Plastic Injection Molding has been in service for decades, and is still one of the most popular manufacturing options available today. It brings many benefits from low-cost manufacturing, to repeatability, and environmental durability. There are many other benefits, and if you’re looking for the best option for a new project, these benefits may help you decide the right plastic injection molding strategy.
Diversity of Materials
Plastic injection molding has 1,000s of plastics available to choose from, which may make the decision on a specific resin harder than you initial think it will be. Your product may need to be more flexible to withstand the customer environment, or harder to keep longevity in the field. Whatever properties you need, plastics can provide them. Plastics are being used in military applications more and more to replace metal components, and these environments are some of the harshest environments on the planet. If your application needs multiple characteristics, the diversity of plastics available can meet your demand.
Reducing the long-term environmental impact is a concern for most manufacturers, and plastic injection molding allows recycling of most materials. Spruces and other manufacturing by-products can be reused for new products. The by-products can be ground into ‘regrind’ and mixed with virgin material at a ratio that doesn’t affect the characteristics of the end-product. Using regrind can help by reducing waste leaving the injection molding facility, and also reduce the manufacturing cost of the product itself. It’s a win-win, and an option to explore for your next project.
Plastics are very versatile and flexible for any application. Plastics can be blended for high or low temperatures, to ensure corrosion resistance extreme environments, to provide insulation in electrically intensive environments, and for strength and durability. Plastics can also incorporate radii and design features for easier manufacturing where other materials and processes can’t. They can reduce the number of fasteners to combine individual components into complete assemblies. With thousands of engineered resins currently available, a specific resin can be chosen for your product need to incorporate extensive details and complexity that isn’t an option with other materials and processes.
Your project may have different colors and textures based on the end-customer, but you want to use the same injection molds to produce the individual components. It’s a challenge to make it have so many opportunities. Plastic injection molding can accommodate that. Resin can be colored to tailor the components for your requirements. Injection molds can also have multiple cavities with differing surface texture options. If you need dual-purpose surface texture options, there are secondary molding applications such as over-molding that can add a rubberized surface for increased grip or a softer feel to increase your product value in the marketplace.
Quick Turn-Around Production
Plastic injection molding can produce a large number of parts in a short period of time. The mold can take weeks to produce, but once it’s ready to go it can run 24 hours per day making repetitive components to your specifications. The type of mold you need will depend on how many parts you need to produce, and the material the injection mold is made from will affect the timeline to produce it. If you only need a few parts, an aluminum injection mold may be a better option. If the quantity is just a handful you may be better off with a 3D printed component that can be done even faster.
Opportunities for Automation
Another great benefit of plastic injection molding is that the machines can be automated to reduce employee input. Assuming you have a steady input of the correct resin, your injection molding machines can run unsupervised for a period of time. The key is to ensure the components are removed from the mold when they are sufficiently cooled, and the process can continue without human interaction.
If you do need human interaction, one trained employee can monitor multiple injection molding machines at the same time during the day. Automation can do the work while one person can ensure machine settings are staying consistent throughout the manufacturing day and the process continues without stopping.
Everything is Additive
While your product may be unique, each of the benefits listed can be added together to produce what you need. Electric insulation? It can be done. Multiple colors? Easy to do. Automated manufacturing, with recycling benefits, and a quick turnaround time? All can be accommodated with plastic injection molding. It may be harder to find the best injection molding partner to handle your project than it is to pick the resin that will offer every benefit you need.
Picking a resin doesn’t have to be complicated. Set your characteristics upfront, and then your manufacturing partner can help with the design process to ensure your criteria are met. Today’s global economy needs to incorporate a complete methodology to identify every opportunity and still mitigate the potential risks. Computer Aided Design (CAD) software can include tools to aid designers in prediction of problems, but a lot of the industry know-how will come from years of experience. SEA-LECT Plastics has an elite staff of designers that specialize in design for part assembly and risk mitigation. We understand how to select the perfect resin. Our staff keeps us in the top ranking for turn-key manufacturers that can offer industry-specific design options, material selection for competitive cost and performance, and turn-key assembly options to produce it in-house in Everett, Washington. If you have a new idea, call us (425) 339-0288 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can offer you advice on the best technology to use, the best materials to meet your product demands, and how to navigate through each development stage with ease.
Matthias Poischbeg was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. Matt moved to Everett, Wash., after finishing his bachelor’s degree in business in 1995 to work for Sea-Dog Corporation, a manufacturer, and distributor of marine and rigging hardware established in 1923.
In 1999, Matt took over the reins at Sea-Lect Plastics Corporation, a sister company of Sea-Dog and a manufacturer of plastic injection molded products with an in-house tool & die shop. Matthias Poischbeg is also a contributor to Grit Daily.