What is Plastic Mold?
Plastic mold (mould) is a tool used in the manufacturing process to create plastic parts and products. The plastic mould is typically made of metal or another hard material (H13, 1.2344, NAK 80 or similar steel) and is designed to hold melted plastic in a specific shape until it cools and solidifies.
This process allows for the creation of parts with complex shapes and features that would be difficult or impossible to produce using other methods. Plastic molding is widely used in many industries, including automotive, structure, home applications, furniture, electronics, and consumer goods. The plastic mold is a complex system which must simultaneously meet many requirements imposed by the plastic injection molding process. below there are simple step to make the plastic mold.
- First, the part designer needs to design the desired model or hire your supplier to design the model according to your requirement,
- Second, when the part design is approval, you need to find your mould suppliers come up with a completely mold design, once mold design has been created, then can start to manufacture the plastic mould, the plastic injection mold manufacturing processing including drilling, lather machining, wire cutting, CNC machining, EDM, polishing, etc.
- Third, the last step to make a plastic mold is mould fitting, when everything is finished in mold manufacturing, you must do the mold fitting to check if components are in the right position, mold fitting is only way to check and improve this.
- Fourth, when mold fitting to finished, the actual injection moulding process can start. at the beginning of the injection molding process we called mold trial, from mold trial to massive production, still needs to take some time and doing several times mold trials, because the first mold trial will more or less have some issues that needs to be finished.
After two or three-times mold trial until customer approval the samples, so we could start massive production, there is a simple working procedure to explain from part design, mold design, mold manufacturing to get the perfect ending plastic products, but actually is complex process.
What are advantages of plastic mold?
There are many advantages that use plastic mould technology, plastic mould can save lot of unit cost for million of same unique plastic parts, detail advantages of using plastic mould please see below:
- High Precision: Plastic injection moulds can produce highly precise and accurate parts with consistent quality and minimal variation.
- High Efficiency: Plastic injection molding is a highly efficient process that can produce large quantities of parts quickly and cost-effectively.
- Versatility: Plastic injection molds can be used to create a wide range of products of different shapes, sizes, and complexities.
- Reduced Waste: Plastic injection molding is a low-waste process that produces minimal scrap or leftover materials.
- Design Flexibility: Plastic injection molds can be designed to incorporate complex geometries, internal features, and multiple components into a single part.
- Material Selection: Plastic injection molding can use a wide range of materials, including thermoplastics, thermosetting plastics, and elastomers.
- Consistency: Plastic injection molding can produce parts with consistent quality, even in high-volume production runs.
- Automation: Plastic injection molding can be fully automated, reducing labor costs and increasing production efficiency.
- Reduced Assembly: Plastic injection molding can produce parts with integrated features, reducing the need for additional assembly steps.
- Cost-Effective: Plastic injection molding is a cost-effective process that can produce high-quality parts at a low cost per unit.
What are disadvantages of plastic mold?
Of course there are some disadvantages by using plastic mold technology as well, below are listed disadvantages of using plastic mold technology.
- High Initial Cost: The initial cost of designing and manufacturing a plastic injection mould can be high, especially for complex molds.
- Long Lead Times: The design and manufacturing of plastic injection molds can take several weeks or even months, leading to longer lead times for production.
- Limited Material Selection: Although plastic injection molding can use a wide range of materials, some materials may not be suitable for the process due to their properties.
- Part Design Limitations: The design of plastic injection molded parts can be limited by the mold’s geometry and the injection molding process itself.
- Part Size Limitations: The size of plastic injection molded parts is limited by the size of the injection molding machine and the mold.
- Environmental Impact: The plastic used in injection molding can have a negative environmental impact, especially if not properly disposed of or recycled.
- Maintenance Costs: Plastic injection molds require regular maintenance and repairs, which can add to the overall cost of production.
- Quality Control: Quality control can be challenging in plastic injection molding due to the potential for defects and variations in the molding process.
