urethane casting advantagesUrethane casting is a manufacturing process for making prototype and low-volume parts by using a silicone mold to form urethane parts. The parts are made out of materials that are plastic-like or rubber-like.

The process can be ideal for quantities up to about 25 parts, and it has several advantages over other plastic manufacturing processes like injection molding and additive manufacturing (3D printing): It is fast, inexpensive, and produces high-quality parts.

Speed
The urethane casting process is very fast because the silicone molds used to make parts via this process are created very quickly, especially compared to the hard tooling used in injection molding. It is ideal for low-volume production, when quantities do not justify investment in injection mold tooling.

If the plan is to injection mold a large quantity of parts, but some are needed immediately, then urethane casting is a fast method to obtain first-run parts made before the production tooling is ready.

It’s excellent for testing product design, for one-off products, or for testing market or consumer responses to a new product. With such a quick turnaround time, urethane casted parts can bring a project to its next level for end-user testing or short-run production. It can give a company a first-to-market advantage.

Cost
The liquid poured and cured silicone molds used for casting urethane are much cheaper to produce compared to creating injection mold “hard” tooling.

To put it in perspective, a casting project might be hundreds of dollars, compared to the thousands of dollars it would be for a comparable injection molding project.

The best method of producing parts – urethane casting, CNC machining or injection molding – will be determined by part quantity. For prototypes and low-quantity parts, urethane casting provides a great value because the cost is very low, yet the quality of the parts is very high.

Quality
The cast urethane process can use a variety of formulations to produce parts that are soft or hard, colored or transparent. The silicone molds provide excellent surface finish detail and can accurately mimic production textures.

In addition, parts can be over-molded, have inserts incorporated into them, and have post-process treatments like painting.

Urethane casting produces parts with physical properties on par with injection molding, and the parts are structurally superior to their 3D printed counterparts. 3D printing – despite continuous improvements – still has material and structural integrity limitations. Urethane casting, in contrast, produces high-quality, robust parts.

About the author: Denny Scher is the Marketing Manager for ICOMold, a custom digital manufacturer with customers worldwide in a variety of industries. ICOMold provides custom plastic injection molding, CNC machined plastic and metal, and urethane casting.

colored plastic partsThere are many synthetic polymers available today, each with its own unique properties. Some are more impact-resistant than others, some have more UV resistance, and some bend more rather than break. Anyone starting a custom plastic injection molding project should have initial discussions with their injection molder about material options, in order to choose the most suitable material with the properties needed for the function of the parts.

One aspect of polymer characteristics that doesn’t always get the consideration it deserves is the addition of colorant. Believe it or not, there is a whole scientific body of knowledge about the ways in which adding color to plastic can affect the behavioral properties of the plastic. This paper takes a high-level look at some of the different, and surprising, ways colorants can have an effect on plastics.

Compatibility
When developing a colorant package for any polymer, it’s very important to consider the compatibility between the chemistry of the polymer and the chemistry of the colorant. Some of the compounds in colorants can break down the chemistry of the polymer and weaken its original properties, like impact-resistance. The high heat used in injection molding can also influence the degree to which the colorant affects the polymer. The colorant itself must also be capable of surviving the high processing temperature. And, a certain colorant may affect one polymer differently than it does another based on temperature, despite being chemically compatible. It’s also worth noting that the interaction between a polymer and a colorant can also be affected by other additives. For example, a polycarbonate otherwise unaffected by a colorant may have a different reaction to it when a flame retardant is added to the PC.

Amount of Colorant
The property retention of the polymer is also a function of the amount of colorant incorporated into it. If you think of colorants as contaminants, the more you add, the more negative impact it can have on the plastic. Adding 1-2% of a colorant is usually harmless, as long as the compatibility issues mentioned above don’t come into play. As colorant levels rise, the greater the chance that the plastic properties will shift.

Different Colors, Different Properties
“Molecular weight” and “crystallinity” are factors in the equation, but in layman’s terms the bottom line is that different colors can affect a polymer in different ways. For example, transparent colors can be made with dyes which are potentially less impactful on the polymer structure than the pigments used in opaque colors. Pigments are made of particles, and the size of those particles can impact the performance of the material. Molding the same part in different colors can actually result in differing part dimensions, which can be important if very tight tolerances are critical.

