Compared Hard and Soft Tooling for Injection Molding Processes
There exist two broad classifications of injection molding tools namely hard tooling and soft tooling. At Creatingway, we realize the importance of selecting the appropriate tooling process in order to get properly functioning parts. This is entirely dependent on specific factors affecting the injection molding process. They include material selection, budget constraints, and volume needs.
The key difference between hard tooling and soft tooling is the type of material we use in producing different molds. Hard tooling uses aluminum or steel to produce parts from injection molding. On the other hand, soft tooling uses silicone to produce parts from injection molding. Here is a further insight into how to distinguish the two injection molding tooling processes. It will additionally assist you in knowing which is within your budget, produce properly functioning parts, and will help you keep time in your project.
What’s The Soft Tooling For Injection Molding Processes?
In soft tooling, we use molds made from fiberglass, silicon, or carbon fiber. It is generally good for producing urethane castings and rubber moldings. Each mold cavity is reusable for about 30 to 50 cycles of injection molding shots. This makes soft tooling well suited in the production of low volume parts.
The Process of Soft Tooling
The entire process involves injecting the molten material manually into the mold cavity through a tube. It takes about 3 to 24 hours to cure. This is dependent on the type of material injected. After the curing process is complete, we open up the molds manually. If the parts made require any additional finishes, we subject it to secondary processes. This ensures we deliver properly functioning parts.
Soft tooling Have Below Three Good for Certain Industrial Applications.
- Making test pieces for rapid evaluation by customers. This is due to the rapid turnaround time of soft tooling. It is thus ideal for making small batches that the market can test.
- Making custom and small volume orders. It makes sense using soft tooling to make orders ranging from a single to a few hundred pieces.
- Making a prototype from a design concept. Soft tooling is an easy and fast way of making models from a design concept. The prototype serves the purpose of demonstrations, functionality testing, visualization, and later approval.
Advantages of Soft Tooling Injection Molding
- Offers a variety of material selections
- Fast order turnarounds coupled with short lead times
- Ability to implement intricate details and complex geometrics with the aid of a 3D printed master pattern.
What’s The Hard Tooling For Injection Molding Processes?
In hard tooling, we use studier materials to make the molds. Examples of such material include steel alloys, aluminum, and nickel. The molds notably take longer to make and design thus raising their cost when compared to molds for soft tooling. However, molds made from hard tooling last longer in use. This makes it hard tooling the ideal option for producing high volumes of parts.
Process of Hard Tooling
The entire process involves injecting molten material using an injection molding machine into the cavity. The process is more automatic when you compare to soft tooling injection molding. The curing process is shorter in this scenario, taking between a few seconds to a few minutes. Not only does this help in yielding parts quicker, but it also makes more parts within the specific duration of time.
Hard tolling is however costly to fabricate. We require to utilize precision machining at times to enhance the molds made. We also exercise a great deal of care while fabricating to avoid any costly errors.
Advantages of Hard Tooling Injection Molding
- Hard tooling mold has the feature of resisting high temperatures. This allows for the molding of materials, not tools able by soft tooling molds.
- Any parts possessing a simple design can function immediately from the production line.
- The hard molds allow for the manufacture of high volumes of products. It can range to millions of products.
- We can add multiple cavities to a single hard tooling mold. This allows for several similar parts to be made concurrently.
Factors Considered in Determining the Most Suitable Type of Injection Molding Tooling
Duration of project
Clients that require quickly produced molds should consider soft tooling rather than hard tooling. A hard tool mold takes a week to make while a soft tool mold takes only a few days. It is still dependent on the complexity of the design.
Geometry and complexity
The More complex design is, the higher the cost in making the mold. Unless absolutely necessary, keep the design as simple as possible.
Quantities and tool life
Hard tooling molds have longer tool life thus making more parts. Soft tooling, however, has a shorter tool life thus making low volumes of parts.
Creatingway is the ideal partner for your injection molding projects. We have a team of dedicated engineers ready to assist you in making your design a reality. For any inquiries concerning injection molding tooling, simply contact us now.
Creatingway is concentrated on CNC machining manufacturing, prototype machining, low-volume manufacturing, metal fabrication, and parts finishing services, provide you the best support and services. ask us one inquire now.
Any questions or RFQ for metal& plastic technology and custom machining, welcome to contact us below
Call +86-0(755)-89492523 or send an inquiry to us
Welcome visit us, any metal and plastic design and machining questions, we are here to support you. Our services email address: