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Engineering Materials
Injection Molding Goes High Volume
12/21/2012

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Designed for a polymer automotive front grille, this aluminum mold made by DRS Industries includes complex angles, eight slide/lifters, and a three-drop custom manifold. Featuring a Class A surface and an automotive specification grain where required, it demonstrates the abilities of aluminum tooling to make large, injection-molded parts.
Designed for a polymer automotive front grille, this aluminum mold made by DRS Industries includes complex angles, eight slide/lifters, and a three-drop custom manifold. Featuring a Class A surface and an automotive specification grain where required, it demonstrates the abilities of aluminum tooling to make large, injection-molded parts.

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jrryan
User Rank
Iron
Re: Aluminum
jrryan   1/19/2013 9:31:44 AM
NO RATINGS
P.S. this link contains some interesting further reading on aluminium tooling for injection moulding: http://www.phoenixproto.com/about/aluminum-tooling-information/aluminum-tooling-myths/ as expected 7075 and QC-10 are in there, along with a few other variants.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Aluminum or Steel, and a some observations
William K.   1/19/2013 8:03:18 PM
NO RATINGS
jrryan , an interesting comparison to cooking. But if I don't have the ingredients for curry, then instead of making a deffective curry I would head in another direction and possibly make some fried chicken or beef stew.

My point is that unless one is intendingg to lead the organization in a new direction, it is a requirement to consider the production capabilities during the design stage, long before checking happens. Not only considering processes available, but also accuracy levels and the cost of those accuracy levels. Ultimately it equates to designing for high yield, hopefully 100%. That can only happen if one keeps production in mind at all times.

As for some of those poorly done injection molded parts with sink marks? YES, I have seen a few of them, and mostly the sink marks are in places where appearance does not matter much. I agree that sink marks are a production flaw, but sometimes they don't affect yield.

Of course, it is not certain that every engineer would also understand the ability of their organizations production department, but it is certain that at least some part of a design team should have a good grasp of how the product would be made. For many years I have asked other engineers, as we were discussing a design, "How would they make that?", and on quite a few occasions the designer had to visit the production people and find out. I have saved companies a few dollars that way, on occasion. It turns out that there are a few things that can be designed but that can not be produced, at least, not economoically. 

jrryan
User Rank
Iron
Re: Aluminum or Steel, and a some observations
jrryan   1/19/2013 11:06:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Well william, you are Designing For Manufacture already then. I can tell you, there are designers and even engineers who are not. At least not for efficient manufacture. And as the addage of many ways to skin a cat goes, There are many ways to design a product for the same manufacture process. Just because the manufacture dictates how it is designed, doesn't necessarily follow that that is the most efficient design for manufacture. How long does it take to fabricate for example, does it require as many screw? Does it require screws at all? Do the parts require turning over to fit together on the assembly line? If so can they be designed to reduce the amount of turns? Are there sufficient guides in place to ease fitting parts together? Does the design require a certain finish, if not, can it be sparked for easier.quicker removal from the mould? How many other products can we incorporate parts from one or more common moulds? Etc...

 

As you've already demonstrated with your own experience, this kind of thinking in the design phase is the way forwards for good design engineers, yet not everybody leaving university is leaving with this drummed into their heads.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Aluminum or Steel, and a some observations
William K.   1/20/2013 5:56:32 PM
NO RATINGS
Since most of my working in the more recent past has been for smaller companies, the motivation is much closer to home, since we need to get any product right the very first time, or else we don't make any profit on it. That is some real motivation, as you can imagine.

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