How To Find the Best Plastic Injection Molding Companies

In business, one of the crucial decisions that managers have to make is to find the best suppliers. This decision can be difficult to make especially if you do not have access to a long list of suppliers at hand. Yet, there are some proven and time tested ways to find the best plastic injection molding companies to partner with. Here are some of those ways.

Do an online search. The Internet is a treasure trove of information. Just type in the phrase “plastic injection molding companies” in your browser and it will pull up thousands of such companies for you in a matter of seconds. You can check out the web sites of these companies. On the other hand, you can go directly to more reputable web sites and conduct your search from there. Below are some online resources that you can use in your quest to find the best plastic molding injection company.

PlasticsToday.com — The official web site of the magazine Plastics Today, this site allows users to search for companies in the plastic industry including plastic injection molding companies. From here you can access the Supplier Directory of “Injection Molding” magazine called IMM Almanac. You can now search for possible suppliers here.
American Mold Builders Association — The association’s web site has a search feature that you can use for this particular task. All you need to do is fill out the search form at its web site.
Ask your local chamber of commerce. If there are plastic injection molding companies based in your city, there is a high probability that its executives are members of your local chamber of commerce. Contact your group’s secretary and ask for such information. If you are lucky, there will at least be one in your city.

Check out directories. Companies spend a considerable amount of money getting themselves listed in telephone directories. So take those dusty telephone directories out of the shelves and start scanning the pages for plastic injection molding companies. This should take about just a few minutes of your time.

Aside from printed telephone directories, check out online business directories and yellow pages. YellowPages.com and Manta.com are very popular directories that will suit your purpose. You can easily search for plastic injection molding companies by city and state using these two resources.

Ask for referrals. As a manager, you are probably connected with many people in your particular line of business. Take out your roll-o-deck and give some of your colleagues a call. Ask them if they know of any plastic injection molding company that you can get in touch with. If they do, ask them for feedback so you can get a good idea of how that company treats its customers.

Finding plastic injection molding companies or suppliers in general becomes an easier task using the Internet and business networks. Gladly, these tools are very much on hand. Use these tools and resources to find the best plastic injection molding company that you can do business with.

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What Is a Stamping Press

A stamping press is a piece of equipment people can employ in metalworking to shape pieces with the use of a die. The die can punch patterns into the metal, mold it into a specific form, or cut it to a desired shape and size. Stamping presses have an interchangeable design, allowing people to replace the die as needed for different projects. Companies can keep a library of dies around to reproduce products or make future production runs.

The size and speed of this device can vary. Some models are small and relatively slow while others are quite large and capable of handling very high volumes of material per hour. Some require an operator to actually handle the metal and operate the press. Others may use robots and computer-controlled programming so no one needs to be present to run them, with the machine handling operations on its own.

This equipment can be seen on the floor of facilities where people regularly have high volume metalworking needs, like car companies and tool manufacturers. The stamping press may be able to handle cold forging as well as warm and hot production methods to cover a variety of needs. Some machines use a mechanical engine to drive the die while others rely on hydraulic power to squeeze the metal. The best choice can depend on the kind of metal people are working and what kinds of products they plan to make.

The device has a number of moving parts and can be extremely dangerous. The pressure necessary to form metal is very high, and if the limbs of the operator get caught, they can be crushed or severed. It is important to make sure people observe safety precautions around the stamping press, and it is also necessary to maintain the machine properly. The stamping press should be well oiled, with all parts functioning and in place, for employee safety as well as product quality.

Some manufacturers offer stamping press rentals to companies that are not yet ready to invest in buying a press, and often it is possible to buy the machine at the end of the rental, at a reduced price. It is also possible to buy refurbished presses, a good option for companies that cannot afford the market value for a new machine. Another good source for affordable stamping presses can be liquidation auctions, where companies sell off all their equipment when they go out of business.

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What Is Plastic Compounding

Plastic compounding is a process for adding additional materials into a molten plastic base to produce a material with desired qualities. Additives and modifiers may result in plastic with a particular color, texture, strength, and so on. A manufacturer may incorporate one or more additives into the base material in the process of plastic compounding.