- Production Volume: Plastic injection molding is most cost-effective for high-volume production runs, making it less suitable for low-volume or custom production.
When do you need plastic injection mold for your project?
As you know there are advantages and disadvantage of using plastic mold, once you have a project in hands, the first thing you may need to know if your project needs use plastic mold or not, below list some comments for your reference, by checking below suggestions you may have an answer in your mind.
- You need to produce high volumes of parts: Plastic injection molding is a highly efficient process that can produce large quantities of parts quickly and cost-effectively. If you have a project that needs high volume injection molding then plastic mold is best option.
- You require high precision and consistency: Plastic injection molds can produce highly precise and accurate parts with consistent quality and minimal variation.
- Your parts require complex geometries or internal features: Plastic injection molds can be designed to incorporate complex geometries, internal features, and multiple components into a single part.
- You need to reduce assembly time and costs: Plastic injection molding can produce parts with integrated features, reducing the need for additional assembly steps. such as overmolding or 2 shot injection molding.
- You need to reduce waste and scrap: Plastic injection molding is a low-waste process that produces minimal scrap or leftover materials.
- You need to reduce labor costs: Plastic injection molding can be fully automated, reducing labor costs and increasing production efficiency.
- You need to produce parts with specific material properties: Plastic injection molding can use a wide range of materials, including thermoplastics, thermosetting plastics, and elastomers, which can provide specific material properties for your parts.
Final summarize, if you require high-quality, cost-effective, and efficient production of plastic parts, then plastic mold may be the right choice for your project.
Where to find the best plastic mold company?
Sincere tech is A Chinese Mold Company. We offer custom plastic injection mold & molding services to the world, 40% saving for mold manufacturing and molding production services, We have over 18 years of experience in plastic injection mold manufacturing services, fluent technical English communication.
We 100% guarantee your project will be successful. You will be impressed and satisfied with our quality, price, and services. we are willing to share with you some of our customers to let you verify our quality and service. Send us your requirement for quotation, you will not lose anything but having our competitive price for reference.
To protect your project from copy, We can sign an NDA document to protect your project in the following, you will find information about plastic injection molding processes, techniques, and specialized moulding technology, defects, troubleshooting solutions, below are some of molds we made before.
What Is Plastic Mold/Molding Technology?
Plastic mold technology is also known as plastic molding (or moulding) technology, this technology refers to the various methods and techniques used to shape molten plastic into desired shapes and forms.
This includes processes such as plastic injection moulding, blow moulding, rotational moulding, compression moulding, and others. Each of these methods involves the use of molds and specialized injection molding machine to produce plastic parts and products with consistent quality and accuracy.
Plastic molding technology has advanced significantly over the years, allowing for the production of increasingly complex and precise parts, as well as the use of a wider range of plastic materials. in this page we will focus on injection molding technology,
Some times we habitual call plastic molding as injection molding, this manufacturing process where melted plastic is injected into a mold under high pressure to produce a desired shape. The mould which we mentioned above. The melted plastic is injected into the mold by the injection molding machine.
Although plastic molding technology is not something that most will be knowledgeable about. We all use products that will have been manufactured by using this method. Things like bottle caps, automobile plastic parts, home appliances, furniture components & accessories, bicycle accessories, cosmetics molding & packaging containers, cooking equipment, toys, medical plastic parts, and construction part, etc. We can say everything needs custom injection mold & plastic molded parts.
The future of plastic injection mold
The future of plastic injection mold looks promising as manufacturers continually seek ways to optimize the process and make it more efficient.
One of the biggest trends in plastic injection molding is the use of automation and robotics to improve productivity and reduce labor costs. This includes the use of robots to perform tasks such as loading and unloading molds, quality control inspections and part sorting.
Another important trend is the increasing use of 3D printing technology for mold prototyping and for the production of small batch production runs. This allows mold manufacturers to quickly and cost-effectively create molds with intricate shapes and features, and to test and refine designs before committing to larger-scale production.
