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Injection Mold Design Guidelines

In the manufacturing industry, two critical factors are involved: quickly getting the products to market and ensuring they are within the budget. The design for the manufacturing process specified by the product manufacturers is the most critical part that can substantially impact production outcomes. Therefore, it is more time and cost-efficient when injection molders are involved early in the design part of this process.

Injection molding is the manufacturing process of parts by injecting molten material into a mold. It can be performed with various materials; thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers are the most common.

Abtec Inc.’s top-of-the-line customizable solutions for plastic injection mold tooling can provide our clients with easy collaboration in every phase of the manufacturing process. By assisting you in working with information age technologies and advanced mold-making techniques, we can quickly produce precision injection molds efficiently and save your business on irrelevant or substandard prototyping.

During the design stage of the injection mold process, various aspects may directly impact the function of the finished product and the costs involved with its manufacturing. Here are some critical design considerations for better part moldability, appearance, and production efficiency. Read on!

Materials

Temperature, chemical resistance, assembly, finish, and cost are some things to consider when selecting materials for your injection mold design projects. The material of your choice plays a critical role in the quality and design of your overall output. From commodity resin to high-tech engineering grades, all materials are very application specific.

Collaborating with plastic mold specialists like Abtec Inc. is always ideal when selecting the suitable material that works for your manufacturing specification. We can help you choose from thousands of manufacturing materials, including various grades of thermoplastics, and elastomers.

Colors

Your mold tooling will be custom built for injection molding; therefore, pieces created through this process can easily be colored using additives and fillers, creating visually pleasing products. Here at Abtec Inc., we deeply understand applications and which ones work best for your manufacturing and aesthetic needs.

Sizes

Determining the desired output size is an essential part of the mold design. As the mold is conceptualized and engineered according to the desired dimensions of the finished product, the engineering team must decide on the type of injection process to use and the venting requirements. With this, the right size, dimension, and locations are ensured to precision to avoid unnecessary prototyping of parts.

Surface Finish

Texturing is a method that applies patterns to a mold surface. It is a basic part of overall product development and should be considered during the design process to achieve the desired results. Texture can be a functional design component (for example, to improve grip) and a strategy for masking imperfect or frequently handled parts. It is helpful to lessen the wearing of parts due to friction. This part of the design process allows flexibility in creating the final appearance of manufactured parts.

From threaded inserts through ultrasonic welding or heat staking to pad printing and other methods, our team can help you decide on a surface finish that is best for your needs. We have a wide array of surface finishing options for molding that strengthen parts, improve cosmetic appearance, provide customization, and other benefits.

Draft

An injection mold design must ensure the part comes out of the mold without damage or resistance. Failing to draft can cause defects like drag marks and create difficult ejection. In drafting, there is no single draft angle applicable to all part designs. Wall thickness, shrink rate, material selection, ejection, manufacturing capabilities, and more are some factors that come into play when drafting. The general rule is to have at least one degree of the draft for every inch of depth. Draft may alter the form and fit of a part during assembly and its overall aesthetic; that’s why designing in draft can help you avoid any surprises like costly redesigns and additional prototype development.

Undercuts

Undercuts are tiny features in an injection-molded part that prevents it from ejecting from the mold. Some examples of undercuts include the threads on an injection-molded fastener, the hole running down the length of a plastic hose barb, and the slot for the power switch in the side of a smartphone case.

Undercuts may impact the upfront mold investment. As much as possible, you may want to eliminate undercuts; however, that is not always the case. It is best to consult with experienced application engineers here at Abtec Inc. since they know how to minimize undercuts impact.

Wall Thickness

The right wall thickness will reduce the risk of cosmetic defects in plastic parts, and it can help avoid many part defects during the manufacturing process. When the plastic melts, it flows to the areas of least resistance. If your part has inconsistent thicknesses, the melt may flow into the thick regions (depending on gate locations). When this occurs, the thin areas may not fill appropriately. Additionally, denser areas tend to cool more slowly and are at risk for voids or sinking defects. Designing your part with rounded corners will also aid in adequately filling the part during the molding process.

While there are no restrictions on wall thickness, the general rule is that walls in any plastic-molded part should be no less than 40% to 60% of adjacent walls. All should fit within recommended thickness ranges depending on your selected material.

