Noble Plastics kicked off 2023 with the first official announcement for our turnkey IMM Tending System. Scott Rogers, our Technical Director, spoke with Matthew Naitove of Plastics Technology to discuss why this product was important to develop.
Though injection molding is often considered to be one of the most efficient and streamlined methods for manufacturing plastics, the process can quickly become complex and time-consuming, particularly when multi-cavity molds are involved. Tools, such as virtual molding software, can be used to alleviate some of this complexity.
On the macro level, injection molding is typically a three-part process that involves design, prototyping, and manufacturing. Embedded within each of these stages is a myriad of related sub-processes, steps, considerations, and advanced techniques that are unique to each process and often need to be subtly tweaked according to the tolerances and specifications of each component that goes through the process.
Most plastics manufacturers agree that the first step, design, is the most critical. When done correctly, the design phase will dictate how efficient and streamlined, or not, the rest of the manufacturing process will be. It is in this stage that designers and engineers can test the component’s design, adjust for problems, and iron out any design flaws that might interfere with efficient manufacturability.
Virtual molding software is an essential tool that can assist in speeding up and enhancing the design process to improve product quality and support innovation.
Ready to get started? Reach out today for a free quote and discover how Noble Plastics uses every tool at our disposal to streamline and maximize the injection molding process.
Virtual Molding Software Streamlines the Manufacturing Process
Virtual molding software creates a faster time-to-market window by enabling designers and engineers to see how their part design will behave before going into full-production. By using a robust software program that can forecast the entire manufacturing process from start to finish, virtual molding software is a powerful tool when it comes to managing expectations and making adjustments early on.
The predictive capabilities of virtual molding software enable the testing of the product before production, meaning that problems can be identified and addressed quickly and with minimal disruption to manufacturing timelines and costs. This significantly reduces the need for correction loops, which can add weeks or even months to the manufacturing process and be costly for all parties involved.
By analyzing key factors such as gate placements, material flow, injection force, heat flux, and ejection speeds, the design of the product and tool can be fully optimized in the design stage to ensure a smooth manufacturing process later on.
Improves Quality and Reduces Cost
With virtual molding software, the mold itself can be optimized for quality and performance. Along with gate placements and cooling channel placements, using a virtual molding software program can help identify likely defects in the final product, such as air traps, weld lines, and warping that occur as a result of the mold design. This facilitates making alterations to the mold design as well as the product design to reduce the risk of flaws or weaknesses in the final component.
Finding potential problems with the mold in the design phase is also extremely important. Before virtual molding software, designers and engineers would not be aware of a problem with the mold until after production had begun. When that occurred, manufacturing would stop and the mold would need to be remade. This resulted in substantial additional cost to the project, depending on the complexity of the mold and the part being produced.
Virtual molding software substantially mitigates these risk factors by allowing designers and engineers to optimize both mold and part design before production ever starts. Not only does this save money, but it also reduces energy usage and diminishes the creation of waste materials.
Virtual Molding Software Enhances Tooling Precision
When it comes to designing the mold itself, determining the best placement of features such as gates and injection points is critical, as both are directly connected to the quality of the final product. The size and location of the gate, for instance, should allow for the even distribution of material throughout the mold and can be the cause of defects such as warping, flow lines, or sink marks. Similarly, injection points should be kept to a minimum to avoid the risk of uneven filling, and are best placed at thick walls or along curvatures to help reduce flow marks and air traps.
All of this information can be gathered from virtual molding software and can aid tooling engineers in designing hot and cold runners, and ejection packages, all of which have a direct effect on the end quality of the product and minimize the risk of product damage during production.
Increases Flexibility to Support Innovation
With virtual molding software, collaboration between designers and engineers is quicker and simpler than it has been in the past. Rather than going back and forth on physical prototypes, which take time and money to create, a virtual model of the part and mold can be shared and approved.
This enhances the abilities of both teams to experiment with the design and discover where small changes can have significant impact, supporting further innovation and development
We use the latest technology to bring you state-of-the-art plastics manufacturing services: Learn more about our commitment to innovation and industry 4.0
Noble Plastics is at the Forefront of Injection Molding Technology
With our commitment to innovation and staying at the forefront of new materials and processes, we aim to provide you with proactive manufacturing solutions leveraged by the latest in technological advancements.
Our software and automation implementation is second to none and backed by advanced monitoring capabilities that enable us to take a scientific approach to your manufacturing needs.
Get in touch with Noble Plastics today to learn more about how we can remove the mystery from your manufacturing process.
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Our Engineering Approach is Driven by Our Engineer Owners
At Noble Plastics, our engineering approach and use of innovative technology are driven by our engineer owners — Missy and Scott Rogers.
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