Applying scientific injection molding principles to parts upfront in the manufacturing process will help to ensure an optimized part and a robust mold design. The inputs will inform the mold design and build, and allow for optimal processing conditions and part conformance. Here are three simple strategies of scientific injection molding.
Before you design a mold, assess the part. One of the most impactful ways to do this is by incorporating scientific injection molding into the process and running mold flow simulations on the part to help inform the tool specifications. This process is called design of experiment (DOE) simulation, and it looks at fill, warp, shrinkage and cooling.
You can repeat the virtual DOE simulations as many times as necessary, applying different variables each time to see how the part will be affected during the molding process. The simulation will note any design flaws and identify ideal gating location, which helps to enhance both part design and tool design. Collectively, the data you obtain during this upfront process will provide the inputs and specifications for the mold.
Scientific injection molding is especially critical to ensure part compliance for complex parts with high tolerances, thin walls or multiple cores. Incorporating more science upfront will help ensure that you build an optimal mold from the start.
A moldmaker can also build a mold to include pressure and/or temperature transducer sensors, taking scientific analysis even further. Sensors are small pins that send data to a central computer when triggered by a specific pressure or temperature. The data allow engineers to “look” inside the mold while it’s running, providing real-time feedback. This instantaneous feedback allows the process engineer to adjust every single shot in real-time, enhancing overall part quality.
Molds are more likely to have flaws that can delay time-to-market and reduce overall part quality if scientific injection molding is not used. Scientific injection molding helps mitigate the likelihood of pulling a mold to manage steel changes, welding needs or reburning. These are costly delays that slow down production and delay order fulfillment.
With a little extra technology, analysis, and cost upfront, a manufacturer can save money in the long run. An optimized part and a well-designed and built mold can make everything easier during the production schedule, and the long-term return on investment is substantial. Incorporating scientific injection molding can eliminate the occurrence of defects, reduce the cycle time and get parts into market faster.
As the workhorse of a project, a mold is a prudent place to invest time and money. Obtaining and working with valid criteria from the onset will provide the foundation from which to build a sound tool and yield positive results throughout the part run.