Let’s talk about thermoplastic injection molding — not just about the quality, or the cost value or fast turnaround.
We’d like to take a deep dive into the complete plastic injection molding process — from design all the way to packaging and shipping. Utilizing a turnkey solution ensures that the material and mold is the perfect fit for your product.
Check out the steps and illustrations below that answer the real question at hand: how does it actually work?
Step 1: Mold Design.
The mold design for any tool is essential, and it’s part of why injection molding has an up-front tooling cost. Working with designers and engineers, we develop a custom mold for the part being produced.
This, in combination with specialized injection molding processes, allows for a great deal of design freedom — complex shapes and unique features can be accommodated with special cores and molding systems. Overloading and insert molding can even mold one part directly onto another in a single cycle.
Step 2: Select raw materials.
We often emphasize the importance of material choice with our customers, because injection molding has a unique advantage in that it works with a wide variety of raw materials. Metals, glasses, elastomers, and confections can all undergo this process, though it’s most commonly associated with our specialty: thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers.
These materials begin the process in a raw, solid state, and are then heated to the desired temperature. This process melts the material so that it can be applied to the corresponding mold.
Step 3: High-pressure injection.
The now-molten material is placed under high pressure and injected into the center, or cavity, of a mold. A rotary screw mechanism dispenses a carefully engineered amount of material to minimize waste while still achieve a uniform coating.
The high pressure also ensures that material flows through the mold appropriately — without it, the liquid may not flow into every part of the cavity, which would create defects.
Step 4: Cooling.
After molding, the part must cool and cure. The dimensions of the new part actually become stable within the mold; if released prematurely, it could be exposed to inherent stresses that can cause deformation.
Step 5: Release.
Once the molten plastic solidifies, the molds are separated to release the product. The molds are then reseated, new material is injected, and the cycle begins again.
Step 6: Package and ship.
Full-service companies like K&B can also assist in the final packaging of your parts. K&B offers inventory management as a value-added service as part of its design-to-shipping turnkey solution.
After the design is designed and manufactured, customers can send K&B their copies of part orders, and K&B sends the product to distributors country-wide. We then notify customers when their part has shipped, and invoice the distributors for the shipping service.
To learn more about thermoplastic injection molding or our services at K&B Molded Products, check out our eBook: The Benefits of Using a Turnkey Manufacturer.