Mold Design and Automated Injection Molding

When an injection mold designer begins a development of the mold design, they must be aware of the environment in which the mold will run.  This includes the size and type of press the mold will run in, the material used for molding, and any auxiliary equipment used for automation as the location of tie bars and cooling lines must not interfere with setting and running the mold.

 

Vacuum Conveying System

 

A vacuum conveying system is an automated way to get the material into the press, with the right suction and force.  Vacuum conveying systems suck the material while still in pellet from the gaylord or drum into the hopper of the press, providing a steady flow of material for continuous production.   Vacuum conveying systems pull in a steady flow of material, and control the amount of material in flow to the press, and are also helpful with controlling the moisture content in the material.  

 

Sprue Pickers Aid Automation

 

Sprue pickers are robotic arms that reach into the press and grab the runner when the mold ejects, instantly separating from it the parts which can then fall into a bucket or onto a conveyor belt.  Some robotic sprue pickers reach in and pick up the runner then drop it either into a separate bin, or directly into a grinder where it can be ground up and reused as regrind material.  

 

Process Monitoring

 

Injection molders use process monitoring systems to constantly monitor the press settings such as temperature and pressure, alerting an operator if the job begins to run out of specification.  Some monitoring systems also provide material resource planning functions, tracking job due dates and material inventory for scheduling of jobs.  

 

All of the additional auxiliary equipment must function properly and work in conjunction with the mold when it opens and closes and operates on the tie bar.

 

Michiana Global Mold has vast experience designing and manufacturing molds adhering to customer specifications and each unique environment.  Contact us today for a FREE design consultation and to learn how we can assist.  

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High Quality Precision Production Injection Molds

Production injection molds are used to mass produce plastic injection molded parts.  Injection molding is the producing of specially designed plastic parts by injecting with pressure and clamp force, plastic in a molten state into cavities carved out in a steel mold where the plastic will harden and set to the shape of the mold, thus producing the part.  

 

Injection mold makers sometimes produce a prototype tool to test out a part design and function prior to manufacturing full production requirements.  Production molds are used for long term production requirements.  A prototype tool is used only for short runs to produce sample parts for testing and will not support full production.

 

With proper planning and mold design, a custom mold maker will design and manufacture a production mold that will meet all product specifications and geometric dimensions.  Some of these dimensions must be met with the tightest of tolerances as close as .001”, or about the width of a human hair.  Carving out the cavities of a steel mold to produce a plastic part within these tight tolerances is no easy task, especially when taking into consideration the properties of the thermoplastic resin including cooling and shrink rate, which can have a great effect on the final dimensions of the part after solidifying.  

 

If a change is required of a production mold, skilled mold makers can perform what is called an “engineering change” to alter a dimension or tolerance within a part.  If the change is feasible just by altering some dimensions in the steel, mold makers can simply adjust some dimensions in the current tool and avoid the need of constructing a new mold altogether.  

 

Skilled and experienced mold makers will utilize advanced quality product planning procedures to ensure that the constructed production mold will produce parts to spec the first time, planning ahead for critical fill areas and ensuring parts to print.  

 

Michiana Global Mold is an experienced full-service tool and die shop, constructing high performing injection molds with quality steel.  We are an ISO registered mold making facility, applying our strict quality policies in all processes.  Contact us today for a FREE design consultation and to see how we can assist with your next injection mold production requirements.  

Prototypes Provide Valuable Benefits

Prototype injection molds provide a chance to perfect the design of a molded product, prior to constructing a full size multi-cavity tool.  This can be well worth the extra time and expense to make a smooth launch of mass production requirements.

A prototype mold is a very inexpensive method of testing out a new part design for proper functioning.  Prototypes are usually constructed with less expensive material such as non-hardened steel or P20, or even aluminum, as the purpose is to mold sample lots of parts, not full production volume.  A prototype mold usually has just one cavity, and this can be an easy to way to make sure a part will work as expected, before manufacturing a large multi-cavity tool.  One part is all that is needed to verify the part’s dimensions and geometric tolerances.    

A prototype mold is used in industries where new model parts are always changing such as the Automotive industry.   In some cases, new parts are used in existing assemblies, changing a design slightly but still using some existing components.  In this case the new parts would have to be tested within the existing assemblies to ensure proper function.  Prototypes give automotive design engineers a chance to try out a new part, and alter it if need be, to work properly with other new or existing components.  

Prototype Mold Advantages

In addition to the flexibility to try out new part designs to verify part function, the biggest advantage of prototype tools is the low cost.   Made with the less sturdy and less expensive material, a prototype tool cannot support production, it can however provide enough shots to produce sample parts for testing purposes.

