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Low Volume Injection Molding: On-demand Manufacturing

The rapid manufacturing industry requires to get products into the market as soon as possible. Designers, engineers and manufacturers have to ensure the product quality. Low volume injection molding is one of the factors of manufacturing which meet customers’ needs.

Low Volume Injection Molding

 

Low volume injection molding methods allow manufacturers to create parts in low volume with consistent characteristics and qualities. Manufacturers use new operation techniques to get advantages in the markets. Today, we will guide you through everything you must know about low volume manufacturing and how to choose the best injection molding services.

 

On-demand manufacturing is the next industrial trend

On-demand manufacturing is a new manufacturing concept. On-demand manufacturing brings a number of dramatic changes to how to interact with supplier and manufacturers. The rise of various advanced technologies evolves the manufacturing space. There is an increased potential to eliminate delays and improve prototypes manufacturing techniques. Orders within the supply chain is more straightforward. Customers are able to manages their projects and order by a convenient platform.

 

At TEAM Rapid, we combine the latest big data analytics, software and hardware to the industry 4.0 integration which results in smart production and ensures cost efficiency.

Injection Molding

 

Traditional manufacturing involved the production of high-volume similar parts. On demand manufacturing allows low volume, customized parts like small batch plastic producing. On demand manufacturing takes advantages of cloud-based technologies and self-service models which allows customers to get quotation in real time and keep tabs on their orders throughout manufacture.

 

With on-demand manufacturing, customers are able to order injection molding parts in low volume which satisfy immediate production requirements. On-demand manufacturing fix many pain points like lead time, communication, design for manufacturing and cost. On-demand manufacturing is leading a decent revolution with digital technology.

 

What are the advantages of low volume injection molding?

Plastic injection molding is one of the main manufacturing processes in rapid manufacturing. It allows faster production to the market time. In traditional manufacturing process, the complexity of mold design will increase the time needed to create the parts. But low volume injection molding fixes these problems effectively. Here are the advantages that low volume injection molding offers.

Injection Molding Process

 

Low volume injection molding saves costs

In manufacturing, the cost per part depends on the material used in production. In some certain cases, high volume manufacturing companies impose some minimum order requirement. They do this to offset mass production investment and cover cost. Low volume manufacturing comes with lower overhead. Manufacturers produce parts without demanding minimum order. So, if you are looking for small batch injection molded parts manufacturing, low volume injection molding is helpful.

 

Low volume injection molding fastens time to market

Today, many manufacturing processes aim to get products to the markets as soon as possible. The market is competitive which leads to increasing pressure to produce parts in high quality within a short time. Industries like medical industry needs products to meet FDA standard. So, improving efficiency and developing parts in high quality in a short time is important. Low-volume injection molding improve the efficiency of plastic parts creations. It allows faster quotation of orders and accurate and fast production.

 

Low volume injection molding allows flexible design

Low volume injection molding allows to manufacture low quantities in the short run. So, there will be not a impact if manufacturer want to modify the design. In this way, product can be perfect before it is launched to the market. Prototype injection molding process offer immediate feedback which help to improve manufacturability. Low volume injection molding enables to test new concepts in many different industries before producing parts in mass productions.

 

Low volume injection molding allows effective inventory management

Excess inventory requires storage space, low productivity. And the unsold parts may need to be disposed. Small batch injection molding helps to eliminate the excess inventory. It allows to work at a range closer to the required quantities. So, the inventory management is more straightforward.

 

Low volume injection molding acts as abridge for scale

If a manufacturer plans to produce parts in high volume, low-volume plastic manufacturing is a good way to begin. Low volume injection molding acts as a bridge for production gap between prototyping and production. Low volume injection molding brings a prototype to production without needing too much commitment. It helps to fine-tune the parts and process.

 

What to consider when manufacturing low volume injection molding parts?

Choose the right materials

At TEAM Rapid, we offer several commercial-grade plastic materials. The first thing to do in designing for low volume injection molding is to choose the right materials. Different plastic materials have different strength, thermal and chemical resistance ability, durability. Some plastic material needs less draft because of their flexibility. When choosing the right materials, you should consider the application of your parts and their possible level of exposure.

