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Part and mould design guide

Part and mould design guide

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Published by Wouter Halfmaerten

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Published by: Wouter Halfmaerten on Feb 21, 2011
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Sections

  • DESIGN PROCESS
  • DEFINING PLASTIC PART REQUIREMENTS
  • THERMOPLASTIC PROCESSING METHODS
  • OPTIMIZING PRODUCT FUNCTION
  • REDUCING MANUFACTURING COSTS
  • PROTOTYPE TESTING
  • WALL THICKNESS
  • FLOW LEADERS AND RESTRICTORS
  • RIBS
  • BOSSES
  • GUSSETS
  • SHARP CORNERS
  • DRAFT
  • HOLES AND CORES
  • UNDERCUTS
  • LOUVERS AND VENTS
  • MOLDED-IN THREADS
  • LETTERING
  • TOLERANCES
  • BEARINGS AND GEARS
  • STRUCTURAL CONSIDERATIONS IN PLASTICS
  • SHORT-TERM MECHANICAL PROPERTIES
  • LONG-TERM MECHANICAL PROPERTIES
  • STRUCTURAL DESIGN FORMULAS
  • DESIGNING FOR STIFFNESS
  • LONG-TERM LOADING
  • DESIGNING FOR IMPACT
  • FATIGUE APPLICATIONS
  • THERMAL LOADING
  • PART CONSOLIDATION
  • MECHANICAL FASTENERS
  • SNAP-FIT JOINTS
  • WELDING AND BONDING
  • RETENTION FEATURES
  • ALIGNMENT FEATURES
  • ORIENTATION
  • EXPANSION DIFFERENCES
  • DRILLING AND REAMING
  • TAPPING
  • SAWING
  • PUNCHING, BLANKING, AND DIE CUTTING
  • MILLING
  • TURNING AND BORING
  • LASER MACHINING
  • FILING
  • POLISHING AND BUFFING
  • SANDING
  • TRIMMING, FINISHING, & FLASH REMOVAL
  • PAINTING
  • IN-MOLD DECORATING
  • FILM-INSERT MOLDING
  • METALLIC COATINGS
  • PRINTING
  • LABELS AND DECALS
  • TEXTURE
  • MOLD BASICS
  • TYPES OF MOLDS
  • MOLD BASES AND CAVITIES
  • MOLDING UNDERCUTS
  • PART EJECTION
  • MOLD VENTING
  • SPRUES, RUNNERS, AND GATES
  • HOT-RUNNER SYSTEMS
  • THERMAL EXPANSION AND ISOLATION
  • MOLD COOLING
  • MOLD SHRINKAGE
  • MOLD METALS
  • SURFACE TREATMENTS
  • MOLD COST AND QUALITY

A Design Guide

Part and Mold Design
Engineering Plastics
1
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INTRODUCTION
A product of the LANXESS Applications
Engineering Group, this manual is primarily
intended as a reference source for part designers
and molding engineers working with LANXESS
plastic resins. The table of contents and index
were carefully constructed to guide you quickly
to the information you need either by topic or by
keyword. The content was also organized to allow
the manual to function as an educational text
for anyone just entering the feld of plastic-part
manufacturing. Concepts and terminology are
introduced progressively for logical cover-to-cover
reading.
The manual focuses primarily on
plastic part and mold design, but
also includes chapters on the design
process; designing for assembly;
machining and fnishing; and painting,
plating, and decorating. For the most
part, it excludes information covered
in the following LANXESS companion
publications:
Material Selection: Engineering Plastics
A comprehensive look at material
testing and the issues to consider when
selecting a plastic material.
Joining Techniques: Includes
information and guidelines on the
methods for joining plastics including
mechanical fasteners, welding
techniques, inserts, snap fts, and
solvent and adhesive bonding.
Snap-Fit Joints for Plastics: Contains
the engineering formulas and worked
examples showing how to design snap-
ft joints for LANXESS plastic resins.
Contact your LANXESS sales
representative for copies of these
publications.
This publication was written
specifcally to assist our customers in
the design and manufacture of products
made from the LANXESS line of
thermoplastic engineering resins. These
resins include:
• Triax® Polyamide/ABS Blend
• Lustran® and Novodur® ABS
• Lustran® SAN
• Centrex® ASA, AES and ASA/AES
Weatherable Polymers
• Durethan® Polyamide 6 and 66,
and Amorphous Polyamide
• Pocan® PBT Polyester
2
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2
Most of the design principles covered
in this manual apply to all of these
resins. When discussing guidelines or
issues for a specifc resin family, we
reference these materials either by
their LANXESS trade names or by their
generic polymer type.
The material data scattered throughout
the chapters is included by way of
example only and may not refect the
most current testing. In addition, much
of the data is generic and may differ
from the properties of specifc resin
grades. For up-to-date performance
data for specifc LANXESS resins,
contact your sales representative or
refer to the following information
sources:
Engineering Polymers Properties
Guides: Contain common single-point
properties by resin family and grade.
Plastics Product Information Bulletins:
List information and properties for a
specifc material grade.

CAMPUS: Software containing
single and multi-point data that
was generated according to uniform
standards. Allows you to search
grades of LANXESS resins that
meet a particular set of performance
requirements.
techcenter.lanxess.com: LANXESS Web
site containing product information
on-line.
This manual provides general
information and guidelines. Because
each product application is different,
always conduct a thorough engineering
analysis of your design, and prototype
test new designs under actual in-use
conditions. Apply appropriate safety
factors, especially in applications in
which failure could cause harm or
injury.
In addition to design manuals,
LANXESS Corporation provides
design assistance in other forms
such as seminars and technical
publications. We also offer a range
of design engineering services to
qualifed customers. Contact your
LANXESS sales representative for more
information on these other services.
3
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Chapter 1
PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART
7 Design Process
8 Defning Plastic Part Requirements
8 Mechanical Loading
8 Temperature
8 Chemical Exposure
8 Electrical Performance
8 Weather Resistance
8 Radiation
8 Appearance
9 Agency Approvals
9 Life Expectancy
9 Dimensional Tolerances
9 Processing
9 Production Quantities
9 Cost Constraints
9 Assembly
0 Thermoplastic Processing Methods
0 Injection Molding
Extrusion
Thermoforming
Blow Molding
Rotomolding
4 Optimizing Product Function
4 Consolidation
4 Hardware
4 Finish
5 Markings and Logos
5 Miscellaneous
5 Reducing Manufacturing Costs
5 Materials
6 Overhead
6 Labor
6 Scrap and Rework
6 Prototype Testing
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
7 Wall Thickness
0 Flow Leaders and Restrictors
Ribs
Rib Design
Rib Thickness
Rib Size
4 Rib Location and Numbers
5 Bosses
8 Gussets
8 Sharp Corners
0 Draft
Holes and Cores
Undercuts
Slides and Cores
4 Louvers and Vents
5 Molded-In Threads
8 Lettering
9 Tolerances
4 Bearings and Gears
TABLE OF CONTENTS
4
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Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
4 Structural Considerations In Plastics
44 Stiffness
44 Viscoelasticity
46 Stress-Strain Behavior
47 Molding Factors
48 Short-Term Mechanical Properties
49 Tensile Properties
49 Tensile Modulus
49 Tensile Stress at Yield
49 Tensile Stress at Break
49 Ultimate Strength
49 Poisson’s Ratio
50 Compressive Properties
50 Flexural Modulus
50 Coeffcient of Friction
5 Long-Term Mechanical Properties
5 Creep Properties
5 Stress Relaxation
54 Fatigue Properties
55 Structural Design Formulas
55 Use of Moduli
56 Stress and Strain Limits
57 Uniaxial Tensile and Compressive Stress
58 Bending and Flexural Stress
6 Shear Stress
6 Torsion
64 Designing for Stiffness
64 Part Shape
67 Wall Thickness
68 Ribs
70 Long-Term Loading
7 Designing for Impact
75 Fatigue Applications
77 Thermal Loading
Chapter 4
DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY
79 Part Consolidation
80 Mechanical Fasteners
8 Snap-Fit Joints
85 Welding and Bonding
86 Ultrasonic Welding
86 Vibration and Hot-Plate Welding
87 Spin Welding
87 Solvent and Adhesive Bonding
88 Retention Features
88 Alignment Features
90 Orientation
90 Expansion Differences
9 Tolerances
Chapter 5
MACHINING AND FINISHING
9 Drilling and Reaming
95 Tapping
95 Sawing
96 Punching, Blanking, and Die Cutting
97 Milling
98 Turning and Boring
99 Laser Machining
99 Filing
00 Sanding
00 Polishing and Buffng
0 Trimming, Finishing, and Flash Removal
5
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Chapter 6
PAINTING, PLATING, AND DECORATING
0 Painting
0 Types of Paints
04 Paint Curing
04 Paint-Selection Considerations
05 Spray Painting
06 Other Painting Methods
06 Masking
07 Other Design Considerations for Painting
07 In-Mold Decorating
08 Film-Insert Molding
09 Metallic Coatings
09 Electroplating
0 Design Considerations for Electroplating
Molding Considerations for Electroplating
Vacuum Metallization
Design Considerations for Vacuum Metallization
EMI/RFI Shielding
Design Considerations for EMI/RFI Shielding
4 Printing
6 Labels and Decals
6 Texture
Chapter 7
MOLD DESIGN
9 Mold Basics
9 Types of Molds
Mold Bases and Cavities
Molding Undercuts
6 Part Ejection
8 Mold Venting
8 Parting-Line Vents
9 Vent Placement
Sprues, Runners, and Gates
Sprues
Runners
5 Runners for Multi-cavity Molds
8 Gates
4 Other Gate Designs
44 Gate Optimization
45 Gate Position
46 Hot-Runner Systems
46 Hot-Runner Designs
47 Hot-Runner Gates
48 Valve Gates
49 Thermal Expansion and Isolation
50 Flow Channel Size
5 Mold Cooling
5 Mold-Cooling Considerations
5 Cooling-Channel Placement
56 Cooling-Line Confguration
57 Coolant Flow Rate
58 Mold Shrinkage
60 Mold Metals
6 Surface Treatments
6 Mold Cost and Quality
APPENDICES
6 Index
66 Part Design Checklist
TABLE OF CONTENTS
6
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Chapter 1
PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART
7
Many factors affect plastic-part design.
Among these factors are: functional
requirements, such as mechanical
loading and ultraviolet stability;
aesthetic needs, such as color, level
of transparency, and tactile response;
and economic concerns, such as cost of
materials, labor, and capital equipment.
These factors, coupled with other design
concerns — such as agency approval,
processing parameters, and part
consolidation — are discussed in this
chapter.
DESIGN PROCESS

