What Are the Different Types of Unscrewing Molds?

Unscrewing molds are essential tools in the plastic injection molding industry, specifically designed to produce threaded plastic parts. These molds ensure the creation of precise and consistent threads, critical for the functionality of various components. Understanding the different types of unscrewing molds can help manufacturers choose the right tool for their specific needs. This article explores the primary types of unscrewing molds and their unique features.

 

Mechanical Unscrewing Molds

Mechanical unscrewing molds are among the most commonly used types due to their simplicity and reliability. These molds use a system of gears, racks, and cams to rotate the threaded core and release the molded part.

Advantages:
ㆍDurability: Mechanical components are robust and can withstand extensive use, making these molds long-lasting.
ㆍCost-Effective: They generally have a lower initial cost compared to hydraulic or motor-driven molds.
ㆍLow Maintenance: The simplicity of the mechanism means there are fewer parts that can fail, leading to reduced maintenance needs.
Applications:
Mechanical unscrewing molds are ideal for producing medium to high-volume threaded parts where precision and durability are critical. They are often used in industries such as automotive and consumer goods.

Hydraulic Unscrewing Molds

Hydraulic unscrewing molds utilize hydraulic cylinders to rotate the threaded core. The hydraulic system provides powerful and precise control, making these molds suitable for larger and more complex threaded components.

Advantages:
ㆍHigh Power: Hydraulic systems can generate significant force, enabling the production of large and heavy-threaded parts.
ㆍPrecision Control: The hydraulic mechanism allows for precise adjustments in the rotation speed and torque, ensuring accurate thread formation.
ㆍVersatility: They can handle a wide range of thread sizes and complexities.
Applications:
These molds are perfect for applications requiring large, intricate, or heavy-duty threaded parts. They are frequently used in the industrial and heavy machinery sectors.

Motor-Driven Unscrewing Molds

Motor-driven unscrewing molds employ electric motors to drive the rotation of the threaded core. These molds offer high precision and are suitable for producing fine-threaded and complex components.

Advantages:
ㆍPrecision: Electric motors provide precise control over rotation, allowing for the creation of intricate and delicate threads.
ㆍProgrammability: The motors can be programmed for various speeds and rotations, offering flexibility in the molding process.
ㆍEfficiency: Motor-driven systems can operate smoothly and efficiently, reducing cycle times.
Applications:
Motor-driven unscrewing molds are ideal for manufacturing small, detailed, and complex threaded parts. They are commonly used in the electronics and medical device industries where precision is paramount.

Pneumatic Unscrewing Molds

Pneumatic unscrewing molds use compressed air to drive the unscrewing mechanism. These molds are less common but offer unique benefits, especially in environments where hydraulic or electric systems are not feasible.

Advantages:
ㆍClean Operation: Pneumatic systems do not require hydraulic fluids, reducing the risk of contamination and making them suitable for cleanroom environments.
ㆍSimplicity: The pneumatic mechanism is straightforward, often resulting in lower maintenance requirements.
ㆍQuick Operation: Pneumatic systems can provide rapid movement, which can be advantageous in high-speed production environments.
Applications:
Pneumatic unscrewing molds are used in industries such as food and beverage or pharmaceuticals, where maintaining a clean production environment is crucial.

Conclusion

Choosing the right type of unscrewing mold depends on the specific requirements of the production process, including the size, complexity, and volume of the threaded parts. Mechanical, hydraulic, motor-driven, and pneumatic unscrewing molds each offer distinct advantages suited to different applications. Understanding these differences helps manufacturers make informed decisions, ensuring optimal performance and efficiency in their operations.

If you need further assistance in selecting the appropriate unscrewing mold for your production needs, please contact us. Our suppliers are ready to provide expert guidance and support to help you achieve the best results in your manufacturing processes.

Unscrewing Mold 101: Guide to Working, Importance, and Types

Unscrewing molds are a crucial component in the plastic injection molding industry, particularly when it comes to manufacturing threaded parts. These molds enable the production of high-quality threaded components with precision and efficiency. This article provides a comprehensive guide to the working principles, importance, and various types of unscrewing molds.

