In one of our previous blog articles, we reviewed the most commonly used plastics materials and their industrial applications. Injection molding is a widely used manufacturing process in which molten material is injected into a mold cavity to form a shaped object, after that polymer melt is cooled down and when it’s solidified, getting released from the mold. This process has revolutionized the production of a wide variety of products, from large car bumpers to smallest medical devices.
The increase in consumer requirements regarding the design of thin-walled products with high strength and high dimensional accuracy while maintaining appropriate aesthetic properties in various industries, including automotive, consumer electronics, electronics and household appliances, has resulted in a dynamic development of injection molding technology. Modern technologies allow designers to create more advanced, bolder designs of machines and devices with high aesthetic values, increasing the life span of devices and improving their functional properties.In this article, we would like to discuss their processing technologies that are used to produce parts and components of new devices.
INSERT MOLDING (IM)
Insert molding (IM) is a process that inserts pre-formed components (e.g., metal pins, coils, or threads) into the mold cavity, and molds them directly onto the part during injection molding. This technology is used to produce complex and multi-functional parts for automotive, electrical, and medical applications. The main advantage of IM is that it improves strength, durability, and functionality, while reducing assembly time and labor cost. However, it requires additional tooling and handling, and it may result in adhesion problems and residual stresses.
Electrical connector as an example of one of the most common used insert molding applications
Micro-injection molding: is used to produce very small parts, typically with dimensions of less than 1mm. Micro-injection molding is a highly precise and accurate process that involves the use of specialized equipment and materials. The process uses low injection pressures to create intricate and detailed parts. Micro-injection molding is used to create a variety of small parts, including micro-optics, micro-fluidic devices, and micro-electronics.
This technology is used to add a second material to an already formed part. This is done by placing the first part into a mold and then injecting a second material around it. Overmolding can create a variety of textures, colors and properties to the final product. It's used for toys, household items, automotive parts, and electronics.
Drill-driver housing consisting of plastic base and rubber overmolding
IN-MOLD DECORATION (IMD)
This technology uses an injection molding process to apply decorative elements, such as graphics or logos, directly to the surface of a product. This can be done by using pre-printed films, or by using specialized inks and coatings. This can be used to create products with a high-quality finish and is often used to create consumer products such as mobile phone cases and appliances.
Cooker control panel with IMD markings
GAS-ASSISTED INJECTION MOLDING
This technology uses a small amount of gas, such as nitrogen, to help shape the plastic as it is injected into the mold. The gas fills the mold and pushes against the plastic, helping to create hollow products with a consistent wall thickness and fewer defects. This technology is used to create parts such as bottles, containers, automotive parts and furniture.
Blow-Molded Air Intake components
METAL INJECTION MOLDING (MIM)
This is an advanced manufacturing process that uses injection molding to create complex, high-density metal parts for high volume manufacturing. It combines the design freedom of plastic injection molding with the strength and durability of metal. It's widely used for creating small, intricate metal parts such as gears, medical implants, and firearm components.
Stainless steel jaws used for medical devices manufacturer by PIM technology
REACTION INJECTION MOLDING (RIM)
This technology uses a chemical reaction to harden the plastic, rather than just cooling the material. It involves the mixing of two liquid components at low pressure before being injected into the mold. The chemical reaction causes the material to cure and harden into the final product shape. RIM is typically used to create large, complex parts with a high degree of dimensional accuracy, such as car body panels, industrial equipment and furniture parts.
Car bumper as an example of a part molded by RIM technology
Knowledge of production technologies, their applications and limitations is necessary to design correct, manufacturable components of machines and devices, that allow for prototyping and tool manufacturing and avoiding product flaws such as visible weld lines, excessive sink marks, warpage or or burn marks.
Whether your product includes precise micro-molded components, durable thin-walled tanks molded in gas assisted process or soft in touch, user friendly handle overmolded with rubber, Mindsailors engineering team will help you to select materials, prepare appealing visual concepts and mechanical documentation that will meet your requirements within the product development process and allow you to introduce new product to market.