This is a very worthwhile investment, however, especially if you are uncertain about how the geometric design on one part will fit with your existing application, or if you just want to test part properties prior to building a production mold.  With the low cost of prototype tools, it could be a very advantageous place to start here if you have any questions about a new part function.

A prototype is also advantageous if the part is molded with a new resin, or a resin that the engineer is not familiar or experienced with.   Since all thermoplastic resins contain varying properties for shrink rate, strength and durability, some prototypes are constructed to test the strength of a molded part in different materials allowing engineers to test out different resins.  

Michiana Global Mold has vast experience constructing prototype tools to customer specifications, giving you a quick turn-around time on sample parts for your testing purposes.  We employ skilled design engineers and journeyman mold makers all with in-depth knowledge of prototype mold construction, and properties of varying resins.  

Michiana Global Mold has vast experience assisting engineers and designers to achieve their dimensional goals with design assistance and Prototype Mold Construction.  Contact us today for a free design consultation and to see how we can assist you with your project development goals.  

Mold Design Considerations for Thermoplastic Resins

The most common type of polymer used in injection molding is thermoplastic resins.  There are many different types of resins with various properties to meet part specifications for functionality.  When designing injection molds, the engineer must take into consideration all properties of the resin specified for the produce including adhesion, elasticity, resistance to high temperatures, shrink rate, resistance to corrosives, and desired finish whether matte or polished.

 

The cooling and shrink rate are of the utmost importance, as some parts with a high shrink rate will need the cavity designed accordingly so the finished product will cool and shrink within specifications.  Cooling rate is also important for ejection, as the resin must completely solidify prior to mold ejection.

When an injection molded part has a critical functionality, mold flow analysis may be helpful in determining resin flow into tight geometric areas.  Mold flow analysis clearly shows with computer aided simulation how the resin will flow as determined from its properties.  Predicting how thermoplastic resin will flow in the mold and cavities prior to cutting steel can be a valuable tool in avoiding costly mistakes.  Conducting the proper advanced quality planning with mold flow analysis can greatly improve lead times.  

Most journeyman mold makers will already possess the knowledge of hos particular resins flow just from experience.  A skilled design engineer with experience in manufacturing molds will have the knowledge to design the tool to produce a part to print specifications, with the chosen resin properties playing a huge role in tool design.

At Michiana Global Mold, we have been providing high quality precision molds for over 60 years, possessing more than 500 years of combined experience.  Our staff of highly skilled design engineers and journeymen mold makers are the best in the business with vast experience in various thermoplastic resins.

Contact Michiana Global Mold today to speak with one of our skilled and experienced mold designers to learn how we can assist you with your injection mold requirement.  We are an ISO9001:2015 Registered mold making company with vast experience constructing custom, precision injection molds for various industries.

A Mold Maker’s dilemma: EDM or Mill?

Quick response and flexibility are required of tool and die makers today.  Mold makers must continually strive to reduce production time while still ensuring a high level of quality, and all while providing cost reductions.  With tight margins and high demand for quick turn-around, tool and die makers may be searching for the best manufacturing method to remain competitive.  

 

Using an EDM machine (electrical discharge machine) along with a high-speed milling machine may provide assistance with on-time delivery.   Certain manufacturing needs in a tool and die shop may require differing manufacturing methods.  The design engineer should be aware of all available manufacturing technologies.  

 

Mold Manufacturing Products Require Differing Technologies

 

Injection molds and diecast molds, forging dies, and deep drawing dies are the three main products of tool and die making.  Deep drawing dies mean that the metal blank is drawn into a forming die with a punch.  The drawing is considered to be deep drawing when the depth of the drawn part is greater than the part diameter.   They all possess their own constraints regarding applicable technologies for mold production.

 

Deep drawing dies have flat structures and materials that are best manufactured with milling.  When producing forging dies, EDM is widely used due to the strength of materials used in production.   Complete machining with milling is possible, however, with low depth and large concave radii.   

 

Milling diecast and injection molds is challenging due to ribs or webs, and small radii.  Developing the combination of EDM and milling is necessary for economical mold production meeting tight tolerances.  Utilizing the benefits of all production methods gives designers and mold manufactures options in mold manufacturing.  

 

Other considerations in deciding between EDM or HSM are high speed milling, the geometric constraints, and surface quality or subsurface damage of a tool.   Of the utmost importance is the effect on the surface from either EDM or HSM, as related to the part specifications.  Some parts may require a surface conducive to adhesion from certain coatings or lacquers, and the finish of the tool plays an important role in the surface finish of the molded part.  