 

How Unscrewing Molds Work

Unscrewing molds are designed to create threaded plastic parts through an intricate molding process. Unlike standard molds, which simply open and eject the part, unscrewing molds have a unique mechanism to handle threaded components. Here’s a step-by-step overview of how they work:

ㆍInjection Phase: Molten plastic is injected into the mold cavity, filling it completely, including the threaded section.
ㆍCooling Phase: The plastic is allowed to cool and solidify within the mold.
ㆍUnscrewing Mechanism Activation: Once the plastic has cooled, the unscrewing mechanism is activated. This can be mechanical, hydraulic, or motor-driven, depending on the mold design.
ㆍThreaded Core Rotation: The core of the mold, which forms the threaded part of the component, begins to rotate. This rotation unscrews the newly formed plastic thread from the mold cavity.
ㆍEjection Phase: After the threaded core has completely unscrewed, the mold opens, and the part is ejected.

This process ensures that the threaded parts are not damaged during ejection, maintaining their integrity and functionality.

Importance of Unscrewing Molds

The importance of unscrewing molds in manufacturing cannot be overstated. Here are some key reasons why they are essential:

Precision and Accuracy: Unscrewing molds allow for the precise production of threaded parts, ensuring consistency and accuracy in every component.
ㆍEfficiency: These molds streamline the production process for threaded components, reducing the time and effort required compared to manual threading.
ㆍQuality Assurance: By using unscrewing molds, manufacturers can produce parts with high-quality threads that meet stringent standards, reducing the likelihood of defects.
ㆍCost-Effectiveness: While the initial investment in unscrewing molds may be higher, the efficiency and reduction in labor costs make them a cost-effective solution in the long run.
ㆍVersatility: Unscrewing molds can be used to produce a wide range of threaded components, making them versatile tools in various industries, from automotive to consumer goods.

Types of Unscrewing Molds

There are several types of unscrewing molds, each designed to meet specific production needs. The main types include:

ㆍMechanical Unscrewing Molds
Mechanical unscrewing molds use a system of gears, cams, and racks to rotate the threaded core. This type of mold is often preferred for its simplicity and reliability. The mechanical components are typically integrated into the mold base, making them durable and easy to maintain.

ㆍHydraulic Unscrewing Molds
Hydraulic unscrewing molds employ hydraulic cylinders to drive the rotation of the threaded core. These molds are highly effective for producing large, heavy-threaded components. The hydraulic system provides powerful and precise control over the unscrewing process, ensuring smooth and accurate thread formation.

ㆍMotor-Driven Unscrewing Molds
Motor-driven unscrewing molds use electric motors to rotate the threaded core. These molds offer high precision and are particularly suitable for complex and fine-threaded components. The motors can be programmed for various speeds and rotations, providing flexibility and control in the molding process.

Conclusion

Understanding unscrewing molds is essential for anyone involved in the plastic injection molding industry, especially when producing threaded components. These molds offer precision, efficiency, and high-quality results, making them a valuable asset in manufacturing. By choosing the right type of unscrewing mold—whether mechanical, hydraulic, or motor-driven—manufacturers can optimize their production processes and ensure the integrity of their threaded parts.

If you need more information or assistance in selecting the appropriate unscrewing mold for your needs, please contact us. Our suppliers are ready to provide expert guidance and support to help you achieve the best results in your manufacturing endeavors.

Beginner’s Guide to Design for Unscrewing Molds

Designing molds for unscrewing parts is a crucial skill in the realm of injection molding. Unscrewing molds are commonly used for producing threaded parts, such as caps, lids, and closures. Understanding the fundamentals of design for unscrewing molds is essential for beginners looking to venture into this area. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of designing molds for unscrewing parts, including key considerations and best practices.

 

Understanding Unscrewing Molds

Unscrewing molds are a type of injection mold designed to produce threaded parts with helical features. Unlike standard molds, which rely on straight-pull actions to release parts from the mold cavity, unscrewing molds utilize rotational movements to release threaded parts from the mold core. This rotational action mimics the process of unscrewing a cap or lid from a bottle.