While the process is different in each facility depending on the product being produced, plastic compounding typically involves several basic steps. Additives in the form of pellets, flakes, or powders are conveyed to a container of a molten plastic base material. The mixture goes through a number of blending and dispersal steps to incorporate these additives into the base material and achieve a homogeneous final product. Processing may also include steps to reduce the chemical volatility of the material. Once all processing steps are complete, the material is cooled and extruded into pellets, which are then packaged for distribution or sale.

Polyethylene and polypropylene are the two most common base polymers used in the plastic compounding process. Modifiers may be added to these base polymers in the form of powder or small pellets. Sometimes recycled material is added in the form of chips or shavings produced in the recycling process.

Filler material may be classified as either inert or active. Inert filler material typically increases the volume of the material inexpensively without adding any beneficial features. Its primary purpose is to reduce the cost of the material. Active filler, on the other hand, is added to improve the physical properties of the material. If a filler increases the tensile strength of the base material, it may be referred to as a reinforcement.

Manufacturers must take into account a number of factors when incorporating additives. Physical properties such as particle size and shape of the additive must be compatible with the base material. Even if it improves performance, an expensive additive may drive the price of the final product up too much for its target market. Suitability of an additive in the manufacturing environment must also be considered. For example, abrasive filler materials can degrade plastic compounding equipment, and dust from an additive in powder form may contaminate the manufacturing facility.

Modifiers used in plastic compounding serve a number of purposes when added to base polymers. They may reduce the cost of the final material substantially, thereby providing an economic advantage in the marketplace. Use of recycled material as additives can reduce consumer or industrial waste in landfills and save on waste disposal expenses.

Additionally, additives may improve the quality of the final product in a number of ways. Flame retardants and antioxidants may improve the safety of the material or extend its useful lifetime. Antacids may be added to a material to reduce the impact it has on the equipment used for processing. Glass or carbon fibers can increase the strength of a base polymer when incorporated into it.

A wide variety of products are made with materials developed through plastic compounding. Consumer products that incorporate these materials include toys, furniture, appliances, and more. Industrial applications include use in automotive components, pipes, construction, and others. The diverse array of materials that can be created with plastic compounding ensure widespread use of this process in product manufacturing well into the future.

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What Is a Parting Line

A parting line is the place on a product or component where two or more molds met during the casting process. A number of considerations go into the placement of the parting line, with the goal of maintaining the overall integrity of the piece. Typically, as part of the finishing process, machinery will grind and smooth the parting line so it is no longer visible, if any extra material leaked into the space when the object was cast.

In a simple mold, there will be two halves that press together to create a cavity to fill with plastic, metal, or other materials. As an operator pours material into the mold, air can escape around the parting line, preventing bubble formation. When the material sets and people pull the molds apart, the finished object will drop out. It can be treated with finishing processes like sanding, painting, and so forth. Other molds may be more complex, with multiple components to address special shapes and design considerations.

When people design a mold for mass production, they want to place the parting line with care. Even operating under the assumption that it will not be visible after finishing, they need to think about the best position in terms of pulling the mold apart without damaging the product, and providing support while the molded material sets. If the parting line is too close to a fragile component, for instance, that part may deform during molding or break off when the operator removes the mold. Likewise, bad placement may prevent air bubbles from escaping, causing problems with the finished product.

If molds do not meet exactly, material will leach into the space between them, creating a situation called molding flash. The operator can plane, sand, scrape, or cut off this excess material and then smooth the underlying surface to make it match the rest of the object. This problem is more common with inexpensive molds, and in some cases, manufacturers will not bother to address it; cheap plastic toys, for example, may have a visible line around the middle, showing where the molds came apart.

In specifications for products made with molding, the technical drawings will include illustrations of the molds and a discussion about the location of the parting line. The mold maker will confirm that the designs are appropriate for the application and may make suggestions for changes to address concerns. For example, there could be worries that it will be difficult to file away any molding flash because the parting line is tucked into a corner of the mold, and thus will leave the product with a rough, unfinished appearance.

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What is High-Density Polyethylene

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a type of plastic made from petroleum. Since this material can be remolded by subsequent melting and shaping, it is classified as a polyethylene thermoplastic. It can also be joined in segments when welded or machined. However, it does not accept adhesives very well. Also known as polyethylene high-density (PEHD), products made of high-density polyethylene are marked by the imprint of the number “2” surrounded by the Möbius strip recognized as the universal recycling symbol.