 

Employing skilled design engineers and journeyman mold makers, we have the experience to utilize the latest technology with a full line up of modern EDM and high-speed milling centers.  This gives the most benefit to our customers in providing the most efficient, and cost effect mold manufacturing, with high quality tools and on time delivery.

 

Michiana Global Mold is an experienced mold designer and manufacturer, supplying high performing precision injection molds since 1952.  We are an ISO registered mold shop, adhering all processes to our strict quality policy, ensuring total customer satisfaction.  

 

Michiana Global Mold is experienced in all aspects of tool and die making, including injection molds and brass forging dies. Contact us today for a free design consultation, and learn how to save up to 40% on your next injection mold requirements.  

 

Offshore Injection Molding Source with Domestic Support

Looking for an offshore injection mold supplier can be a daunting task, without the right domestic guidance and support.   There are several aspects of sourcing your injection molds overseas that require a mold supplier with an overseas presence.  

 

Michiana Global Mold is an experienced mold making facility with an offshore presence, offering complete assistance with sourcing your injection molds overseas, taking the guesswork out of all of the typical roadblocks to successful outsourcing.  Michiana Global Mold has been manufacturing precision complex injection molds since 1952, we are experienced and knowledgeable about all necessary factors in mold making.  We apply this extensive knowledge to all mold building projects, including any offshore molding.  

 

No Language Barrier

 

Since Michiana Global Mold has a partner company in China, Modular Molds, we completely alleviate any potential miscommunication due to a language barrier.  When we source your tool builds to our China location, you will receive the same service as our domestic tool builds with one local point of contact providing all local support.  

 

ISO Registered Offshore Mold Maker

 

Modular Molds in China is registered to ISO9001:2008, following the same strict quality standards as our US location.   We use only qualified German and North American Steel, manufacturing quality high performance injection molds.  

 

Full Service Offshore Mold Making

 

Our mold making facility in China is a full-service injection mold making facility, offering partial and full-size mold design and construction.   Our capabilities provide you with fully finished or semi-finished molds, manufactured with precision and the same attention to detail provided from our domestic location.  

 

If you need offshore mold making with domestic service and support, contact your one stop mold shop, Michiana Global Mold.   All molds are inspected and tested for complete conformance to customer specification from our domestic location in Indiana prior to shipment.  

 

Modular Mold in China is a modern, large capacity mold making facility of more than 40,000 square feet with capacity to accommodate presses up to 3,000 tons.   Let Michiana Global Mold save you 40% on your injection molded products with our superior offshore molding facility.  

 

Michiana Global Mold is a superior quality plastic injection mold supplier for various industries including automotive, medical, consumer electronics, and defense.  We maintain high customer satisfaction through continual product and process improvement at both our United States and China locations.   

CAD/CAM Delivers for Automotive Suppliers

Supplying the Automotive industry with plastic injection molds poses challenges unique to that industry, with complex designs, quick lead times and tight budgets.   Not to mention the tight tolerances required of molds designed for critical components used in assemblies for items such as air bags, brakes, throttle bodies and solenoids, and various electro-mechanical switches.  

Save Valuable Time with the Right CAD/CAM Software

With the right CAD/CAM software, an injection mold designer can save valuable long hours entering critical dimensions for automotive components.  The capabilities of computer aided designs can increase capacity so much that a mold designer can take on new business, and drastically improve lead times with current customers.  Most OEMs demand CAD/CAM capability of their injection mold suppliers, as the automotive industry is focused on increasing profit margins with quick turnaround, from any supplier.  

You have to have a fast response time as a valuable participant in the automotive supply chain.  The right CAD/CAM software can increase your value-added services with this important partnership.  

Increase Profit Margin with CAD/CAM in Mold Making

With faster response times and increased capacity comes an increase in profit margin.  Having skilled design engineers knowledgeable with your CAD design software is vital for increased productivity.  

Ease of Modifications and File Sharing

Most leading CAD/CAM software programs allow for ease in file sharing, enhancing advanced quality planning as designers, engineers and OEMs can view and adjust for critical areas.  Problematic dimensions are identified quickly and shared all design participants for quick and viable solutions.  

When incorporated with skilled and experienced designers, modifying and sharing CAD files is a valuable benefit.  Michiana Global Mold utilizes the latest in technologically advanced CAD/CAM software with skilled and experienced mold designers.  Our designers are experienced with SolidWorks, UniGraphics, Mold Flow Analysis, and all computer aided milling centers.  

Michiana Global Mold is an ISO Registered mold making facility serving OEMs worldwide with high performing, precision injection molds for complex automotive components.  Contact us today for a free cost estimate of your next injection mold project requirements.