What Are the Different Types of Injection Molding Equipment

Injection molding equipment, also called injection presses, injects molten plastics into a mold and then cools the plastic and extracts the freshly made parts. The equipment itself is often identified as belonging to one or more different types. Types of injection molding equipment include vertical and horizontal presses, injection cylinder and injection screw presses, hydraulic and electric presses, and other presses rated by the amount of pressure they can apply to molds. There are also hot and cold runner molding systems used with injection molding equipment.

Sometimes injection molding equipment is identified as horizontal or vertical. This identifies the way that the injection press holds the mold in the machine. For a given application, this may be a critical factor for a manufacturer. If the parts being produced are large, gravity may be needed to help extract the part from the machine. If the parts are small, they may need to be extracted horizontally onto a table or another device to further the manufacture of the parts.

The way the molten plastic is injected into the mold can also identify the type of molding equipment. Some kinds use a cylinder that collects the molten plastic in a chamber, then drives a piston down on the chamber to create the pressure to inject the plastic into the mold. The other system involves a long, heated barrel that contains a screw. The plastic is fed into one end and driven down the barrel by the screw melting the plastic as it goes along. The pressure needed to inject the plastic into the mold is created not by a cylinder, but by pressure created by the screw.

Some injection molding equipment is identified by how the pressure needed to keep the different parts of the mold together is created. In hydraulic systems, a series of hydraulic cylinders moves the pieces of the mold and creates the pressure to hold them steady while the plastic is injected. In other types of injection molding equipment, the molds are moved and held together by a series of electric motors. Higher pressure mold systems tend to use hydraulic, and lower pressure systems tend to use electric; there is a wide area of overlap where either may be suitable for a given application, however.

The molds used in injection molding can be of two general types: hot runners or cold runners. Runners are the passages in the mold that the molten plastic travels to reach the various chambers that it needs to fill to create the part. If the molding equipment cools these runners, it is referred to as a cold runner system. If the runners are heated, the equipment is called a hot runner system.

When defining injection molding equipment by type in the plastics industry, the primary feature needed for a given application tends to determine how the machine is referred to. Those who use hot runner systems will often say they use a hot runner injection molding machine even though it’s also horizontal and electric. Those who make large plastic parts may refer to their machines as vertical even though they also have hot runner and hydraulic systems. As there are many types of injection molding equipment, each piece of equipment is actually one of many different types and can be unique, depending on the combination of systems it possesses.

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What Is Injection Molding Tooling

Injection molding tooling is a process for manufacturing parts from plastic materials. A barrel feeds liquid plastic into a mold, where it hardens into the shape of the mold cavity. A toolmaker makes the mold out of metal by using precision machining to create the desired features. Injection molding tooling is a common manufacturing technique for a variety of parts.

John Wesley Hyatt patented the first injection molding tooling machine in 1872. The first products produced with this method included hair combs and buttons. Injection molding tooling advanced rapidly during World War II because of the need for mass-produced plastic products. James Watson Hendry invented the screw injection molding machine in 1946, which provided greater control over the injection speed. It also allowed for the use of colored plastic in injection molding.

Hendry also invented the gas-assisted injection molding tooling machine in the 1970s. It was capable of producing hollow products that cooled quickly, resulting in finished products with greater strength. Injection molding tooling can produce plastic products in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, plumbing and toys.

Injection molding tooling became the most common method for manufacturing plastic parts, and it is considered ideal for mass production. It has a high rate of production and is able to use a variety of materials. Injection molding also has a low labor cost because it can generally produce finished products. The primary disadvantages of this process include the requirement to design the mold and the high start-up cost.

Most polymers are suitable for injection molding tooling, allowing designers to choose from a large number of candidate materials. Common types of polymers include epoxy, polystyrene, polyethylene and nylon. Designers can also blend existing plastics to create a new alloy with the desired properties. Strength, melting point and flexibility are some of the characteristics that product designers must consider when selecting a material for manufacture by injection molding.

