OEMs across many industries can attest to the benefits of plastic injection molding. It's ideal for consistent, affordable production of a wide range of high-quality complex plastic parts that can withstand about any environment.
That's reason enough to rank injection molding high on the list of go-to solutions, but there's more. To better understand how and why manufacturers use the process, let's take a look at the individual merits of the top 14 benefits of plastic injection molding (listed in no particular order):
1. Ability to Produce Detail/Complex Geometry
4. Ability to Simultaneously Use Multiple Types of Plastic
5. Cost Savings
7. Product Development Timeline
8. Multiple Finishes
9. High-Output Production and Consistency
10. Color Control
12. Reduced Waste
13. Low Labor Costs
PVC Injection Molding
With the right tool design and a scientific molding approach to process optimization, injection molding can help manufacturers produce highly complex, detailed plastic parts in large volume with virtually no deviation.
The key to consistency is reliance on the comprehensive data collection and analysis techniques at the center of scientific molding, as well as the engineers trained in the process. Specialization is required to accurately develop and document the specifications, settings, and steps required to create a tightly controlled and repeatable manufacturing process. When done correctly, impressive details and geometries follow.
An experienced custom injection molding partner provides manufacturers with a decided advantage in terms of efficiency. The molder's teams — from engineering through production — likely have decades of expertise to draw upon when determining how to optimize part design and manufacturing. Implementing best practices like focusing on design upfront to minimize problems later on, and incorporating value-added services to combine production process steps generally streamline time and cost commitments.
The strength and durability of plastics has greatly increased over the years, and today's lightweight thermoplastics can withstand even the harshest environments on par with — or better than — metal parts. There are more than 25,000 engineered materials to choose from for constructing complex injection-molded applications. High-performance blends and hybrids can also be formulated to meet very specific part requirements and characteristics, such as high tensile strength.
It's not uncommon for complex part designs to require components made of different materials. While seemingly a matter of simple choices, safely combining plastics can be extremely complicated. By ensuring compatibility under all circumstances, plastics expertise from the molder's project engineers is instrumental in mitigating defects, injury risks, and warranty claims.
There are several ways that injection molding can help OEMs experience lower costs, from plastic part consolidation to overmolding. However, the number one way to manage costs is collaboration between OEM and injection molding engineering teams well before production is set. Focusing on Design for Manufacturability (DfM) and other detailed processes during the design phase significantly reduces the number of problems sometimes encountered with moldability — minimizing the need for expensive tooling changes, downtime, and other production delays.
For OEMs with complex part designs requiring tight tolerances, injection molders can achieve designs accurate to within +/- .001 inches. These measurements are not only possible, they're repeatable across production runs and equipment.
Different skill sets of injection molding engineers can help OEMs achieve a shorter product development timeline. Doing so ensures faster production cycles and getting defect-free parts to market faster — a decided competitive advantage for manufacturers.
Plastic Injection Molding
Most injection-molded parts are produced with a smooth surface finish very close to the desired final look. However, a smooth appearance isn't appropriate for every application. Depending on the physical and chemical properties of the plastics used, injection molding allows for surface finishes that don't require secondary operations — from matte finishes and unique textures to engraving and more.
High-output production of complex plastic parts requires a consistent, repeatable process to achieve designs with tight tolerances. Injection molding helps ensure a consistent quality by repeatedly using the same mold for each part, backed by an injection molder's continuous improvement practices that incorporate current leading-edge technologies.
From clear to any color an OEM needs, injection molders can make it happen by aligning plastics, additives, and biocompatibility to achieve desired coloration. Often, multiple colors are needed in one product. In that case, overmolding is the solution provided the injection molder has the requisite experience in multi-material injection molding.
Injection molding is all about flexibility, whether ascribed to some plastics' properties or the ability for OEMs to make custom color choices or meet specific project requirements. Injection molding gives OEMs freedom in design choices, — especially when compared to metal.
We understand the ecological and economic advantages of sustainable practices like using plastic regrind, which minimizes waste and directly benefits OEMs.
Much of the injection molding process is automated by machines and robots, and controlled by a sole operator or technician. This streamlines labor costs and also greatly reduces the risk of rework caused by part defects or human error — both of which save OEMs money.
Although probably most prevalent in the automotive industry, lightweighting is used by OEMs in a number of industries. Simply put, using plastic parts helps reduce the weight of metal parts. Today, high-strength, lightweight thermoplastics can be used to replace metal components with virtually no difference in strength or dependability.