Radius

Engineers or designers should opt for round features instead of sharp edges and corners whenever possible. Designing an injection-molded part with sharp corners can generate stress during molding. Corners require additional pressure to fill, making it harder to efficiently and precisely flow into the mold. Sharp edges also stick to the mold during ejection, increasing the risk of defects. You can resolve these issues with radiused corners. Internal corners are where part walls meet the floor and should have a radius of at least 50% of the adjacent wall thickness. Those at the top of part walls are the external corners and should have 150% of the adjoining wall radius to allow the plastic to flow more efficiently. Radiused corners help prevent cracking and premature product failure.

The Bottomline

Having plastic injection molders part of your design and manufacturing process and working with experienced design engineers to identify efficiencies will help get your product to market quicker and on budget.

Abtec, Inc. proudly offers custom plastic injection molding services to help our clients optimize their designs and manufacturing strategies, making them more efficient and cost-friendly. Contact us now for a simple, clean, and elegant solution for all your injection mold projects and support tooling needs.

When choosing injection molding, it’s crucial to consider your entire project from beginning to end. This means thinking about the types of value-added services from which your project can benefit. Choosing a manufacturer with the value-added services your project needs can provide a one-stop-shop for your manufacturing needs, saving time and money.

This blog will guide you through the benefits of value-added services and several types of services that are common solutions for plastic injection molding projects.

Benefits of In-House Value Added Services

An injection molding manufacturer with a range of in-house value-added services is your one-stop-shop for plastic injection molding. Partnering with a manufacturer that can provide for all of your production needs in one location delivers the following advantages:

  • Cost Saving. In-house value-added services can reduce miscellaneous costs on secondary processes and save on labor costs.
  • Time-Saving. A single location for production can result in improved efficiency and time management.
  • Quality Assurance. In-house services ensure that product testing is consistent from start to finish.

Welding/Machining

Plastic injection molded parts often need secondary services to create a finished product or before moving on to assembly. Welding and machining are common secondary services for plastic injection molded parts.

One common value-added welding service is ultrasonic plastic welding. This beneficial service can join two thermoplastic pieces using heat energy from high-frequency mechanical motion. High-frequency electrical energy is converted into high-frequency mechanical motion, which is then combined with applied force to create frictional heat along the mating surfaces of the plastic components. The heat forms a molecular bond as it cools.

Other value-added machining services that are commonly used with plastic injection molding include:

  • Heat staking
  • Milling
  • Tapping
  • Reaming
  • Drilling

Assembly

Assembly is a complicated and essential step for completing many injection molded products. In-house assembly services provide a high-value product with improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Complete assembly services can reduce the cost of materials and ensure assembly is efficient and streamlined. Injection molding manufacturers can also use specialized injection molding techniques and molds to reduce the need for secondary assembly, delivering a seamless product.

Packaging

By offering packaging as a value-added service, injection molding manufacturers ensure the final product is protected and ready for shipping or sale. At Abtec, we offer a range of packaging options alongside our plastic injection molding services. These include:

  • Blister packs to protect the product
  • Header card to protect the product and prepare it for final sale
  • Boxing to ship the product

Value Added-Services for Your Plastic Injection Molded Products From Abtec

Choosing a plastic injection molding manufacturer with in-house value-added services can provide improved efficiency and quality assurance while saving time and costs. Welding and machining, assembly, and packaging are vital value-added services for injection-molded plastic products.

Abtec is the solution for your injection molding requirements. Our extensive selection of in-house value-added services allows us to meet all of your needs in one place, all with unmatched efficiency and quality. Learn more about our comprehensive selection of value-added services and how they can benefit your next plastic injection molding project.

Abtec has been providing custom injection molds and supporting tooling for various industries worldwide for more than 40 years. As a trusted global partner, we leverage cutting-edge technologies and advanced mold-making processes to produce precision injection molds within the shortest period of time. We also offer preventive mold maintenance solutions to guarantee the optimal performance of your molds and tools.

What Is Injection Mold Maintenance?

Injection mold maintenance refers to the scheduled cleaning and repairs done to keep an injection mold in optimum working condition. Maintenance can be done routinely over the life of the mold or whenever a problem arises. Regular maintenance helps eliminate the risk of down time due to part failures.  Abtec Inc. provides life of the tool maintenance for tools built and run at Abtec Inc.

What Issues May Arise If Molds Are Not Maintained?

With time, molding processes wear a mold to compromise its quality and performance. Ideally, a fine layer of materials builds up, albeit slowly, on the mold surfaces and, if it is not removed, this deposit dents the tool. This results in a range of defects, including flashes that reduce efficiency.

What Are the Long-Term Benefits of Proper Injection Mold Maintenance?