Like a successful play in football,
successful plastic product design
and production requires team effort
and a well-developed strategy. When
designing plastic parts, your team
should consist of diverse players,
including conceptual designers,
stylists, design engineers, materials
suppliers, mold makers, manufacturing
personnel, processors, fnishers, and
decorators. Your chance of producing
a product that successfully competes
in the marketplace increases when
your strategy takes full advantage of
team strengths, accounts for members’
limitations, and avoids overburdening
any one person. As the designer, you
must consider these factors early
in strategy development and make
adjustments based upon input from the
various people on the design team.
Solicit simultaneous input from the
various “players” early in product
development, before many aspects of
the design have been determined and
cannot be changed. Accommodate
suggestions for enhancing product
performance, or for simplifying and
improving the various manufacturing
steps such as mold construction,
processing, assembly, and fnishing.
Too often designs pass sequentially
from concept development to
manufacturing steps with features that
needlessly complicate production and
add cost.



Early input from various design and
manufacturing groups also helps to
focus attention on total product cost
rather than just the costs of individual
items or processes. Often adding a
processing step and related cost in one
area produces a greater reduction in
total product cost. For example, adding
snap latches and nesting features may
increase part and mold costs, and at
the same time, produce greater savings
in assembly operations and related
costs. Likewise, specifying a more-
expensive resin with molded-in color
and UV resistance may increase your
raw-material cost, while eliminating
painting costs.
When designing and developing parts,
focus on defning and maximizing
part function and appearance,
specifying actual part requirements,
evaluating process options, selecting
an appropriate material, reducing
manufacturing costs, and conducting
prototype testing. For the reasons
stated above, these efforts should
proceed simultaneously.
Chapter 1
PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART
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8
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DEFINING PLASTIC PART
REQUIREMENTS
Thoroughly ascertain and evaluate your
part and material requirements, which
will infuence both part design and
material selection. When evaluating
these requirements, consider more than
just the intended, end-use conditions
and loads: Plastic parts are often
subjected to harsher conditions during
manufacturing and shipping than in
actual use. Look at all aspects of part
and material performance including the
following.
Mechanical Loading
Carefully evaluate all types of
mechanical loading including
short-term static loads, impacts, and
vibrational or cyclic loads that could
lead to fatigue. Ascertain long-term
loads that could cause creep or stress
relaxation. Clearly identify impact
requirements.
Temperature
Many material properties in plastics
— impact strength, modulus, tensile
strength, and creep resistance to
name a few — vary with temperature.
Consider the full range of end-use
temperatures, as well as temperatures
to which the part will be exposed
during manufacturing, fnishing,
and shipping. Remember that impact
resistance generally diminishes at lower
temperatures.
Chemical Exposure
Plastic parts encounter a wide
variety of chemicals both during
manufacturing and in the end-use
environment, including mold releases,
cutting oils, de-greasers, lubricants,
cleaning solvents, printing dyes,
paints, adhesives, cooking greases, and
automotive fuids. Make sure that these
chemicals are compatible with your
selected material and fnal part.
Electrical Performance
Note required electrical property
values and nature of electrical loading.
For reference, list materials that are
known to have suffcient electrical
performance in your application.
Determine if your part requires EMI
shielding or UL testing.
Weather Resistance
Temperature, moisture, and UV sun
exposure affect plastic parts’ properties
and appearance. The end-use of a
product determines the type of weather
resistance required. For instance,
external automotive parts such as
mirror housings must withstand
continuous outdoor exposure and
perform in the full range of weather
conditions. Additionally, heat gain
from sun on dark surfaces may raise
the upper temperature requirement
considerably higher than maximum
expected temperatures. Conversely,
your requirements may be less
severe if your part is exposed to
weather elements only occasionally.
For example, outdoor Christmas
decorations and other seasonal
products may only have to satisfy the
requirements for their specifc, limited
exposure.
Radiation
A variety of artifcial sources — such
as fuorescent lights, high-intensity
discharge lamps, and gamma
sterilization units — emit radiation
that can yellow and/or degrade many
plastics. If your part will be exposed to
a radiation source, consider painting it,
or specifying a UV-stabilized resin.
Appearance
Aesthetic requirements can entail
many material and part-design issues.
For example, a need for transparency
greatly reduces the number of potential
plastics, especially if the part needs
high clarity. Color may also play an
important role. Plastics must often
match the color of other materials
used in parts of an assembly. Some
applications require the plastic part
to weather at the same rate as other
materials in an assembly.
In resins, custom colors generally cost
more than standard colors, particularly
for small-order quantities. For certain
colors and effects, some parts may
need to be painted or decorated in the
mold. Depending upon the application,
parts with metallic fnishes may
require painting, in-mold decorating or
vacuum metallization. Surface fnishes
range from high-gloss to heavy-matte.
Photoetching the mold steel can impart
special surface textures for parts.
Styling concerns may dictate the
product shape, look, and feel, especially
if the product is part of a component
system or existing product family. Note
all cosmetic and non-cosmetic surfaces.
Among other things, these areas may
infuence gate, runner, and ejector-pin
positioning.
Many part designs must include
markings or designs such as logos,
warnings, instructions, and control
labels. Determine if these features can
be molded directly onto the part surface
or if they must be added using one of
the decorating methods discussed in
Chapter 6.
Chapter 1
PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART
9
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Agency Approvals
Government and private agencies have
specifcations and approval cycles for
many plastic parts. These agencies
include Underwriters’ Laboratories
(UL) for electrical devices, Military
(MIL) for military applications, Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) for
applications with food and bodily-fuid
contact, United States Department
of Agriculture (USDA) for plastics
in meat and poultry equipment,
and National Sanitation Foundation
Testing Laboratory, Inc. (NSF) for
plastics in food-processing and
potable-water applications. Always
check for compliance and approval
from appropriate agencies. Determine
if your part requires fame resistance
in accordance with UL 94. If so, note
rating and thickness.
Life Expectancy
Many functional parts need to meet
certain life-cycle expectations. Life
expectancy may involve a time
duration — as in years of outdoor
exposure — time at a specifc set of
conditions — such as hours in boiling
water — or repetitions of an applied
load or condition — as in number of
gamma sterilization cycles or snap-arm
defections. Determine a reasonable life
expectancy for your part.
Dimensional Tolerances
Many applications have features
requiring tight tolerances for proper
ft and function. Some mating parts
require only that mating features have
the same dimensions. Others must have
absolute size and tolerance. Consider
the effect of load, temperature, and
creep on dimensions. Over-specifcation
of tolerance can increase product cost
signifcantly.
Processing
Determine if your part design places
special demands on processing. For
example, will the part need a mold
geometry that is particularly diffcult
to fll, or would be prone to warpage
and bow. Address all part-ejection and
regrind issues.
Production Quantities
The number of parts needed may
infuence decisions, including
processing methods, mold design,
material choice, assembly techniques,
and fnishing methods. Generally for
greater production quantities, you
should spend money to streamline the
process and optimize productivity early
in the design process.
Cost Constraints
Plastic-part cost can be particularly
important, if your molded part
comprises all or most of the cost of the
fnal product. Be careful to consider
total system cost, not just part and
material cost.
Assembly
Address assembly requirements, such
as the number of times the product will
be disassembled or if assembly will
be automated. List likely or proposed
assembly methods: screws, welds,
adhesives, snap-latches, etc. Note
mating materials and potential problem
areas such as attachments to materials
with different values of coeffcient of
linear thermal expansion. State any
recycling requirements.
The “Part Requirements and Design
Checklist” in the back of this manual
serves as a guide when developing
new products. Be sure not to overlook
any requirements relevant to your
specifc application. Also do not
over-specify your requirements.
Because parts perform as intended, the
costs of overspecifcation normally go
uncorrected, needlessly increasing part
cost and reducing part competitiveness.
10
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Injection Molding
The most common processing method
for LANXESS thermoplastics, injection
molding, involves forcing molten plastic
into molds at high pressure. The plastic
then forms to the shape of the mold as
it cools and solidifes (see fgure -).
Usually a quick-cycle process, injection
molding can produce large quantities of
parts, accommodate a wide variety of
part sizes, offer excellent part-to-part
repeatability, and make parts with
relatively tight tolerances. Molds can
produce intricate features and textures,
as well as structural and assembly
elements such as ribs and bosses.
Undercuts and threads usually require
mold mechanisms that add to mold cost.

