This is a manufacturing process for producing high volumes of any part or object that can be needed consistently. It is one of the most efficient methods available, which is great for any mass production of goods where the same object is created over and over. Its initial cost may be a little higher, but beyond that, the price per unit that the Injection molding costs are minimal. This price also tends to fall consistently as more and more of the goods are produced.
But how does injection molding work?
Injection molding requires plastic being heating at high temperatures and then injected under extreme pressure into a metal mold that is designed for a specific product to be manufactured. Once injected, this molten plastic cools down and hardens in the mold. Once the mold is opened, these objects can be removed and allowed to be inspected and then packed up.
It has many benefits as a technique for manufacturing, some of which are:
Low scrap rates
Injection molding has very few issues in terms of scrap, with only a few bits and pieces turning out to be thrown away. Thus this is a more environment-friendly option that makes minimal waste. Of course, there are options such as 3D printers. However, they are not advanced enough to output in a commercial capacity, making them difficult to use in such circumstances. Much of this waste in the method can easily be recycled and reused for the same or a different process.
Once the mold has been crafted to perfection, and as long as the process is followed properly, there is a very low possibility of less than the ideal output. The injection process is easily repeatable, and you can get identical outcomes for all of your products which is a need for any business and brand. You can gain a high volume of products on a very consistent basis and have a good manufacturing output overall which is great for any business.
You get to choose the perfect materials for your project. You get to seek out the right materials and the exact kind of plastic or resin that your project requires of you. The range of materials accessible can be quite vast. Options such as Antistatic Plastic, Thermoplastic Rubber, Chemical Resistant plastics, infrared, biocompatible, many color options, and so on. The sheer amount of choice provided to you as a part of this process is quite impressive. There are many opportunities here that can allow you to make an environmentally-friendly choice in picking your plastic for injection molding.
So here we have seen some very clear benefits to Injection Moulding, but no technology is perfect. The reality is that most technology in the manufacturing industry is based on some form of trade-off. So, some downsides and concerns for injection molding are as follows.
While it is true that the injection molding system is very consistent, this is when the mold has been created perfectly, and the right procedures are followed in its usage. However, even the smallest mistakes can have very big consequences in the usage of molds. These mistakes can make things difficult both financially and logistically for the organization. Especially if the business is a small one and the margin of error is minimal in this regard.
There is a very obvious upfront cost to creating the molds that are being made. This means that the cost of designing, testing, and acquiring the right tools can be an expensive process. It is important to get the design perfect the first time, or the cost to the company is very high. This is particularly important if the volume needed to be manufactured incredibly high.
Getting the design correct is usually done through 3D printing, where it is prototyped, and variations are made on the product to test out the durability and quality that is being provided.
Designing a mold tool to get the production started for the first few hundred prototypes.
Refinement of Details: Where the details are refined to near perfection, and every single detail is taken into consideration before production begins.
High Cost of Tooling
The tools needed for the injection process can be very expensive. This tool needs to be created for any new design. The Mould that is required should be perfect and should be able to create replicas of the product itself.
This can take a few iterations, and getting this to be perfect can take up time and money.
Large parts can be very difficult to manufacture in this manner, as they are not conducive to being manufactured in a single go. These can often be more complex objects, increasing the complexity of the mold and possibly making the process more difficult.
The Bottom Line
Overall plastic for injection molding can be a beneficial tool overall. However, many considerations must be taken to make sure that this is the right option for your project and the right choice for your business.