The basic components of an injection molding machine include the material hopper, the plunger and the heating unit. These machines are classified according to their clamping force, which is the force with which they can keep the mold closed. The clamping force of an injection molding machine can range from 5,000-6,000 tons (4,536-5,443 metric tons), although the lower end of this range is sufficient for most products. The specific clamping force required depends on factors such as the stiffness of the plastic and the size of the part.

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Medical injection molding

Medical injection molding is a method used in the creation of plastic or silicone parts that are used for medical procedures. The plastic or silicone parts may include tools for surgery or parts that will be placed inside the human body. The process of medical injection molding differs from typical plastics injection molding, because of the medical element in the process.

Every step of the process of medical injection molding must be done with absolute sterility. A sterile environment must be created from the start of the process to the final application of the part. This is especially true in applications where the molded part is for use in a human body to either enhance or replace the function of a body part.

Using silicone or plastic parts made through medical injection molding has become more and more popular in applications that pertain to severed or amputated limbs. It allows the people who design the newest prosthetic instruments to utilize the materials that allow for the most lifelike function in prosthetic usage. Moving fingers, twisting wrists, or ankle joints that bend during running are some of the newest improvements that have been made to prosthetic technology, mainly through the use of plastics and silicones made through the process of injection molding. Molded parts allow for the exact sizing and specifications needed for these types of parts.

Medical injection molding is also used to create perfectly formed tool ends that are usable in medical applications, such as internal surgery instruments. Clamp ends and almost any tool that is not used for precision cutting can be made out of these types of parts, as long as they have been handled with the utmost sense of sterility and medical duty. If the instrument has become contaminated during the creation or the packaging or shipping process, it no longer can serve any medical use.

Due to medical injection molding, doctors and surgeons are able to skillfully remove entire limbs and later graft a new prosthetic onto the body and have it become more functional than had been imagined previously in the medical community. To have a plastic and metal arm grafted where an arm has been lost, and to have that arm act almost the same as the arm that has been removed, is a direct result of the advances made in both the medical and the plastics and thermoplastics fields. These advances lead many to believe that things like silicone hearts are on the horizon.

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Metal Stamping Quality Control

Metal stamping is a form of metalworking that is completed using various levels of difficulty. Almost anyone can form their own jewelry, flowers, numbers and letters out of metal using metal stamping kits or other tools. The higher the quality of the metal used, the longer these personal things will last. Metal stamping is also an industrial fabrication process used to create weaponry, vehicle components, dollar bill changers, vending machines, decorative sheet metal parts, medical life-saving devices, and many other items.

Stamping includes a variety of sheet-metal forming manufacturing processes, such as punching using a machine press or stamping press, blanking, embossing, bending, flanging, and coining. This could be a single stage operation where every stroke of the press produce the desired form on the sheet metal part, or could occur through a series of stages. The process is usually carried out on sheet metal, but can also be used on other materials, such as polystyrene.

When working with metal stamping in the industrial world, material quality is very important. A metal stamping company may work with aerospace or medical industries creating products that can save lives-if the metal used is of low quality, lives can be destroyed instead.

Stamping simulation is a technology that calculates the process of sheet metal stamping, predicting common defects such as splits, wrinkles, springback and material thinning. Also known as forming simulation, the technology is a specific application of non-linear finite element analysis. The technology has many benefits in the manufacturing industry, especially the automotive industry, where lead time to market, cost and lean manufacturing are critical to the success of a company.

Recent research by the Aberdeen research company (October 2006) found that the most effective manufacturers spend more time simulating upfront and reap the rewards towards the end of their projects.

Stamping simulation is used when a sheet metal part designer or toolmaker desires to assess the likelihood of successfully manufacturing a sheet metal part, without the expense of making a physical tool. Stamping simulation allows any sheet metal part forming process to be simulated in the virtual environment of a PC for a fraction of the expense of a physical tryout.

Results from a stamping simulation allow sheet metal part designers to assess alternative designs very quickly to optimize their part for low cost manufacture.

Quality control is important, from verifying the metal when it’s received to complete testing and inspection once the product is completed. Metal stamped parts can be made into fuel injectors for an automobile, engines in an aircraft, bayonet assemblies, and navigation systems used by the military. With components that can take lives if they fail, it’s important to ensure the company you’re working with takes quality control very seriously.

