D&M Plastics has been an industry leader in injection molding for nearly 50 years. Driven by a dedication to quality, our team is ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified. Our 56,000-square-foot facility houses 30 presses, a cleanroom, and a tool room, leaving us well-prepared to serve as your single-source injection molding provider.
Plastic injection molding is a manufacturing process that uses machinery to melt and pressure-inject plastic resins into precisely constructed molds for the mass production of plastic components. Material and design can be adapted to address the requirements of a wide array of applications in industries from aerospace to medical. Plastic injection molding is highly versatile, easily scalable, fast, and cost-effective.
There are three key steps in the plastic injection molding process:
1) Product Design
This initial step requires close collaboration between designers, molders, and product stakeholders to ensure that function, aesthetics, manufacturability, and other considerations are adequately addressed before creating a mold. Attention to detail in this step will prevent unexpected expenses later in the process.
Using CAD software, collaborators will make decisions regarding factors such as:
- Material selection
- Critical tolerances
- Gate styles and locations
- Draft and shutoff angles
- Texturing and finish requirements
- Wall thicknesses
Once the design is complete, a prototype may be made for further analysis.
2) Mold & Tooling Design
After the design is approved, a mold, runners, gates, sprues, and any other necessary tooling must be engineered for use in the injection process. Mold design is crucial to the project’s overall success, as errors in this step could result in the production of aesthetically displeasing, functionally deficient, or otherwise incorrect products. The tooling development stage also provides another opportunity to minimize product defects by fine-tuning or revising details from the initial design stage to improve manufacturability.
Mold material selection is a critical element of mold design. Commonly used core metals include stainless steel (hardened or pre-hardened), aluminum, and a beryllium-copper alloy. Material selection for the mold depends on factors such as:
- Cavity requirements (single or multiple)
- Estimated cycles or runs
- Product material
- Project budget
The primary goal of the mold-making process is to produce a mold that is manufacturable, durable, functional, and low maintenance at the lowest possible cost. Upon completion of the mold design, sample parts are filled and approved, and the tooling process is documented before manufacturing begins.
3) Manufacturing (Creation)
When designs are complete and a mold has been cast, manufacturing or product creation can begin. There are four stages in the manufacturing cycle:
- Clamping— mold halves are closed and clamped together
- Injection— molten plastic is pressure-injected into the mold cavities
- Cooling— plastic cools and hardens to the shape of the mold cavities
- Ejection— mold opens, and the plastic part is pushed out
Manufacturing of a component lasts only seconds to minutes depending on the size, material and complexity of the part, so the process can be repeated rapidly to create a large quantity of consistent, high-quality components in a short window.
Advantages of Plastic Injection Molding
Plastic injection molding is a highly versatile approach for producing plastic parts, offering numerous advantages over other manufacturing methods. Some of these benefits include:
- Scalability. After the designs and processes are fleshed out, it is inexpensive and straightforward to increase production volume.
- Detailed features and complex geometries. The high pressure used to fill molds forces molten plastic to firmly adhere to the mold’s shape, allowing the material to capture details more adequately.
- High-efficiency production. Once molds are designed and processes programmed, run cycles take mere seconds or minutes to complete, and outputs are more consistent.
- Enhanced product strength. Ribs or gussets can be included in the mold design to account for the flexibility or stiffness required of a component.
- Ability to use multiple plastics simultaneously. Co-injection provides an opportunity for filler plastics to be combined with the base resin to improve product strength, reduce material costs, or provide the physical or mechanical benefits of another plastic.
- Flexibility. From materials to color to design, the plastic injection molding process is easily adaptable for any application.
Plastic Injection Molding by D&M Plastics
Plastic injection molding is versatile, cost-effective, and efficient. The D&M Plastics team can guide you through the entire plastic injection molding process, from product design to manufacturing. We offer an extensive range of plastic materials and have onsite capabilities for end-to-end service, including value-adds like overmolding, insert molding, mold labeling, and more.