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 About Our Short-Run Injection Molding Solutions

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

At Abtec, Inc., we specialize in custom injection molding, creating tools and parts for customers all over the world from prototype to large production runs. Plastic injection molding is a manufacturing process that involves injecting liquified plastic into a mold, allowing it to conform to the shape of the mold and harden to create a specific shape. This beneficial process has numerous applications in many industries, including the medical industry.

Components and devices for the medical industry must comply with strict industry standards and be made from durable, reliable, and FDA-approved materials. Plastic injection molding not only meets these criteria, but it also offers a host of additional benefits for the medical industry.

The Standards Met & Materials Commonly Used

Parts made for the medical industry must conform to strict standards due to the nature of their use. The FDA outlines different requirements for implantable devices and those being used for medical instruments, and other external use; therefore, it is crucial to consider your application when selecting a medical-grade plastic for the molding process. Other factors such as strength, resistance to heat and chemicals, and operating environment must also be considered when selecting a material to ensure that the part will hold up while in use.

medical grade plasticsCommon medical-grade plastics that can be used with injection molding include:

  • PP. Heat and radiation resistance over extended periods
  • PEEK. Resistant to chemicals and high temperatures, resists fatigue and cracking, works well in radiation-prone environments, and easily sterilized.
  • Polycarbonate. Flexible, high heat resistance, transparent, UV resistance, durable, and resistant to flames.
  • Polysulfone. High temperature with high mechanical strength and rigidity. Good creep strength that is remarkably high over a wide range of temperatures.
  • POM. Resistant to multiple cleaning and disinfection agents, and to a number of solvents. It can be steam sterilized by medical industry’s usual methods, and will maintain good strength, stiffness, and dimensional stability.
  • PEI. Remarkably high creep resistance over a wide temperature and a high permanent operating temperature. Resistance to hydrolysis, along with dimensional stability
  • Polyphenylene Oxide. Strong with outstanding mechanical, thermal and electrical properties. Very low moisture absorption, low thermal expansion, excellent insulating properties, flame resistance, and dimensional stability over a wide range of service temperatures.
  • Polyphenylen Sulfide. A semi crystalline, high temperature thermoplastic polymer. Chemically resistant polymer with amazing mechanical strength, even at temperatures above 200°C (392°F), very stable dimensionally with low susceptibility to creep.

There are many benefits to injection molding for the medical industry, the most prominent being how easily and quickly supplies can be made. Unlike other materials, plastic can be easily injected into a mold to take almost any shape needed, curing into a durable piece of equipment with high levels of precision. This helps to keep prices low, allowing medical facilities to remain sufficiently stocked with important instruments without excessive costs. Cleanliness is also a benefit, as many of these plastics are easy to clean and sterilize without issue.

Abtec Provides Medical Injection Molded Parts

The injection molding process follows these steps:

  1. Create a mold. Injection molding requires a pre-made mold for the material to be injected into. This can be a template for existing pieces or a custom design.
  2. Inject. Pelletized resin which is heated to liquid, is injected into the mold. The plastic fills in the spaces within the mold, forcing out air through tiny vents along the sides.
  3. Cooling. The melted plastic is cooled, allowing it to harden. This is done with a network of water pumps or air vents built throughout the mold that displace the heat from the plastic.
  4. Remove and clean. Once hardened, the part is removed/ejected from the mold and the part is (if necessary) cleaned of any debris or bits of unnecessary plastic.

Abtec, Inc. is at the forefront of medical injection molding and can produce parts or fittings for a large number of applications. We’ve worked closely with our customers to manufacture top-of-the-line moldings and products, including:

  • Ventilators for use during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Parts for radiological cancer treatment
  • Catheter locks
  • Medical Equipment Housings
  • & and, a plethora of parts for a variety of medical devices

Additionally, our on-site cleanroom facilities are frequently in use to eliminate contaminants from parts that are designed for use in laboratory and research facilities.

Medical Plastic Injection Molding from Abtec, Inc.

Plastic injection molding is an invaluable manufacturing technique for the medical industry and beyond. This process allows many parts to be created from medical-grade plastics in a fraction of the time it would take to do so by hand or with other methods. With numerous options for plastic types and applications, medical injection molding continues to be an integral part of industry.

To learn more about our plastic injection molding services for the medical industry, contact us today. You can also email any questions directly to us at sales@abtecinc.com.

Advanced technology gives companies more options when it comes to producing plastic components. Plastic injection molding and 3D printing are two of those options, and they both have their advantages, depending upon the application. While 3D printing is relatively new and attention-grabbing, plastic injection molding is still a trusted solution for precision manufacturing.

3d printing vs injection molding3D Printing vs. Plastic Injection Molding

It helps to understand the difference between these processes:

  • 3D Printing: As an additive manufacturing process, layers of material are put together to create the final shape as designed in a digital file.
  • Injection Molding:A proven process for 150 years and counting, injection molding starts with the creation of a mold. The materials are melted, then injected into the mold where it’s left to cool and harden into the finished product.

When determining which process is right for your product, you need to consider the pros and cons of each. 3D printing is great for small production runs and prototyping of small parts or components. Because there’s no mold that has to be created, it’s easy to make changes to the digital design—giving you lots of flexibility when perfecting a new product or when producing something you know you will make changes to on an ongoing basis.

As a newer technology, there are occasional glitches to the process that can interrupt production. 3D printing is also more likely to leave ridges and small defects in the product and 3D printing tolerances are not tight, so you may not end up with precise replicas if you’re creating multiple units.

Plastic injection molding is ideal for larger production runs of all types of components—big or small, simple or complex. After the mold is created, you can work quickly to produce hundreds or thousands of high-quality components with consistent precision. The bigger the run, the lower the cost per unit.