THERMOPLASTIC PROCESSING
METHODS
A variety of commercial methods
are used to produce thermoplastic
products. Each has its specifc design
requirements, as well as limitations.
Usually part design, size, and shape
clearly determine the best process.
Occasionally, the part concept lends
itself to more than one process. Because
product development differs depending
upon the process, your design team
must decide which process to pursue
early in product development. This
section briefy explains the common
processes used for thermoplastics from
LANXESS Corporation.
The injection molding process generally
requires large order quantities to
offset high mold costs. For example,
a $50,000 mold producing only ,000
parts would contribute $50 to the cost
of each part. The same mold producing
500,000 parts would contribute only
$0.0 to part cost. Additionally, mold
modifcations for product design
changes can be very expensive.
Very large parts, such as automotive
bumpers and fenders, require large and
expensive molds and presses.
The injection molding process can quickly produce large quantities of parts in
multi-cavity molds.
Injection Molding Figure 1- 1
Chapter 1
PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART
11
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The extrusion process produces profle shapes used in the manufacture of
window frames.
Extrusion Figure 1- 2
Extrusion
In extrusion forming, molten material
continuously passes through a die
that forms a profle which is sized,
cooled, and solidifed. It produces
continuous, straight profles, which are
cut to length. Most commonly used
for sheet, flm, and pipe production,
extrusion also produces profles
used in applications such as road
markers, automotive trim, store-shelf
price holders, and window frames
(see fgure -). Production rates,
measured in linear units, such as
feet/minute, ordinarily are reasonably
high. Typically inexpensive for
simple profles, extrusion dies usually
contribute little to product cost. Part
features such as holes or notches
require secondary operations that add
to fnal cost.
12
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This large water bottle was blow
molded in polycarbonate resin.
Blow Molding Figure 1- 4
Thermoforming
Thermoforming creates shapes from
a thermoplastic sheet that has been
heated to its softening point. Applied
vacuum or pressure draws or pushes
the softened sheet over an open mold
or form where it is then cooled to
the conforming shape. The process
of stretching the sheet over the form
or mold causes thinning of the wall,
especially along the sides of deep-
drawn features. Mold or form costs
for this low-pressure process are much
lower than for injection molds of
comparable size.
Blow Molding
Blow molding effciently produces
hollow items such as bottles (see fgure
-4), containers, and light globes.
Design permitting, the process may
also produce hollow shapes such as
automotive air ducts and gas tanks.
Wall thickness can vary throughout the
part and may change with processing.
Blow molding cannot produce features
that project from the surface such
as ribs and bosses. Part geometry
determines mold and equipment costs,
which can range as high as those for
injection molding.
The two most-common types of blow
molding are extrusion and injection. In
extrusion blow molding, mold halves
pinch the end of a hanging extruded
tube — called a parison — until it seals. The automobile industry has taken advantage of the production effciency,
appearance, light weight, and performance of thermoformed engineering
thermoplastics for many OEM and after-market products like this tonneau cover.
Thermoforming Figure 1- 3
Thermoforming can produce large
parts (see fgure -) on relatively
inexpensive molds and equipment.
Because the plastic is purchased as
sheet stock, materials tend to be
costly. Material selection is limited to
extrusion grades. Secondary operations
can play a large role in part cost.
Thermoformed parts usually need to
be trimmed to remove excess sheet at
the part periphery. This process cannot
produce features that project from the
part surface such as ribs and bosses.
Cutouts and holes require secondary
machining operations.
Chapter 1
PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART
13
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Rotomolding Figure 1- 5
Rotomolding can produce large
hollow parts such as this street light
globe.
Air pressure applied into the tube
expands the tube and forces it against
the walls of the hollow mold. The
blown shape then cools as a thin-
walled hollow shape. A secondary step
removes the vestige at the pinch-off
area.
Injection blow molding substitutes a
molded shape in place of the extruded
parison. Air pressure applied from
inside the still-soft molded shape
expands the shape into the form of the
hollow mold. This process eliminates
pinch-off vestige and facilitates molded
features on the open end such as screw
threads for lids.
Rotomolding
In rotomolding, a measured quantity of
thermoplastic resin, usually powdered,
is placed inside a mold, which is then
externally heated. As the mold rotates
on two perpendicular axes, the resin
coats the heated mold surface. This
continues until all the plastic melts to
form the walls of the hollow, molded
shape. While still rotating, the mold is
cooled to solidify the shape.

This process is used for hollow shapes
with large open volumes that promote
uniform material distribution, including
decorative streetlight globes (see fgure
-5) or hollow yard toys. Mold and
equipment costs are typically low, and
the process is suited to low-production
quantities and large parts. Cycle times
run very long. Large production runs
may require multiple sets of molds.
14
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OPTIMIZING PRODUCT FUNCTION

The molding process affords many
opportunities to enhance part
functionality and reduce product cost.
For example, the per-part mold costs
associated with adding functional
details to the part design are usually
insignifcant. Molds reproduce many
features practically for free. Carefully
review all aspects of your design with
an eye toward optimization, including
part and hardware consolidation,
fnishing considerations, and needed
markings and logos, which are
discussed in this section.
Consolidation
Within the constraints of good
molding practice and practical mold
construction, look for opportunities
to reduce the number of parts in an
assembly through part consolidation.
A single molded part can often
combine the functionality of two or
more parts.
Hardware
Clever part design can often eliminate
or reduce the need for hardware
fasteners such as screws, nuts,
washers, and spacers. Molded-in
hinges can replace metal ones in many
applications (see fgure -6). Molded-in
cable guides perform the same function
as metal ones at virtually no added
cost. Reducing hardware lessens
material and assembly costs, and
simplifes dismantling for recycling.
Finish
Consider specifying a molded-in
color instead of paint. The cost
savings could more than justify any
increase in material cost for a colored
material with the required exposure
performance. If you must paint, select a
plastic that paints easily, preferably one
that does not require surface etching
and/or primer.
Molded-in hinge features can eliminate the need for hinge
hardware.
Hinges Figure 1- 6
Chapter 1
PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART
15
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This molded in schematic is a cost effective alternative to labels or printing.
Molded-In Illustrations Figure 1- 7
Markings and Logos
Secondary methods of adding
directions, markings, and logos —
including labels, decals, printing,
stamping, etc. — add cost and labor.
Molded-in techniques, when applied
properly, produce permanent lettering
and designs at a very low cost (see
fgure -7). Mixtures of gloss and
texture can increase contrast for
improved visibility.
Miscellaneous
Look for opportunities to add easily
molded features to simplify assembly
and enhance product function such
as aligning posts, nesting ribs, fnger
grips, guides, stops, stand-offs, hooks,
clips, and access holes.
REDUCING MANUFACTURING
COSTS

Although many factors contribute
to costs of producing plastic parts,
most costs fall into one of four basic
categories: materials, overhead,
labor, and scrap/ rework. This section
highlights potential methods for
reducing these manufacturing costs.
Carefully evaluate the effect each
cost-reduction step may have on your
product’s performance and overall cost.
Materials

