Why a business should consider using injection molding.
Injection molding is an efficient, versatile, and affordable manufacturing process that earned a deserving place within the business operation of any production company.
From Gameboys to gears, injection molding is utilized to make almost everything. It stands as one of the leading options for companies developing products. Swapping over to it comes with a myriad of benefits today.
Injection Molding, What Is It And Why To Use It?
One type of manufacturing process that makes the production of parts in large quantities possible is injection molding. It’s common in mass-production processes wherein the same part has to be reproduced over and over. It can produce parts in quantities of a thousand, but throughout its life, an injection mold is also capable of replicating the same part up to a million times.
A major advantage of utilizing injection molding as your company’s primary manufacturing process is the large quantity production of parts for a lower cost. It helps that there are many companies out there that offer injection molding machines to businesses, which makes the process easy to source. Visit https://www.dwinc.org/injection-molding to learn more about injection molding service providers.
The largest investment of any production project that will make use of injection molding is the tooling, but scaling becomes possible as needed, whether that’s less or more parts in a short period.
Principles Of Injection Molding
In injection molding, a resin or a base plastic material gets heated and liquefied before getting injected with the necessary pressure into a die that contains multiple cavities shaping the product or the part that the business is trying to form.
The die is usually a metal, but can also come from other materials. As the resin or the base plastic material cools into a solid form, it will be followed by the opening of the die and the ejection of the pieces from the cavities.
The following are the steps in the process:
- Tailoring Of Design – After coming up with an initial concept, the tailoring of the design then follows intending to make it compatible with the injection molding process.
- Manufacturing Of Die – The most time-intensive portion is typically the manufacturing of die. It gets manufactured in two halves for it to both open and clump shut. Aside from having cavities that shape the piece for production, the die also contains channels where the molten plastic material flows through to reach the cavities.
- Production – The production phase starts when the liquefied plastic gets injected into the die. Again, once the plastic cools, the pieces can then be ejected from the cavities.
- Finishing The Product – The processes for aesthetic finishing occur at this point. This is when the trimming of the flash or the excess material from any parts happens.
Notable Products In The Market Created By Injection Molding
A quick look around the house will lead to finding numerous objects that were actually made using injection molding. Even the smartphone or computer you’re using to view this post right now could be a product of injection molding. The truth is that there are a countless number of products that rely entirely on this specific process. Most of these items are things that people use daily. Good examples are the following:
- Children’s Toys – From Lego to the Barbie dolls, most children’s toys are made from injection molds. It makes sense; almost all toys for children come from a plastic material. Plastics are waterproof, versatile, durable, and can also be easily cleaned.
- Car Interiors – Most car owners don’t realize it, but it could be that the interior of their vehicles come from injection molded plastic components. Every time a person gets inside his car, he will be surrounded by plastic parts made by injection molding. The plastic cupholders, window controls, radio buttons, and the dashboard, among others, are all products of the injection molding process. Hub caps, lights lens, roof racks, door handles, the bumper, and some other car exterior parts are also made from the same production process.
- Medical Devices – Injection molding is also essential in the healthcare industry, with healthcare professionals relying on products made from plastic heavily. Injection molding produces many medical devices that are common both at home and in medical facilities. The process makes efficient, precise, and safe manufacturing of medical devices possible. The medical industry finds plastic injection molded products beneficial as they’re lightweight, versatile, very cheap to produce, and sanitary.
The ability of injection molding to produce a wide variety of products cost-effectively and efficiently is what makes it an ideal manufacturing solution for businesses. Like hyper-converged infrastructure, injection molding will also make smart factories and smart manufacturing possible.
Why Should Your Business Consider Using Injection Molding?
1. It’s A Very Fast Process
The creation of products in bulk use injection molding because of the sheer speed of production that the process brings. Through injection molding, producing parts will only take seconds. That, alongside its cost-efficiency, makes the process ideal for your business.
Also, the speed of production means you’re saving time that you can use to speed up other essential processes in your business. What this means for you is that you’re going to spend less cost on associated labor while profiting more from the output.
2. It’s Widespread, Easy To Source, And Affordable
One of the biggest advantages of using injection molding is the three-pronged feedback loop that benefits you and your company more the longer you use it.
In line with labor costs, the molding process brings another added advantage – it’s how easily you can automate it. Once the ball starts to roll, it requires very little oversight and supervision. The injection molding machines are fully programmable. You can program them with reproducible conditions that you can replicate with only a touch of a button.
3. The Product looks Good Even Straight Out Of The Mold
Many different casting products still require thorough finishing after completing the molding process. However, when using injection molding, one fantastic advantage you’ll enjoy is that anything that comes out of the mold looks great and ready to use. Of course, aesthetic finishing may still be required, but the point is that it will only take a minimum to no effort from you.
