Step By Step Injection Moulding Process

Step By Step Injection Moulding Process

The injection molding process involves several steps to produce plastic parts. Here is a step-by-step guide to the injection molding process:

Step 1: Material Preparation
The first step is to prepare the raw material, usually in the form of plastic pellets or granules. The plastic material is selected based on the desired properties of the final part and is loaded into the hopper of the injection molding machine.

Step 2: Melting
The plastic material is fed from the hopper into the heated barrel of the injection molding machine. Inside the barrel, a reciprocating screw rotates and moves forward, applying heat and pressure to melt the plastic material.

Step 3: Injection
Once the plastic material is molten, the screw retracts, and the injection phase begins. The molten plastic is injected into the mold cavity through the nozzle and the sprue.

Step 4: Cooling
After the mold cavity is filled with molten plastic, the mold is kept closed for a specific cooling time to allow the plastic to solidify and take the shape of the mold. Cooling time depends on the part thickness and the cooling properties of the material.

Step 5: Mold Opening
Once the cooling time is complete, the mold is opened using the clamping unit of the injection molding machine. The moving platen of the machine separates from the stationary platen, and the ejector system pushes the part out of the mold cavity.

Step 6: Part Ejection
The solidified plastic part is ejected from the mold cavity. In some cases, ejector pins are used to push the part out of the mold. The part is then removed from the machine for further processing or assembly.

Step 7: Mold Closing
After the part is ejected, the mold is closed again, and the injection molding machine is ready for the next cycle.

Step 8: Quality Control
Throughout the injection molding process, quality control measures are implemented to ensure the part’s dimensional accuracy, surface finish, and structural integrity. Non-destructive testing methods, visual inspections, and measurement tools are used to verify the part’s quality.

Step 9: Recycling and Reusing
Any excess or scrap material generated during the injection molding process is collected for recycling. Recycling and reusing scrap material help reduce waste and production costs.

Step 10: Repeat the Cycle
The injection molding process is a continuous cycle, and the steps are repeated to produce multiple parts. The cycle time, which includes the time taken for injection, cooling, mold opening, and ejection, determines the production rate.

The injection molding process is widely used in various industries to produce a wide range of plastic parts, from small precision components to large automotive and consumer goods parts. The process is highly efficient and cost-effective, making it a preferred choice for mass production of plastic components.

Injection molding is a widely used manufacturing process that produces plastic parts with high precision, quality and efficiency. The process of injection molding involves heating plastic pellets to a molten state and then injecting the molten plastic into a mold with the desired product shape and size. Next, the mold is cooled and opened to release the finished product.

The advantage of injection molding is its highly precise control capabilities. Through precise temperature control and pressure regulation, it can be ensured that the plastic flow and filling process in the mold fully meets the design requirements. This precision allows injection molding to produce parts with complex geometries and subtle features such as threads, holes and inserts.

In addition, injection molding is characterized by high quality and efficiency. Injection molding is able to produce parts with consistent dimensions and surface quality due to the advanced technologies and materials used in the design and manufacturing of the mold. At the same time, the injection molding production process can be automated, greatly improving production efficiency and output.

Injection molding also offers flexibility and repeatability. According to different product design needs, different plastic materials and additives can be selected to meet specific performance requirements. In addition, injection molding molds can be used as many times as needed, reducing production costs and cycle times.

In summary, injection molding is an efficient, precise, and reliable manufacturing process that is widely used in automotive, electronics, medical, and consumer goods. It is able to produce high-quality plastic parts to meet the needs of different industries and provides strong support for product innovation and development.

In this blog post, we will explain the step by step injection moulding process in detail, covering the following topics:

  • Table of Contents
  • Designing the Mould
  • Selecting the Plastic Material
  • Setting up the Machine
  • Injecting the Plastic
  • Cooling and Solidifying the Product
  • Ejecting and Inspecting the Product
  • Benefits and Applications of Injection Moulding

Designing the Mould

The first step of the injection moulding process is designing the mould. The mould is a metal tool that has two halves: a fixed half and a moving half. The fixed half is attached to the injection machine, while the moving half can open and close to eject the product.

The mould design is based on the specifications of the product, such as its shape, size, features, tolerances and surface finish. The mould design also considers factors such as the type of plastic material, the injection pressure, the cooling system and the ejection mechanism.

The mould design is usually done using computer-aided design (CAD) software and then prototyped using 3D printing or CNC machining. The final mould is made from durable materials such as steel or aluminium, using processes such as milling, drilling or EDM.

Selecting the Plastic Material

The second step of the injection moulding process is selecting the plastic material. There are many types of plastic materials available for injection moulding, each with different properties, such as strength, stiffness, flexibility, heat resistance, chemical resistance and colour.