You don’t have to wait until typical maintenance issues arise before undertaking appropriate maintenance on your injection molds. Undertaking regular preventive maintenance helps lower overall production costs while ensuring optimal performance of your equipment. The following are the long-term benefits of a properly maintained mold:

Better quality and longevity: High-quality equipment and tools are a costly investment. Continual mold maintenance guarantees better quality and longevity while reducing the total cost of ownership.

Prevents inefficiencies: Worn-out parts undeniably affect product quality. An effective way to avoid product imperfections and inefficiencies is to be diligent about performing preventive maintenance.

Cut costs: Failure to carry out mold maintenance results in significant repair or replacement costs. It is a lot cheaper to perform regular maintenance than to repair or replace a broken tool.

Common Defects of Molds from Poor Maintenance

Poor maintenance can result in a range of severe defects that affect the product’s safety, performance, and function. These defects include:

Burn marks

Burn marks on molds appear as black or rust-colored discoloration at the edge of a molded plastic part. Burn marks in injection-molded parts are caused by either trapped air or resin or overheating in the mold cavity during the injection.

Flash

Many manufacturers also refer to flash as “burrs” or “spew”. Flash refers to a condition with excess molding material appearing as a protrusion at the component’s edge. Such defect occurs because some materials flow out of the intended channels. They then enter the space that occurs between the tooling plate. Some may also flow in at the injection pin. Although it is a subtle defect, a flash may be an obvious defect is obvious on products and caused by improper exhaust system.

Injection Mold Design Services at Abtec

Abtec has been providing a range of custom injection mold tooling solutions that meet the needs of various industries and applications for more than a century! We have a well-equipped facility, highly experienced toolmakers, and engineers with expert skills to produce fabricating injection molds to suit our customers’ needs.

Abtec engineers work with a range of CAD formats, including CimatronE, Pro/E, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, and CADKEY. In addition, our mold fabrication processes also leverage the latest CNC machining technologies, including high-speed milling, wire EDM, and sinker EDM, to produce high-quality, economical molds in the shortest time possible. The types of molds available at Abtec include full chase molds, master unit die (MUD) molds, and more.

At Abtec, our tool designers understand all the steps to create and maintain quality molds that meet the stringent demands of your application while guaranteeing optimal performance. Contact us today for more info or to request a quote!

With more than a century of combined experience, Abtec Inc. provides quality plastic injection molding services to an array of industries. Our customers look to our parts to solve any number of production and manufacturing problems. They count on the versatility and efficiency of our equipment and team to fulfill a range of requests with quick turnaround times. Our expertise makes us well suited to deliver quality injection molded parts that meet the demanding standards of the defense and military sectors.

Injection Molding for Defense and Military

Applications, Benefits, & Info to Know!

Military, tactical, and defense industries rely on quality products to keep daily operations running smoothly. When new parts are needed, injection molding offers a fast and affordable production method. To suit the strict product standards of the military and defense industry, injection molding can be tailored to precise specifications, using the best materials and design practices to ensure every mission and training can be carried out the way it’s intended.

Benefits of injection molding for the defense and military sector include:

Dependability

Plastic injection molding can create complex parts, such as fittings and fasteners, that withstand everyday use while maintaining their integrity under harsh conditions.

Uniformity

Military and defense components must be uniform. Plastic injection molding can quickly produce many uniform parts that meet military specifications.

Lightweight

Plastic injection molded parts for military and defense applications are not only durable, but they are lightweight. Having lighter components allows soldiers to stay on station longer and have faster response times.

Benefits of Injection Molding for Defense & Military

 

Military and defense components have no room for error, which is why the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) sets strict standards for a variety of projects. Compliance with these standards is crucial in ensuring dependability, uniformity, durability, and overall quality. Plastic injection molding at Abtec Inc. is fully compliant with ITAR, ensuring that our parts can be used for high-strength applications across the military, defense, and aerospace industries.

Plastic injection molding is used to manufacture the following parts for military use:

  • Headsets/radios
  • Antennas
  • Goggles
  • Aerospace filters
  • Flashlights
  • Scopes
  • Hooks/fasteners

Which Materials are Used in Plastic Injection Molding for Military & Defense?

Plastic injection molding is the ideal process for creating the abovementioned items (and more) because plastic offers a durable and corrosion-resistant material that can withstand harsh environments.

