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What is Injection Molding

What is injection molding?

Injection molding is a manufacturing process during which heated material, such as rubber or plastic, is injected into a mold. It is a cost-effective way to quickly mass produce parts for a wide variety of industries and applications. Even toy manufacturers, such as LegoⓇ, use injection molding.

From automotive appliances, to packaging, to electronics, this process is increasing in popularity. It’s so popular that by 2024, the global market for injection molding is expected to reach almost $350 billion.

HOW IT WORKS

The injection molding process requires four main parts:

1. Injection Unit

An injection unit that heats the plastic and directs it to the mold to begin the injection molding process.

2. Mold

The mold forms the plastic into the desired shape and is therefore the most important unit of the process.

3. Clamping

A clamping unit that holds the mold in place and ejects the product after it has been molded into the desired shape.

4. Ejector System

An ejector system removes the part from the mold revealing the final product.

How A1 Injection Molds are Designed

After you officially select us as your vendor, we will create a Design for Manufacture (DFM). This is a detailed process in which we select and customize a mold to meet your specific needs in the most cost-effective manner. Collaboration is the secret ingredient to ensuring the design meets your expectations. We involve our customers in every step of the design process, educating them along the way about our capabilities so they can make informed decisions about the final design.

Our team uses CAD technology, the most popular choice among architects, engineers and other designers, to maximize the design process. After we create a 3-D mold prototype, we will review the design with you, and then make any necessary adjustments. Upon your approval of the final design, we will create the mold for you at our shop in a timely manner.

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Injection Mold Cost

When calculating the cost, it’s important to go beyond the mere price of the mold. In other words, look at overall cost versus upfront cost. Saving on upfront costs may cost you in repair or replacement costs and unnecessary downtime down the road. Go for the highest quality at the lowest price per part based on the expected life of the mold. Longevity – shots over life of mold.

Injection Mold Cost Reduction Tips

There are four major cost components to injection molding. Although there are some quick ways to reduce cost in each area, consider each one carefully before making the final decision. Pay attention to our professional tips, which take long-term savings and goals into account.
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Material costs

Consider the raw material used to make the mold and how much of it will be needed. How large will the mold be? How many molds are you creating?

Quick Tip: Producing multiple parts or combination of parts in a single mold will reduce your upfront cost and your scrap. Try our cost-per-part calculator to get an idea.

Pro Tip: Cheaper materials may result in lower upfront costs, but could end up costing you more later on, so never sacrifice quality for short-term savings.

At A1 Tooling, we guarantee your mold will be good for at least 1 million shots.

Tooling & Design Costs

Tooling & Design costs

Consider the raw material used to make the mold and how much of it will be needed. How large will the mold be? How many molds are you creating?

Quick Tip: Producing multiple parts or combination of parts in a single mold will reduce your upfront cost and your scrap. Try our cost-per-part calculator to get an idea.

Pro Tip: Cheaper materials may result in lower upfront costs, but could end up costing you more later on, so never sacrifice quality for short-term savings.

At A1 Tooling, we guarantee your mold will be good for at least 1 million shots.

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Production Costs

Consider the raw material used to make the mold and how much of it will be needed. How large will the mold be? How many molds are you creating?

Quick Tip: Producing multiple parts or combination of parts in a single mold will reduce your upfront cost and your scrap. Try our cost-per-part calculator to get an idea.

Pro Tip: Cheaper materials may result in lower upfront costs, but could end up costing you more later on, so never sacrifice quality for short-term savings.

At A1 Tooling, we guarantee your mold will be good for at least 1 million shots.

Calculate Injection Pressure in Injection Molding

Correct tonnage is not only required to ensure molded parts fill, but also to ensure they don’t overfill, causing the mold to split and flash. At A1, we have 16 plastic injection molding presses available that can handle 90 - 4,400 tons! Our capabilities are just as broad, from shot size to shot type. A rough calculation is to take the part size in square inches and multiply it by 3 (clamp factor) to determine the required machine tonnage. There are many variables, such as material, part density, part geometry, mold size, etc. A mold expert can help you navigate this topic.

What is injection Pressure?

This is the force used to push melted plastic resin into the cavity of the mold, which is usually up to about 95% of the mold’s capacity. The injection pressure and clamping pressure of the machine are balanced against each other. The pressure is calculated based on the size of the opening as well as the size and shape of the component being molded.

Potential Issues with Injection Molding

Although it’s a cost-effective way to produce identical parts, the upfront cost of the actual mold can be steep. Additionally, design time to production can take about 4 to 12 weeks, depending on mold size and part geometry.

Our dynamic business model helps offset some of these issues. Our DFM process virtually eliminates mold modifications during or after production. Plus, our innovative technology, which evaluates beyond what the human eye can see, allows us to test the mold flow from mold design both before and after manufacturing, enabling you to maximize your production and thereby save you time and money. Additionally, we can reduce processing costs by 25%.

Whether you need mold troubleshooting, competitor mold analysis, or testing of special materials, we have you covered.

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The benefits of injection molding

Flexibility and Accuracy
If you need to reproduce the same item in mass quantities, this is the method for you. This process is ideal for manufacturers who need a low cost part solution. When reproducing parts, it’s important to have good tolerances and quality repeatability to ensure the finished parts are as identical as possible.

Cost Effectiveness
It’s also cost effective. Once the mold is designed, the cost of production drops drastically with higher quantities of parts produced. In other words, once you invest the time and upfront cost, it’s worth it as long as your design is solid and your mold is of high quality. A1 has molds that have been running since the early 1990s and still producing millions of parts.

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Conventional Molds
Also called simple or single core/cavity molds, conventional molds are the original injection molds.
Multi-shot-molds
Multi-shot Molds
These molds combine two or more materials into one mold, reducing cost and overall production time.
Stack-Molding
Stack Molds
Stack molds consist of more than one layer, allowing higher yields and lower costs. In some cases, they can increase productivity up to four times.

Considerations

In a nutshell, you need to know your budget and production goals. Consider the long-term costs vs short-term savings. You not only want your mold to last, but you also don’t want it holding up production with design flaws or quality issues. Instead of sacrificing the quality of your mold to save money, we’ll work with you to choose the most cost-effective design and type of mold for your product. At A1 Tool Corporation, we get the design right the first time and create high-quality injection molds that will last. Our molds can be made for a variety of applications, be produced domestically or internationally, and can address the most complex designs.

Ready to get started or still have questions? Let’s talk!