To reduce material costs, you must
reduce material usage and obtain the
best material value. Within the limits
of good design and molding practice,
consider some of the following:
• Core out unneeded thickness and
wall stock;
• Use ribs, stiffening features, and
supports to provide equivalent
stiffness with less wall thickness;
• Optimize runner systems to
minimize waste;
• Use standard colors, which are less
expensive than custom colors;
• Compare the price of materials that
meet your product requirements,
but avoid making your selection
based upon price alone; and
• Consider other issues such
as material quality, lot-to-lot
consistency, on-time delivery, and
services offered by the supplier.
Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
16
Overhead
Hourly press rates comprise a
signifcant portion of part cost. The
rate varies by region and increases with
press size. Some options to consider
when evaluating overhead costs
include:
• Maximizing the number of parts
produced per hour to reduce the
machine overhead cost per part;
• Avoiding thick sections in your
part and runner system that can
increase cooling time;
• Designing your mold with good
cooling and plenty of draft for easy
ejection; and
• Increasing the number of cavities
in a mold to increase hourly
production.
This last option requires careful
evaluation to determine if machine–
cost–per–part savings compensate for
the added mold cost.
Mold costs, usually amortized over
a specifed number of parts or years,
can also make up a signifcant portion
of part cost. This is particularly true
if the production quantities are low.
The complex relationship between
mold cost, mold quality, and molding
effciency is covered in Chapter 7.
Labor
When looking to maintain or lower
your labor costs, consider the
following:
• Simplify or eliminate manual tasks
as much as possible;
• Design parts and molds for
automatic de-gating or place gates
in areas that don’t require careful
trimming;
• Keep parting lines and mold
kiss-off areas in good condition to
avoid fash removal;
• Design parting lines and kiss-off
points to orient fash in a less
critical direction; and
• Streamline and/or automate
time-consuming assembly steps.
Scrap and Rework
Part and mold design can contribute to
quality problems and scrap. To avoid
rework and minimize scrap generation,
consider the following:
• Follow the part design recom-
mendations and guidelines outlined
in Chapter ;
• Avoid specifying tighter tolerances
than actually needed;
• Adjust the mold steel to produce
parts in the middle of the tolerance
range, when molding parts with
tight tolerances.
In the long run, this last suggestion
is usually less expensive than trying
to produce parts at the edge of the
tolerance range by molding in a
narrow processing window. Do not
select your mold maker based on price
alone. Cheap molds often require
costly rework and frequent mold
maintenance, and are prone to part
quality problems.
PROTOTYPE TESTING
Prototype testing allows you to test
and optimize part design and material
selection before investing in expensive
production tooling. Good prototype
testing duplicates molding, processing,
and assembly conditions as closely
as possible. Molded prototype parts
can also be tested under the same
range of mechanical, chemical, and
environmental conditions that the
production parts must endure.
Simplifying or eliminating prototype
testing increases the chance of
problems that could lead to delays and
expensive modifcations in production
tooling. You should thoroughly
prototype test all new designs.
17
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
While engineering resins are used in
many diverse and demanding applica-
tions, there are design elements that are
common to most plastic parts, such as
ribs, wall thickness, bosses, gussets, and
draft. This chapter covers these general
design issues, as well as others you
should consider when designing parts
made of thermoplastic resins.
WALL THICKNESS
Wall thickness strongly infuences
many key part characteristics, including
mechanical performance and feel,
cosmetic appearance, moldability,
and economy. The optimum thickness
is often a balance between opposing
tendencies, such as strength versus
weight reduction or durability versus
cost. Give wall thickness careful
consideration in the design stage to
avoid expensive mold modifcations
and molding problems in production.
In simple, fat-wall sections, each 0%
increase in wall thickness provides
approximately a % increase in
stiffness. Increasing wall thickness also
adds to part weight, cycle times, and
material cost. Consider using geometric
features — such as ribs, curves, and
corrugations — to stiffen parts. These
features can add suffcient strength,
with very little increase in weight, cycle
time, or cost. For more information
on designing for part stiffness, see
Chapter .
Critical Thickness Figure 2- 1
Izod impact strength of polycarbonate vs. thickness at
various temperatures.

Both geometric and material factors
determine the effect of wall thickness
on impact performance. Generally,
increasing wall thickness reduces
defection during impact and increases
the energy required to produce failure.
In some cases, increasing wall thickness
can stiffen the part to the point that
the geometry cannot fex and absorb
the impact energy. The result can be
a decrease in impact performance.
Some materials, polycarbonate for
example, lose impact strength if the
thickness exceeds a limit known as the
critical thickness. Above the critical
thickness parts made of polycarbonate
can show a marked decrease in impact
performance. Walls with thickness
greater than the critical thickness may
undergo brittle, rather than ductile,
failure during impact. The critical
thickness reduces with lowering
temperature and molecular weight. The
critical thickness for medium-viscosity
polycarbonate at room temperature is
approximately /6 inch (see fgure
-).
18
Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Consider moldability when selecting
the wall thicknesses for your part. Flow
length — the distance from the gate
to the last area fll — must be within
acceptable limits for the plastic resin
chosen. Excessively thin walls may
develop high molding stresses, cosmetic
problems, and flling problems that
could restrict the processing window.
Conversely, overly thick walls can
extend cycle times and create packing
problems. Other points to consider
when addressing wall thickness
include:
• Avoid designs with thin areas
surrounded by thick perimeter
sections as they are prone to gas
entrapment problems (see fgure
-);
• Maintain uniform nominal wall
thickness; and
• Avoid wall thickness variations
that result in flling from thin to
thick sections.
Thin-walled parts — those with main
walls that are less than .5 mm
thick — may require special high-
performance molding equipment to
achieve the required flling speeds
and injection pressures. This can drive
up the molding costs and offset any
material savings. Thin-wall molding
is generally more suited for size or
weight reduction than for cost savings.
Parts with wall thicknesses greater
than mm can also be considered as
thin-walled parts if their fow-length-
to-thickness ratios are too high for
conventional molding.
Consistent
Wall
Thickness
Correct
Thick
Thin
Air Trap
Incorrect
Racetracking Figure 2- 2
Non-uniform wall thickness can lead to air traps.
Usually, low-shrinkage materials,
such as most amorphous or flled
resins, can tolerate nominal wall
thickness variations up to about 5%
without signifcant flling, warpage,
or appearance problems. Unflled
crystalline resins, because of their high
molding shrinkage, can only tolerate
about half as much thickness variation.
These guidelines pertain to the part’s
main walls. Ribs and other protrusions
from the wall must be thinner to avoid
sink. For more information about
designing ribs and other protrusions,
see the section on ribs in this chapter.
19
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
Page 9 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Many designs, especially those
converted from cast metal to plastic,
have thick sections that could cause
sinks or voids. When adapting these
designs to plastic parts, consider the
following:
• Core or redesign thick areas
to create a more uniform wall
thickness (see fgure -);
• Make the outside radius one
wall-thickness larger than the
inside radius to maintain constant
wall thickness through corners (see
fgure -4); and
• Round or taper thickness
transitions to minimize read-
through and possible blush or
gloss differences (see fgure -5).
Blending also reduces the molded-
in stresses and stress concentration
associated with abrupt changes in
thickness.
In some cases, thickness-dependent
properties such as fame retardancy,
electrical resistance, and sound
deadening determine the minimum
required thickness. If your part requires
these properties, be sure the material
provides the needed performance at the
thicknesses chosen. UL fammability
ratings, for example, are listed with the
minimum wall thickness for which the
rating applies.
Coring Figure 2- 3
Core out thick sections as shown on right to maintain a more uniform wall
thickness.
20
Page 0 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Too Thin
Too Thick
t
R2 = R1 + t
R1
R2
Incorrect
Correct
Correct
Correct
Thickness Transitions Figure 2- 5
Internal and external corner radii should originate
from the same point.
Corner Design Figure 2- 4
Blend transitions to minimize read-through.
FLOW LEADERS AND RESTRICTORS
Occasionally designers incorporate
thicker channels, called fow leaders or
internal runners, into the part design.
These fow leaders help mold flling
or packing in areas far from the gate.
Additionally, fow leaders can balance
flling in non-symmetrical parts, alter
the flling pattern, and reduce sink
in thick sections (see fgure -6). For
best results, the fow-leader thickness
should extend from the gate without
restrictions.
To avoid possible warpage and
shrinkage problems, limit the added
thickness to no more than 5% of
the nominal wall for low-shrinkage,
amorphous or flled materials and to
5% for unflled crystalline resins.
Carefully transition the fow leader into
the wall to minimize read-through and
gloss differences on the other side of
the wall.
Flow restrictors, areas of reduced
thickness intended to modify the flling
pattern, can alleviate air-entrapment
problems (see fgure -7) or move
knit-lines. When restricting thick
fow channels as in fgure -7, use
the following rules of thumb in your
design:
• Extend the restrictor across the
entire channel profle to effectively
redirect fow;
• Reduce the thickness by no more
than % in high-shrinkage
resins or 50% for low-shrinkage
materials; and
• Lengthen the restrictor to decrease
fow.
21
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
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Gate
Flow restrictors can change the flling pattern
to correct problems such as gas traps.
Flow Restrictors Figure 2- 7 Flow Leaders Figure 2- 6
Corners typically fll late in box-shaped parts.
Adding fow leaders balances fow to the part
perimeter.
Flow leader and restrictor placement
were traditionally determined by trial
and error after the mold was sampled.
Today, computerized fow simulation
enables designers to calculate the
correct size and placement before mold
construction.
22
Page of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
RIBS
Ribs provide a means to economically
augment stiffness and strength in
molded parts without increasing overall
wall thickness. Other uses for ribs
include:
• Locating and captivating
components of an assembly;
• Providing alignment in mating
parts; and
• Acting as stops or guides for
mechanisms.
This section deals with general
guidelines for ribs and part design;
structural considerations are covered in
Chapter .
Rib Design
Proper rib design involves fve main
issues: thickness, height, location,
quantity, and moldability. Consider
these issues carefully when designing
ribs.
Rib Thickness

Many factors go into determining the
appropriate rib thickness. Thick ribs
often cause sink and cosmetic problems
on the opposite surface of the wall to
which they are attached (see fgure
-8). The material, rib thickness, surface
texture, color, proximity to a gate,
and a variety of processing conditions
determine the severity of sink. Table
- gives common guidelines for rib
thickness for a variety of materials.
These guidelines are based upon
subjective observations under common
conditions and pertain to the thickness
Sink Figure 2- 8
Sink opposite thick rib.
Offset Rib Figure 2- 9
Offset rib to reduce read-through and sink.


