Prototypes serve a wide range of functions — it’s a big part of the reason why they’re so important to the development and success of your product. They can help you visualize, refine and develop your product; they can let you test different materials and formulations; they can give you a real-world look at its functionality; and they can help you decide on the end manufacturing process that you’ll use for production — to name a few.
Choosing a CNC machining supplier involves much more than just looking at a list of capabilities or specifications. In fact, even with two companies that look exactly the same on paper, you’re still almost guaranteed to see different results from each one — results that might affect the viability and performance of your product and its sales. CNC machine suppliers each have different specialties, experience and differing approaches to answering the necessary questions in creating your product.
Amid the excitement of a new product launch — or even earlier in the product development cycle — it’s all too possible for a key step or two to get lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, skipping even a relatively minor step can create a big hiccup in your launch, and can potentially create problems with your product and sales down the line. Remember, a product launch is much more than just “launch day” itself. The entire process — from concept to manufacturing and distribution — is all part of launching a new product. That’s why it’s key to take advantage of the resources at your disposal, in order to provide as many safeguards as possible against neglecting a critical launch step. As one of those resources, review the product launch checklist:
Material selection is a key factor for many aspects of your injection molded part or product. It affects some or all of the following, in most cases: the physical properties of the product, its look, its operation, its interaction with other materials and components, and its durability. On top of all that, material selection can play a big role in your material and production costs, and their subsequent effects on your bottom line. Taking all of those factors into consideration, it’s clear that choosing a material for your injection molded product should not be taken lightly.
As with many cases in manufacturing, you have options when it comes to injection molding. While there are a host of plastic materials that lend themselves to the process, they all generally fall into two broad categories: thermoplastic and thermoset materials. Each type of material offers different properties, benefits and strengths; and today, we’re going to focus on the importance of thermoplastic materials.
In the world of product development and manufacturing, 3D printing and injection molding are almost universally acknowledged to sit atop any list of the various methods available. While each of these methods is versatile and well-suited to a number of situations and uses, they are quite different in several ways: method, material, volume, cost and optimal application — just to name a few.
For most of our biggest investments — both in our personal and professional lives — regular maintenance is often at the forefront of our minds. Think about your car, your house, maybe some of your appliances — we want to ensure that we stay ahead of any problems and catch any major issues before they arise, so we engage in regular upkeep and “checkups” to make sure that everything is operating as it should be.
Since its inception, the injection molding process has primarily operated in one traditional way — what is known as a cold runner system. Here, the plastic or rubber substrate is heated to melting and injected into the mold at a fixed point (or several fixed points) called the sprue. A key point to remember here is that the molding material is injected from outside the mold (using a piston or other pressurizing method) through “runners” (or conduits for the material) built into the mold, and then into the cavity itself. The runner in this process cools along with the rest of the part and essentially becomes a part of the finished product itself, and must be ejected, potentially separated from the finished part, and then recycled and reground into reusable substrate.
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.
When you have a new product idea that you’ve been mulling over for months or years — mentally designing it, tweaking concepts, playing with features and functions, and perfecting your vision — you’re ready to jump right into it when you make the entrepreneurial leap to making your product a reality. Working off all those built-up ideas — and passion — can be a big help in making your first product-development experience comparatively easy.