Common plastic materials used for this process include:

  • Ultem®. This plastic is excellent for high-heat applications because it can operate at temperatures of up to 340° F without losing its strength or rigidity. It also offers excellent resistance against chemical and electric forces.
  • Noryl®. Noryl is a thermoplastic that can withstand temperatures up to 230° F. It’s easily made and has demonstrated impact resistance and low-moisture absorption.
  • Acetal. This is a general-purpose plastic that’s known for its dimensional stability, even in the face against other metals and plastics. It features a low water absorption point, excellent electrical properties, and a strong resistance to organic solvents.
  • Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a clear plastic that is tough, stiff, and easy to bond with solvent chemicals. It can be used for sight glasses and machine guards as well as face shields and clear manifolds. It also boasts excellent electrical resistance.
  • Polyphenylene Sulfide (Ryton®). High-performance engineering thermoplastic characterized by outstanding high-temperature stability, inherent flame resistance, and broad chemical resistance. Most PPS compounds are used for their combination of high-temperature stability, chemical resistance, dimensional reliability, and flame retardance.
  • Polyphenylsulfone (Radel®). Delivers the highest performance of sulfone polymers, offering better impact resistance and chemical resistance than polysulfone (PSU) and polyetherimide (PEI). The high heat resistance and excellent hydrolytic stability

The right plastic for a military application depends on factors such as intended use and how the part will be stored. At Abtec, we work with a wide range of materials and can help you determine the best option for your military application.

Thermoplastics for Injection Molding

Plastic Injection Molding from Abtec, Inc.

Plastic injection molding creates precise parts that can withstand a range of demanding environmental conditions, making it an ideal production method for various military and defense products. At Abtec, Inc., we specialize in custom plastic injection molding, and we are ITAR-registered to ensure compliance with strict military standards. Regardless of your application, we can deliver durable and high-quality injection molded parts that meet your specific requirements and specifications.

To learn more about our plastic injection molding capabilities for the military and defense industry, contact us today.

The process of bringing a new product to market involves many steps, including designing the component and creating prototypes to test out the design. After the design is finalized and the prototypes are evaluated, you may also want to produce a small number of pieces for internal or external product testing purposes before proceeding to full production. In the case of injection-molded components, one option for producing these pieces is short run injection molding—also known as small-volume, low-volume, or small-batch production. This production solution enables you to generate a limited batch that you can use to gauge market reaction so you can appropriately scale production to meet actual consumer demand.

Need help with a short-run injection molding project? The injection molding experts at Abtec are here to help! We can assist you at every step of your project, from design to prototyping to production, ensuring you receive the components you need how and when you need them.

Benefits of Short-Run Injection Molding

Short-run injection molding offers numerous benefits. For example:

  • It serves as a bridge between the prototyping and full production stages. Since short-run injection molding produces only a small number of pieces, it allows the production team to push out a product that can still be adjusted later on depending on its performance in the market.
  • It produces high-quality components. Since short-run injection molding accepts automation technology and utilizes low-cost, high-quality materials, it easily outputs superior parts and products at competitive prices.
  • It allows companies to reduce in-house inventory while meeting lead-time demands. Short-run production quickly produces finished components, so they can be sent back to the customer and introduced to the market in a shorter period. As a result, companies can have parts produced and delivered on an as-needed basis.

Injection Molding Services at Abtec

At Abtec, our team has over 100 years of combined experience designing and manufacturing high-quality custom plastic injection-molded parts and products. This gives us all of the knowledge and skills we need to assist with the various stages of short-run injection molding projects, including:

  • Mold Design: We use information age technologies and advanced mold-making processes to produce custom tooling solutions for your product problems. We can work with your existing drawings, sketches, models, parts, and molds or start from scratch to produce tooling designs. Some of the CAD formats we use include Cimatron, SolidWorks, ProE, AutoCAD, and CADKey.
  • Custom Tooling: Once the injection mold design is approved, our mold fabrication team uses the latest CNC machining technologies to manufacture the molds quickly without sacrificing precision or quality. We can produce molds for a range of thermoplastics, including ABS, HDPE, LDPE, PE, HIPS, TPU, and PET.
  • Prototyping: We create rapid prototypes of each component using 3D printing technology. These prototypes can be used to ensure form, fit, and function before the final injection molding tooling is built. We provide FDM printed prototypes in ABS, PLA, TPU, and many other materials and partner with other companies for additional prototyping options (e.g., SLA, SLS, and urethane casting).
  • Injection Molding: Our injection molding facility is run by experienced operators and equipped with machines with high repeatability and clamping pressures ranging from 28–240 tons. We can support molding operations involving up to 16 ounces of material per cycle. Whether you need small or large components in low or high volumes, we can meet your injection molding requirements.

Learn More!

Want more information on our short-run injection molding capabilities? Check out our Plastic Injection Molding FAQs page or contact us today.