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Design News Radio: Get High-Quality Injection-Molded Parts Faster

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Rob Spiegel
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Injection materials
Rob Spiegel   7/1/2013 11:20:30 AM
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With all of the changes in materials used in injection molding, a discussion about new materials could make this radio program a very interesting conversation.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Injection materials
Ann R. Thryft   7/1/2013 12:20:05 PM
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Thanks, Rob: that's a good idea. This radio show focuses more on different processes rather than materials, and optimizing at least one of them.



naperlou
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Re: Injection materials
naperlou   7/1/2013 12:47:26 PM
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One material option that I talked to a guy about is the mold.  For lower production totals you can use aluminum.  Produced on a CNC machine you could make a few hundred parts with it.  This makes another interesting option for low rate manufacturing.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Injection materials
Ann R. Thryft   7/2/2013 11:42:55 AM
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Thanks, Lou, good point about mold materials.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Injection materials
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   7/2/2013 1:42:06 PM
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Actually, aluminum molds can easily accommodate 10's of thousands of shots – easily up to about 35k without any honing or refinishing, and are known to produce as many as 100,000 shots.  So why don't more OEMs pursue the aluminum option-? 

Several reasons: primarily , machining aluminum cavity blocks costs about 90% of the cost and effort of machining steel blocks (commonly used is P20 steel), and the steel lasts 10x longer in mold cycling (typically 500,000 to 1M). So for the price of Steel (about 10% more) an OEM gets about 10x the tool life. It's a bargain.

Also from  the manufacturing perspectives,  most tool-makers have discovered that machining carbon electrodes then using those electrodes to EDM burn the metal cavity geometry is actually more cost effective (in materials & machine time) than direct milling the cavities. EDM burning P20 steel is common, but I've never seen aluminum burned. (,,,,wonder if its lucrative, or even possible-?)

There are other Pro's and Cons, but one is BIG for Design Engineers:  the part quality.  Most parts will look OK in either aluminum or steel mold cavities, but for more complex, and especially thin-walled plastic parts, steel gives superior results, and holds better dimensional accuracy.  I remember several programs where we prototyped using Aluminum tools and put molded parts into Environmental testing --- with terrible results.  We learned we were wasted time, "Chasing Ghosts" – trying to resolve failure issues that cleared up when parts were molded with production tool steel.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Injection materials
Ann R. Thryft   7/2/2013 1:49:47 PM
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JimT, thanks for that clear summary. The whole point of this radio show is parts quality, and mold materials choice is an important influence on that quality.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Injection materials
Rob Spiegel   7/9/2013 6:43:36 PM
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Sounds good, Ann. There seems to be a bunch of activity in this area these days, just as there is a ton of activity in other areas of manufacturing. Quite a lot to talk about these days.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Injection materials
Ann R. Thryft   7/17/2013 1:35:59 PM
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Thanks, Rob. I was impressed at the amount of information presented in this radio show.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Injection materials
Cabe Atwell   7/31/2013 7:15:49 PM
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This should be a very informative show and I look forward to what Mr. Holtz has to say.

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