One of the main advantages of using injection-molded components is versatility in the plastics available for specific, often complex, applications.
Addressing plastics needs early in the design process is ideal, as is partnering with an experienced custom injection molder with plastics-specific expertise. Working together ensures the plastics have the characteristics needed for the job, and that materials-based complications will not arise during design and molding.
Controlling costs is a huge part of any project. Materials can be expensive, especially advanced or specially engineered resins, so you want to select the right plastic and get as much bang for your materials buck as you can. One way to do this is the proper use of plastic regrind.
Using color in medical device design is both practical and a business strategy. Switches and keyboard buttons, for example, might be grouped and color-coded for user-friendliness and improved functionality.1 Medical device color is also used aesthetically to complement surroundings, and strategically to carry through OEM branding on medical devices.
What does 2020 hold for the plastics industry? Several trends that emerged in 2019 continue to be refined and amplified:
Medical plastic parts are among the most nuanced applications produced by custom injection molders. The complex nature of medical devices present unique design and engineering challenges, often starting with appropriate plastic selection.
Insert molding is a process that requires an insert — typically metal — to be pre-placed in the tool for injected plastic to flow around. Encapsulating the insert with plastic creates a single molded plastic piece that’s generally stronger than one created using secondary assembly.
Insert molding can be accomplished through two methods:
- Manual insert loading: The generally more cost-effective way to approach very low-volume applications or extremely complex part geometries
- Automated insert molding: A better choice for part consistency. It minimizes human error, improves efficiencies, and ensures optimal cycle times.
Securing an insert in plastic requires precision and a thorough knowledge of how each individual substrate reacts to conditions during the injection molding process.
Nearly half of all plastic ever manufactured has been made since the year 2000. In a scant two decades, production went from 250 million tons to 448 million tons1 and the race is on to shift the burgeoning over-reliance on plastic to ways that promote plastics’ use as a green energy source.
Polymer science has made tremendous strides over the years, rapidly advancing the ability to compound a variety of resins with fillers and reinforcements that provide a vast amount of structural and chemical integrity.
Surface finish on plastic composites can vary a great deal, depending on the physical and chemical properties of the polymer blend as well as the parameters of the injection molding process.
The first objective for a custom injection molder is working with the customer to determine how important the surface finish is for the appearance and/or performance of the final product. For example, does the product need to be eye-catching or simply functional? Depending on the answer, the material selected and the desired finish will determine the settings for the injection molding process, and any required secondary finishing operations.