First inspection of the material when it is received is an important quality control process. If the metal company can verify where the materials that will be used in production come from, it is likely they take care to make sure your components do not fail on you. Material identification provides documentation as to where the metal has been before being used in fabrication; it shows where it’s made and how it’s transferred. By using metals from reputable sources, metal stampings are more durable, smoother, and last longer than questionable materials.

Final inspection of the completed component is just as important as material identification. By performing non-destructive testing and other inspection methods on the product, any defaults or other issues will be noticed. A company with high quality standards keeps their rejected products to less than 1%. This shows that quality control is completed during every step of the fabrication process.

Metal stamping prototypes are a great way to ensure that the final fabrication of all parts will be correct in tolerance, size, durability, and design. Whether the prototype is a working part or not, working with companies who offer this as an option can mean the difference between getting exactly what you want and a completed order that doesn’t match your needs.

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What Is Metal Stamping

Metal stamping is a process that is used in all types of manufacturing. It is a highly elaborate system using a combination of machine presses and pure craftsmanship. It is performed in rapid succession and involves various techniques for the type of shapes and designs that are being created. Any type of metallic product sold in the marketplace has been shaped and designed through the use of metal stamping.

Metal stamping is the industrial process of stamping or shaping designs on sheets of metal. A metal sheet alloy is stamped or pressed on a machine using dies and a hydraulic machine to create the designs.

Some of these designs are used to create familiar, everyday products such as sheet metal machines, car parts, audio/video devices, aerosol spray cans, pots and pans. Uses also include military tanks.

Types of Metal
Most types of metal are commonly used in metal stamping, though they are generally flexible and can be easily manipulated under the machine process. These metals include aluminum, zinc, steel, nickel, bronze, copper and certain other alloys. The metal is fashioned into sheets of various sizes and thicknesses. Metal presses are designed to shape and design all types of metal sheets regardless of size and thickness.

You can use stamping designs for much more than just scrapbooks and school materials. You can spruce up tired household items, decorate plain clothing and make personalized invitations and greetings cards, to name just a few. There are even various kinds of stamping inks and paints that work better with one material over another. Take a step back and make your own stamps with which to decorate your world. Involve the kids, too, because stamping is easy enough for them to do alone.

Lampshade Decor
Decorate a lampshade with stamps; the light will shine through them and illuminate your stamped shapes, producing great visual effects. Remove the lampshade from the lamp. Dip foam or rubber stamps into craft paint and press them firmly onto the lampshade with a smooth surface. Carefully rock the stamps back and forth to apply the paint around curved shades. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before replacing the shade and turning on the light.

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The Process Of Precision Metal Stamping

Precision metal stamping is the process of making 3-dimensional metal parts, lettering and other embossing. This is a kind of metal stamping used mostly for decorative purposes. It is similar to normal metal stamping, which is the process of molding metal into different shapes and sizes.

The products obtained through metal stamping are used as components for some larger products in other industries. The most common metals and alloys used for precision metal stamping are copper, aluminum, brass, beryllium, nickel, nickel silver, steel, stainless steel, phos bronze and titanium.

Precision metal stamping is applicable to many industries like computers, electronics, electrical, dental, aerospace, instrumentation, military specs, defense, telecom and automotives. There are many methods in precision metal stamping for producing stamped prototypes. Blank creation is one such method. Blank creation involves the creation of a flat state of the component. The flat blank sheet is then used to make the part’s features. In blank creation, there are many processes
like nibbling, chemical etching, water jet cutting, wire EDM, punch and die.

There are also many methods for producing prototypes by precision stamping. The type of method used depends on the size and intricacy of the parts to be produced as well as the number of prototypes. Single part transfer is one such method in which single parts are transferred from one station to the next for blanking and metal forming.

The main advantage with this method is the cost effectiveness. One single, standard system can be maintained for designing, manufacturing and holding tooling inserts. However, this system is slow because it needs individual prototype parts. The other method is the progressive strip prototyping which involves the automatic transfer of the metal from one stage to the next.