As the name implies, high-density polyethylene is denser than most other polymer plastics, namely low-density polyethylene. This is due to its crystallization structure occurring in a linear fashion rather than branching out to form long chains of polyethylene. Instead, the lack of branching results in its carbon molecules bonding with more hydrogen molecules. This allows the final product to possess greater tensile strength, even though it is lighter than water. It also makes high-density polyethylene highly resistant to acids and solvents.

The production of high-density polyethylene does not happen by accident or natural event, however. In fact, the lack of branching during the polymerization process is deliberately induced by the addition of a type of reagent known as a Ziegler-Natta catalyst. Usually, these catalysts are derived from titanium compounds.

Since high-density polyethylene is so durable and chemically non-reactive, it has numerous applications in various industries. It is used in many different types of packaging containers, such as milk and laundry detergent bottles, as well as plastic grocery bags. It is also found in storage systems designed to store chemicals and fuels. In fact, high-density polyethylene is used to produce materials to act as chemical barriers, such as liners that are placed under landfills to help prevent soil and groundwater contamination. One of the most common uses of this material is in the manufacturing of wood plastic composites to make furniture, flooring, fencing, and landscaping materials.

In terms of environmental impact, products made of high-density polyethylene do not readily biodegrade in landfills. Such products can be recycled, though, albeit at the risk of losing some of its original tensile strength. Since this material is constructed of hydrogen and carbon, being subjected to high heat merely results in the release of water and carbon dioxide. However, additives, such as fire retardants, UV-stabilizers, and dyes, can produce other toxins. In addition, some environmental groups express concern over the potential hazard from the leeching of phthalates used in producing some children’s toys made from high-density polyethylene, such as teething rings.

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What Is Low-Density Polyethylene

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a type of thermoplastic, a synthetic polymer that softens to a liquid when heated and freezes when cooled. It is made from petroleum. LDPE has a wide variety of applications because of its toughness and low reactivity at room temperature.

As a primary component of plastic bags, food and drink containers, trays and computer equipment such as disk drives, low-density polyethylene is an important plastic. It is resilient, easy to weld and shape and flexible to the point of being almost unbreakable. This makes it a popular choice for parts that need to be flexible in order to function correctly.

The resilience of low-density polyethylene is because of its chemical structure. Like other polymers, LDPE consists of repeating units of carbon and hydrogen atoms that form bonded chains. LDPE exhibits branching on about 2 percent of its carbon atoms, meaning that in some places, a hydrogen atom is replaced by another carbon-hydrogen chain. This makes LDPE’s tensile strength and intermolecular forces weaker, resulting in lower density and greater flexibility.

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) is a variety of low-density polyethylene that is widely used in commercial and industrial applications. It is composed of shorter branching structures than LDPE, which gives it a lower viscosity and the ability to elongate when stretched. LLDPE is used in plastic wrap and plastic bags where a thinner, stretchier material than LDPE is required.

LDPE is widely used in laboratory equipment. Its flexibility and translucence make it useful for wash bottles and tubing, and its chemical resistance allows it to be used in conjunction with chemicals that might corrode other materials. For example, LDPE has good resistance to acids, bases, alcohols, aldehydes and vegetable oils.

Laboratory equipment manufacturers state that LDPE can be used in temperatures as high as 176 degrees Fahrenheit (about 80 degrees Celsius) and as low as minus-58 degrees Fahrenheit (about minus-50 Celsius). It is recommended that special care be observed in maintaining LDPE equipment, because the material can be weakened by oxidizing agents and might soften and swell over time.

LDPE was initially developed as a variation on high-density polyethylene (HDPE). HDPE exhibits less branching in its hydrocarbon chains and is therefore a harder material than LDPE. It is used in some of the same products as LDPE, such as plastic bags, but it also can be found in more rigid materials such as milk jugs and bottle caps.

The global market for LDPE and LLDPE has grown rapidly since its inception during the mid-20th century. Although polymer science has continued to develop new materials to meet the challenges of packaging and manufacturing, LDPE has remained a popular material because of its versatility and durability. LDPE can also be recycled, which gives the material staying power in an increasingly environmentally conscious society.