Key Components of Unscrewing Molds

Unscrewing molds consist of several key components, each playing a vital role in the molding process:

Core and cavity: The core and cavity form the mold cavity where the plastic part is formed. In unscrewing molds, the core typically contains the helical threads, while the cavity corresponds to the exterior shape of the part.
Threaded core: The threaded core is a specialized component that forms the internal threads of the molded part. It is designed to rotate within the mold to facilitate the unscrewing action.
Actuation mechanism: The actuation mechanism is responsible for rotating the threaded core to release the molded part. It can be driven by hydraulic, pneumatic, or mechanical means, depending on the specific design requirements.

Design Considerations for Unscrewing Molds

When designing molds for unscrewing parts, several factors must be taken into account to ensure successful molding operations:

Thread design: The design of the threads plays a crucial role in the functionality of the molded part. Threads must be properly sized and shaped to achieve a secure fit and proper sealing when the part is assembled.
Undercut features: Unscrewing molds often involve the presence of undercut features, which can complicate mold design and tooling. Careful consideration must be given to the location and geometry of undercut features to ensure they can be adequately released during the molding process.
Draft angles: Draft angles are essential for facilitating part ejection from the mold cavity. Adequate draft must be incorporated into the design of both the core and cavity to prevent friction and binding during the unscrewing process.

Best Practices for Designing Unscrewing Molds

To optimize the design of unscrewing molds and ensure efficient molding operations, consider the following best practices:

Simplify the design: Minimize the complexity of the mold design wherever possible to reduce costs and manufacturing time. Simplifying the design can also improve mold longevity and reliability.
Optimize cooling: Proper cooling is essential for maintaining consistent part quality and minimizing cycle times. Design the mold with adequate cooling channels to ensure efficient heat dissipation during the molding process.
Choose suitable materials: Select materials with the necessary strength, durability, and wear resistance for the components of the unscrewing mold. High-quality materials will contribute to the longevity and performance of the mold.

Conclusion

Designing molds for unscrewing parts requires careful consideration of various factors, including thread design, undercut features, and draft angles. By understanding the fundamentals of design for unscrewing molds and following best practices, beginners can create molds that produce high-quality threaded parts efficiently and reliably.

For further assistance or to explore our range of molding solutions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Ultimate Guide to Gas Assist Injection Molding

 

What is Gas Assist Injection Molding?

Gas assist injection molding (GAIM) is an enhanced injection molding process often applied for complex parts, large parts and parts requiring an attractive, cosmetic finish.

The types of parts benefiting most from this process include:

  • large panels
  • enclosures
  • handles
  • doors and bezels
  • tube or rod-shaped parts

How Does Gas Assist Work?

The gas assist process is introduced at the finish of the mold filling stage while the resin is still liquid.  Pressurized gas (usually nitrogen) is used in place of pack pressure from the molding machine.  The pressure from the gas completes the filling of the mold cavity, forcing an even distribution of molten resin against the mold. The gas is held inside during the entire cooling phase and then is vented, leaving a hollow void.  For internal gas-assist molding, the void is inside the plastic.  For external gas assist molding, the void is on the outside surface, typically the backside of a part.

Benefits with Gas Assist

The gas-assist process gets results when part design elements make the part difficult to manufacture using straight injection molding.  GAIM allows for more design flexibility while still being able to provide these benefits:

  • Thin-walled parts with greater strength and rigidity
  • Creation of hollowed out areas, reducing part weight
  • Reduction of molded-in stress for improved dimensional stability
  • Better surface finish with no sink marks
  • Less part shrinkage and reduced warpage

Design Advantages with Gas Assist

1. Complex Designs

For the design engineer, using GAIM expands design options and helps to minimize design changes to make the part manufacturable using injection molding. One of the greatest benefits is the ability to produce complex parts.  Oftentimes with straight injection molding, parts having different wall thicknesses are molded separately and assembled later.

GAIM allows multiple parts to be combined into one, reducing the need for secondary assembly processes – even if the parts have different wall thicknesses.  This is because gas-assist allows heavy wall sections to intersect thinner ones. Support ribs and bosses can achieve tighter tolerances and be designed larger without fear of sink marks. Gas channels are directed toward these areas and the consistent pressure during the cooling phase eliminates sink marks, associated with these support features, on the front side of the part.

