be the appropriate choice in many cases, but for industries requiring specialized devices and components, no aspect of a project can be left to chance. This is especially true in the case of resin selection, since the plastic used in production largely dictates how a part or product operates within the end-use environment. Knowing this information is imperative for critical-use applications, where risk mitigation and performance are paramount.
May 7-11 found thousands of professionals from across the plastics industry and all of its vertical markets gathered at NPE2018: The Plastics Show (NPE®) — the world’s leading plastics trade show and conference.
In Part 1 of our short blog series, we discussed the differences between today’s thermoplastics and liquid silicone rubber (LSR) thermoset resins, as well as their common advantages, disadvantages, and applications. In Part 2, we’ll talk about some of the up-and-coming plastic materials making their way onto the injection molding scene, specifically carbon fiber composites and bioplastics.