Injection Molding Design Guidelines
1. Use uniform wall thicknesses throughout the part. This will minimize sinking, warping, residual stresses, and improve mold fill and cycle times.
2. Use generous radius at all corners. The inside corner radius should be a minimum of one material thickness.
3. Use the least thickness compliant with the process, material, or product design requirements. Using the least wall thickness for the process ensures rapid cooling, short cycle times, and minimum shot weight. All these result in the least possible part cost.
4. Design parts to facilitate easy withdrawal from the mold by providing draft (taper) in the direction of mold opening or closing.
5. Use ribs or gussets to improve part stiffness in bending. This avoids the use of thick section to achieve the same, thereby saving on part weight, material costs, and cycle time costs.
Injection moulding is a formative manufacturing technology, i.e. material is formed from an amorphous shape into a fixed shape defined by a mould tool. Almost every plastic part created today is by injection moulding as it allows identical parts to be created in huge numbers, in a short space of time, and at very low cost per part.
The process works as follows:
1) A mould cavity defines the shape of the part.
2) Material (melted plastic) is injected under pressure into the cavity.
3) When the plastic cools it solidifies to take the form defined by the mould.
4) The part is ejected, and the process repeats from step 2.
A successful application of an engineering thermoplastic requires more than identifying a specific product or grade. Three areas – design, product, process – are all interrelated and the appropriate rules in each area must be followed to ensure a successful application. In most cases, the process must be determined before a specific resin grade can be selected. During this review, designers also need to consider whether the process is capable of meeting the design requirements such as size, shape, detail and tolerance.
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