2. Metal Replacement

Gas-assist allows the production of thin-walled components that have solid but hollow areas.  The resulting strength and lightweight part can often replace metal fabricated or die cast parts, and reduce product cost.

3. Large parts

The introduction of gas pressure aids in mold filling, providing uniform pressure throughout the part that lasts through the cooling stage. The result is a part with less shrinkage and reduced warpage. Part weight can also be reduced by creating hollowed out areas.

4. Cosmetic finishes

Where an attractive finished surface is required, gas-assist prevents sink areas that eliminate or at least minimize secondary operations to improve part appearance including sanding and priming.

5. Hollow parts

The gas can create hollowed out areas within parts like handles, which decreases part weight and still provides strength.

 

Gas Assist Molds

 

Cost Benefits with Gas Assist

1. Extended Tool Life

With gas-assist, lower clamping force is required because lower pressures are used.  This results in less mold wear extending the life of the tool.

2. Less Energy Cost

With lower clamping force required, larger molds can be used in smaller presses.  Smaller presses consume less power and help to decrease the cost of manufacturing the part.

3. Less Machine Time

A more rapid cooling period helps to reduce cycle time which in turn lowers manufacturing expense per part.

4. Lower Material Cost

Less material is used to produce the part because hollow areas inside of the part are created with the gas and with less resin used, the part cost is lowered.

5. Quality Results

With gas-assist injection molding, the process is typically easier to control than conventional injection molding. A dependable, repeatable process provides consistent production results and less waste.

Common pitfalls

There are many common pitfalls when it comes to Gas Assisted Injection Moulding. Firstly, it is more complex and more expensive to set up than ordinary injection molding. if the tooling price of injection mold shocks you, gas-assisted injection molds will blow you away. Also, by introducing gas into the molding mix, this variable must be precisely tracked, managed and controlled. Without experienced machine operators and technicians, the molding process could go disastrously wrong. The control of the gas also contributes to variable wall thicknesses, especially in tight corners and this is something you generally want to avoid.

Gas Assist Tool Design

If you want to achieve high-quality results, make sure you get the tool design right.

Regardless of what injection molding process will be used, it is important to engage your molder during the early stages of part design in the design for manufacturing (DFM) phase. Tooling cost, timeline, and resulting part quality will be directly impacted by the quality and efficacy of the tool.  When determining the optimal way to mold apart, engineers will consider all product requirements including application, resin selection, and cost considerations. Mold flow analysis is used to find design constraints so that adjustments can be made. When the tooling engineer determines gas-assist is the best solution, the tool will be designed with gas channels built into the mold that will allow the addition of nitrogen gas during the molding process. Determining your molding method early will conserve tooling costs and help to maintain project timelines.  Getting your molder involved early will be critical to a cost-effective, high-quality product.

 

To learn more about this process or to receive assistance with your project, contact WIT MOLD.

NPE 2024 – WIT MOLD Invitation

WIT MOLD will be participating in the NPE 2024 exhibition, which is scheduled to take place from May 6th to 10th in Orlando, Florida. Sincerely invite all of customers & friends to visit our booth South hall, S14207.

 

What is the Precision Injection Molding Process?

Precision injection molding is a manufacturing technique used to produce intricate and high-quality plastic components with tight tolerances and fine details. This process involves injecting molten plastic material into a mold cavity under high pressure, where it cools and solidifies to form the desired part. Precision injection molding is widely employed across various industries, including automotive, medical, electronics, and consumer goods, due to its ability to create complex shapes and achieve consistent results.

 

High Precision Injection Molding Gears

Mold Design and Fabrication

 

At the heart of the precision injection molding process lies the mold, which serves as a negative impression of the desired part. Mold design is a critical step in ensuring the success of the manufacturing process, as it dictates the final geometry, surface finish, and dimensional accuracy of the part. Advanced CAD/CAM software is utilized to create precise mold designs, taking into account factors such as material flow, cooling channels, and part ejection mechanisms. Once the design is finalized, the mold is fabricated using high-precision machining techniques, such as CNC milling or electrical discharge machining (EDM), to achieve the required level of accuracy.

