When plastic parts have to serve in a structural role, they usually require some extra attention to both part design and processing. And nowhere is that extra attention more evident than the annual new product design competition held by the Alliance of Plastic Processors, part of the Society of the Plastics Industry. The competition this year featured 49 entries from a variety of industries — including automotive, agriculture, appliance, medical, industrial, furniture and consumer products. Those 49 products represented the full range of molding processes, not just standard injection molding but also advanced variants such as co-injection and gas-assist molding. Three of the winners, however, relied on lesser-known structural-foam molding. A process that can fill big parts with low injection and clamping pressures, structural foam molding employs specialized large-platen, multi-nozzle molding machines that foam the plastic melt with an inert gas. Here’s a look at three of the winners that used structural foam process.
For a look at the other winners, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/4927-531. And for more on the agricultural entries, turn to the feature article on page 41.
Design collaboration now includes the entire value chain. From suppliers to customers, purchasing to outside experts, the collaborative design team includes internal and external groups. The design process now stretches across the globe in multiple software formats.
A new high-pressure injection-molding technology produces near-net shape parts with 2-inch-thick walls from high-performance materials like PEEK, PAI, and carbon-filled polymers. Parts show no voids, sinks, or porosity, have more consistent mechanical properties, and are stronger.
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