You’ve designed your part, created the tooling, and are ready to begin the plastic injection molding process. But then, there is a change of plans. Rather than using ABS plastic, you will now be making the parts out of nylon. No problem. Just have some nylon shipped to the manufacturer and you’re good to go, right?
If you’ve ever flipped open a bottle of ketchup or tube of toothpaste, you’ve used a living hinge. A living hinge is formed as an extension of the base and cap material, which in many cases is polypropylene plastic. This thin piece of material between the base and cap is flexible, allowing the cap to be bent out of the way as the contents of the container are dispensed and then returned to the closed position. Living hinges can be created in a number of ways, but one of the most cost-effective methods is plastic injection molding.
One of the keys to creating small plastic parts that are free of cosmetic blemishes is consistent wall thickness. When wall thickness is not relatively uniform throughout a part, the plastic cools at different rates, and problems can occur. Thin wall sections in the middle of a part can be especially problematic, as they lead to improper filling and issues like sink and warp. But, by following a few guidelines, you can ensure that your parts are both visually appealing and functionally sound.
What’s known in the plastic injection molding business as “gate blush” or simply “blush” is a cloudy or hazy discoloration of the plastic on a finished part. It is most often found near gate locations, where material enters the part. Not only is the defect in color and gloss visually unappealing, the plastic in that area can be weaker than in the rest of the part. Needless to say, it’s an issue that needs to be corrected as soon as it is discovered.
Some of the companies who come to us for small plastic parts in Colorado simply need the finished part from the plastic injection molding process. Many others, however, want or need to have additional actions performed on their parts. These actions are what are known as “secondary services,” and they can be critical to a customer’s plastic injection molding project.
In order to put out high-quality products, you need high-quality small plastic parts. As a leading small plastic parts manufacturer in Denver for more than two decades, we know what companies can and should expect from their provider. We also know that accepting anything less than the best means you may be sacrificing the quality of your finished product. So we'll point out a few things to look for as you begin your next project.
Design for manufacturing (DFM) is an approach to product development that emphasizes the importance of designing a product in such a way that it is easy to manufacture. Also known as design for manufacturability, it is used in a wide range of engineering disciplines, including the injection molding of small plastic parts. Through the smart application of DFM principles to everything from the raw materials used to dimensional tolerances to the number of components in a finished part, companies can often produce more parts faster and at a lower cost.
Nylon is a synthetic thermoplastic that is extremely versatile and resistance to many chemicals. In our decades of small plastic parts manufacturing in Colorado, we have used it in a wide variety of ways. It is a material that is naturally very strong, but in some applications, glass is added to create greater structure and rigidity. What is referred to as “glass-filled nylon” provides many benefits to manufacturers, but there are also some cautions to keep in mind if you choose to work with it.
One of the keys to the accurate and efficient creation of small plastic parts is having a mold that is perfectly designed for the task at hand. There was a time when toolmakers were generalists who could create a mold to meet any specs. Today, however, with advances in everything from the design of parts to the materials used to make them, that’s no longer the case.
There are two truths that are clear in virtually every industry today: capital can be hard to come by and companies are under intense pressure to control costs in order to maximize profits. Organizations that use plastic injection molding to produce parts for their products may be tempted by the lure of cheap tooling. However, as a leading molder of small plastic parts in the Denver area, we know that the reality is that sometimes lower-cost alternatives can end up costing more in the long run.