Injection Molding Machine Setup

 

Before the injection molding process begins, the mold is mounted onto an injection molding machine, which consists of a hopper for plastic resin, a barrel for heating and melting the resin, and a hydraulic or electric system for injecting the molten material into the mold cavity. The machine is calibrated to precise specifications, including temperature, pressure, and injection speed, to ensure optimal molding conditions. Additionally, auxiliary equipment such as mold temperature controllers and robotics may be incorporated to further enhance process control and efficiency.

Material Selection and Processing

 

The choice of plastic resin is crucial in precision injection molding, as it directly impacts the mechanical properties, appearance, and performance of the final part. Common materials used in precision molding include engineering-grade thermoplastics such as ABS, PC, Nylon, and PEEK, which offer a balance of strength, stiffness, and chemical resistance. The resin pellets are fed into the injection molding machine’s hopper, where they are melted and homogenized before being injected into the mold cavity. Tight control over processing parameters, such as melt temperature, injection pressure, and cooling rate, is essential to achieve consistent results and minimize defects.

 

High Precision Injection Molding Structural Components

Part Ejection and Finishing

 

Once the molten plastic has cooled and solidified within the mold cavity, the part is ejected from the mold using ejector pins or automated mechanisms. Post-processing steps may be required to remove any residual flash or gate marks and to improve the surface finish of the part. Depending on the application, additional secondary operations such as machining, welding, or assembly may be performed to achieve the desired final product.

Advantages of Precision Injection Molding

 

Precision injection molding offers numerous advantages over traditional manufacturing methods, including:

ㆍHigh repeatability and consistency
ㆍAbility to produce complex geometries with tight tolerances
ㆍCost-effectiveness for high-volume production
ㆍWide range of material options and colors
ㆍMinimal material waste and environmental impact

Conclusion

 

Precision injection molding is a versatile and efficient manufacturing process that enables the production of high-quality plastic components for a variety of industries. By leveraging advanced mold design, machine setup, and material processing techniques, manufacturers can achieve unparalleled precision and consistency in their production processes.

For inquiries about precision injection molding services or to discuss your specific project requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us or reach out to our trusted suppliers. We are committed to providing innovative solutions and exceptional quality to meet your manufacturing needs.

What Is Thermoset Molding?

Many people are not aware of the advantages of thermoset materials. This guide describes the thermoset molding process and how it can benefit you.

 

Thermoset Molding

Thermoset molding is an irreversible molding process by which malleable forms of plastic are forced into a heated mold and formed into their final shape.

Thermoplastic molding is the reverse process where heated material is injected into a cool mold. The material is then cooled to maintain the final shape of the part.

Why Use Thermoset Molding?

Thermoset materials are generally stronger than thermoplastic materials due to the catalysts that are added to the base compound that cause chemical reactions at the molecular level, forming a harder, irreversible final form. Thermoset plastics cannot be re-melted, only ground and recycled as filler for different applications.

Thermoset molded products have electrical and thermal insulation properties, which make them ideal for electrical and electronic applications. They are resistant to corrosion and have high impact strength, depending on the resin, and are cost competitive with engineered thermoplastics. Using thermoset molding allows producers to maintain tighter tolerances during the molding process compared to similar thermoplastic materials.

Pros of Thermoset Injection Molding

Injection molded pieces may be the best fit for a piece for several reasons:

Many different types of materials may be used in injection molding, including thermoplastic and thermosetting resins, polymers, and elastomers. This offers the engineer a great deal of control over which blend of materials will yield the best outcome, especially when needing to meet specific property requirements.

Fantastic for high-volume runs.

Precision and low waste. Because of the specific tooling and material mix, there is less waste with injection-molded parts than with other processes.

Short cooling time – Injection molded pieces cool quickly, reducing the time required to release the injected piece from the mold.

Cons of Thermoset Injection Molding

While injection molding is a fantastic process for the reasons mentioned above, there are certain limitations and drawbacks. A few of these drawbacks include:

Tooling costs – These costs can be significant as precision crafted molds are required.

Flash – Flash is unavoidable when injection molding thermosets. Once the part has been created and ejected from the mold, an automated or manual next step is necessary to remove the flash (excess material). Flash isn’t an issue with thermoplastics due to the higher viscosity of the liquid plastic.