Sustainability and environmental concerns are also driving innovation in plastic injection molding. New materials and processes are being developed to reduce the amount of waste generated during production and to increase the recyclability of plastic products.
The future of plastic injection molding is likely to see continued growth and innovation as manufacturers seek ways to meet evolving customer demands and address increasing pressure to operate sustainably and efficiently.
Overall, If you need only a few plastic parts for your market testing or function test then use 3D printing instead of using plastic moulding technology will be the better option, this will save the mold making cost for you, but finally.
When you need high-quality plastic moldings and the high volume of plastic products to speed up your market you still need to make plastic molds.
Plastic mold structure
The structure of a plastic mold typically consists of two main parts: the mold cavity and the mold core.
The mold cavity (fix half) is the part of the mold that forms the outer shape or contour of the plastic part being produced. This part of the mold is designed to define the overall shape and size of the part. It is created using a reverse impression of the part to be molded, using high-precision CNC machines, or through electrode discharge machining.
The mold core (moving half), on the other hand, forms the internal features and shapes of the plastic part being produced. It creates the internal geometry of the part, such as holes, bosses, ribs, and other features. The mold core is also created using reverse impressions of the part using high-precision CNC machines or by electrode discharge machining.
The two halves of the plastic mold, the mold cavity, and the mold core, come together inside a mold base that houses the cooling and ejection systems, gating system, and other mechanisms required for the injection molding process.
The choice of materials for the mold structure depends on the specific use case, but typically it is made from metals, such as P20, 1.2738, NAK80, S136, 1.2344 etc.
Plastic injection molding requires a high degree of precision and accuracy, and the mold structure is crucial to achieving a high-quality finished product.
Overall, plastic mold is made by variety of plastic mold plates, inserts, blocks, sliders, lifters, and other metal components. Basic plastic mold is including of two halves: Fixed half (cavity side) and Ejector half or core side (see below picture), which are consisting of several mold plates and inserts.
Due to an easier machinability and interchangeability, the cavity is formed by inserts which are tailored to the surrounding frame plates (A/B plate).
The cavity & core inserts is normally separate blocks (some of molds made in solid) which are then inserted into pockets plate that are machined into the A and B plates (which are also called as cavity or core retainer plate).
The cavity & core inserts are placed in the pockets plate and are left standing above the A/B plate approximately 0.1-0.5mm. This leaves the shut-off area. When both fix half and moving half closing so that there are small gap between A&B plate, this will be better fitting for the cavity and core inserts.
Fixed half includes (cavity side):
a: Locating ring; b: basic plate (top plate); c: guide pin; d: insulation plate (for higher mold temperatures or hot runner mold); e: fasten screw; f: frame plate /A plate ( cavity if made in solid), see below picture
Ejection half includes (moving half/core side):
a: guide bushing; b: locating bushing; c: supporting bar; d: bottom plate; e: frame plate /B plate (core if made in solid); f: support plate; g: support bar; h: upper ejector plate; i: lower ejector plate.
Plastic Mold Materials
There are lots of mold materials that can be used for making plastic injection molds for manufacturing plastic parts, including aluminum, steel, brass and copper, and many others, The below materials are some of the common mold materials in making of plastic molds.
Basic Steel which we use to make plastic mold
1.2344, 1.2343, S136, H-13. This type of steel is used for cavity and core inserts, this is for the high quality of plastic molds, mold life time can be 1 million shots or more. This is a very high toughness, low-hardness steel used for high quality cavity and core requirements. The hardness of those steel can be hardened to HRC 48-60 degree.
1050 carbon steel. This steel is used for mold bases, blocks, and clamp plates, this steel has 25% greater tensile strength than 1020 and can be easily machined.
P-20, S136H, NAK80, 718H tool steel. Those are pre-hardened steel which has hardness of 28 to 40, which provides moderately high hardness, good machinability. It is used primarily for cavities and cores, as well as stripper plates, mold life-time made in those steel is around 0.5 million shots or more.