Precision metal stamping can be done at very high speeds and even up to 1,200 strokes per minute. Precision metal stamping gives several advantages like the ability to use any metal or alloy and creation of components with very precise dimensions and shapes. Plating can also be very precise which is helpful when working with precious metals like gold and palladium.

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The History of Plastic Molding

The history of rotational molding began somewhere between 1940 and 1950 in the USA when the process was developed for a small number of plastics. By the late 1950s, when the rotational molding process was better understood, applications for other industries were developed including road cones, marine buoys, and car armrests. A process was developed in Europe in the early 1960s that enabled large hollow containers to be created in low density polyethylene (LDPE) by rotating (or rocking) a mold on a chassis, houses open gas jets, through 30 degrees which coated the inside of the mould with the polymer…

The history of plastic injection molding has seen steady industry growth since its beginnings in the late 1800s. The technique has evolved from the production of combs and buttons to major consumer, industrial, medical, and aerospace products. In 1868, John Wesley Hyatt invented a way to make billiard balls by injecting celluloid into a mould.

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What is Plastic Moulding

Plastic moulding is the process of shaping plastic using a rigid frame or mould. The technique allows for the creation of objects of all shapes and sizes with huge design flexibility for both simple and highly complex designs. A popular manufacturing option, plastic moulding techniques are responsible for many car parts, containers, signs and other high volume items.

Plastic Moulding Techniques

The underlying concept of plastic moulding is placing liquid polymer into a hollow mould so that the polymer can take its shape, often with various ranges of pressure and heat required. There are different plastic moulding techniques available to accomplish this including rotational molding, injection molding, blow molding, and compression molding to name just a few. Each technique has its benefits and is best suited for the creation of specific items.

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Your Guide To Plastic Molding

Plastics are synthetically produced non-metallic compounds. It can be molded into various forms and hardened for commercial use. Plastic molding products can be seen everywhere. Examples are jars, protective caps, plastic tubes, grips, toys, bottles, cases, accessories, kitchen utensils and a lot more.

Even the keyboard and the mouse that you use are made through plastic molding. Even the plastic parts of the chair that you are sitting on are created this way.

The basic idea in plastic molding is inserting molten liquid plastic into a ready shaped mold, for example the mold of a bottle. It will be then allowed to cool, then the mold will be removed to reveal the plastic bottle.

Plastic molding can also custom-mold a wide variety of plastic products including: garden pots, cabinets, office trays and boxes, barriers, barricades and traffic signage and displays for product and marketing promotions.

If you are planning to go into plastic molding business, you should first know the different processes. Choose from a plastic molding process that fits your budget, your expertise, and your resources. Here are basic definitions of various methods of plastic molding.

The Plastic Molding Processes:

Injection Molding
In Injection Molding, melted plastic is forced into a mold cavity. Once cooled, the mold can be removed. This plastic molding process is commonly used in mass-production or prototyping of a product. Injection molding machines were made in the 1930’s. These can be used to mass produce toys, kitchen utensils, bottle caps, and cell phone stands to name a few.

Blow Molding
Blow molding is like injection molding except that hot liquid plastic pours out of a barrel vertically in a molten tube. The mold closes on it and forces it outward to conform to the inside shape of the mold. When it is cooled, the hollow part is formed. Examples of blow molding products are bottles, tubes and containers.
Equipments needed in setting-up a blow molding business are relatively higher than injection molding.

Compression Molding
In this type of plastic molding, a slug of hard plastic is pressed between two heated mold halves. Compression molding usually uses vertical presses instead of the horizontal presses used for injection and blow molding. The parts formed are then air-cooled. Prices of equipments used for compression molding are moderate.

Film Insert Molding
This plastic molding technique imbeds an image beneath the surface of a molded part. A material like film or fabric is inserted into a mold. Plastic is then injected.

Gas Assist Molding
Also called gas injection molding is used to create plastic parts with hollow interiors. Partial shot of plastic is then followed by high-pressure gas to fill the mold cavity with plastic.