The choice of plastic material depends on the requirements of the product, such as its function, performance, appearance and cost. Some common plastic materials used for injection moulding are:

  • Polyethylene (PE): A low-cost, lightweight and versatile material that can be used for packaging, containers, toys and pipes.
  • Polypropylene (PP): A durable, heat-resistant and recyclable material that can be used for automotive parts, medical devices, furniture and appliances.
  • Polystyrene (PS): A rigid, transparent and easy-to-process material that can be used for disposable cups, plates, cutlery and electronics.
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): A tough, impact-resistant and glossy material that can be used for Lego bricks, helmets, keyboards and housings.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): A flexible, flame-retardant and weather-resistant material that can be used for pipes, cables, flooring and clothing.
  • Polycarbonate (PC): A strong, transparent and heat-resistant material that can be used for lenses, CDs, helmets and medical devices.

Setting up the Machine

The third step of the injection moulding process is setting up the machine. The injection machine consists of three main parts: the hopper, the barrel and the clamping unit.

The hopper is where the plastic granules are fed into the machine. The barrel is where the plastic granules are melted and mixed by a rotating screw. The clamping unit is where the mould is mounted and closed.

The machine settings are adjusted according to the parameters of the mould and the plastic material. Some important settings are:

  • Temperature: The temperature of the barrel and the mould affects the melting and cooling of the plastic. The temperature should be high enough to melt the plastic without degrading it, but low enough to solidify it quickly in the mould.
  • Pressure: The pressure of the injection affects how fast and how much plastic is injected into the mould. The pressure should be high enough to fill
    the mould completely without creating defects such as air bubbles or flash.
  • Speed: The speed of the screw affects how fast and how well the plastic is mixed in
    the barrel. The speed should be fast enough to ensure a homogeneous melt without overheating it.
  • Time: The time of each cycle affects how long it takes to produce one product. The time should be short enough to maximize the production efficiency without compromising the quality.

Injecting the Plastic

The fourth step of the injection moulding process is injecting the plastic. This is when the melted plastic is pushed by the screw into the mould cavity through a nozzle. The injection phase consists of three stages:

  • Filling: This is when the mould cavity is filled with plastic until it reaches about 95% of its capacity. The filling stage should be fast and smooth to avoid defects such as short shots or weld lines.
  • Packing: This is when additional plastic is injected into the mould cavity to compensate for the shrinkage that occurs as the plastic cools. The packing stage should be controlled and consistent to avoid defects such as sink marks or voids.
  • Holding: This is when the injection pressure is maintained until the gate (the opening between the nozzle and the mould cavity) freezes and seals off. The holding stage should be long enough to ensure a complete and uniform filling of the mould cavity.

Cooling and Solidifying the Product

The fifth step of the injection moulding process is cooling and solidifying the product. This is when the plastic in the mould cavity cools down and hardens into the shape of the product. The cooling phase consists of two stages:

  • Cooling: This is when the heat from the plastic is transferred to the mould through conduction. The cooling stage should be fast and even to avoid defects such as warping or cracking.
  • Solidification: This is when the plastic changes from a liquid state to a solid state. The solidification stage should be complete and stable to avoid defects such as dimensional changes or residual stresses.

Ejecting and Inspecting the Product

The sixth and final step of the injection moulding process is ejecting and inspecting the product. This is when the product is removed from the mould and checked for quality.

  • Ejecting: This is when the moving half of the mould opens and a mechanism pushes
    the product out of the mould cavity. The ejecting stage should be gentle and smooth to avoid defects such as scratches or marks.
  • Inspecting: This is when the product is examined for any defects or deviations from
    the specifications. The inspecting stage should be thorough and accurate to ensure
    the quality and consistency of the product.

Benefits and Applications of Injection Moulding

Injection moulding is a popular manufacturing process because it offers many benefits, such as:

  • High production rate: Injection moulding can produce thousands of products per hour with minimal waste and downtime.
  • High precision and quality: Injection moulding can produce products with complex shapes, fine details and smooth surfaces that meet strict tolerances and standards.
  • High versatility and flexibility: Injection moulding can use a wide range of plastic materials, colours, additives and finishes to create products with different properties and appearances.
  • High cost-effectiveness and sustainability: Injection moulding can reduce material, labour and energy costs by optimizing the process parameters and using recyclable materials.

Injection moulding has many applications in various industries, such as:

  • Automotive: Injection moulding can produce parts such as bumpers, dashboards, lights, handles, mirrors and filters.
  • Medical: Injection moulding can produce devices such as syringes, catheters, implants, valves, tubes and housings.
  • Electronics: Injection moulding can produce components such as connectors, switches, sockets, cases, keyboards and monitors.
  • Consumer: Injection moulding can produce products such as toys, bottles, cups, containers, utensils and appliances.

Injection moulding is a powerful manufacturing process that can create high-quality plastic parts with efficiency and accuracy. By following the step by step injection moulding process described in this blog post, you can achieve optimal results for your products.