What is cost for plastic mold and plastic injection molding products Cost?
The cost of plastic injection mold and the cost of injection molding products can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of the mold, the type of plastic being used, the production volume, and the lead time for production.
The cost of the final plastic injection molding product is also affected by these factors, as well as any additional costs for finishing, packaging, and shipping. It’s important to work closely with a manufacturer to understand all the costs involved and to get a clear estimate before beginning production.
Below we will give your some guides on how to get plastic mold price and plastic molding price from your mold supplier.
1. How to get a price for export plastic mould/ tooling cost
What is export plastic mold? Which means you will buy the mold only, once the mold is completely finished and ready for massive production, then you will take the mold back to your country or your specified manufacturer to molding the parts.
To get a price for export plastic injection mould there are a few things that you are going to provide to your mould supplier, in order to make sure that you have given the manufacturer all of the information that they need to check the price accurately, below are some key points for mold price estimating, this is the most important information for export molds.
- First of all, Send the 3D drawing ((STP or IGS format is better) to your mould suppliers, if you do not have the drawing then you need to have some pictures of a sample with approx. part size and show your supplier that part structure.
- Second. You need to know how many shots of the mold your requirement, for example. 0.5 million shots of a lifetime or 1 million shots of a lifetime requirement, because those two requirements will cause different price.
- Third. The number of cavities, you need to specify how many cavities do you need for your mold. Because of one cavity and multiple cavities mold are totally different prices, the single cavity is low than multiple cavities mod. Because this will affect the mold price as well, if you are not sure you can ask your supplier giving some suggestion.
- Forth. It is a cold runner or hot runner do you require for your mold, if hot runner what brand of hot runners. YUDO, INCOE, etc. all of that information will have different prices, so you need to specify your requirement, you still could ask your mold supplier providing some suggestion as well.
The above items are very import information to get tooling cost for export mold because all of the information will change the mold price. You are welcome to contact us if you need any support.
2. How to get a price for Injection Molding products
If you only need plastic molding parts, then you only need to tell us (or other plastic molding company) what plastics will be and how many parts do you need per time, what is a surface requirement and the colors of the parts, then they will take the rest for you.
To get the cost of plastic injection molding products it is much easy than getting a cost for export plastic mold, simple steps as below to get plastic injection molding service price easy.
- What plastics will be? for example PP, PA66, ABS, PC, PMMA, PC/ABS, PEEK. PPS, etc.
- What color do you require for your molding parts? There are lots of colors, you could take a color reference from pantone color.
- What is the part surface requirement? Texture (graining or matt) or high polishing? Texture code could take reference from VDI3400.
- 3D part design (STP or IGS format file will be great for all of the companies), if you do not have a 3D part design, then send your sample pictures with part size and part weight, or idea picture and explaining to us, we still can get the price for you.
- How many parts do you need per time?
- If have any special function requirement?
With the above information, you will get a very competitive local mold/tooling cost (at lest 40% lower than others) and unit injection molding cost from our side, that information is important factors to estimate the plastic injection molding cost. Otherwise, any price will not have any references.
Plastic Mold issues (molding defects) and troubleshooting
The quality of plastic mold is as same as important to the molding process. The plastic molding company you choose to help you with your product will eventually fight common molding issues. If you have high-quality plastic mold plus good plastic injection molding process that will bring out the kind of results you expect from the end product.
Molding defects appears in the plastic mold, it can be attributed to the type of raw material used in the plastic injection moulding process, as well as the quality of the plastic mould, injection molding process skill, injection molding machine, etc.
Fortunately, processing and preventing injection molding defects, and using these approaches, mold manufacturers can create the high-quality injection plastic molds, once you have a high-quality mold, all other issue is easy to be solved.