at the base of the rib. Highly glossy,
critical surfaces may require thinner
ribs. Placing ribs opposite character
marks or steps can hide rib read-
through (see fgure -9). Thin-walled
parts— those with walls that are less
than .5 mm — can often tolerate ribs
that are thicker than the percentages
in these guidelines. On parts with wall
thicknesses that are .0 mm or less,
the rib thickness should be equal to
the wall thickness. Rib thickness also
directly affects moldability. Very thin
ribs can be diffcult to fll. Because of
fow hesitation, thin ribs near the gate
can sometimes be more diffcult to fll
than those further away. Flow entering
the thin ribs hesitates and freezes while
the thicker wall sections fll.
23
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
Page of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

Ribs usually project from the main
wall in the mold-opening direction and
are formed in blind holes in the mold
steel. To facilitate part ejection from
the mold, ribs generally require at least
one-half degree of draft per side (see
fgure -0). More than one degree
of draft per side can lead to excessive
rib thickness reduction and flling
problems in tall ribs.
Thick ribs form thickened fow
channels where they intersect the base
wall. These channels can enhance fow
in the rib direction and alter the flling
pattern. The base of thick ribs is often
a good location for gas channels in
gas-assist molding applications. The
gas-assist process takes advantage of
these channels for flling, and hollows
the channels with injected gas to avoid
problems with sink, voids, or excessive
shrinkage.
Rib thickness also determines the
cooling rate and degree of shrinkage
in ribs, which in turn affects overall
part warpage. In materials with nearly
uniform shrinkage in the fow and
cross-fow directions, thinner ribs
tend to solidify earlier and shrink less
than the base wall. In this situation,
the ends of ribbed surfaces may warp
toward the opposing wall (see fgure
-). As rib thickness approaches the
wall thickness, this type of warpage
generally decreases. However, ribs that
are the same thickness as the wall may
develop ends that warp toward the
ribbed side. To prevent this warpage,
design extra mold cooling on the
ribbed side to compensate for the added
heat load from the ribs.
Rib Design Guidelines Figure 2-10
Rib Thickness as a Table 2-1
Percentage of Wall Thickness

For glass-flled materials with higher
shrinkage in the cross-fow versus fow
direction, the effect of rib thickness
on warpage can be quite different (see
fgure -). Because thin ribs tend
to fll from the base up, rather than
along their length, high cross-fow
shrinkage over the length of the rib
can cause the ends to warp toward the
ribs. As rib thickness increases and the
fow direction becomes more aligned
along the length of the ribs, this effect
diminishes. Warpage can reverse as the
ribs become thicker than the wall.
Rib Size
Generally, taller ribs provide greater
support. To avoid mold flling, venting,
and ejection problems, standard
rules of thumb limit rib height to
approximately three times the rib-base
thickness. Because of the required
draft for ejection, the tops of tall ribs
may become too thin to fll easily.
Additionally, very tall ribs are prone to
buckling under load. If you encounter
one of these conditions, consider
designing two or more shorter, thinner
ribs to provide the same support with
improved moldability (see fgure -).
Maintain enough space between ribs
for adequate mold cooling: for short
ribs allow at least two times the wall
thickness.
24
Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Warpage vs. Rib Thickness Figure 2-12
Warpage vs. rib thickness in glass-flled resins.
Warpage vs. Rib Thickness Figure 2-11
Warpage vs. rib thickness in unflled resins.
Rib Location and Numbers
Carefully consider the location and
quantity of ribs to avoid worsening
problems the ribs were intended to
correct. For example, ribs added to
increase part strength and prevent
breakage might actually reduce the
ability of the part to absorb impacts
without failure. Likewise, a grid of
ribs added to ensure part fatness
may lead to mold-cooling diffculties
and warpage. Typically much easier
to add than remove, ribs should be
applied sparingly in the original design
and added as needed to fne tune
performance.
Multiple Ribs Figure 2-13
Replace large problematic ribs with multiple shorter ribs.
25
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Boss Design Figure 2-14
Typical boss design
BOSSES
Bosses fnd use in many part designs
as points for attachment and assembly.
The most common variety consists
of cylindrical projections with holes
designed to receive screws, threaded
inserts, or other types of fastening
hardware. As a rule of thumb, the
outside diameter of bosses should
remain within .0 to .4 times the
outside diameter of the screw or insert
(see fgure -4).
To limit sink on the surface opposite
the boss, keep the ratio of boss-wall
thickness to nominal-wall thickness
the same as the guidelines for rib
thickness (see table -). To reduce
stress concentration and potential
breakage, bosses should have a blended
radius, rather than a sharp edge, at
their base. Larger radii minimize stress
concentration but increase the chance
of sink or voids.
• For most applications, a 0.05-
inch blend (fllet) radius provides a
good compromise between strength
and appearance.
Specifying smaller screws or inserts
often prevents overly thick bosses.
Small screws attain surprisingly
high retention forces (see the
Joining Techniques manual). If the
boss-wall thickness must exceed the
recommended ratio, consider adding a
recess around the base of the boss (as
shown in fgure -5) to reduce the
severity of sink.
Boss Sink Recess Figure 2-15
A recess around the base of a thick boss reduces sink.
26
Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Avoid bosses that merge into sidewalls
because they can form thick sections
that lead to sink. Instead, position the
bosses away from the sidewall, and if
needed, use connecting ribs for support
(see fgure -6). Consider using open-
boss designs for bosses near a standing
wall (see fgure -7).
Normally, the boss hole should extend
to the base-wall level, even if the full
depth is not needed for assembly.
Shallower holes can leave thick
sections, resulting in sink or voids.
Deeper holes reduce the base wall
thickness, leading to flling problems,
knit-lines, or surface blemishes. The
goal is to maintain a uniform thickness
in the attachment wall (see fgure
-8).
Bosses Figure 2-16
Connecting bosses to wall
Boss in Attachment Wall Figure 2-17
Open bosses maintain uniform thickness in the
attachment wall.
Because of the required draft, tall
bosses — those greater than fve times
their outside diameter — can create a
flling problem at their top or a thick
section at their base. Additionally, the
cores in tall bosses can be diffcult to
cool and support. Consider coring a tall
boss from two sides or extending tall
gussets to the standoff height rather
than the whole boss (see fgure -9).
Other alternatives include splitting
a long boss into two shorter mating
bosses (see fgure -0) or repositioning
the boss to a location where it can be
shorter.
27
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Long-Core Alternatives Figure 2-19
Options to reduce the length of excessively long core pins.
Boss Core Depth Figure 2-18
Boss holes should extend to the base-wall level.
Mating Bosses Figure 2-20
Excessively long bosses can often be replaced by
two shorter bosses.
28
Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Gussets Figure 2-21
Contour lines show fow front position at incremental time intervals. Squared
gussets can trap air in the corners.
GUSSETS
Gussets are rib-like features that add
support to structures such as bosses,
ribs, and walls (see fgure -). As
with ribs, limit gusset thickness to
one-half to two-thirds the thickness of
the walls to which they are attached
if sink is a concern. Because of their
shape and the EDM process for burning
gussets into the mold, gussets are prone
to ejection problems. Specify proper
draft and draw polishing to help with
mold release.
The location of gussets in the mold
steel generally prevents practical direct
venting. Avoid designing gussets that
could trap gasses and cause flling and
packing problems. Adjust the shape
or thickness to push gasses out of the
gussets and to areas that are more
easily vented (see fgure -).
SHARP CORNERS
Avoid sharp corners in your design.
Sharp inside corners concentrate
stresses from mechanical loading,
substantially reducing mechanical
performance. Figure - shows
the effect of root radius on stress
concentration in a simple, cantilevered
snap arm. The stress concentration
factor climbs sharply as the radius-
to-thickness ratio drops below
approximately 0.. Conversely, large
ratios cause thick sections, leading to
sinks or voids.
• A radius-to-thickness ratio of
approximately 0.5 provides
a good compromise between
performance and appearance for
most applications subjected to light
to moderate impact loads.
Initially use a minimal corner radius
when designing parts made of
high-shrinkage materials with low-
notch sensitivity, such as Durethan
polyamide, to prevent sink and
read-through. Inside corner radii can
then be increased as needed based upon
prototype testing.
In critical areas, corner radii should
appear as a range, rather than a
maximum allowable value, on the
product drawings. A maximum value
allows the mold maker to leave corners
sharp as machined with less than a
0.005 inch radius. Avoid universal
radius specifcations that round edges
needlessly and increase mold cost (see
fgure -).
In addition to reducing mechanical
performance, sharp corners can cause
high, localized shear rates, resulting in
material damage, high molding stresses,
and possible cosmetic defects.
29
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
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Fillet Radius and Stress Concentration Figure 2-22
Effects of a fllet radius on stress concentration.
Round Edges Figure 2-23
Avoid universal radius specifcations that round edges needlessly and
increase mold cost.
30
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Draft Figure 2-24
Common draft guidelines
DRAFT
Draft — providing angles or tapers on
product features such as walls, ribs,
posts, and bosses that lie parallel to the
direction of release from the mold —
eases part ejection. Figure -4 shows
common draft guidelines.
How a specifc feature is formed in
the mold determines the type of draft
needed. Features formed by blind holes
or pockets — such as most bosses, ribs,
and posts — should taper thinner as
they extend into the mold. Surfaces
formed by slides may not need draft
if the steel separates from the surface
before ejection. Other rules of thumb
for designing draft include:
• Draft all surfaces parallel to the
direction of steel separation;
• Angle walls and other features that
are formed in both mold halves
to facilitate ejection and maintain
uniform wall thickness;
• Use the standard one degree of
draft plus one additional degree
of draft for every 0.00 inch of
texture depth as a rule of thumb;
and
• Use a draft angle of at least
one-half degree for most materials.
Design permitting, use one degree
of draft for easy part ejection. SAN
resins typically require one to two
degrees of draft.
Less draft increases the chance of
damaging the part during ejection.
Additionally, molders may have to
apply mold release or special mold
surface coatings or treatments,
ultimately leading to longer cycle times
and higher part costs.
The mold fnish, resin, part geometry,
and mold ejection system determine
the amount of draft needed. Generally,
polished mold surfaces require less
draft than surfaces with machined
fnishes. An exception is thermoplastic
polyurethane resin, which tends to eject
easier from frosted mold surfaces. Parts
with many cores may need a higher
amount of draft.
Some part designs leave little room for
ejector pins. Parts with little ejector-pin
contact area often need extra draft to
prevent distortion during ejection. In
addition to a generous draft, some deep
closed-bottomed shapes may need air
valves at the top of the core to relieve
the vacuum that forms during ejection
(See fgure 7- in Chapter 7).
31
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
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HOLES AND CORES
Cores are the protruding parts of the
mold that form the inside surfaces of
features such as holes, pockets, and
recesses. Cores also remove plastic from
thick areas to maintain a uniform wall
thickness. Whenever possible, design
parts so that the cores can separate
from the part in the mold-opening
direction. Otherwise, you may have to
add slides or hydraulic moving cores
that can increase the cost of mold
construction and maintenance (see
section on undercuts).
During mold flling, the advancing
plastic fow can exert very high side
forces on tall cores forming deep or
long holes. These forces can push
or bend the cores out of position,
altering the molded part. Under severe
conditions, this bending can fatigue the
mold steel and break the core.
Generally, the depth-to-diameter ratio
for blind holes should not exceed :.
Ratios up to 5: are feasible if flling
progresses symmetrically around the
unsupported hole core or if the core
is in an area of slow-moving fow.
Consider alternative part designs that
avoid the need for long delicate cores,
such as the alternative boss designs in
fgures -9 and -0.
If the core is supported on both ends,
the guidelines for length-to-diameter
ratio double: typically 6: but up to
0: if the flling around the core is
symmetrical. The level of support on
the core ends determines the maximum
suggested ratio (see fgure -5).
Properly interlocked cores typically
resist defection better than cores
that simply kiss off. Single cores for
through-holes can interlock into the
opposite mold half for support.
Core Mismatch Figure 2-26
When feasible, make one core larger to
accommodate mismatch in the mold.
Interlocking Cores Figure 2-25
The ends of the long cores should interlock
into mating surfaces for support.
Mismatch Figure 2-27
Rounding both edges of the hole creates a potential for
mismatch.
Mismatch can reduce the size of the
opening in holes formed by mating
cores. Design permitting, make one
core slightly larger (see fgure -6).
Even with some mismatch, the required
hole diameter can be maintained. Tight
tolerance holes that cannot be stepped
may require interlocking features
on the cores to correct for minor
misalignment. These features add to
mold construction and maintenance
costs. On short through-holes that
can be molded with one core, round
the edge on just one side of hole to
eliminate a mating core and avoid
mismatch (see fgure -7).
32
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UNDERCUTS
Some design features, because of their
orientation, place portions of the mold
in the way of the ejecting plastic part.
Called “undercuts,” these elements can
be diffcult to redesign. Sometimes,
the part can fex enough to strip from
the mold during ejection, depending
upon the undercut’s depth and shape
and the resin’s fexibility. Undercuts
can only be stripped if they are located
away from stiffening features such as
corners and ribs. In addition, the part
must have room to fex and deform.
Generally, guidelines for stripping
undercuts from round features limit
the maximum amount of the undercut
to a percentage defned as follows and
illustrated in fgure -8 as:
Generally, avoid stripping undercuts
in parts made of stiff resins such as
polycarbonate, polycarbonate blends,
and reinforced grades of polyamide
6. Undercuts up to % are possible in
parts made of these resins, if the walls
are fexible and the leading edges are
rounded or angled for easy ejection.
Typically, parts made of fexible
resins, such as unflled polyamide 6 or
thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer,
can tolerate 5% undercuts. Under ideal
conditions, they may tolerate up to
0% undercuts.
Slides and Cores
Most undercuts cannot strip from
the mold, needing an additional
mechanism in the mold to move certain
components prior to ejection (see
Chapter 7). The types of mechanisms
include slides, split cores, collapsible
cores, split cavities, and core pulls.
Cams, cam pins, lifters, or springs
activate most of these as the mold
opens. Others use external devices such
as hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders
to generate movement. All of these
mechanisms add to mold cost and
complexity, as well as maintenance.
They also add hidden costs in the form
of increased production scrap, quality
problems, fash removal, and increased
mold downtime.
Stripping Undercut Guidelines Figure 2-28
Undercut features can often successfully strip from the mold during
ejection if the undercut percentage is within the guidelines for the
material type.

