Confusion about which plastics align with a particular application can cause uncertainty about if and when to use custom injection molding. As a result, OEMs may not take advantage of how plastics benefit product design.
“Thermoplastic” and “thermoset” sound similar and both plastics categories offer choices appropriate for complex applications in a range of markets. However, it's the properties and processing behaviors of the materials within the categories that ultimately reveals the best choice for your injection molding project.
On September 28, 2020, the world reached the sad and sobering milestone of 1 million deaths caused by COVID-19. In the three ensuing months, approximately 625,000 more deaths were added to the tally, and the nearly 73 million active cases around the global are added to daily — and at astounding rates.1
The pandemic has populations scared and experts stymied as to how to manage and eventually eradicate the virus. For obvious reasons the medical and healthcare industries are leading the charge in terms of innovation, with antimicrobial resins and antimicrobial polymers playing major roles in effective solutions.
The overall safety and performance of a vehicle is dependent, in part, on the plastic components used throughout the vehicle. Many people think that when it comes to cars, plastic parts are features like the dashboard, seats and floor mats. But thermoplastics are used in much more important places throughout a vehicle, many of them under the hood in the car’s powertrain and fuel systems.
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.