Thermoplastic injection molding is an injection molding process that produces functional parts by injecting thermoplastic into a custom mold. It is commonly used for prototyping, long-run manufacturing, short-run manufacturing and more. The injection molding process is fast, accurate and is capable of producing high-quality parts with large amounts of detail. A wide variety of products, from consumer to engineering–grade, can be made. ICOMold has been a leader in producing quality thermoplastic parts for many years by applying the injection molding process.
Advantages of Custom Injection Molding Thermoplastic
The primary benefit of thermoplastic injection molding is that it is both cost–effective and fast. Injection molding reduces the possibility of undesired sharp edges and produces smooth, finished products that require no further finishing. Thermoplastic injection molding is straightforward, efficient and more reliable than many manufacturing methods. Some of the top advantages of the thermoplastic injection molding process include:
- Speed and efficiency: Once the custom injection mold has been made, thousands of parts can be made from one mold. Depending on the mold design’s complexity, an average time of 15 to 30 seconds passes between cycles.
- Part complexity: Injection molding is a good fit for complex parts that require uniformity. Since thousands of components can be produced from one mold, each piece is identical. The extremely high pressure used during the process allows a large amount of detail to be added to the part’s design.
- Waste reduction: ICOMold shares a commitment to quality, sustainability and optimal safety. Only the required amount of plastic is used to build each part. The excess plastic is recycled, which benefits the environment while minimizing waste.
- Low labor costs: The injection molding process is automated and controlled by a single operator or mold technician. This allows for a reduction of labor costs when compared to other manufacturing methods.
- Strength: While it is possible to use fillers in the injection molds, these fillers reduce the density of the plastic while being molded and help add to its finished strength after the molding process. The strength and durability of plastics has increased over the years. Modern lightweight thermoplastics can withstand even the most rugged environments.
- Versatility in materials and color: Choosing the right material and color for a project are two of the essential factors in creating plastic parts. One mold can produce many variations of your product. Color and material type are relatively easy to change in injection molding machines.
Common Injection Molding Thermoplastics
Thermoplastics are polymers that can be liquified through heat application and solidified through cooling. ICOMold can assist you in selecting the best thermoplastic material for your custom project. Below are common thermoplastics used for the injection molding process.
Injection Mold Thermoplastic Materials
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
- Nylon and Glass–filled Nylon
- Polyester (PBT, PET)
- Polyetherimide (Ultem) Polyurethane
- Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE)
Injection mold Thermoplastic materials are the plastic that we see in everyday life in phones to kitchen utensils. They make up a large volume of consumer products, industrial and electronic components.
Injection Mold Thermoplastic Elastomers
Injection mold Thermoplastic elastomers differ slightly from injection mold Thermoplastics. The injection mold Thermoplastic elastomers have properties that are similar to thermoset (rubber) elastomers. These are a combination of rubber and injection mold Thermoplastic materials to make a more elastic type of plastic material. These materials have grown in popularity and are used for everything from tool grips to shampoo bottles. These materials have replaced rubber in many instances as a cost effective solution for improving the grip on pens, tools, surgical instruments and have added color identity and slip resistance to a variety of components.
Although injection mold Thermoplastic elastomers and injection mold Thermoplastics have replaced rubber in many instances, they cannot replace the resistance to chemical, high temperature, or extreme low temp environments that rubber offers. Da/Pro NE offers injection molding and overmolding of injection mold Thermoplastics and injection mold Thermoplastic elastomer components and high–temperature plastic molding of injection mold Thermoplastics.
Custom Injection Molding Thermoplastic Process
Thermoplastic material is injected into a custom mold that allows the thermoplastic to take on the desired part’s shape. First, the mold is designed based on a CAD file or an existing part. The two–part custom mold is typically made from steel or aluminum. Next, the thermoplastic resin is heated into a liquid state and then injected into the mold. After the material has been injected, it is cooled and cured. Once set, the part is ejected from the mold and then moves on to post-processing. The injection molding machine is reset and repeats the process.
Applications of Custom Injection Molding Thermoplastic
Thermoplastic injection molding can be used to make many products across a wide variety of industries. Everything from large car parts to tiny electrical components can be made using thermoplastics. Some common applications of injection–molded thermoplastic include:
- Automotive parts
- Medical equipment
- Phone cases