Each new plastic injection molding project has three inherent goals: performance for the customer; production efficiency for the manufacturer; and, reliability for the end user.
These goals are reasonable. The challenge lies in accomplishing all three within a desired timeframe and budget.
To do so, injection molding plastics engineers turn to Design of Experiments (DOE) to identify flaws during the process design phase that might otherwise derail project success.
The complexities of engineering an injection molded plastic component or part for a complex application must translate to moldability. If a molder is inexperienced in tool design and process optimization, there’s a good chance they won’t be familiar with methodologies essential for creating a highly efficient production process such as scientific molding and, more specifically Design of Experiments (DOE) within scientific molding.
Let's take a look at the key steps that tool and process engineers take to ensure consistent and repeatable manufacturability of flawless molded parts.
Manufacturers cannot afford to lose any time in getting their products to market. Advances in technology come rapidly, ratcheting up competition for market share. To ensure success, products must be designed and produced with ultimate precision and efficiency. That efficiency depends on eliminating production delays caused by inconsistencies in the manufacturing process.
The practice and purpose of qualifying a tool is at the very core of scientific molding. This critical step ensures consistent and repeatable production of flawless molded parts by having engineers push the tool relentlessly under realistic conditions (and sometimes beyond). Their goal is to identify and correct weaknesses before the tool is called into action.
Here’s a look at the basic step-by-step process of scientifically qualifying a tool:
For manufacturers that produce complex, critical-use plastic parts and components, making sure that exact specifications and dimensions are met during production is crucial to success. Even a miscalculation of just .005 inches can spell disaster for the product and cost thousands to fix.
Much has been said about the ability of scientific molding to provide optimal control of the injection molding process – and in turn – help manufacturers that use precision-molded parts keep pace with competitors and be first to market. Scientific molding improves part quality by removing guesswork from the injection molding process, but many OEMs still have questions about what really makes it work in the first place. Is it just injection molding with high-tech equipment? The answer is actually the engineers who specialize in it.
Given the promised speed and generally low price points, commodity injection molders are attractive to OEMs in many industries. However, deals struck with these molders — overseas and domestically — can pose potential problems in communication and quality, among other issues.
In this age of global competitiveness and tough regulation, superior quality is the name of the game in differentiating you from competitors and increasing your market share.
OEMs in various industries are designing increasingly complex components, products and devices with higher injection molding tolerances that must meet stringent quality standards, regulatory compliance and cost-effectiveness. This can be achieved through scientific molding, the best designed and controlled manufacturing process possible.
There isn’t a whole lot that injection molders can do to speed up how long it takes to receive hard tooling. While they wait, however, they can take a number of key steps to streamline the product development process, up to and following the completion of the actual injection mold—saving up to a week or longer in lead time.