Rotational Molding
Hollow molds packed with powdered plastic are secured to pipe-like spokes that extend from a central hub. The molds rotate on separate axes at once. The hub swings the whole mold to a closed furnace room causing the powder to melt and stick to the insides of the tools. As the molds turn slowly, the tools move into a cooling room. Here, sprayed water causes the plastic to harden into a hollow part. In this type of plastic molding, tooling costs are low and piece prices are high. Cycle time takes about 40-45 minutes.

Structural Foam Molding
Structural foam molding is a process of plastic molding usually used for parts that require thicker walls than standard injection molding. Inserting a small amount of nitrogen or chemical blow agent into the plastic material makes the walls thicker. Foaming happens as the melted plastic material enters the mold cavity. A thin plastic skin forms and solidifies in the mold wall. This type of plastic molding can be used with any thermoplastic that can be injection molded.

In this plastic molding process, sheets of pre-extruded rigid plastics are horizontally heated and sucked down into hollow one-piece tools. When the hot plastic solidifies, its shape conforms to that of the mold.

Tooling costs are usually low and piece prices vary on the machinery.

Plastic molding is a very technical process. It needs experts in this type of manufacturing business for it to be competitive in the market. Therefore, a very scientific and systematic study should be first made before going into this endeavor.

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History of CNC Machining

Before CNC machining was invented, all metalworking fabrication processes were completed with NC (Numerical Controlled) machines. The concept of CNC was introduced in 1967 but the first CNC machines were introduced in 1976. Since then the popularity of CNC grew very significant and it was recognized as the industry standard in 1989. Today, almost all metalworking fabrication processes can be completed with CNC machines. Actually, there are many CNC variations for all metalworking equipment, such as grinders, turret punches, routers, milling machines, drills, lathes, EDMs, and high-powered cutting devices.

 The main advantage of CNC machining is to improve safety, productivity, efficiency, and accuracy in metalworking fabrication. With CNC, operators do not have to interact directly in the metalworking processes and it significantly reduces risks at workplace. Recently produced CNC machines can be operated continuously for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The machines only need to be turned off for regular maintenance. The reliability of these machines makes most companies to continue operating the machines during weekend, even without any human supervision. The machines are usually equipped with additional system that can contact off-site operator when an error occurs. When an error occurs, the process stops automatically.

Types of CNC machining

Although there are many large companies that specialize in building CNC machines for other companies, small shops or garages are actually able to build small CNC machines. It results to endless types of CNC machines. Even there are many hobbyists who continuously build small machines and promote the machines to small companies. Actually, the creation of CNC machines depends on the creativity of the maker and since there is no limit of creativity, there is no limit of the types of machines that can be built.

Advantages of CNC Machining

The first advantage is that operators can maximize the use of raw materials and minimize waste. A skilled engineer might be able to make same components but when each component is thoroughly analysed, most likely the components are different. In this way, a company can increase profit through the optimal use of raw materials.

The second advantage is that once an engineer correctly programs the machines, they can continuously produce same quality components in shorter time. CNC machines can shorten production processes, so a company can produce more components and receive more orders.

Another advantage is on safety. As mentioned above, CNC automates almost all processes so operators do not have to interact with dangerous equipment. A safer working environment will be beneficial for both company and operator.

CNC also helps a company to reduce the need of skilled engineers. One engineer is able to monitor several CNC machines. By employing fewer skilled engineers, a company can reduce expense on employee salary.

Disadvantages of CNC machining

Although CNC machines have been widely used worldwide; there are several disadvantages that all companies need to notice. The first main disadvantage of implementing CNC at workplace is the initial investment. CNC machines are very expensive compared to manually operated machines. However, these machines are beneficial for long term because it helps to minimize production costs. Another disadvantage is that when a company invests on these machines, it can leads to unemployment because the company needs fewer operators to complete all the metalworking processes.

As a conclusion, with the speed and efficiency of CNC machines to complete various metalworking tasks, investing on CNC machining is highly recommended for companies to stay competitive and profitable.

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