Plastic isn’t the only thing that can be injection molded—metal can as well. This new technology is substantially more expensive than plastic injection molding and usually serves a niche market. The cell phone market, for example, sometimes uses metal injection molding to shield the cellular electronics from radio or microwaves.
4. Liquid Silicone Injection Molding
The majority of plastic injection molding is thermoset, meaning cold material is injected into an extremely hot mold to create a part. This process cures the part so it can never be melted again. But if you need a part to withstand very high temperatures or chemical agents—as you might with certain medical devices or car parts—you may need thermoplastic injection molding, which frequently uses liquid silicone.
5. 3D Printing
3D printing is a notable injection molding technology because of the role it plays in prototyping an injection molded part. Here at Micron, we create a 3D-printed prototype of a client’s part before we move the design to production. This allows us to discuss potential improvements in more depth than we could while reviewing an online rendering, for example. It’s also worth noting that 3D printing can be used to print actual injection molds using plastic or metal. Currently, the available 3D printing technology does not enable us to print with the narrow part tolerances required in an injection mold—but we imagine it may in the future.
6. Unique Material Formulations
While this isn’t a plastic injection “technology” in the traditional sense, the use of unique material formulations does advance molding capabilities. Injection molding companies may, for example, use a carbon or mineral filler, a blowing agent, and a lubricity additive to add certain properties to a part. For example, here at Micron, we have run 40% carbon-filled ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) to achieve a degree of electrical conductivity in a plastic stud or sensor. The temperature of the mold and the plastic material are both important when adding a filler, additive, and blowing agent, so we are constantly refining our process to achieve the best advantage for these unique materials.From Website
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