 

Choose a suitable part finish

It is unnecessary to make injection molding parts with a better surface finish than necessary. Choosing a better surface finish than necessary will impact part’s functions. For example, smooth finishes required polishing by hand of mold cavity surface. And the polishing may be finished with diamond buff up to 2 Ra. This polishing process increases cost and lead time. A cost-effective finish is an as milled surface which shows some tool marks. The surface finishing you choose must be compatible with product’s function.

 

Scale wall thickness

Wall thickness is important in prototype injection molding. Wall cannot be thicker than the recommended range. Wall may be subject to sinks, warps and other molding defects.

 

Solve corner which weaken part integrity by Radii

Machining of aluminum mold happens by end mills. So, sharping internal corners is a concern. Sharp corners on injection molded parts create stress and compromise product’s integrity. It is best to use radii for plastic part design which ensure more substantial parts and improve moldability.

 

Use draft to enable ejection of part from mold

It is beneficial to generously angle injection molded parts. It creates parts with tapered edges to allow easier release from the mold.

 

Multi-cavity mold is an ideal option

If you want to create multiple identical parts in a single shot, multi-cavity mold is ideal. Multi-cavity molding allows to produce two or more design at the same time which enable fast test of different product designs. If there is a need for quantities more than initial sample, multi-cavity mold is also a good option. Multi-cavity mold helps to reduce cost per part.

 

Alternatives of Prototype Injection Molding

3D printing

3D printing is one of the manufacturing processes for low volume productions. 3D printing doesn’t require upfront investment and it has a track record of shorter lead times. Many manufacturers prefer 3D printing for plastic part production. 3D printing parts come with layered surfaces. The surface can be painted and sanded for desired surface finish.

 

CNC machining

CNC machining is one of the most reliable low volume manufacturing processes. CNC machining is versatile and can work with different materials. CNC machining can create accurate molds, patterns or die for different manufacturing processes like molding, casting and more. The set-up cost for CNC machining is higher than CNC machining itself. CNC machining is suitable for low volume production. CNC machining is fast turnarounds. For some projects may combine CNC milling with other processes to produce parts effectively. For example, combining CNC machining with 3D printing can get tighter tolerances.

 

Thermoforming

Thermoforming is a process to create molds which there is a heating of a sheet of plastic. The heated plastic is formed with a mechanical force, pressure or vacuum. The plastic sheet will take the mold’s shape with extra material which is trimmed off. Thermoforming involves low temperatures and pressure. So, creating the mold need inexpensive materials. Surface finishing is important as the part will pick up some details of the mold. Manufacturers limit thermoforming to the producing of simple parts like packaging trays, vehicle door panels and more.

 

Urethane casting

Urethane casting is an excellent alternative to prototype injection molding. There is no upfront cost on increased lead time of urethane casting. Urethane casting involves the creation of a master pattern of parts with high resolution 3D printing or CNC machining. The master patten helps to create a urethane mold where a suitable resin is poured into creating multiple copies of parts. Urethane casing is good for cost-effective runs as the mold can last up to 20 runs.

 

How to choose the right low volume injection molding services?

Low volume injection molding is an effective process to produce high quality parts. But finding the best low volume injection molding manufacturer is challenging. Below are the tips how to choose the right low volume injection molding manufacturer.

 

1, Capacity and specialization

The first step is to narrow down the choice. Manufacturers which is able to produce low to medium production (quantity less than 10,000 parts) are good, as they are able to provide prototypes fast for testing.

 

2, Requirement compliance

It is good to choose a manufacturer which can provide high quality parts without compromising the requirements. The injection molding manufacturer must comply with the design specification and specification.

 

3, Flexible services

A good low volume injection molding manufacturer is able to provide a wide range of prototyping services which include mold flow analysis, responsive manufacturing and part design. At TEAM Rapid, we also offer other manufacturing services like CNC machining and injection molding. Our team of engineers understand customers’ requirement and are able to solve production problems early.

 

4, Efficiency and quality

TEAM Rapid, as a good plastic injection molding manufacturer, we adhere to the best standard of efficiency and quality. Our modern machines work with the latest technologies with high quality management software for better communication.

 

TEAM Rapid – Your best low volume injection molding services

When it comes to choosing plastic injection molding manufacturers, TEAM Rapid is your number one choice. Our engineers combine their experience, expertise and low volume facilities to create high quality parts in a short time. Our fast turnaround on low volume injection molding services without compromising quality. Contact us today, we ensure you will get quality prototypes in a short time and at budget-friendly prices.

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