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AIM Processing Small Plastic Parts Blog

A Deep Dive into Today’s Plastic Overmolding Applications: From Automotive to Electronics Products

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 7, 2023 7:43:58 AM / by Jon Gelston

A-Deep-Dive-into-Todays-Plastic-Overmolding-Application

Plastic overmolding is a unique injection molding process that we use to mold custom components over top of other molded parts. A specialized form of multi-shot injection molding, overmolding allows us to mold one plastic part design onto another – typically a stronger, more rigid plastic base, or internal metal components combined with overmolded plastics.

Basically, we can use overmolding to exploit the advantages of multiple materials within a single, fully integrated product. Perhaps the widest use case is in the manufacturing of relatively soft, vibration-resistant plastic handles overmolded onto rigid plastic/metal bases. As seen in this example, overmolding often helps us achieve better ergonomics and comfort without compromising the strength or durability of the end product.

Below, we take a deeper dive into some of the common uses for plastic overmolding services today, including new and innovative product applications for emerging markets.

 

Common Uses for Overmolding in Modern Manufacturing:

Overmolded Medical Devices

Overmolding is increasingly used in today’s cutting-edge medical space. Most commonly, overmolded medical devices require soft ergonomic grips or handles molded onto sturdy bases to ensure both comfort and reliability in the field. The overmolding process is also a boon for the manufacturing of modern wearable medical devices, providing material comfort and flexibility (more on wearable electronics below).

Overmolded Automotive Parts and Components

Overmolding is increasingly employed in the automotive sector for manufacturing a wide, diverse range of parts and components. Common overmolded automotive parts include engine covers and electronics enclosures, comfortable interior components such as headrests and armrests, as well as driver controls like steering wheels and gear shifter handles for improved grip and driving ergonomics. In specialized cases, overmolding is used in the production of automotive seals, sensors, and electrical connectors to provide better protection against the elements.

Electronics Components, Ports, and Connectors

Many of today’s electronics devices are housed in custom plastic casings and enclosures which have the dual job of protecting all internal components while creating a more usable, ergonomic end product. Often, we use custom overmolded enclosures to combine the best materials for both jobs and ultimately deliver a more premium device in look, feel, and usability.

Wearable Electronics Technology

An emerging, quickly-growing niche within the larger electronics manufacturing sector, wearable electronic devices have exploded in popularity over the last decade. Wearable devices often require a combination of rigid and flexible components. Overmolding allows for much easier integration of all required sensors, connectors, and other electronic components, seamlessly integrating them into flexible and comfortable materials.

Overmolded Ergonomic Grips and Handles

The ergonomics of virtually any injection molded plastic product can be improved through overmolding services. Rather than being constrained by a single plastic material, we can overmold specially-chosen materials such as soft plastics and elastomers into key components like grips and handles. This provides many functional advantages such as vibration reduction, shock absorption, and generally better grip/ergonomics.

The many ergonomic advantages have seen overmolding increasingly used in many consumer product industries. For example, overmolding has become practically standard for manufacturers of sporting goods such as bicycle grips, golf club handles, and fitness equipment, as well as for consumer hand tools and power tools. Obviously, all of these products benefit greatly from the improved grip, comfort, and durability that overmolding offers.

Complete Injection Molding Services and Overmolding Solutions

As one of the Denver, Colorado region’s leading injection molding companies since 1993, AIM Processing also provides complete insert molding and overmolding capabilities. Our company is an ISO 9001:2015 registered manufacturer committed to uncompromising quality, consistency, and responsive customer service to deliver the best molded plastic products possible.

 

Topics: Plastic Injection Molding Defects, Plastic Types, Quality, Texture, Choosing the right plastic injection molder

Jon Gelston

Written by Jon Gelston