Clever part design or minor design
concessions often can eliminate
complex mechanisms for undercuts.
Various design solutions for this
problem are illustrated in fgures -9
through -. Get input from your
mold designer early in product design
to help identify options and reduce
mold complexity.
33
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
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Snap Fit Figure 2-30
Snap-ft hook molded through hole to form undercut.
Wire Guides Figure 2-31
Simple wire guides can be molded with bypass steel in
the mold.
Sidewall Windows Figure 2-29
Bypass steel can form windows in
sidewalls without moving slides.
34
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Vent Slots Figure 2-32
Extending vent slots over the corner edge eliminates the
need for a side action in the mold.
Louvers on Sloping Wall Figure 2-33
Louvers on sloping walls can be molded
in the direction of draw.
LOUVERS AND VENTS

Minor variations in cooling-vent
design can have a major impact on
the molding costs. For instance, molds
designed with numerous, angled
kiss-offs of bypass cores are expensive
to construct and maintain. Additionally,
these molds are susceptible to damage
and fash problems. Using moving
slides or cores to form vents adds to
mold cost and complexity.

Carefully consider the molding process
during part design to simplify the mold
and lower molding costs. Extending
vents over the top of a corner edge
can facilitate straight draw of the vent
coring and eliminate a side action in
the mold (see fgure -). Angling the
louver surface can also allow vent slots
to be molded without side actions in
the mold (see fgure -).

Consult all pertinent agency
specifcations for cooling vents in
electrical devices. Vent designs respond
differently to the fame and safety tests
required by many electrical devices.
Fully test all cooling-vent designs for
compliance.
35
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
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Thread Profles Figure 2-34
Common thread profles used in plastic parts.
MOLDED-IN THREADS
The molding process accommodates
thread forming directly in a part,
avoiding the expense of secondary,
thread-cutting steps. The cost and
complexity of the tooling usually
determines the feasibility of molding
threads. Always compare this cost
to the cost of alternative attachment
options, such as self-tapping screws.
Easily molded in both mold halves,
external threads centered on the mold
parting line add little to the molding
cost. Typically, threads that do not lie
on the parting line require slides or
side actions that could add to molding
costs. All threads molded in two halves
are prone to parting line fash or
mismatch.
Thread designs requiring unscrewing
devices add the most cost to the mold.
Most of the mechanisms for molding
internal threads — such as collapsible
and unscrewing cores — signifcantly
increase the mold’s cost and complexity.
Occasionally, threads in parts made
of fexible plastics, such as unflled
polyamide 6 or polyurethane
elastomers, can be stripped from the
mold without special mechanisms.
Rarely suited to flled resins or stiff
plastics such as polycarbonate, this
option usually requires generously
rounded threads and a diameter-to-
wall-thickness ratio greater than 0
to . Usually, molding threads on
removable cores reduces mold cost and
complexity but adds substantially to
the costs of molding and secondary
operations. For this reason, limit this
option to low-production quantities
or designs that would be prohibitively
complex to mold otherwise.