To make high quality plastic mold you must know how to solve this molding issue, of course find good mould suppliers they will solve this issue for you indeed. Blow are some troubleshooting tips to solve the common molding defects such as weld lines etc. and ultimately get high-quality molded parts, there are some key defects that most happened during the mold manufacturing and molding process.
1. Flow Marks
This molding defects normally will happen close to the gate area, and the joint area (joint line/weld lines), which some people call flow lines, common in narrow sections of components and may be considered minor or serious defects depending on the part wall thickness and expected use.
In order to solve appearance flow lines defects, during the molding process we need to increase the injection speed pressure, molten material temperature, and the mold temperature, increase the gate size or change the location of the gate is helpful as well (last option). below right picture of flow marks defects, we increased the gate size to improve flow marks because of the wall thickness to too thicker (7mm).
2. Dull Areas
The most common is a dull concentric ring that can appear around a halo-like a sprue. This usually occurs when the material flow is poor and the viscosity is high. Contrary to what many think, this is not a packaging defect, but a defect that occurs at the beginning of the billing cycle.
To minimize the possibility, the injection rate profile should be adjusted to ensure a uniform flow front speed throughout the filling phase. It is also helpful to increase the back-pressure and barrel temperature of the screw to reduce dull surfaces resulting from lower melting temperatures, increase the mould temperature can reduce this issue as well.
But there must have a cooling system as the feeding area, especially if it is hot runner systems, otherwise is not easy to solve this issue. For dull surfaces generated by design-related issues, this can be improved by reducing the radius between the part and the gate,
3. Burns Mark defects
The burns Mark defects often seen on plastic injection molding parts and looks like a light yellow or black discoloration. This may be a minor defect due to excessive melting temperature, overheating in the presence of trapped air, and excessive injection speed.
Corrective actions for this type of burn marks issue: Reducing temperature, reducing cycle time, and reducing injection speed. Plastic Mould Manufacturers must also ensure that they have the proper gate size and gas vents gloves to resolve the trapped air problem that leads to this defect.
Because the air trap issue is a most common reason to cause this burn mark issue, and could never be completely solved by adjusting the molding process, to completely solve this burns Mark defects adding venting is the best solution, like increase the venting grove, add venting inserts to the deep ribs, etc.
4. Gloss difference defects
Gloss differences on textured surfaces tend to be more pronounced, and even if the surface texture is uniform, the gloss of the part may appear irregular. This is a problem that occurs when there is insufficient replication of the mould surface in some part areas, and sometimes there are lots of ribs at the core side that can increase the gloss changes issue on the textured surface.
It can be corrected by increasing the melting temperature or mold temperature or holding pressure. The longer the holding time, the more likely the mold surface will be replicated accurately, if there ribs design caused this issue, to improve this issue we can add some radius to all of the ribs, this will reduce the internal stress so that the textured surface can be improved as well.
5. Warping defects (deformation)
plastic molding parts have warping defect is normal, especially the long size molding part, distortion defect is hard to solve, improving the mold design is the mean solution, it is very limited to solve this issue by adjusting the parameter of the moulding machine, the reason and solution to improve warping, distortion is listed as below for reference.
- When the deformation is caused by the residual stress of the molding process, it can reduce the injection pressure, increase the mould temperature to improve this.
- If the deformation caused by part sticking, can improve the ejection system or add more draft angle to solve this issue.
- If the warping defects caused by poor cooling channel or poor cooling time, we can add more cooling channels and increase the cooling time to improve this, for example, add more cooling water closing to the deformation area to improve warping defects, or use different mold temperature to cavity and core, this method could normally solve the small warping defects.
- If the distortion issue caused part shrinkage, to solve this warping defect must be adjusting the mold design, sometimes we need to measure the distortion size from the molding part and do the pre-deformation design to the part, the resin has a large shrinkage rate, usually crystalline resin (such as POM, PA66, PP, PE, PET, etc.) has more warping rate than Amorphous resin (such as PMMA, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), ABS, AS, etc.).
