Design Guide for Injection Molding Tools Manufacturing
Injection molding is a manufacturing process that relies on precision to make great plastic parts. Generally, it involves injecting molten plastic into a carefully pre-designed mold. The plastic then cools and hardens into the desired product or part. Later, we eject the piece from the mold. It becomes either the final product or we do additional secondary finishes achieving a better look. The mold tool is an important component of the injection molding tools process. Making tool design is often a technical and complex process that needs the correct achievement of dimensions. Here is a guide into the tooling stages and factors to consider when making a tool design.
What’s The Tooling Stages For Injection Molding Tools?
Manufacturability and Feasibility
This is the initial stage where engineers figure out the basic setup of an injection mold tool. Among the features include mold material, mold component functionality, and product dimensions. Our team of engineers also takes into consideration any potential problems that may occur. This we see through tolerance and part geometry that later affect the steel conditions of the tool. We even account for any special tooling such as slides, threads, and lifters that needs adding. Lastly, we test out the chemical and physical properties of the chosen resin. It has a direct effect on mold due to the potential of reacting to it.
The stage involves making initial 2D and 3D design models. They function as prototypes to find out the steel size and mold sides. Once the Creatingway designers review and approve the designs, it proceeds to the design detail stage.
Final Design Specifications
This step involves final changes and modifications in-house. We pay special attention to the critical dimensional needs and manufacturability.
Primary and Secondary Tools Construction
The stage involves the review of detailed tool drawings. It must achieve the construction standards. Thus, to verify this section, a comprehensive checklist confirms.
Final Tool Adjustments
This step requires approval from the client. However, before we submit it for review, we adjust any needed process. We only submit a perfect tool part for approval. Only then does the production process launch.
Tool Material Includes Aluminum and Steel
At Creatingway, we often make tooling molds from pre-hardened and hardened materials for injection molding tools. Hardened steel has a greater wear resistance in comparison to pre-hardened steel. It also lasts longer and thus enables multiple uses and a higher rate of production before the need for replacement. However, they cost more when compared to much softer aluminum.
Tool designers consider the brittleness vs. hardness of the steel. Brittle steel is not a good option when subjected to side impact or loading. It will flex then crack, resulting in a damaged tool. Also, harder steel tools can handle glass-filled mold material. However, the tools prematurely wear down and become heavy on the runner system and gates.
Aluminum is a softer version of steel in terms of hardness properties. Thus, it conveniently reduces the lead time needed in making tools from it. It is also easier for the machine and provides a faster turnaround time. However, due to its soft property, it wears down faster and difficult to maintain. Thus, it is only good for short runs. Additionally, it is difficult to weld the components together. Therefore, we advise making prototypes using such tools due to lower tolerances.
What’s The Mold Design Key Components?
The gate is an opening found at the end of runners. It directs the flow of molten plastic into the mold cavity. Gates have different shapes and sizes. It is dependent on part design and material. Our designers have to consider several factors in setting up the location and types of gates for injection molding tools. This helps achieve the right fill pressures, optimum flow, tolerances, and cooling time. We have to be careful about the gate locations so as not to negatively impact the appearance or performance of the plastic part. Features such as warping, shrinkage, and flow marks are some defects that arise from improper placement of the tool gates.
Finish and texture
At Creatingway, we have the option of applying a pattern or texture to the tooling. This eliminates the need for additional steps to add the various company logos on the plastic. Textures also provided more functionality on the plastic part. It enhances grip for rough textures and reduces wear from friction by having a smooth texture. The types of possible textures include gloss, grains, logos, matte and geometric patterns. However, depending on the depth, types, and position of the texture, it has a direct effect on the draft and ejection. This we can determine during the process of mold design.
The easy removal of a finished part is critical due to the need to cause no damage on the surface part. This we achieve through the application of a taper or draft angle on the mold walls. The degree of draft angle is, however, dependent on several factors. For instance, type of surface finish, design of part, amount of shrinkage, and material used. We usually apply a draft angle to the degree that seems to be enough to easily remove a part after opening the mold. However, molds with deeper cavities require more drafts to achieve the same. Contact Creatingway now for your injection molding services.
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