What is Mold Tooling?

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By Jeremy Losek, Mar 22nd, 2023

What is Mold Tooling?

Injection molding is a manufacturing process that uses a metal mold to shape molten plastic resins. The mold is often referred to as tooling. Mold and tooling are relatively interchangeable terms for the metal mold at the heart of the injection molding process. Mold tooling may also be used to describe the process of machining the mold out of a block of metal. A core & cavity is cut into the negative shape of the part. The injection molding machines holds the mold together while it is injected with molten plastic at high pressure. Once the plastic has cooled, the mold is opened and the part is ejected. The process is repeated until the desired amount of parts has been completed. Injection molding is a cost efficient way to manufacture a high volume of complex plastic parts.

High quality tooling is required to produce high quality parts. ICOMold by Fathom uses premium components and materials for all injection molding tooling and will work closely with you to ensure every injection molding project meets your requirements.

What Materials are used to Make Injection Molding Tooling?

Injection mold tooling is generally made of steel, aluminum, or alloys. Most mold tooling will consist of two halves, however, some tooling may be more complex with multiple sides or internal components. The components on the inside of the mold may include slides, guides, lifters, pins, bushings, ejectors, and alignment devices. The proper mold material and components must be used with a compatible injection material to ensure the dimensional tolerances are met and mold tooling longevity. The experts at ICOMold have decades of experience building injection molding tooling.

Injection Mold Tooling

Mold tooling includes sourcing and acquiring all of the mold components and machinery necessary for the job including, jigs, gauges, fixtures, and other equipment. These instruments are critical to the success of the part. The efficiency of a mold can be improved as well as the overall quality of the injection-molded part by using the right injection mold tooling. The tooling process will largely dictate the project cost and quality of the end part. High-quality injection molding tooling will be expensive, however, it will ensure high-quality parts and mold tooling with an exceptional lifespan. Mold tooling that is made to last will help cut the overall project cost and significantly reduce the price per part. The more parts that can be made with the mold tooling, the less each part will cost over time.

Injection molding tooling is highly customizable. At ICOMold by Fathom, we can produce injection-molded parts that match your exact specifications. Working in conjunction with our designers as well as our production facility, we can produce custom plastic mold tooling to meet the unique requirements of your project.

Steel and aluminum are the most common metals used to produce injection molding tooling. ICOMold prefers to use steel tooling for full-scale, high-volume production. Steel can tolerate higher temperatures and pressure without compromising the mold. Injection mold tooling made from steel can produce hundreds of thousands up to millions of plastic parts. Aluminum mold tooling will typical only produce in the thousands. Steel mold tooling is easier to maintain, will last without rusting, provides an excellent finish to each piece, and is easy to change with simple welding. Steel mold tooling can be made with electrical discharge machining (EDM). EDM is a very precise method and affords our engineers the opportunity to create tooling with highly complex geometry and very tight tolerances that could not be manufactured by conventional means. Aluminum mold tooling is not compatible with EDM and must be made with conventional methods like CNC machining. The high upfront costs should be weighed against the overall advantages of steel mold tooling. Steel molds can be less expensive as they will run many more cycles than aluminum molds. Aluminum mold tooling is also difficult to change or repair and must be replaced often.

Have questions about injection mold tooling? Please feel free to contact us at (419) 867-3900 or email sales@icomold.com. 

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