Thread profles for metal screws often
have sharp edges and corners that
can reduce the part’s mechanical
performance and create molding
problems in plastic designs. Rounding
the thread’s crests and roots lessens
these effects. Figure -4 shows
common thread profles used in
plastics. Although less common than
the American National (Unifed) thread,
Acme and Buttress threads generally
work better in plastic assemblies.
Consider the following when specifying
molded-in threads:

• Use the maximum allowable radius
at the thread’s crest and root;
• Stop threads short of the end
to avoid making thin, feathered
threads that can easily cross-thread
(see fgure -5);
• Limit thread pitch to no more than
threads per inch for ease of
molding and protection from cross
threading; and
• Avoid tapered threads unless you
can provide a positive stop that
limits hoop stresses to safe limits
for the material.
36
Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Threads Figure 2-35
Design guidelines to avoid cross threading.
Pipe Threads Figure 2-36
Standard NPT tapered pipe threads can cause
excessive hoop stresses in the plastic ftting.
Tapered pipe threads, common in
plumbing for fuid-tight connections,
are slightly conical and tapered and can
place excessive hoop stresses on the
internal threads of a plastic part. When
mating plastic and metal tapered threads,
design the external threads on the
plastic component to avoid hoop stress
in plastic or use straight threads and an
“O” ring to produce the seal (see fgure
-6). Also, assure that any thread dopes
or thread lockers are compatible with
your selected plastic resin. Polycarbonate
resins, in particular, are susceptible to
chemical attack from many of these
compounds.
For best performance, use threads
designed specifcally for plastics. Parts
that do not have to mate with standard
metal threads can have unique threads
that meet the specifc application and
material requirements. The medical
industry, for example, has developed
special, plastic-thread designs for
Luer-lock tubing connectors (see fgure
-7). Thread designs can also be
simplifed for ease of molding as shown
in fgure -8.
37
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
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Molded Threads Figure 2-38
Luer-lock thread used in medical applications.
Medical Connectors Figure 2-37
Examples of thread designs that were modifed for ease of molding.
38
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Lettering Figure 2-39
Deep, sharp lettering can cause teardrop defects as shown
on top photo. The bottom shows the improvement with
rounded, shallow lettering.
Lettering Figure 2-40
Design suggestions for the cross-sectional profle of lettering.
LETTERING
The molding process adapts easily for
molding-in logos, labels, warnings,
diagrams, and instructions, saving the
expense of stick-on or painted labels,
and enhancing recyclability. Deep,
sharp lettering is prone to cosmetic
problems, such as streaks and tear
drops, particularly when near the gate
(see fgure -9). To address these
cosmetic issues, consider the following:
• Limit the depth or height of
lettering into or out of the part
surface to approximately 0.00
inch; and
• Angle or round the side walls of
the letters as shown in fgure -40.
39
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
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TOLERANCES
Many variables contribute to the
dimensional stability and achievable
tolerances in molded parts, including
processing variability, mold
construction, material characteristics,
and part geometry. To improve your
ability to maintain specifed tolerances
in production:
• Use low-shrinkage materials in
parts with tight tolerances;
• Avoid tight tolerances in
dimensions affected by the
alignment of the mold halves
or moving mold components
such as slides;
• Design parts and assemblies to
avoid tight tolerances in areas
prone to warpage or distortion, and

• Adjust the mold to produce
dimensions in the middle of
tolerance range at optimum
processing conditions for the
material.
To avoid unnecessary molding costs,
specify tight tolerances only when
needed. Generally, the size and
variability of other part features
determine the actual tolerance required
for any one component or feature
within an assembly. Rather than
dividing the allowable variability
equally over the various features
that govern ft and function, allot a
greater portion of the total tolerance
range to features that are diffcult to
control. Reserve tight tolerances for
features that can accommodate them
reasonably.
Tolerances Figure 2-41

Geometric tolerancing methods can
expand the effective molding tolerance
by better defning the size and position
requirements for the assembly. Rather
than defne the position and size
of features separately, geometric
tolerancing defnes a tolerance
envelope in which size and position
are considered simultaneously.
40
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Tolerances Figure 2-42
As the hole size increases, the position tolerance can increase without restricting
the through-hole clearance.
Figure -4 shows the size and
position of a hole specifed in both
standard and geometric tolerances. The
standard tolerances hold the position
and size of the hole to ±0.00. The
geometric tolerances specify a hole
size tolerance of ±0.00 but allow the
position tolerance to vary within a
0.006 tolerance zone when the hole
is at its smallest diameter (maximum
material condition). When the hole
is larger than the minimum size, the
difference between the actual hole
size and the minimum hole size can
be added to the tolerance zone for the
position tolerance. At the maximum
hole size, 0.50, the position tolerance
zone for the center of the hole is 0.0
or ±0.006 from the stated vertical
and horizontal positions. As the hole
becomes larger, the position can vary
more without restricting the required
through-hole for the post or screw
that passes through the hole (see
fgure -4).
41
Chapter 2
GENERAL DESIGN
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BEARINGS AND GEARS
Material friction and wear properties
play a key role in the performance of
bearings and gears made of plastic. For
instance, Durethan polyamide resins
exhibit properties suitable for many
gear and bearing applications. Used
frequently as over-molded, gear-
tooth liners, thermoplastic urethane
elastomers demonstrate excellent
abrasion resistance and shock-
dampening properties.
Because plastic parts exhibit complex
wear behavior, predicting gear and
bearing performance can be diffcult.
However, certain trends prevail:
• When the mating components of
a bearing or gear are made of the
same material, the wear level is
much higher, unless the load and
temperature are very low;
• When both contacting plastics are
unflled, usually wear is greater on
the moving surface;
• When plastic components will
wear against steel, use glass fllers
to increase the life of plastic
components; and
• When designing bearing parts for
longevity, keep frictional heating
low and ensure that heat dissipates
quickly from the bearing surface.
The PV factor, a major factor in the
formation of frictional heat, is the
product of the pressure (P) exerted on
the projected area of the bushing and
the surface velocity (V) of the shaft.
Testing shows that plastics exhibit a
sharp increase in wear at PV values
above a limit characteristic of the
specifc resin (see table -). The PV
factor for the bushing must not exceed
the PV limit (minus appropriate safety
factor) established for the selected
resin.
Many factors infuence the effective PV
limit and actual bushing performance.
For instance, bushings made of plastic
last longer when the shafts are hard
and fnely polished. Other points to
consider:
• Avoid soft-metal shafts when the
loads or rotational speeds are high;
• Add holes or grooves to the inside
of the bushing to capture debris
and prevent premature wear;
• Protect the bearings with seals or
guards in dirty environments; and
• Check the compatibility of
lubricants with your specifc
plastic.
If chemically compatible, lubricants
can more than double the PV limit and
greatly increase the life of gears and
bearings.
Differences in the coeffcient of linear
thermal expansion between the shaft
and the bushing can change the
clearance and affect part life. Calculate
the clearance throughout the service
temperature range, maintaining a
minimum clearance of approximately
0.005 inch per inch of diameter.
Always test your specifc shaft and
bushing combination under the full
range of temperatures, speeds, loads,
and environmental conditions before
specifying a bushing material or design.
Approximate PV Limits Table 2-2
at 100 Feet/Minute
42
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43
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
This chapter assumes the reader has
a working knowledge of mechanical
engineering and part design, and
therefore focuses primarily upon those
aspects of structural design that are
unique or particularly relevant to
plastics. Two main goals of this chapter
are to show how to use published data
to address the unusual behavior of
plastics in part design, and to show how
to take advantage of the design freedom
afforded by molding processes to meet
your structural requirements.
STRUCTURAL CONSIDERATIONS
IN PLASTICS
When designing parts made of plastics,
be sure to consider not only the
magnitude of mechanical loads but
also their type and duration. More
so than for most materials, plastics
can exhibit dramatically different
behavior depending on whether the
loading is instantaneous, long term,
or vibratory in nature. Temperature
and other environmental conditions
can also dramatically affect the
mechanical performance of the plastic
material. Many aspects of plastic
behavior, including viscoelasticity and
sensitivity to a variety of processing-
related factors, make predicting a
given part’s performance in a specifc
environment very diffcult. Use
structural calculations conservatively
and apply adequate safety factors. We
strongly suggest prototype testing for
all applications.


