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Plastic Injection Molding

About 2 years ago I purchased a Tool set. It came with a wonderful set of tools, but a really low end, thin and hollow plastic injection molded case that belies the namesake and tradition. Needless to say, the case finally gave up the ghost this past week. I began shopping for a replacement tool box easy for the old set that has since grown to over 200 pieces. Wanting some level of organization that is needed on the trail while off roading, the plastic tool box intrigued me due to it’s thick plastic construction and it’s similarity to a larger tool chest with extendable drawers. Its size and depth allowed me to place it in the same spot as where I held the old plastic injection molded case in my truck.

Plastic Injection molding is preferred for producing complex shapes of various sizes having very fine details. The parts produced by using this method have greater dimensional control. Plastic Injection molding is used for producing parts in large quantities. Plastic molding is widely used for many applications. When you design parts for plastic injection molding, you can arrange multiple pieces in one mold by connecting them with small bars ~0.1″, however the sub-components must not have widely varying volumes. When the design does not allow for additional structures to improve strength, consider using a stronger material, such as glass fiber filled plastic. Consider specifying a fire retardant material when necessary.

Nowadays, liquid injection molding is becoming increasingly important. One reason for this is the increased performance requirements of the finished rubber parts. In addition, more and more producers of rubber parts are seeing the benefits in crown the high level of automation and productivity. Injection molding technology, using liquid rubber, combines the speed, cost efficiency, and versatility of plastic injection molding with the outstanding properties of silicone rubber. It is used in many applications where organic rubber cannot perform, such as military, aerospace, automotive, healthcare applications, etc. The use of silicone rubber combines the properties of resilience, high temperature stability and inertness as silicone is generally unaffected by temperatures from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Progress in liquid injection molding technology has made faster cures possible, enabling unit cost reductions.

The Plastic injection molding machine has two parts: the injection unit which melts the plastic and injects the plastic molding into the mold, and the clamping unit easy which holds the mold. The injection molding unit clamps the mold in a closed position during injection, opens the mold after cooling, and ejects the finished part. Injection molding’s efficiency varies by the number of parts you plan to produce. For a small quantity, such as 10 parts, it may be less expensive to simply machine the desired part utilizing a milling machine. On the other hand, if you desire several thousand parts, injection molding is ideal. When you submit your order for an injection molding part, the websites will assign staff to help evaluate the most appropriate mold material which will vary by part tolerance and number of units anticipated.

Over Molding

Over mold & Over molidng

Over-mold injection molding is the same as insert-molding, where an existing component is loaded into a mold and plastic is molded around it to create a multi-material single part. Insert-molding is most synonymous with combining metal components with plastic in such products as electrical pin connectors. When the term over-molding is used, the metal component is simply replaced with a previously molded plastic part. Single-shot injection molding machines are used to produce both the plastic component and the over-molded plastic. Tooling for injection over-mold injection molding requires two molds; one for the plastic component and one for the over-mold. Over-mold injection molding requires labor to handle the plastic component and load it into the second mold. Over-molding is generally reserved for higher priced parts that can absorb higher machine time and labor costs.

If you are planning to go into a plastic molding business, you should first know the different processes. Choose from a plastic molding process that fits your budget, your expertise, and your resources. In Injection Molding, melted plastic is forced into a mold cavity. Once cooled, the mold can be removed. This plastic molding process is commonly used in mass-production or prototyping of a product. Injection molding machines were made in the 1930’s. This can be used to mass produce toys, kitchen utensils, bottle caps, and cell phone stands to name a few. Plastic molding is a very technical process. It needs experts in this type of manufacturing business for it to be competitive in the market. Therefore, a very scientific and systematic study should be first made before going into this endeavor.

Injection molding is an effective way to make custom parts. Granules of plastic are melted down and then injected into a metal mold; there the molten plastic hardens into a designated shape. Then you open the mold and a new part is removed, inspected and is ready to go. Injection molding is an incredibly versatile form of molding plastics. As with everything, injection molding has its ups and down so it is important that the ends justify the means for your project needs. There are three main components in the injection molding process. The injection apparatus itself which melts and then transmits the plastic, the mold, which is custom designed, and clamping to provide controlled pressure.

Thermoplastic injection molding is molding the most widely used of all plastic processing methods. The injection molding machine reduces pelletized raw material and colorants into a hot liquid. This “melt” is forced into a cooled mold under tremendous pressure. After the material solidifies, the mold is unclamped and a finished part is ejected. Injection molding offers the lowest piece prices available, but tooling prices are generally the highest. Thermoset injection molding is similar to thermoplastic injection molding except that uncured thermoset resins are mixed, injected, and held in the mold until cured. As with thermoplastic molding, the price per piece can be low, but the tooling prices are generally very high.

Purchasing the box, some assorted socket rails, and some additional clips for the socket rails, I took the box home with me to see how well it would stand up as a replacement. The box is quite simple in construction. It’s a plastic injection molded case made of a very thick plastic. The case consists of a flip open lid (with two latches that are padlock compatible) covering a deep top storage area, and three drawers that are very similar to the large rolling tool chests that many professionals and advanced amateur home mechanics have in their garages. When you flip the lid open, the lid will immediately release the latching mechanism for the three drawers. Unfortunately, the lid does not contain any hinges or tethering that prevent it from flopping open and hitting itself on the back of the tool box. This was my only gripe involving the tool box.

