Plastic injection molding offers nearly unparalleled versatility and quality in manufacturing. The ubiquitous nature of the process means that it’s rarely a challenge to find an injection molding manufacturing partner, whether for tooling or for the process itself — another quality that makes injection molding a popular choice for products (though finding the right manufacturing partner is a different story). The cost of a plastic injection mold can, however, often stop entrepreneurs and engineers in their tracks as they experience a bit of “sticker shock,” especially if they’re unfamiliar with the process
Polypropylene is one of the most common plastics used worldwide. In fact, it’s second only to polyethylene in volume. Despite being such a commonly used material, however, it’s still important for engineers and entrepreneurs alike to understand polypropylene plastic: its properties, its uses and even a bit of its history. In addition to being broadly found in full-production manufacturing, polypropylene is well suited for prototyping. Understanding more about the material will help you learn why.
Color for plastic injection molded parts can make a big difference in the success of your product. For consumer products, different colors and appearances can help differentiate your offering from those next to it on the shelf (or website). The right color for a product can trigger the subconscious, emotional response that takes a person from “just looking” to “must have.” Color, when used the right way, can also help strengthen and unify your branding strategy to build your reputation in the eyes of your target audience.
Let’s face it: There’s a lot that can go wrong during the injection molding process. If you’re an experienced engineer or an entrepreneur who has dealt with injection molding before, you probably already know this. Also, if you’re just starting and researching options to bring your idea to reality, it’s an important fact to remember.
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or an established business, launching a new product is both exciting and challenging. While your status in the marketplace, your standing as a business, and even your reasons for launching a new product may be different, the principles underpinning how to make a product successful are often the same.
Injection molding is a complex process with a number of “moving parts” — both figuratively and literally — that should be monitored during production. The process is versatile enough to be the manufacturing method of choice for a broad range of products, but unfortunately, it is rarely as simple as just building a mold and running it through an injection molding machine. Several factors inherent to the process can affect the quality of your end product, and should be monitored and measured as closely as possible in order to maintain the safety and integrity of your parts.
Failure of your injection molding part can prove to be one of the most costly production issues that you can encounter. Not only must you absorb the cost of rejected pieces, it’s likely that you’ll also need to adjust the design of your product to be more conducive to the plastic injection molding process. Aside from this additional R&D time and expenditure, this means new tooling costs as well. As the direct costs add up, your time to market is also drawn out longer and longer, creating a double-whammy to your bottom line.
We’ve talked before about how certain additives can be mixed with plastics to change their color and appearance. But plastic additives can also play a much broader role in every part of the plastic manufacturing and use cycle, modifying the creation, processing, form and function of plastics — going far beyond simply changing the color.
When you’re talking about universal best practices for designing parts for injection molding, there are a few that are simply unavoidable. At the top of the list, you’ll almost always find the requirement for draft angles for your parts. (If it isn’t draft angles, it’s probably uniform wall thickness, detailed here previously.)