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What Is Warpage

Warpage is a form of distortion that can occur in some materials, such as wood or plastic. This usually results from uneven stresses that can be internal or external to the material being warped. Common causes of warpage include uneven physical pressure or extreme temperature conditions placed on a given material. Sometimes, especially in woodworking practices, warpage specifically refers to a distortion from flatness; this is a problem when one needs a straight, flat board. In its most general sense, however, the term refers to any distortion from the intended shape and design of an object.

In man-made materials, warpage is often caused by residual stress in the composition of a material. Sometimes, flaws in production such as uneven cooling after manufacture or uneven distribution of molecules throughout a material cause internal stress that can lead to warpage or, in some extreme cases, cracking and further damage. Expansion and contraction of molecules occurs naturally with temperature change; problems with this occur when the expansions and contractions are not, for whatever reason, uniformly arranged throughout the material.

For many different manufacturing and shipping companies, it is very important to prevent warpage, as it can render products useless. As a very simple example, a warped board is often useless when a straight and flat board is needed; wood warping costs the logging industry millions in US dollars (USD) each year. Sometimes, warp on a product can even lead to eventual cracking and further damage to the material. Because of this, companies generally work to keep their products at relatively constant temperatures, as extremes of heat and cold can very easily cause an object to warp. They also make sure to keep products arranged in such a way that prevents excessive pressure from being placed on them.

A warpage can occur in many different ways and is described in terms of the way in which something warps. In a bow warp, for example, material becomes bent along the length of its face, giving it the curve of a bow. In a cup warp, the edges of the face of the material curve upward and are higher than the middle. A twist warp results in the two ends of the material being tilted at different angles to each other. A kink refers to a small area of warpage in which only a small part of the material is affected; this is often caused by a knot in a piece of wood or some similar imperfection.

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What Is Thermoplastic

A thermoplastic (sometimes written as thermo plastic) is a type of plastic made from polymer resins that becomes a homogenized liquid when heated and hard when cooled. When frozen, however, a thermoplastic becomes glass-like and subject to fracture. These characteristics, which lend the material its name, are reversible. That is, it can be reheated, reshaped, and frozen repeatedly. This quality also makes thermoplastics recyclable.

There are dozens of kinds of thermoplastics, with each type varying in crystalline organization and density. Some types that are commonly produced today are polyurethane, polypropylene, polycarbonate, and acrylic. Celluloid, which is considered the first thermoplastic, made its appearance in the mid-1800s and reigned in the industry for approximately 100 years. During its peak production, it was used as a substitute for ivory. Today, it is used to make guitar picks.

Sometimes, thermoplastics are confused with thermosetting plastics. Although they may sound the same, they actually possess very different properties. While thermoplastics can be melted to a liquid and cooled to a solid, thermosetting plastics chemically deteriorate when subjected to heat. Ironically, however, thermosetting plastics tend to be more durable when allowed to cool than many thermoplastics.

Thermoplastics also differ from elastomers, even though some are considered both. While many thermoplastics can be stretched to a point, they generally tend to both resist, and stay in the shape they are stretched to. Elastomers, as the name suggests, bounce back. However, the addition of plasticizers to the melt can render a more pliable thermoplastic. In fact, this is usually the case when a thermoplastic is being used for plastic injection molding or extrusion.

The specific action of a plasticizer is to lower the material’s glass transition temperature (Tg), which is the point it becomes brittle when cooled and soft when heated. Tg varies with each type of thermoplastic and is dictated by its crystallization structure. However, Tg can also be adjusted by introducing a thermoplastic into a copolymer, such as polystyrene. Until the use of plasticizers, some molded thermoplastic parts were prone to crack in cold weather.

Thermoplastics have been around for a long time, but are a huge component of everyday life today. For example, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a type of thermoplastic used to manufacture sports equipment, toys (i.e., LEGO® blocks), and various automobile parts. Polycarbonate is used to make compact discs (CDs), drinking bottles, food storage containers, and eyeglass lenses, among other things. Polyethylene is likely the most commonly encountered thermoplastic and is used to make shampoo bottles, plastic grocery bags, and even bullet proof vests.