Sometimes the gloss fiber material has more deformation issue as well, this is the hardest solution because you may need to adjust the part design two or three times to completely solve this issue, but the only way to solve the distortion issue.
6. Short shot defect
Short shot means not completely full filling to the mold, this molding defect normally happens at the end of the filling area, or end of the rib, or some thin wall area, there are some reasons to cause this defect below.
- The mold temperature is too low. When material fills in the mold cavity since the mold cold too fast to cause the liquid material is not able to full fill to the end of the part or some deeper ribs. Increase the mould temperature could solve this molding issue,
- Material temperature is too low. This issue could also cause the short shots issue, this reason is similar to the issue of low mold temperature, to improve this issue we can increase the melt temperature of the material to solve this molding defect.
- Injection speed is too slow. The injection speed is directly related to the filling speed, if the injection speed is too low, the liquid material filling speed will be very slow, slow flow material will be easy to cold, this will cause the short shot since the material getting cold in advance, to solve this issue we could increase the injection speed, injection pressure and holding pressure.
- Venting issue. This is the most common molding defect we meet during the mold trial, all other defects we could solve by adjusting the molding parameter. If short shot issues caused by venting issue, to completely solve the short shot, the best solution is finding a way to release the air out of the cavity, sometime reduce the clamping force can help little as well but not able to completely solve this defects.
If the air stuck in the cavity or in the dead-ending area (end of ribs for example) so the short shot issue will happen at that area, troubleshooting solution for this issue we need to increase the venting grooves on the parting line and add venting insert to the dead-ending spot to guide the air out.
7. Sink mark – It sinks spot on the molded part, it caused by unbalancing plastic material shrinking in the mold cavity, looks like lack of material on that sink area which is not matching to the part geometry, this issue happens to the thick wall area or lack of cooling system in the mold, the mean reason to have this sink mark issue is the uneven wall thickness on the part design.
If some ribs or some area have a thicker wall than the other place (rib thickness should around 1/2 – 7/10 max of the mean wall), then this thicker area will be easy to have a sink mark issue. Below are some suggestions to improve this defect.
- Change the gate location close to the thick wall place
- Add more holding pressure, holding time, and injecting more material in the mold cavity. When using this method you need to double-check the part dimension is still in the tolerance requirement
- Increase the cooling time and the cooling channels to improve this issue, plastic has shrinkage rate is normal. If the cooling time is too short, the part still warm after the mold opened, then the part shrinks quickly without anything cooling system, this will be easy to have sink mark, increase the cooling time until the plastic moulding part completely cool in the mould cavity, this defect will be solved.
- If the part design has a serious thick wall on some of the ribs or bosses, to solve this issue we need to improve the part geometry, add some insert to the thick area to reduce the wall thickness, this issue could be solved, for this unbalance wall issue, we could use software to analysis then and prevent in advance, before mold manufacturing we will make fully DFM report and send to our customers for approval, below is sink mark analysis report samples.
Are you ready to start working on your new project and search for your plastic molding supplier? If yes then let’s go, today for your plastic molding project to find A reliable Chinese mold company is more important. Because this will bring your market up very quickly, and you will win more profits on your project with spending less cost,
Today, over 80% of big companies are sourcing goods from China. Like the iPhone and some other famous companies buy things from China. So what are you worry about? If you are ready then speed up to open your market immediately and join your profits.
We. SINCERE TECH which is a professional precision custom plastic mold and plastic molding company that sell moulds and molding parts to the worldwide. We guarantee you will be 100% happy with our service and quality.
We have a very professional technical team to handle your project very carefully and make the perfect molds and parts for you, some of our customers moved the molds to our factory for troubleshooting since their current mold supplier is not as professional as us, we can send you some of our current customers for you to verify our service, quality, and price.
Send us an email to [email protected] to get a price, we will never share your design with others. we are willing to sign an NDA to protect your project.