Design custom molds for your injection molded products
Designing a custom mold for your injection molded product can be a complex process.
However, working with the right team can greatly reduce complexity and cost, while improving the quality of the finished part and minimizing lead times.
Before attempting to design an injection mold, take the time to answer the following questions.
How will this part be used?
How will this part integrate with other parts in the final assembly?
What kind of loads and pressures can it withstand?
In addition to identifying core functional and structural features, the injection molding process itself is a factor to consider.
The characteristics of the part must be carefully examined, including how the resin material enters and fills the cavity, and how the material cools in the mold.
Experienced mold design engineers understand how to control mold temperature and cooling rates to optimize the process.
This critical step will help optimize cycle times, reduce stress on parts, and prevent a variety of physical and cosmetic defects.
The result is stronger parts that are easier to manufacture.
Injection molding has long been the most popular method of manufacturing plastic parts.
In fact, at any given time, you’re likely to find several injection molded products, including the pen you use, the body of your smartphone, bottle caps, various plastic containers and cases, automotive parts and interiors, computer keyboards etc.
Injection molding is ideal for high-volume production.
With the right setup and tooling, multiple components can be produced in a single cycle with high tolerances, low labor costs and minimal part machining.
That said, the biggest downside to injection molding is the initial upfront cost of creating custom molds and tooling.
This is why it is so important to design the mold correctly.
How Polymers Affect Mold Design
Part designers can choose an injection molding process from thousands of different resins.
Most of these resins are thermoplastics, but some are also elastomers.
When deciding which resin to use for a particular part, it is important to weigh the flexibility, formability, strength and cost of the resin;
These factors will also have an impact on the choice of mold material.
The various metals that can go into the mold offer various temperature handling capabilities and often respond differently to various processes.
When creating a custom mold design, consider how many parts you will need to manufacture and how often.
For example, steel molds last longer than aluminum molds and can usually handle more injection cycles, but steel molds tend to be more expensive.
Does your project require the strongest material or is a less durable material suitable for your needs?
How many molds do you need to make at one time?
How many do you need to run at a time?
How much do you need to keep as a backup?
Custom Mold Construction
Molds, sometimes referred to as dies or tooling, represent a major portion of most manufacturers’ costs associated with injection molding, as they often pay to design and manufacture their own molds and then loan them out to full-service contract manufacturers to Perform the actual injection molding process.
Injection molds are usually cut from hardened steel, pre-hardened steel, aluminum or beryllium copper alloys. The choice of materials used in custom molds usually comes down to the most economically reasonable material. It is important to consider long-term costs and upfront tooling costs. Steel molds are more expensive to produce, but their wear resistance extends their life and requires less maintenance. Standard tool steels are less expensive, but they generally have a shorter life and require more maintenance.
Finally, the mold filling analysis is used to determine the stress level of the mold before construction. If you need to know more, please follow us.
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