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What Is Thermoplastic Injection Molding

Thermoplastic injection molding is a process used in manufacturing to create a variety of parts and components for industries ranging from aerospace to automotive to construction. Thermoplastics, such as phenolic and epoxy, are heated into a molten resin and then injected into a mold that’s usually made from aluminum, steel or a metal alloy. The molten plastic then gets compressed inside the mold and allowed to cool. Machines remove the plastic component or piece from the mold, and this hardened part can then be used to construct a larger product, such as a child’s toy or an automobile door.

The thermoplastic injection molding industry churns out literally thousands of products and supports hundreds of industries. As of the 1990s, nearly 20,000 different types of thermosetting and thermoplastic materials were used for injection molding. Industrialists commonly use dyes and other agents to alter the properties of the molten plastic resin, such as its color, hardness, and springiness. The molds used to shape the molten plastic generally must be precut in a separate process, using sophisticated tooling procedures to properly prepare them. A device called a sprue allows the molten resin to enter the mold and fill up the cavity. Molds also are typically designed to allow air bubbles to escape. Otherwise, during compression and heating, the air bubbles might deform the plastic and even create internal burning of the finished components.

Pre-hardened steel molds tend to be more expensive but may be longer lasting; thus, manufacturers often use these harder, higher-quality steel molds for high-volume thermoplastic injection molding jobs. For more boutique industrial work, manufacturers may use aluminum molds, which can be more cost effective for scaled-down operations. To tool molds for industrial plastic injection work, manufacturers typically employ one of two time-tested processes: electrical discharge or standard machining. With the electrical discharge process, a robot applies a voltage from a tool to alter the shape of the base metal. With standard machining, a more conventional process, a machine or tool physically warps the mold into its final shape.

Manufacturers can experiment with literally dozens if not hundreds of variations in the thermoplastic injection molding process to optimize their processes. Changes can be made to the pressure applied to the mold, the speed of the injection of the resin plastic or to the geometry and structure of the molds. Other alterations may include the cooling time of the plastic, the pressure in the cavity, the composition of the dye, and the variety of plastic resin additives.

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Plastic Tooling and Molds for Injection Molding

In the current competitive world the most seen and used product would be made from plastic. It can be said that the world is cornered for plastics and it has revolutionized the line of attack that companies reflect about the manufactured parts. The best part about the plastic injection molding is that it is easy on the pocket, speedy and consistent. Manufacturing demands are determined by this constructive use along with the durability for the prevalent needs for the plastic are so. Also, you can get it done in a short span of time as you need them and startlingly they are durable as well. Above all it could be said that it is a blend of engineering proficiency with widespread computerization that makes the process done.

Now let us see about the process followed for the plastic injection molding. It is a highly effective process which is quite simple comparatively to other mechanical processes. The plastic pellets are fed into the insertion compartment of the machine through a hopper. One important process which is to be necessitated while doing this process is that it should be verified whether the fed pellets are steady and even. In order to ensure that this step is done correctly the reciprocated screw is jacked and followed because is the one which tests whether the plastic granules are even. A block in the part can disrupt the entire process so it is necessary. After this process is checked completely, then the pellets are passed through a heating element to liquefy or melt the granules. This reaches into the mold cavity by a nozzle and from that, the plastic is injected into the plastic mold where portable plates pertain pressure to ensure that the plastic becomes firm.

It is an enormously resourceful method for manufacturing a wide series of easy or intricate plastic parts with a good finish. The beauty of this is almost any sort of 2D or 3D shape can be achieved depending upon the requirement. On the other hand, draft is mandatory in most cases as the form or shape must permit expulsion from the mold. Side holes and threaded holes are likely to evade though, they obscure the tooling.

Apart from that, there are custom plastic molds which are carried out according to the customer specifications and it differs from the applications. Therefore injection molding is considered as an effective means to make custom parts which is often driven by the molding application.

The fundamental scheme in plastic molding is the insertion of molten liquid plastic hooked on a prepared set of shaped mold and then they are allowed to cool. As a final step the mold is removed to disclose the final product. The plastic tooling costs are low and in contrast the piece prices are high which falls under the plastic molding category.

In addition to using thermoplastic injection molding presses, variety of auxiliary equipment can be used to lower the cost of molding. Robots and Sprue pickers can also be used to remove parts and runners from the mold.

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