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Injection Molding Process

Posted by admin on July 4th, 2015
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The mold or die refers to the tooling used to produce plastic parts in molding. Traditionally injection molds have been expensive to manufacture and were only used in high-volume production applications where thousands of parts were produced. Molds are typically constructed from hardened steel, pre-hardened steel, aluminum, and/or beryllium-copper alloy. The choice of material to build a mold from is primarily one of economics. Steel molds generally cost more to construct but offer a longer lifespan that will offset the higher initial cost over a higher number of parts made before wearing out. Pre-hardened steel molds are less wear resistant and are primarilly used for lower volume requirements or larger components. The hardness of the pre-hardened steel measures typically 38-45 on the Rockwell-C scale. Hardened steel molds are heat treated after machining, making them superior in terms of wear resistance and lifespan. Typical hardness ranges between 50 and 60 Rockwell-C (HRC).

With injection molding, granular plastic is fed by gravity from a hopper into a heated barrel. As the granules are slowly pushed forward by a screw-type plunger, the plastic is forced into a heated chamber called the barrel where it is melted. As the plunger advances, the melted plastic is forced through a nozzle that seats against the mold sprue bushing, allowing it to enter the mold cavity through a gate and runner system. The mold remains at a set temperature so the plastic can solidify almost as soon as the mold is filled.

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