Part size – The size of the piece being created definitely matters when it comes to the molding process. Typically, smaller part sizes (0.1 lbs to 6 lbs) are injection molded, while larger parts are transfer or compression molded. The volume of the order will also dictate which molding process will be the best fit for the project. Compression molding would likely be used for larger parts with a low (or high) volume, while transfer molding would be used for medium to high volume projects. Injection molding would be ideal for high volume runs with smaller pieces.

 

WIT Mold offers Custom Plastic Molding and Tooling services, Contact us now for a competitive offer!

What Are The Advantages Of Gas Assist Molds?

Gas assisted injection molding is a process for producing big plastic to get rid of complicated designs as well as excellent ornamental surface area coatings. Continue reading to get more information about the advantages of gas assist molds.

Gas Assist Molds

Smooth surfaces

 

Gas assist injection molding likewise produces much smoother surface areas to attain the preferred style. After the plastic product has currently been expelled from the machine, it can already be fit for market distribution with really couple of alterations or secondary procedures needed.

With a smoother surface, producers do not need to make changes to the device– i.e. lowering stress, temperature level, and even the place of the gates. This is since gas assisting can already fix many of the problems that may result on the surface of the plastic. Smoother surface areas use a more aesthetically appealing as well as smooth design.

High functionality

 

In the regular injection molding process, there is no gas channel to transmit a low-pressure nitrogen liquid. This suggests that the process may take a lot longer time because there is no element that is quickening the flow of the material into the mold. As a result of the absence of this part, the material can be prone to bending as well as higher inner stress.

With gas-assist, nevertheless, internal stresses are substantially minimized in the resin, leading to a much faster and freer-flowing product. Integrated with properly maintained mold and mildew dental caries, any kind of product resulting from gas-assisted injection molding will conveniently be better compared to the alternative.

Fewer products needed

 

Depending upon the kind of material utilized, injection molding pellets can cost as much as $5 USD per kg. This, along with the expense of purchase and maintaining the elements of the injection molding device are currently costly alone.

Knowing this, makers take advantage of gas assist when they desire a reduced volume of material to be used. This produces cost-beneficial end results for both the maker as well as the end-user.

Using less product can help them save added resin pellets for future usage without giving up the top quality. When a consumer desires a model to be done, on the other hand, they could almost request the much more cost-friendly and also economical gas assist process.

Minimizes fabrication defects

 

There are lots of common sorts of injection molding flaws– from something as minor as circulation lines as well as staining to something as complex as distortion and warping.

To avoid these issues from occurring, injection molding tools operators need to embark on a series of modifications on the device. For instance, they might intend to create another mold and mildew layout, increase/reduce stress and also temperature level, and even utilize various resins entirely.

Gas assist offers a reliable as well as all-around service to these flaws. As claimed before, the low-pressure nitrogen gas is constantly and also uniformly sent to the molten material. It permits the product to be firmly pressed as well as portable itself onto the walls of the mold tooth cavity. The outcome– a high-quality product that’s devoid of stress and takes the intended design and shape of the producer.

 

Gas Assist Molds

 

Lighter

 

Plastic has actually been a preferred material for several sectors as a result of its lightweight residential or commercial properties. With the right tools and also maker handy, it’s feasible to come up with acrylic, HDPE, polyethylene, and even polytetrafluoroethylene injection-molded items that are less thick than the typical material yet can still be used in functional applications.

Like the materials over, materials that have undergone gas assist injection molding are far lighter in weight in contrast with the typical injection molding procedure. The main consideration for this is that the procedure uses up much less area and material, leading to a sturdier and also extra long-lasting product that is not also cumbersome.

Critical takeaway

 

Several benefits of gas assist injection molding consist of the following: much better dimensional quality, enhanced efficiency, much less product, lighter product weight, smooth surface areas, and much less warping.

For both manufacturers as well as end-users, the gas assist injection molding strategy uses a number of advantages. Before deciding on whether or not the gas assist procedure is the right one for you, establish your item needs as well as factors to consider such as production as well as procurement expense, parts needed, high quality of the material, and so forth.

