Autosplice Inc. of San Diego recently introduced a cost-effective method for molding certain types of small parts, called ``continuous plastic injection molding.'' The patented process allows parts to be molded and linked end-to-end, then wound on a reel for packaging.
The parts can then be fed off the reel and onto automated machines for secondary operations.
Autosplice manufactures interconnection assembly machines and components.
Marketing manager Jay Boyd said the process reduces manufacturing costs and adds flexibility to the molding process.
To accomplish continuous plastic injection molding, the last part is left in an extra cavity in the mold while the next part is molded.
The parts become linked with small connecting gates forming a chain.
Boyd said the parts can be produced at a lower cost because the elimination of the runner system in the mold means less material usage.
Packaged on a reel, the connected parts are better suited to automated machinery, as opposed to parts that are packaged in bulk and fed through machines that must align the parts before any secondary functions.
Currently, the process has applications in the electronics industry where pin insertion is a common secondary operation, but, according to Boyd, Autosplice also is looking for other applications.
``The common element between molding components and putting those into other products is manufacturability,'' Boyd said.
``We've developed a technology that will help molders give added value to their customers,'' he said. ``Molders can provide their customers with the reeled packaging scheme to allow these customers to automate should they perform the secondary operations.''
Boyd said Autosplice can provide molders with the necessary automated equipment to do a variety of secondary operations using parts molded in the continuous injection molded configuration. The company plans to license the technology to molders who have such a requirement.
Autosplice was founded in 1954 by Irwin Zahn, now board chairman.