Plastic injection molding is a manufacturing process to produce plastic components or devices in volumes ranging from hundreds to millions of parts at one time. Several industries (i.e., medical, pharmaceutical, military/defense, OEM/Industrial, and more) enjoy the benefits of plastic injection molding. Understanding elements about plastic injection molding will aid in launching your product into full production.
The Complete Guide to Plastic Injection Molding will reveal how the process works, different plastic processing types, and how monitoring the molding process achieves consistent quality parts. Plus, reviews the post-processing operations injection molders provide to offer a single-source manufacturing solution. Also, providing tools to assist you in moving forward with your project. Tools like a calculator to determine the injection molding press tonnage your product will require, as well as how to evaluate the injection molding costs for the complete lifecycle of your project.
Table of Contents
- Plastic Injection Molding Process Steps
- Vertical vs Horizontal Plastic Injection Molding
- 5 Elements of Insert Molding for Your Plastic Part or Device
- Overmolding for Plastic Injection Molded Components
- What is Cleanroom Injection Molding?
- Plastic Injection Molding Process Monitoring for Quality Components
- Plastic Injection Molding Post Processing Operations
- Injection Molding Press Tonnage Calculator
- Understand Plastic Injection Molding Costs by Evaluating Total Cost of Ownership
Plastic Injection Molding Process Steps
The process of plastic injection molding seems simple, but understanding the process can aid in better discussions about manufacturing your product with your potential injection molding partner. There are four stages of the injection molding process injection, clamping, cooling, and ejection. These stages have parameters and significance that affect the quality, reliability, and repeatability of the manufacturing process.
Having this high-level overview of the plastic injection molding process includes a drill down to the different process parameters providing a better understanding of what is involved in molding a component or device. Scientific injection molding and decoupled molding evaluate and review these parameters to determine the best manufacturing solution.
Vertical vs Horizontal Plastic Injection Molding
The injection molding process can be performed using a horizontal or vertical/vertical injection molding press. The difference in the presses has to do with the mold clamping direction, either horizontal or vertical. Both have pros and cons, and typically, your project requirements will determine the press best suited to manufacture your components.
Insert molding a manufacturing process that uses advanced plastic injection molding technology to combine diverse thermoplastics and metal components into a single finished part.
In the past, building a complex component like a defense battery pack or a medical needle hub required assembling different individual parts. Today, the insert molding process makes the combined component during the molding phase resulting in reduced labor and increased throughput. Learn the five elements of insert molding for your plastic component or device.
Overmolding for Plastic Injection Molded Components
Overmolding is typically used to combine two types of plastic materials for producing components and devices when strength and ergonomics are essential. Overmolding changes the product surface by adding texture, color, and tactile sensitivity while incorporating functionality for specific product needs. Take the case of a medical industry where doctors are increasingly demanding soft-touch handles that improve grip and minimize slipperiness.
The benefits of overmolding are vast, but there are design considerations when manufacturing parts for overmolding to create the tight seal required. Review the advantages, design considerations, and applications for overmolding plastic injection molded components.
What is Cleanroom Injection Molding?
Cleanroom injection molding is done when cleanliness of the product is not only essential but regulated and adheres to strict medical manufacturing protocols. Meaning manufacturing is completed in a location that maintains a controlled level of environmental pollutants. Pollutants include dust, chemical vapors, aerosol particles, or airborne microbes. There are different types of cleanrooms based on particles per cubic foot. The cleanroom used for manufacturing depends on your product requirements and function. Continue to the article for detailed information, What is Cleanroom Injection Molding?
Plastic Injection Molding Process Monitoring for Quality Components
Plastic injection molding process monitoring takes a further look into the four plastic variables for injection molding melt temperature, flow rate, pressure, and cooling rates. According to plastic process engineer Rich Wire, "Once the standard baseline process parameters are established, monitoring of these four plastic variables during production runs helps to ensure reliable and repeatable production of parts." This real-time evaluation of data during the manufacturing process ensures the production of quality components.
Plastic Injection Molding Post-Processing Operations
To provide a single-source solution for your plastic injection molded product, several post-processing operations are available to complete your project. Processes like part decorating, shielding, and plating make products alluring and functional. Other processes like assembly and kitting help consolidate your supply chain.
And other operations like leak testing and annealing ensure functionality in environmental stress. Each of these post-processing functions has several different methods to reach the end result, review parts decoration, and assembly/kitting solutions.
Injection Molding Press Tonnage Calculator
The injection molding press tonnage calculator gives you the ability to learn what size press is required to manufacture your product. Once you know the size press, you can look for an injection molding partner that fits your needs. Get started using the calculator tool now!