Injection molding is a manufacturing process typically used to produce identical items; it uses different materials, including thermosetting and thermoplastic polymers, metals, elastomers, and glasses. Manufacturers use injection molding to make plastic items such as remote control casings, bottle tops and syringes.
The first stage of this manufacturing process involves creating a mold. Afterward, the material is fed into a barrel and subjected to high temperatures until it melts. The molten form of the material is then fed into the mold cavity, where it cools and hardens before being ejected out of the machine. While the process offers many advantages, manufacturers need to seek out the best injection mold services to leverage the benefits. Below are reasons why manufacturers prefer plastic injection molding.
1. Enhanced strength
Manufacturers consider strength a key element when designing a plastic injection molded part. They need to determine the flexibility or rigidity of a plastic part to know where to adjust the integrating ribs of gussets. Other variables such as the use of the product and the environment in which it will be exposed will help determine its strength.
Injection molding allows using fillers to reduce the density of plastic during the molding process. Using fillers helps add greater strength to the final product. Today, lightweight thermoplastics can withstand the harshest environment at par or better than metal parts.
2. Complex part design
Injection molding allows manufacturers to produce highly complex, detailed parts while ensuring uniformity in each piece. However, this is only attainable when you have the right design. A good design optimizes the efficiency of the end product. For this reason, you want to pay attention to key design elements such as corner transitions, wall thickness, boss design, and weld lines. With a bad structure, injection molding can result in more production costs. You don’t want to have non-functional 10,000 parts at the end of your production.
3. Fast production
Efficiency is one of the significant reasons manufacturers prefer injection molding over other processes. The process is cost-effective for producing thousands or even millions of parts due to its high output rate. Usually, only approximately 15-120 seconds pass between each cycle, meaning many parts can be produced within a limited period. Fast production is beneficial to the client since they do not have to wait for long until all their parts are made. On the other hand, the manufacturer gains from increasing possible revenue and profit margins.
4. Reduced labor cost
Most of the processes in injection molding are automated, meaning machines and robotics control the functions. A sole operator is usually enough to manage these processes, reducing the need for labor. Manufacturers save on money that they would otherwise channel into salaries. Since injection molding is an automated process, there is no risk of part defects often resulting from human error. The overheads are significantly reduced; therefore, automation lowers manufacturing costs.
5. Low scrap rates
When looking for a manufacturing process for high-volume production, you want to consider a company’s green manufacturing initiative. The post-production scrap from injection molding is often very little or relative to traditional manufacturing processes. The excess plastic is often re-grounded and recycled for future use. Working with a company committed to protecting the environment is therefore essential.
6. Product consistency
Injection molding has a high accuracy or precision level because it is a repeatable process; the subsequent parts produced after the first ones are always similar. The process is the same across production runs and equipment.
7. Multiple finishes
Most applications require a smooth surface finish for their parts, but that is not always the case. Other times surfaces can have unique textures and matte finishes. Injection molding allows for any finish depending on the physical and chemical properties of the plastic used.
Color and material are important elements in creating plastic parts. You can achieve unique colors with injection molding since the process allows for different coloring systems, including dry pigment mixing, solvent coloring, and masterbatching. Thanks to advances in polymers over the years, there is also a large selection of resin from which you can choose.
When choosing a resin for your parts, you want to ensure that they are compliant with FDA and fit the application. Therefore, you want to work with a skilled manufacturer to help you choose the right resin. You may need to consider tensile strength, impact strength, water absorption and heat deflection.