Plastic Injection Molding is the most versatile method of producing parts and products because it is simpler, reliable and efficient. Using Injection Molding, because of its high pressure during molding, detailed features and complex geometry can be easily designed and manufactured except those very complicated geometry products.
Injection Molding is ideal for producing high volumes of plastic parts and it also allow producing several parts in each cycle by using multi-cavity injection molds. The advantages of injection molding are high tolerance precision, repeatability, large material selection, low labor cost and minimal scrap losses. The disadvantages are the expensive upfront tooling investment and process limitations.
Traditionally, production tools are constructed from metals such as steel or aluminum. This comes with a high cost and time commitment for the manufacturing of the tool. Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, can create plastic tools that potentially alleviate this burden for both prototyping and short production runs by emulating the quality of parts produced in metal tools.
How Additive Manufacturing helps Injection Molding?
- Shorten the lead-time for prototypes samples
- Faster mold trial review using 3D printed inserts
- Modification of products can be faster
- Numerous designs can be created at low cost to test
- Fabricate the actual steel core and cavity inserts, if needed, only after final mold trial review on the 3D printed inserts
What are some of the drawbacks of additive manufacturing tools?
Additive Manufacturing tools retain a greater amount of heat in comparison to their metal counterparts. Modifying the tool temperature and injection pressure allowing the part to solidify and eject properly as well to compensate the cycle time.
If you have doubts on AM inserts for injection molding, why not give it a try and experience it yourself? Start with simple parts without undercuts. Gain experience from there and slowly move towards those products that require sliders or lifters.
- Case study whether the AM inserts are able to work with the steel sliders/lifter?
- Can the mechanism work?
- Can the slider and lifter be fabricated using additive manufacturing too?
This process may be challenging but you may be the pioneer to kick start this journey.
ECS Infotek is here to kick start the journey together with you.
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