Rapid injection molding is exactly what the name implies, but multiplied by a factor of 10! It is hard to imagine that anyone could offer a service that can guarantee a fully functioning injection mold in a day or two, but that is actually the case.
This is precisely what rapid injection molding is all about: rapid, as in very rapid! These molds are made of high grade aluminum and can produce anywhere from a few parts to thousands.
How does rapid injection molding work?
It works by automating as much as possible in the mold making procedure. By taking the customer’s 3-D model and automating the design and manufacture of the mold, the lead times are cut down to a fraction of the conventional process.One of the central parts of the automation process lies in the design of the plastic part. By working with knowledgeable designers, many features, such as undercuts, can be minimized or eliminated.
Some of the features that must be considered are:
- Part draft angles and radii
- Using straight pulls whenever possible
- Simple approaches to side actions
- The CNC milling process
- Part size limits
What are the advantages of rapid injection molding?
- A way to bridge the time gap between prototype and full production. If you need a working injection mold right now, this is the answer.
- Short run production to get your product in the marketplace immediately.
- Gives engineers a working model to approach a full-blown design for a production tool.
What are the disadvantages of rapid injection molding?
- The aluminum molds are low production.
- Works best for simpler parts with minimal side action and undercuts.
- EDM machining is eliminated, thus some detail may be sacrificed.
- The entire core and cavity are high-speed CNC machined, often on 5-axis CNC machines, therefore the design has limitations.
Is rapid injection molding expensive?
Surprisingly, the cost is quite reasonable, though there is always a premium to pay for extremely quick turnaround. Typically though, the cost is much less than might be expected. This is due to the highly developed automation process of this type of mold making.
Rapid injection molding is a niche market segment of injection mold making. It serves a highly specialized marketplace, yet is very important within the niche. The ability to get your injection molded plastic part to market in a matter of days is very valuable to the right company.Also, the ability to bridge the gap between prototype and high production is a very useful tool for custom injection molders.
Randy Hough has worked as a plastic injection mold maker since 1978. He heads a group of industry professionals who have a web site dedicated to injection mold making. You can learn the latest trends and techniques by visiting their website: [http://global-plastic-injection-molding.com]
They also have an interactive blog that is frequently udated with the latest industry trends. Learn how to make a plastic injection mold, mold design, about jobs in the plastic industry and more.
Injection Molding Machines
The injection molding process was invented in 1872. Since then, the injection molding business and the plastic industry has ballooned into a multi billion dollar business venture. In fact, thirty two percent of plastics by weight are processed through injection molding. Injection molding has greatly helped in making the US economy boom because through it, cheap and durable consumer and industrial items essential to almost all industries is made possible.
Components of the injection molding machine
The injection molding machine converts granular or pelleted raw plastic into final molded parts through the use of a melt, inject, pack and cool cycle for thermoplastics.
A basic injection molding machine is typically composed of the following: injection system, hydraulic system, mold system, clamping system and control system. The clamping tonnage and shot size are both used in identifying the dimensions of the injection molding machine for thermoplastics, which is the main factor in the whole process.
Functions of the machine
The injection molding machine can be classified into three categories, namely: general purpose machines, precision/tight-tolerance machines and high-speed thin-wall machines. All three types require auxiliary equipment to function. These support equipment includes dryers (resin), material handling equipment, granulators, mold temperature controllers and chillers, part-handling equipment and part-removal robots.
There are a lot of companies specializing in quality injection molding, but they are not all the same. The best ones fast, flexible and customer driven both for large and small quantities. These companies usually have state-of-the-art facility with full scale thermoplastic and thermoset capabilities, computer-aided manufacturing, skilled machine operators and quality assurance team.
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