Method of Colorant Incorporation
There are several different methods of coloring plastics, including masterbatch, compounding, surface coating and dry blending. They each have their advantages and disadvantages and vary in cost, color consistency and other factors. The coloring method used can influence the mechanical properties of the plastic. For example, in the masterbatch method, pellets of natural color are blended with a “masterbatch” of pellets with a high pigment content. Since most polymers do not tend to mix well with other polymers, care must be taken to ensure material compatibility, or the blend can cause problems.

In summary, the effect of colorants on injection molded plastic parts is more complex than we think, and it’s not usually at the top of the list of considerations in planning an injection molding project. But it is important, and needs to be addressed at the material selection stage.

ICOMold uses a process called plastic injection molding to produce thousands of plastic parts every day in a range of shapes and sizes.

But what are injection molded plastic parts?

Simply put, they’re parts made using plastic injection molding. In this process, hot liquid plastic is forced into a mold of the desired shape, resulting in a plastic piece that, when dried, permanently takes that shape. It’s similar to how cake batter baked in a cupcake pan will retain a cupcake shape.

For a step-by-step overview of the process, read our recent blog post.

Most of the plastic parts you see every day are made by molding plastic with the help of machines. At ICOMold, we’ve created plastic injection molding parts for everything from specially designed water bottles to hunting tools and accessories.

To learn more about plastic injection molding, or to contact one of our sales representatives, call 419-867-3900 or email sales@icomold.com.

Plastic injection molding is an affordable way to create mass amounts of custom made plastic parts. One of the main questions we get here at ICOMold is “Which industries benefit the most from plastic injection molding?”

The answer: virtually any manufacturing business.

Whether you’re in the auto, medical, or construction industry, your business can benefit from injection molding. The versatility to design molds that can create parts of various sizes, shapes and dimensions, allow us to mass produce the parts you need to make your business successful.

Here are just a few items we can produce for these popular industries

Automotive

– Fluid tanks
– Trim parts
– Door handles
– Caps for tanks
– Engine covers

Medical

– Catheters
– Syringes
– Inhalers
– Cases
– Machine covers

Packaging

– Crates
– Handles
– Dividers
– Lids
– Buckets

Consumer Products

– Dials
– Buttons
– Doors
– Hinges
– Holding tanks

To see how we can use plastic injection molding to mass produce the pieces you need to bring your invention to life, contact us at 419-867-3900 or email sales@icomold.com.

You may not even think about it because it’s so commonplace, but custom injection molded plastics are all around you and essential to the products found in your homes, businesses, and automobiles. This low-cost process produces high quality parts in large quantities.

But what do you really know about injection molded plastics and the process? Here are five facts to help you better understand this process and what it produces.

1. They are customizable: Change the color or type of material you want us to use. Want enhanced strength? We can add fillers to strengthen the finished part or even other characteristics like flexibility, or resistance to ultraviolet light.

2. They are produced fast: There is normally only 15 to 30 seconds between cycles so a large quantity is produced very quickly.

3. They are less expensive: The speed and efficiency of custom injection molding means costs are lower, so you save money on your budget.

4. They are environmentally friendly: Custom injection molding uses only the required amount of plastic and any test or rejected parts may be recycled.

5. They are ready immediately: When your piece comes out of the mold, it is smooth and there is usually no finishing required, unless of course you require secondary processes.

Looking for more information on custom injection molding? Contact us to learn more about the process and what we offer at 419-867-3900 or email sales@icomold.com.

One of the biggest decisions you can make when it comes to plastic injection molding is deciding which material to use for your part.

This single choice will determine the durability, functionality and color of the piece you’ll be creating. To make the right decision, you must not only look at the material, but also consider the elements your custom injection molding piece will be exposed to.

Will it be outdoors or indoors? Will it be hot or cold? Will there be air or liquid running through the piece? You should also ask about the shrink rate of each material. These are just some of the items to consider when choosing the right materials.

At ICOMold, we have a list of more than 200 materials for you to choose from. This list includes a description of the type of elements these materials can withstand to help you make the right choice for your injection mold part.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Contact us at 419-867-3900 or sales@icomold.com and we’ll see if we can special order the material you need for your project.

Any time you have a brilliant product idea, your goal is to create it so you can improve the lives of others.

In many cases, plastic injection molding can help you accomplish that goal.

Whether you’re looking to mass produce a simple handle to make your product easy to move, or create a pump that is vital to your device working, custom plastic molding can bring your ideas to life.

By working with ICOMold’s engineers, you can create the perfect injection molding piece that your product needs to be fully functional. With a variety of plastics to choose from, we can help you select the best material to maximize the functionality of your invention.

