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Elements of Injection Plastic Mold

The quality of a part starts with a quality built Injection plastic mold. A common mistake we all make when shopping for a new injection molded component is trying to cut corners to lower mold costs. If the tool is not built correctly you will have quality issues down the road, it may be 1 month, 6 months, or 2 years down the road.

In order to prevent defects and meet specific quality specs, you and your toolmaker must work together to develop a mold that will correctly make that parts you're wanting. This is a complex task as the mold design will sometimes require part redesigns.

Tools are typically made from hardened tool steel or aluminum, based on what you're needing. Aluminum tooling is typically used for prototyping or when a low quantity of parts is needed. Steel is the more expensive material but is typically the longest-lasting of the two options. Manufacturers that are in need of 10,000+ parts will almost always stick with a steel mold.

Mold Design Elements:

Gate / Runner Location: This is one of the most important factors to consider during the Filling Stage of the injection process
Coolant Lines: Poor placement or inadequate number of cooling lines result in long cycle times and warpage
Shrink Rate: Shrinkage is generally between 0.4 - 2% and must be taken into account by the mold designer. The exact amount of shrinkage depends on several factors, including material, process conditions, and gate location
Part Tolerances: The tolerances and performance requirements are critical to defining prior to launch. It impacts how the tool is built, impacts where to stay “steel safe” with the tool, where to inject the material, and where to eject material. We are seeing more and more parts that are designed using metal tolerances, this drives up costs and extends lead times drastically. An over tolerance part can make or break a tool budget due to the additional steps, stages, or quality checks needed

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