Once built, it can be costly to make changes to the mold.  Which is why it is important to perfect the design before tooling begins.  This is where 3D printing and custom injection molding work well together: 3D printing can be used for experimenting and prototyping, then you can ramp up production with injection molding.

Chances are, you use products every day that are made with 3D printing and injection molding:

3D Printing Applications

  • Clear braces3d printed parts components
  • Hearing aids
  • Football helmet liners
  • Bicycle frames
  • Razor handles
  • Jewelry
  • Mascara brushes
  • Shoe insoles
  • Biodegradable pens
  • Eyeglass frames
  • Unique shower heads
  • Custom car accessories
  • And more

Injection Molding Applications

  • Mop heads
  • Equipment housings
  • Vending machine components
  • Medication trays
  • Insulators
  • Roofing vents
  • Raised flooring panels
  • Deck fasteners
  • Bird feeders
  • Toilet seats
  • Barbecue grill accessories
  • Serving pans
  • Children’s furniture
  • Collectible models
  • Point-of-purchase display racks
  • Flower pots
  • And more

Choose Custom Injection Molding with Abtec, Inc.

With about 100 years of combined experience, Abtec, Inc. offers custom injection molding and a variety of secondary operations and support tooling to our clients in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, aerospace and defense, telecommunications, and medical industries, among others. We specialize in innovative solutions for even the most complex designs.

High-quality injection molding starts with a great mold design, and our engineers can help with that, along with material selection and tooling recommendations, to ensure you get the components you need. With state-of-the art technology and a dedicated team of experts, Abtec is a trusted plastics partner around the globe.

Both 3D printing and plastic injection molding have their place in manufacturing, and there are many opportunities for these technologies to work together for the benefit of the client. For high-volume runs of small or large components, injection molding has the advantage of being efficient and cost-effective and offering precise replications of the product. Take a look at our blog to learn more about custom injection molding and how we can help with your next project, then contact us to get started.

injection molding dieAt Abtec Inc., we’re proud to offer custom mold making services, helping clients bring their product visions to life. Versatile and reliable, plastic injection molding is used to create a huge range of everyday products. One of the most popular methods for mass producing plastic parts, this technique continues to rise in popularity across diverse industries and applications. Some of plastic injection molding advantages include the following:

  • High Efficiency and Quick Turnaround Times

    Plastic injection molding is one of the most efficient methods for producing machined plastic parts. Since periods between cycles can be as short as 15 seconds, more parts can be made — meaning thousands of precision parts can be produced per hour, depending on the specific mold. This high production output rate helps companies boost revenue and profit margins.

  • High Accuracy for Complex Part Designs

    Custom plastic injection molding allows for great design flexibility. Nearly any type of plastic part can be produced using this manufacturing process, and the molds allow the finished product to be extremely precise, typically within 0.005 inch.

    Having a full understanding of customers’ needs is imperative for ensuring proper product form and function. With years of industry experience and a dedication to close client collaboration, our team is able to determine the ideal design and material for customers’ projects, and can begin work quickly on prototypes.

  • Wide Range of Material Options

    Our team’s deep expertise is invaluable when deciding on the ideal material for a part. Material selection is a critical step in the manufacturing process, and must be based on the intended strength of the end product. Other key factors to keep in mind include appearance characteristics, such as color and finish, and any applicable regulatory requirements. Dozens of material options are available to meet specific application needs.

  • Automation Capabilities

    More and more aspects of the injection molding process can now be automated. Robotics automation allows repetitive actions to be carried out quickly and efficiently, without the risk of variation. During the injection mold process, automation can be used for various tasks, such as removing parts from plastic injection molds or positioning inserts or metal components into the molding machine. Robotics can also be used for secondary services, such as assembly, packaging, drilling, and sorting. Automation offers a range of unique benefits, including highly consistent, improved part quality, as well as reduced costs, less waste, and enhanced machine utilization.

  • Cost Savings

    Plastic injection molding is cost-efficient for a number of reasons. First, injection molding machines often run with a self-gating tool to streamline operations and keep production going smoothly passing the cost savings off to the customer.

  • Endless Possibilities

    With a huge range of design, material, and color options, nearly any kind of part can be created with the custom injection molding process. Color and material type are easy to change in plastic injection molding machines, and one mold can produce many variations of the same product. Abtec also provides a number of secondary services, allowing for further customization. Popular services include milling, drilling, CNC machining, hot stamping, ultrasonic welding, heat staking and painting.

Why Choose Abtec for Custom Injection Molding Services?

plastic granules

Abtec will be there with you year after year; as many of our customers have been with us for 30 plus years.

Along with the many injection molding advantages we provide, we’re with you every step of the way. We know our customer needs, their scheduling and buying habits; we are prepared and quickly respond to our customers needs.  You get your product when you want it … on-time with quality you can trust.

Abtec is a qualified and certified ITAR/DOD and JCP injection molding company providing sub-tier government suppliers confidence in your services.  In addition, Abtec is ISO 9001:2015 certified with a QMS that provides customer confidence in the quality and services we provide.

Abtec can comply with your product specification and not have your sacrifice or compromise as we assist with design for part manufacturability.  We work with you and understand your expectations and challenges.

Abtec utilizes the best molding practices and communicate with you to provide satisfying results. Continuous interaction with our customers, Abtec will create with your company a solid business relationship foundation that will benefit and project development process.

Learn More

No matter what kind of part is needed, the experts at Abtec know how to turn your idea into a high-quality finished product. We offer both high- and low-volume production capabilities for custom plastic injection molded parts, and guarantee on-time delivery for every order.

To learn more about our injection molding advantages and discuss how we can help with your unique application needs, reach out to the team today. We’re on hand to answer any questions you may have about injection molding products and processes.

injection molding advantages