4. They’re Extremely Efficient
The machine for injection molding materials produces very little waste. It’s actually one of the most efficient raw material users. Also, any excess won’t be wasted since you can simply recycle them back into the machine to use them for future components.
The mold can be expensive to produce, yes, but once you begin production, you can quickly recoup everything. The labor costs will also be barely noticeable if you consider the fact that you won’t have to spend more time joining or trimming the final products, not to mention the less number of rejects you have to deal with because of human error.
5. Injection Molding Produces Strong Products
During the molding process, you can opt to add additives or fillers to the molded part through the plastic injection process to create stronger and reinforced products. It’s an option that you usually won’t find in most other available technologies.
6. It’s Customizable
Injection molding is also popular because of how easy it is to customize the entire process. Add to it the availability of many customization options, and you’ll end up having a lot of things you can do with the process to mix up your existing project.
For new businesses, there’s a wide range of colors and materials that you can opt to use in the process. Assuming you fit the basic criteria for the design, you’ll have a lot of flexibility as to how you can approach it.
Also, you can utilize different types of plastic throughout the cycle. Co-injecting the plastic is also possible so that the machine processes two different types of plastic in one go.
What Are Considerations A Business Has To Take For Injection Molding?
Before a business can endeavor to produce products or parts via injection molding, it has to consider the following things.
- Entry Cost – A large initial investment is required when preparing a project for manufacturing via injection molding. Businesses have to understand this crucial point right from the start.
- Production Quantity – It’s essential that businesses determine the number of products or parts produced at which the process of injection molding becomes most cost-effective for manufacturing. They also have to determine the number of products or parts produced at which they expect to break even on their investments. The expected price point for sales, distribution, marketing, assembly, production, testing, and design should all be part of the consideration. Businesses must build in a conservative margin.
Considerations In Terms Of Design
- Part Design – Businesses have to design the product or part from day one while keeping the process of injection molding in mind. Minimizing the number of components and simplifying geometry early on will surely pay dividends down the road.
- Tool Design – Businesses have to design the mold tool with the aim of preventing defects during production.
- Cycle Time – As much as possible, businesses should strive to minimize cycle time. Well-thought-out tooling and the use of machines that come with hot runner technology can help. It’s essential to note that even the smallest of changes can make a significant difference. For instance, cutting even only a few seconds from the cycle time will translate into huge savings, especially when you’re going to produce millions of parts.
- Assembly – Design the part with the aim of minimizing assembly. Southeast Asia makes use of the injection molding process because of the cost associated with assembling simple parts throughout an injection molding run. Businesses can save a significant amount of money on the labor cost when designing assembly out of the process.
How To Find Injection Molding Providers?
Fortunately, there’s a great number of injection molding providers out there that businesses can work with for their production needs.
Below are useful tips on how to find them.
- Seek A Company That Specializes In Low-To-Medium Volume Jobs – Many injection molding providers state that they’re willing to take any job when in reality, they prioritize high-volume orders over the lower-volume ones, especially if capacity is an issue. That said, seek a company that specializes in low-to-medium volume jobs so you won’t have to worry about any delays because of larger orders from other businesses.
- Investigate Alternative Mold Materials – Steel is the most common material used in high-volume injection molds. It’s long-lasting and durable but also expensive. If your business is a startup or is on a budget, find providers who offer softer and less pricey metals for molds. It’s going to be a great alternative, especially if you only require low volumes. For short-run or single requirements like prototypes, even those that used materials like sand can work.
- Find A Versatile Service Provider – Because of the versatility of injection molding, it has been frequently used in manufacturing. Find a provider that’s as flexible as the injection molding process. Resins that are fit for injection molding, for example, can have different appearances, material properties, characteristics, and costs. A provider that has worked with a broader range of projects can help you choose the right material for your specific needs in the most cost-effective way.
Do you still have to find an injection molding provider even in prototyping projects? In this case, many business owners ditch the idea of finding an injection molding service provider and opt for 3D-printed prototyping instead. What most of them fail to realize is that even an injection-molded prototype brings benefits. Aside from the product development advantages like easy-identification of last-minute functionality, design, and manufacturability issues, it also provides an extra boost when you have to seek funding for your product or when pitching it to retailers and distributors. Of course, a functional prototype that has the same appearance as your expected finished product gives potential stakeholders the confidence and assurance that you mean business.
Injection molding is, no doubt, an excellent technology that businesses can use for production, especially on a massive scale. It’s also beneficial for finalized prototypes to be used for product and/or consumer testing. Businesses should definitely consider using one if they want to streamline their manufacturing and production processes efficiently and cost-effectively.
Linda Jones is a business consultant who strives to help individuals with disabilities find jobs and careers. During her free time, Linda writes articles about this topic to educate people with disabilities about their rights and to help businesses provide employment to these individuals.