Whether parts are made by injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding, compression molding or thermoforming, some type of mold is used to make the part or product.
Injection molding is the biggest segment of the plastics industry. It uses a mold, which can be made of steel or aluminum and features cavities that will form the parts. Once heated resin is injected, the molten plastic fills the cavities and the rest of the mold. Once cooled, the parts are ejected by pins.
Molds creation starts from having a concept much like any process in the world of manufacturing. With the design and concept in place, the plastic mold manufacturer can assess whether this plastic part can simply be created by the regular straight pull method or any other approach.
Molds are typically made from steel, and mold makers play a critical role in helping processors reduce costs.
Molds can be made by an in-house shop, or the process can be outsourced to a mold maker. However, it is estimated that less than 10 percent of processors have a mold shop to build their own molds. This figure could be as low as 5 percent. When the work is sourced, it is important for mold makers to become familiar with the processor’s facility and capabilities. Mold makers can help reduce overall lifecycle costs for processors by manufacturing the most efficient and trouble-free mold possible.
Customers today seek faster cycle times and higher output/throughput. They want more parts faster with a greater level of quality and accuracy — not just cavity-to-cavity tolerance accura¬cy but dimension-to-dimension accuracy. Moreover, customers seek higher-cavitation molds that fit within the same footprint as their current mold¬ing machines will handle — they don’t want to buy new molding equipment to achieve this.