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.
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.
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.
It takes some time and effort to establish a good working relationship with a small plastic part injection molder. As a result, you may be reluctant to move on to a different provider, even if the current relationship starts to deteriorate.
A number of questions will likely come to mind — things like:
- What are the signs that it’s time to leave?
- What are we risking if we decide to stay?
- If we choose to leave, what is involved in moving our processes to a new injection molding shop?
It’s not uncommon for a small plastic injection molded part to be expected to hold up under a large load. One of the ways to strengthen a part is by adding one or more “ribs” to the design. Ribs are thin protrusions that extend perpendicular from a wall or plane to provide added stiffness and strength.
If you have a new plastic project in mind, one of the first things you’re likely to wonder is, “What will it cost to create this small plastic part?” In order to answer your question, an injection molder will need to know a little more. Though you may not have precise answers, even educated guesses can help shape an accurate quote so you can explore your options.
When it comes to the angles used in the plastic part design of injection molded parts, you’d be surprised to learn what a big difference as little as half a degree can make. In particular, the draft of a part can play a major role in everything from how easy it is to eject the part from the mold to how smooth the surface of the finished part is.
The process of plastic injection molding can produce the perfect parts for your needs quickly and cost effectively. However, as with any manufacturing process, there are certain “gotchas” that can cause less than optimal results. Below are five design guidelines you should follow to help ensure that your production runs deliver an outstanding finished product.