If you have decided to replace a part or several parts on a manufactured tool with plastic, then this can save you thousands in materials each and every year. To ensure consistency, plastic injection molding is necessary. However, before you start actually making parts and re-establishing your production techniques, there are a few important aspects you need to take into consideration.
The Initial Tooling Cost
You likely understand that injection molding uses a mold where liquid plastics are injected and then cooled. This creates a 3D part and you can expect that every part is exactly the same based on the mold. And while you can create hundreds of thousands of parts fairly quickly and a reduced rate, you will need to acquire the mold first.
Mold creation is called tooling and it requires a fairly in-depth process of designing, usually on a computer. Industrial designers are often needed who have a good deal of experience with CAD and other types of programs. Once the design is created, a prototype is required and then the mold is made from the prototype. Afterward, one or several parts are created using the mold and an inspection is made to ensure that the molded part is precise when compared to the prototype.
Once this step is completed, a larger mold is often created so multiple parts can be created at once. This depends on your overall production needs.
It does take several months to create a mold. It is best to be patient during the process since changes are extremely difficult or impossible once the mold is actually formed.
One of the benefits of using injection molding techniques is the fact that there is very little waste. This can greatly reduce costs, but there are sometimes cooling concerns after the injection molding process is completed. Due to these concerns, industrial designers will often retain a uniform thickness across molded parts that does not exceed three or four millimeters.
You will need to consider whether the thickness is ideal for your parts. In some situations, you may need two or more different parts that can fit together. Also, shrinking the part and choosing to replace several different parts of a specific tool may work better. Both of these options can reduce overall costs while also ensuring that the finished product is consistent, strong, and not warped during the cooling process.
If you want to know more about injection molding or how you can implement plastics into your manufacturing process, speak with a company such as Accurate Products Inc.