Electrical Discharge Machining And Mold Making

   The use of electrical discharge machining is so essential that it is almost impossible to imagine a modern shop without an EDM machine. Many of today’s products simply could not be produced without it. Think of all the cell phones, calculators, IPods, cameras, medical devices and the endless amounts of high tech equipment that are made out of plastic!

Besides the essential role it plays in plastic injection mold making, EDM is used for the precision machining of medical parts, aerospace parts, and other highly specialized products. Electrical discharge machining, including Wire EDM, has also completely changed the way molds are made, as well as other specialized parts.

This is your information source for the EDM die sinker

Graphite  Copper EDM Tooling EDM Oil
EDM Filters Specialty Electrodes Carbide EDMing Surface Finishes

Check out the pages dealing with graphite, graphite dust, copper, dielectric fluid, electrode holders, and machinery.

What about jobs in EDM?

Find out what kind of personality it takes to have electrical discharge machining as a career job. See what the future holds in this high-tech profession.

You can also find educational material that attempts to explain this rather mysterious process. Not so long ago, it was as much black art as science. Today, however, much of the mystery is removed due to CNC controls.

Most shops send their operators to classes put on by the manufacturer of their EDM machine. It is foolish to invest so much money in a machine and skimp on the training! But it happens all the time.

What about EDM and stress?

EDM is quite a stressful occupation, to put it mildly. It may not appear difficult, but the stress levels can be exhausting. Nearly every mold component that is EDM’d is in the final stages of manufacturing. The slightest mistake can become very costly, very quickly.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of coming to work in the morning and seeing your supervisor leaning over the EDM machine staring at your workpiece. Then you find out that you had mixed up two locations and the completely finished cavity block is now completely useless!

Injection Molding Process

Process of Injection Molding

The process of injection molding process is best explained as heating up a type of plastic and under a forced type or pressure is poured into a predesigned mold, after the hot liquid is poured into the mold the mold is clamped shut to prevent any air from getting in. After the initial work is done, the mold hardens and takes the shape of the mold.

Then the next step in the process is when the resin (hard plastic) which is now in the shape of a small pellets are poured into the feed hopper, the hopper is a large open bottomed contained and what it does is that is filters the pellets into the screw.

As the screws turn the resin pellets are moved into the screw and then they go through a very intense pressure. Then friction is created and when that happens heat is generated to melt the pellets. There are heaters on both sides of the screws and there is temperature control during the melting process.

The oil gets pumped from the tank to the injection molded parts that run along the tie bar equipment, then that’s when the liquid plastic gets injected into the mold. Then the water-cooling technique is applied in assist in cooling off the mold. The process is complete when the mold is pulled from the pre-designed mold.

Used Injection Molding Machines

Used Injection Molding Machines

There are constantly new techniques and new technology in the industrial world of injection molding. New machines, new plastics, new equipment. There are some companies that keep up with other companies by buying a lot of expensive equipment the second it comes out.

But these are the companies that cost so much because they have to charge more to pay for the price of the new equipment they just bought. But then you have the companies that like to keep using used machinery because they are just as good as new and as the old saying goes if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Not every company wants to be the fancy company with all new machines.

Some companies want to just be known as the company that did my job in the most outstanding way. They want the recognition for a job well done rather than for the company who spend a lot of money on a piece of new machinery.

Companies that keep using used machinery don’t have to increase their prices and customers like to see that and they will keep coming back to the company that does great work for a great price.

Contract Injection Molding

Contract Injection Molding

When you are looking for a company to do a terrific job handling your custom injection molding contract. You want to make sure that they can cover your needs. If at all possible, tour the facility of where you are interested in having your work done. But you want to make sure their facility can handle the load.

You want a company that handles both a large and small volume of work. Some companies only will do a certain amount of work therefore they turn down small amount jobs. You want them to provide samples, you want to be able to see what kind of job they will do for you before you contract a huge order and do not like the work.

You want full production abilities, process optimization, and Insert molding and over molding, PPac capabilities. You also want packaging and domestic and international shipping capabilities. The company that you contract for your work, you want to handle the type of job you have for the price that you want.

That is why it is important to tour the facility to see first hand how the company will handle your job load. You want a guarantee that the job you give them will be nothing less than spectacular. This is what contract Plastic molding is all about.

Injection Molding Questions and Answers

Here are some frequently asked questions when there are problems in the process of injection molding, here some of the most popular ones and their solutions.

What happens when the molds are brittle and delaminate? The cause may be an improper injection screw. The screw that is used for molding at a low-pressure ratio fro the amount of resin being used; causes the plastic’s molecules to form incorrectly. Basically, a weak molecular structure can cause brittle parts. When this happens de lamination can occur as well. The result will be a to take a pressure reading and record the ratio. This should be performed once every six months.

Another problem may be discoloration; the possible cause for this may be excessive dwell time or what they call residence time. When a part has been discolored or changed the problem is usually found in the residence time. The material stays in the barrel too long, the base will become discolored. What can be done is the heat sensitive materials have to be set at a certain ration. After every injection shot clean out the barrel.

Discoloration may also be caused by an improper plastic mold temp. The hotter the mold is it will keep the material melted for a longer period of time. The temp of the mold should be adjusted to the supplier’s specs on material and cycle times.

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