Overmolding is a unique injection molding process that results in a seamless combination of multiple materials into a single part or product. It typically includes a rigid, plastic-base component overlaid with a thin, pliable, rubber-like thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) exterior layer or other materials using either a single-shot (insert molding) and two-shot (multiple-shot molding) technique.
Increasingly popular with manufacturers, you may find overmolding to be a great fit for your next project or product when you consider the significant advantages it provides.
Better product performance
A primary reason to design and manufacture a product or part using overmolding is improved product performance.
TPE is an ideal material for creating a soft, comfortable non-slip grip for any number of products where tactile sensitivity is not just nice, but critical, as in the case of medical products like surgical instruments.
Plus, a TPE surface can act as an environmental barrier to protect a product and extend its shelf life by reducing shock, vibration and noise. Additionally, it provides electrical insulation and improves chemical/UV resistance.
Increased shelf appeal
Overmolding delivers the desired look that helps a product stand out from the competition since TPE can be used to create a visually attractive surface. TPE comes in a wide range of colors, and it can be engineered for different finishes such as matte or gloss. Clear TPE surfaces that may carry a corporate logo, message or operation instructions can also be overmolded on patterned or customized substrates.
Lower production costs
Although it’s rare for something to add value in several ways yet lower production cost, overmolding does so.
How? Overmolding reduces the number of manufacturing steps involved. In the automotive market, for example, it can eliminate the need for injection molding and assembly for components like gaskets or bumpers, as well as secondary finishing operations, such as priming, painting or coating.
Is overmolding right for your project?
Overmolding is appropriate for many applications, but several factors must be weighed before determining if it is the best solution including product design, materials selection, injection molding tooling quotes and equipment budgets, labor costs and production volume. Partnering with an experienced complex injection molder — especially one with scientific molding expertise, like Kaysun — will help you navigate the pros and cons of using overmolding on your project, and collaboratively guide you to the best decision for your application and bottom line.
To learn more about how overmolding can improve performance and aesthetics while lowering production costs, read our Overmolding Fundamentals whitepaper. Click the button below to access your free copy today!