Plastic injection moulding was invented in the 1800s and has since evolved to become a favourite method in the creation of plastic components. The process offers a range of benefits to consumers in cost and time savings.
The injection moulding process is simple. A mould is designed and created using digital design software and decades of engineering expertise. Granulated polymer is then melted into a liquid and injected into the mould under high pressure. The plastic then sets quickly to form an incredibly strong component.
So what are the advantages of injection moulding? And why should you choose it over other methods?
Fast and efficient
Plastic injection moulding is widely considered the most efficient form of moulding and for good reason. Compared to other methods, the process is incredibly fast, allowing for a vastly superior output speed. There is an average rate of just 15 to 120 seconds between each cycle depending on the size and complexity of the mould.
This means a greater quantity of components can be produced at a much higher rate, making injection moulding far more cost-effective than other methods such as 3D printing.
The speed of the process does not mean lower quality components, however. Injection moulding allows for the production of multiple super strong components that can fulfil tasks reliably over and over again.
Despite often being minutely small, the moulds used in injection moulding can be designed with multiple details to improve the quality of the final component. Ribs will often be included along the ‘wall’ of the mould to boost the strength of the final design. Gates and vents can be added in strategic places to maximise functionality.
Injection moulded components must often strike a balance between strength, rigidity and flexibility. Most injection moulders can handle tasks with extremely complex parts with almost total uniformity to ensure functionality in the final product.
There are thousands upon thousands of potential polymer (or ‘thermoplastic’) resins available for use in injection moulding. Each option will provide a different set of benefits and advantages for your final product. We have come a long way from the days when the only resin choice available for injection moulding was celluloid! (link to ‘how does injection moulding work?’ blog when live.)
The most popular choices for plastics when it comes to injection moulding are:
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) – an opaque thermoplastic and terpolymer (consisting of three monomers). ABS is hugely popular as it is flexible, lightweight and mouldable into numerous everyday items.
- Polyethylene – a thermoplastic polymer with a crystalline structure and an incredible range of applications. Polyethylene generally has far higher levels of ductility, tensile strength and resistance to both impacts and moisture.
- Polycarbonate – polycarbonate is naturally transparent and is a popular choice when transparency is a requirement. Polycarbonate can also undergo a large amount of deformation without cracking.
- Polyamide – also known as ‘nylon’, polyamide is favoured for its electrical properties, toughness, wear and chemical resistance. Nylon is highly stable and resistant to impact and abrasion. Polyamide is often found in the medical sector and the industrial sector in a wide variety of applications.
- High Impact Polystyrene – polystyrene is generally brittle, but when combined with other materials to become High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) it can be a low cost, highly-stable and rigid solution. It is often used for food goods due to its non-toxic nature.
- Polypropylene – one of the most popular plastic solutions due to its high melting point, resistance to stress and top-notch impact resistance. Polypropylene is often found in household goods such as utensils and the automotive sector.
Choosing the correct polymer material is a vital part of ensuring your final component will do its job. Our experts can advise on the best solution for your budget and requirements.
When compared with other methods such as extrusion and 3D printing, injection moulding is highly cost-effective. Much of the process is automated and controlled by a sole operator, significantly reducing overheads.
Precise and accurate computer aid design (CAD) of the mould prior to the injection process ensures the component will be correct before it is created, vastly lowering the rate of failure and excessive costs or wastage.
Cameron-Price has a long history of injection moulding high-quality, premium components for a wide variety of customers and industries. We always strive to produce a premium, high-quality and long-lasting product for all our clients.To find out whether injection moulding is the best solution for you, or to speak to us regarding your project requirements, visit our contact page.