In addition to bringing your idea to life, mass producing customized plastic injection molding pieces is quick and cheap. We can help you produce thousands of parts in a short amount of time while also saving you money. This makes your product affordable for customers without compromising your profit.

Many companies come to ICOMold, needing multiple plastic molds for their products. Our engineers can work on multiple plastic molds at once, so you can get all the pieces you need at the same time.

Give us a call at 419-867-3900 or email us at sales@icomold.com and we’ll show you how injection molding can transform your idea into the invention of your dreams.

Many manufacturers need a large number of custom made plastic parts in order to complete a new product, but businesses don’t always know the best way to produce such a large number of plastic parts in a short amount of time.

The answer: Custom injection molding.

This process is the No. 1 way to produce a large quantity of high-quality, low-cost plastic parts for your business’ next major project.

By having ICOMold’s engineers create a custom mold of your plastic part, we’re able to produce thousands of custom plastic parts for your business in a short amount of time. By injecting molten plastic into a custom injection mold, our machines are capable of producing parts in a matter of seconds. This will help you meet deadlines and keep your assembly lines running at all times.

When you work with ICOMold, there are two ways we can help you produce a custom injection molding:
1. We can produce the mold in our facility, mold your parts and ship them directly to your business, or
2. We can build and ship a custom mold (“export mold”) to your business so you can manufacture your plastic parts in-house.

Best of all, custom injection molding can be used for virtually anything. As one of the leading plastic injection molders, ICOMold has produced custom plastic molds for businesses in the medical, automotive, food and packaging industries, along with many others.

To learn how we can produce custom plastic injection molds and parts for your business’ next project, give us a call at 419-867-3900 or email sales@icomold.com. You can also get an instant quote online.

ICOMold is a plastic molding manufacturer that uses a complex plastic injection molding process to produce thousands of plastic parts each day in various shapes and sizes.

The process requires an injection molding machine and has four steps. These steps can take anywhere from two seconds and two minutes to complete, depending on how large the molds are and the efficiency of the machine.

Here we outline the process so you have a better idea of how ICOMold is able to produce your plastic parts.

Step 1: Clamping

A special mold is designed to produce the customer’s plastic part. The mold has two halves that are pressed together using a hydraulic clamp. The clamp holds the mold in place during the injection and cooling processes and will open the mold once the plastic piece has been fully created.

Step 2: Injection

This is when raw plastic pellets are fed from a funnel-shaped hopper into the injection molding machine. Once in the machine, an auger screw pushes the pellets through a barrel where the plastic is heated and injected from the nozzle into the mold quickly and with high pressure. This is done for two reasons: 1. the added pressure packs as much plastic into the mold as possible, and 2. the cooling process takes place immediately.

Step 3: Cooling

As soon as the molten plastic hits the mold, the cooling process begins. This is when the plastic hardens into the shape of the mold. The mold cannot be opened at any point during the cooling process and the amount of time needed for a part to fully cool can vary from piece to piece.

Step 4: Ejection

Once cooled, the mold is opened and the plastic part is ejected out of the mold. Sometimes a lubricant is sprayed into the mold before the process begins to prevent pieces from sticking to the mold.

After the plastic piece is fully ejected from the mold, the hydraulic clamp pushes the mold together and the process starts over for the next piece to be formed.

If you would like to know more about plastic injection molding or think your company can use our services, give us a call at 419-867-3900 or email sales@icomold.com.

For almost 15 years, ICOMold has produced quality plastic injection molded parts for customers around the world using custom injection molding. We’ve fielded a variety of questions during that time, but here’s one you might not expect:

“What is the difference between injection molding plastic products and injection moulding plastic products?”

The answer is simple: There is no physical difference.

The reason for the spelling difference is that American English uses molding, and British English uses moulding. As a worldwide company, it is easy for ICOMold customers to be accustomed to one spelling and think the other spelling means something entirely different. For example, the spelling with a “u” is used in American English to refer to the crown or baseboard moulding used on the interior walls of homes. So plastic moulding must be crown moulding made out of plastic, right?

In the end, both phrases, “plastic injection molding” and “plastic injection moulding” have the same meaning: we take melted plastic and inject it into a mold, where it cools and hardens to produce a desired shape. Hopefully this will help clear up any confusion you have about the difference in spelling between molding and moulding.

To learn more about plastic injection molding, or to contact one of our sales representatives, call 419-867-3900 or email sales@icomold.com.


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