Improved sizing quality

 

The procedure of setting up multiple or particular gas channels in a single plastic injection molding equipment is absolutely nothing brand-new. As a matter of fact, gas assist is widely made use of in producing specialty items– specifically those that have special dimension styles and patterns.

Ribbed plastic items, as they’re called, are the result of a finely-tuned gas assist injection molding strategy. This process is one of the most efficient selections for generating these stylized products as a result of the boosted dimensional precision as well as quality that it provides. You’ll frequently locate everyday materials like container caps, water drums, containers, as well as much more.

 

We are a gas assist mold supplier, please feel free to contact us if you need them.

Three Questions You Need to Consider before Choosing Precision Molding

If you need a plastic part molded with extreme precision—for example, to ensure there’s no air leak between two molded sections or to be certain there’s no visible seal gap line—you likely require precision molding. The difference between a typical injection molded part and a precision molded part is the tolerance, or acceptable range of variation in dimension: While the majority of injection molded parts have a tolerance of +/- .005″, precision molding holds tolerances between +/- .002″ and +/- .001″ (or less, in some cases).

Let’s say, for example, you’re planning to manufacture a military projectile. In order for the projectile to fit properly in the firearm, handle the acceleration when it’s launched, and explode on impact, it requires very high precision.

If your application requires precision molding, you can’t leave anything to chance—so you’ll want to ask yourself the following three questions before you begin the process:

 

1. Have you selected a plastic material with low shrinkage?

The plastic material you select for your part makes a big difference in whether you’ll be able to do precision molding. For example, polypropylene has a shrinkage range of +/- .014″ to +/- .022″, with an average of +/- .018″. This is a wide range for shrinkage, which makes hitting a specific tolerance extremely difficult. If you’re molding a toothbrush (which commonly uses polypropylene), dealing with shrinkage isn’t a big concern, as the toothbrush will function appropriately regardless of whether it’s slightly bigger or smaller than its counterparts. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)—another common thermoplastic polymer—has a much narrower shrinkage average of +/- .006″. That gives you a much better chance of hitting a tighter tolerance, but it still won’t reach the +/- .001″ or +/- .002″ tolerance needed for a precision part.

One way to hit high tolerances with your plastic material is to add glass or another filler resin (like carbon fiber or mica) into the material. This can minimize shrinkage and warp by providing more structure in the material. For example, if you include long glass fibers in a polymer material, the part will shrink more perpendicular to those fibers.

2. Have you determined which areas of the mold require precision?

Because precision molding is more expensive than typical injection molding, be certain which aspects of your part require tight tolerances—and whether those tolerances can be achieved through injection molding—before moving forward. For example, a surgical handle may only require precision for the piece that will connect with a pin, not the entire handle. Identifying your precision requirements from the get-go ensures you’ll get what you need without wasting money. In the case of the surgical handle, your injection molding partner may advise you to add the tolerances you need through tooling after the injection molding process is complete.

3. Can the mold manufacturer you’ve selected tool with high precision?

The process of creating plastic parts with tight tolerances begins with a high-precision mold. If each plastic part you create is not identical, you won’t have a precise product—and a precise mold ensures there’s no variation for each part. Because of this, it’s extremely important to select a mold manufacturer who understands the slow, steady process of building a high-precision tool. Keep in mind that selecting a mold manufacturer that specializes in rapid tooling is likely not your best option, as the goal of rapid tooling is to finish the mold quickly—but not necessarily precisely.

Let’s get your precision molding project started

We have years of experience in precision molding, and would love to answer any and all of your questions. You can either contact us with those questions, or, if you’re ready to get your project started now, simply contact us and request a free quote.

Advantages And Disadvantages of Two-shot Injection Molding

There are a variety of manufacturing methods used to create products using plastic polymers, including two-shot injection molding, compression thermoset molding and extrusion. While all of these are viable manufacturing processes, there are several advantages to this process that make it the top choice for many plastics manufacturers. The process is relatively simple; one material is injected into a mold in order to make the initial section of the product, followed by a second injection of a secondary material that is compatible with the original material. There are three good reasons many manufacturers use this method of manufacturing plastics or polymers.

