Tag Archives: shuttle molds

How is a Shuttle Mold Used?



A Shuttle mold is a mold system with one A side, and multiple B sides.  This is used in a vertical clamping press, as opposed to a horizontal clamping press.  A vertical clamping press is used for over molding, also referred to as insert molding.


Insert molding occurs when plastic is molded around an object such as a metal or even another plastic insert.  A shuttle mold system is used on a rotary table press so that there are two, three or sometimes four bottom sides, rotating around on the table allowing an operator or a robot to place the insert into the cavity in the mold.  When the bottom side spins around, the top half of the mold will come down vertically clamping onto the B side to mold plastic around the insert.  


This system can be labor intensive requiring an operator to load inserts, and unload molded product, unless the job is set up with automatic robots for this purpose.  This is different than most horizontal molding processes in which the there is one A and B side of the mold, sliding on a horizontal plane, coming together for the injection molding process, then the parts are automatically ejected with an ejector system falling into a desired location, usually a bin or box underneath the mold.  


Most horizontal injection molding jobs are fully automatic once the mold is set in the press, some can even run in a lights-out situation if automated auxiliary equipment is established.  A vertical molding press with a shuttle mold system typically employs an operator, although they can also be automated.  


Some examples of insert molding would be electrical wire harnesses that are partially encased in plastic, or even knives or silverware that have plastic molded around a metal object.   Shuttle molds are used in plastic injection molding for various industries including Electronics, Consumer Goods, Automotive, Aerospace and Military / Defense industries.  

Michiana Global Mold has experience constructing precision shuttle molds, and virtually any other type of plastic injection mold base used in various industries.  We are a valuable supplier to the Automotive industry with complex tools meeting tight geometrical dimensional specifications.  Contact Michiana Global Mold today, and ISO9001:2015 Registered mold maker.  



Injection Mold Types: Shuttle molds

Shuttle molds are made through the shuttle injection molding process. It is one of the more complicated types of molds and requires injection mold makers who understand more than just the basics of that process. Where injection molds usually produce a single product at the end, shuttle molds typically produces two bottom halves with a single top half.

The shuttle mold process creates a single unit – the top half and the first bottom half are made simultaneously. At the same time a second bottom half is being processed to include all of the additional aspects, such as inserts. Once the process is complete, the completed mold is moved further down the assembly line. The lower half with the added inserts is then worked with the top half to ensure it fits like the first one did.

Custom mold makers then begin the process again, closing the mold so that the bottom can be adjusted to align with the top as the second lower half is assembled.

The primary purpose of shuttle molds is to reduce the amount of time required to process each mold. Because the more complex portion of the mold is done at the same time as the top and bottom half are aligned, the custom mold makers do not have to wait for the inserts and other additions to be completed before completing another one. Since the top half does not require additions, it only needs to be included in the first round of the process.