Advantages of two-shot injection molding

 

Two-shot injection molding is cost-effective

The two-step process needs only one machine cycle, rotating the initial mold out of the way and putting the secondary mold around the product so that the second, compatible thermoplastic can be inserted into the second mold. Because the technique uses only one cycle instead of separate machine cycles, it costs less for any production run and requires fewer employees to make the finished product while delivering more items per run. It also ensures a strong bond between the materials without the need for further assembly down the line.

Enhanced product quality

Two-shot injection molding enhances the quality of most thermoplastic items in several ways:

Improved esthetics: Items look better and are more appealing to the consumer when they are crafted of different colored plastics or polymers. The merchandise looks more expensive if it utilizes more than one color or texture
Improved ergonomics: Because the process allows for the use of soft-touch surfaces, the resulting items can have ergonomically designed handles or other parts. This is particularly important for tools, medical devices, and other hand-held items.
Enhanced sealing capabilities: It provides for a better seal when silicone plastics and other rubbery materials are used for gaskets and other parts that require a strong seal.
Combination of hard and soft polymers: It lets you combine both hard and soft polymers for outstanding comfort and utility for even the smallest of products.
Reduced misalignments: It can greatly reduce the number of misalignments when compared to over-molding or more traditional insert processes.
Complex mold designs: It enables manufacturers to create more complex mold designs using multiple materials that can’t be effectively bonded using other processes.
Exceptionally strong bond: The bond created is exceptionally strong, creating a product that is more durable, more reliable, and with longer life.

Versatility

Product manufacturers favor a wide range of applications for two-shot injection molding, including automotive interior parts, medical equipment, tools, and toys. It allows manufacturers to combine various materials and colors to create a strong and attractive final product. Some materials can be effectively combined with this process, including silicone and thermoplastics, nylon and thermoplastic elastomers, or hard nylon and soft-touch materials.

Two-shot injection molding can solve your company’s product production difficulties. An experienced plastic manufacturer can guide you from concept to finished product and ensure a cost-effective solution.

Producing an assembly with multiple components

Compared to other methods of plastic molding, two-shot is ultimately a more cost-efficient way of producing an assembly with multiple components. Here’s why:

Part Consolidation: Two-shot injection molding reduces the number of components in a finished assembly, eliminating an average of $40K in development, engineering, and validation costs associated with each additional part number.

Improved Efficiency: Two-shot molding allows multiple components to be molded with a single tool, reducing the amount of labor needed to run your parts and eliminating the need to weld or join components after the molding process.

Improved Quality: Two-shot is carried out within a single tool, allowing for lower tolerances than other molding processes, a high level of accuracy and repeat-ability, and reduced scrap rates.

Complex Moldings: Two-shot injection molding allows for the creation of complex mold designs that incorporate multiple materials for functionality that cannot be achieved through other molding processes.

Disadvantages of two-shot injection molding

1) High tooling costs and long setup lead times. Up-front costs are high due to the design, testing, and tooling required. There is the initial design and prototyping (probably via CNC or 3D printing), then the design of a prototype mold tool to produce replicas of the part in volume. Lastly, and only after extensive testing during both stages, you can finally inject mold a part.

2) Part design restrictions. Plastic parts must be designed with injection molding consideration and must follow the basic rules of injection molding, for example:

Avoid undercuts and sharp edges as much as possible

Use uniform wall thicknesses to prevent inconsistencies in the cooling process resulting in defects like sink marks.

Draft angles are encouraged for better de-molding.

Don’t forget, because tools are typically made from steel or aluminum, it can be difficult to make design changes. If you need to add plastic to the part, you can make the tool cavity larger by cutting away steel or aluminum. But in order to take away plastic, you need to decrease the size of the tool cavity by adding aluminum or metal to it. This is extremely difficult and in many cases might mean scrapping the tool (or part of it) and starting over.

Also, the weight and size of the part will determine the tool size and necessary press size. The larger the part, the more difficult and expensive it will be.

3) Small runs of parts can be costly. Due to the complexity of tooling, and the necessity to rid the machine of all previous material before the next product can be made, the setup time can be quite lengthy. Therefore small runs of parts have traditionally always been thought of as too expensive to injection mold.

 

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