Plastic part design must also take
into account not only the structural
requirements anticipated in the end-use
application, but also the less obvious
mechanical loads and stresses that
can occur during operations such as
manufacturing, assembly, and shipping.
These other sources of mechanical
loads can often place the highest
structural demands on the plastic part.
Carefully evaluate all of the structural
loads the part must endure throughout
its entire life cycle.
The mechanical properties of plastics
differ from metals in several important
ways:
• Plastics exhibit much less strength
and stiffness;
• Mechanical properties are time and
temperature dependent;
• Plastics typically exhibit nonlinear
mechanical behavior; and
• Processing and fow orientation
can greatly affect properties.
The following sections briefy discuss
the relevance of these differences when
designing plastic parts. For more on
these topics, consult the LANXESS
Corporation companion to this manual:
Material Selection: Engineering
Plastics.
44
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Voight-Maxwell model simulating
iscoelastic characteristics.
Stiffness
Designing parts with adequate stiffness
can be diffcult, particularly if your
part was made of metal originally.
If your design needs the strength
and/or stiffness of a metal part, you
must account for the large disparity
between plastic and metal mechanical
properties (see table -). Increasing
wall thickness may compensate for
the lower stiffness of plastic resins.
In practice, however, the molding
process limits wall thickness to
approximately 0.5 inch in solid,
injection-molded parts. More typically,
wall thickness ranges from 0.060 to
0.60 inches. Generally, good part
designs incorporate stiffening features
and use part geometry to help achieve
required stiffness and strength. These
design considerations are covered in
greater detail in the section Designing
for Stiffness on page 67.
Property Comparison of Table 3-1
Metals and Plastics
Viscoelasticity
Plastics exhibit viscoelastic behaviors
under load: they show both plastic and
elastic deformation. This dual behavior
accounts for the peculiar mechanical
properties found in plastics. Under mild
loading conditions, plastics usually
return to their original shape when the
load is removed, exhibiting an elastic
response. Under long-term, heavy loads
or at elevated temperatures, this same
plastic will deform, behaving more like
a high-viscosity liquid. This time- and
temperature-dependent behavior occurs
because the polymer chains in the part
do not return to their original position
when the load is removed. The Voight–
Maxwell model of springs and dashpots
illustrates these characteristics (see
fgure -). Spring A in the Maxwell
model represents the instantaneous
response to load and the linear recovery
when the load is removed. Dashpot A
connected to the spring simulates the
permanent deformation that occurs
over time.
Voight-Maxwell Model Figure 3- 1
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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0
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0 3 4 1 2
Stress-Strain vs. Temperature Figure 3- 2
Viscoelasticity causes most plastics
to lose stiffness and strength as the
temperature increases (see fgure
-). As a plastic part is exposed to
higher temperatures, it becomes more
ductile: yield strength decreases and
the strain-at-break value increases.
Plastic parts also exhibit creep, the
increase in deformation over time
45
in parts under continuous load or
stress, as well as stress relaxation, the
reduction in stress over time in a part
under constant strain or deformation.
To account for this behavior, designers
should use data that refect the correct
temperature, load, and duration to
which the part will be exposed. These
topics are discussed more fully in the
section Long-Term Loading on page 7.
46
Page 46 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Stress-Strain Behavior
A simple tensile test determines
the stress-strain behavior of plastic
materials. The results, usually expressed
as a curve, show the relationship
between stress, the force per original
cross-sectional area, and strain, the
percentage of change in length as a
result of the force. Nearly linear at
very low stress and strain levels, the
stress-strain behavior of plastics tends
to become increasingly nonlinear as
these loads increase. In this context,
the term “nonlinear” means that the
resulting strain at any particular point
does not vary proportionally with the
applied stress.
Figure - shows typical stress-strain
curves for steel and unreinforced
thermoplastic materials. While metals
can exhibit plastic behavior, they
typically function within the elastic
(Hookean) range of mechanical
performance. Because of viscoelasticity,
unreinforced plastic materials tend to
exhibit nonlinear behavior through
much of their operating range. Even
at low strain values, plastics tend to
exhibit some nonlinear behavior. As
a result, using the tensile modulus
or Young’s modulus, derived from
stress over strain in the linear region
of the stress-strain curve, in structural
calculations could lead to an error.
You may need to calculate the secant
modulus, which represents the stiffness
of a material at a specifc strain or
stress level (see fgure -4). The use
of secant modulus is discussed in the
example problems later in this chapter.
Viscoelasticity Figure 3- 3
Metals usually
function within
the elastic
(Hookean) range
of mechanical
behavior.
Unreinforced
plastics tend to
exhibit nonlinear
behavior
represented here
by the combination
of springs and
dashpots.
Secant Modulus Figure 3- 4
The Young’s
modulus derived
from the stress-
strain behavior
at very low strain
can overstate the
material stiffness.
A calculated
secant modulus
can better
represent material
stiffness at a
specifc stress or
strain.
47
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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Molding Factors
The injection-molding process
introduces stresses and orientations
that affect the mechanical performance
of plastic parts. The standard test bars
used to determine most mechanical
properties have low levels of molding
stress. The high molding stresses in
an actual part may reduce certain
mechanical properties, such as the
amount of applied stress a given part
can endure. Always add reasonable
safety factors and test prototype parts
before actual production.
Stress-Strain Figure 3- 6
Perpendicular to
Orientation
Stress-Strain Figure 3- 5
Parallel to Orientation
This graph shows the stress-strain performance
parallel to fber orientation at various temperatures for a
30% glass-flled PA 6 material after conditioning.
This graph shows the stress-strain performance
perpendicular to fber orientation at various temperatures for
a 30% glass-flled PA 6 material after conditioning.
In glass-flled resins, fber orientation
also affects mechanical performance:
fatigue strength for a given fber-flled
resin is often many times greater when
the fbers are aligned lengthwise,
rather than perpendicular to the fatigue
load. Stress-strain performance in the
direction of fber orientation can also
differ greatly from the performance
in the direction perpendicular to the
fbers. Figures -5 and -6 show stress
versus strain for a 0% glass-flled
PA 6 in the parallel-to-fber and
perpendicular-to-fber directions.
Unless otherwise stated, most
mechanical properties derive from
end-gated test bars that exhibit a high
degree of orientation in the direction
of the applied test load. Mechanical
calculations based on this kind of data
may over-predict material stiffness
and performance in parts with random
fber orientation or in applications in
which the fbers lie perpendicular to
the applied loads. Fiber orientation in
an actual part is seldom as uniform as
it is in test bars. Address this potential
source of error in your calculations and
apply appropriate safety factors. For
critical parts, you may want to perform
a structural fnite-element analysis
using fber-orientation data from mold-
flling analysis and unique mechanical
properties for the orientation and
cross-orientation directions.
48
Page 48 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
SHORT-TERM MECHANICAL
PROPERTIES
This section gives some commonly
used criteria to defne and describe
the short-term strength mechanical
behavior of thermoplastic materials.
Specifc property data for LANXESS
materials can be found in the
CAMPUS© database system for plastics,
and in LANXESS’ Property Guides.
Consult the publication Material
Selection for information on the
various test methods and property data
used for thermoplastics engineering
resins. These publications are available
through your sales representative.
Figure 3- 8
Typical stress-strain behavior of unreinforced plastics.
Figure 3- 7
These curves illustrate the characteristic differences in the
stress-strain behavior of various plastics.
49
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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Tensile Properties
Tensile properties are measured in a
device that stretches a molded test bar
between two clamping jaws. The jaws
separate at a steady rate, and the device
records the force per cross-sectional
area (stress) required to stretch the
sample from 0% elongation to break.
The results are often graphed as stress
versus percentage elongation (strain).
Figure -7 shows the kinds of stress-
strain behavior exhibited by plastics.
Rigid plastics exhibit a nearly linear
behavior similar to metals. Ductile
materials display a more complex
behavior.
Figure -8 identifes the transitional
points in the stress-strain behavior
of ductile plastics. Point A, the
proportional limit, shows the end of
the region in which the resin exhibits
linear stress-strain behavior. Point B
is the elastic limit, or the point after
which the part will be permanently
deformed even after the load is
removed. Applications that cannot
tolerate any permanent deformation
must stay below the elastic limit. Point
C, the yield point, marks the beginning
of the region in which ductile
plastics continue to deform without
a corresponding increase in stress.
Elongation at yield gives the upper
limit for applications that can tolerate
the small permanent deformation
that occurs between the elastic limit
and the yield point, but not the larger
deformation that occurs during yield.
Point D, the break point, shows the
strain value when the test bar breaks.
Tensile Modulus
Commonly used in structural
calculations, tensile modulus measures
material stiffness. Higher values
indicate greater stiffness. Because
of plastic’s viscoelastic behavior,
determining tensile modulus is more
subjective and less precise for plastics
than it is for metals and most other
materials. Mathematically, you can
determine the tensile modulus by
taking the ratio of stress to strain as
measured below the proportional limit
on the stress-strain curves. When
dealing with materials with no clear
linear region, you can calculate the
modulus at some specifed strain
value, typically at 0.%. For some
applications, buckling analysis, for
example, it may be more appropriate
to derive a modulus from the slope of
a line drawn tangent to the curve at
a point on the stress-strain diagram
(tangent modulus).
Tensile Stress at Yield
Tensile stress at yield, the stress
level corresponding to the point of
zero slope on the stress-strain curve,
generally establishes the upper limit
for applications that can tolerate only
small permanent deformations. Tensile-
stress-at-yield values can be measured
only for materials that yield under test
conditions.
Tensile Stress at Break
Tensile stress at break is defned as
the stress applied to the tensile bar
at the time of fracture during the
steady-defection-rate tensile test. Data
for tensile stress at break establish
the upper limits for two types of
applications: one-time-use applications
that normally fail because of fractures,
and applications in which the parts
can still function after undergoing
permanent deformation.
Ultimate Strength
Ultimate strength measures the highest
stress value encountered during the
tensile test. This value should be used
in general strength comparisons, rather
than as a design criterion. Ultimate
strength is usually the stress level at
the breaking point in brittle materials.
For ductile materials, it is often the
value at yield or break.
Poisson’s Ratio
As a plastic specimen stretches
longitudinally in response to tensile
loading, it narrows laterally. Poisson’s
ratio measures the ratio of lateral to
longitudinal strains as the material
undergoes tensile loading. Poisson’s
ratio usually falls between 0.5 and
0.40 for engineering resins (see table
-). Some elastomeric materials
approach the constant-volume value
of 0.50.
50
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Coeffcients of Friction (Static) Ranges Table 3-2
for Various Materials
Compressive Properties
Under equivalent loading conditions,
plastics tend to fail in tension rather
than compression. For this reason it is
more common to test tensile properties
rather than compressive properties.
As a rule of thumb, plastics tend to
be approximately 0% stronger under
compressive loading. Consult your
LANXESS representative if you require
detailed analysis in a compressive
mode. Assuming that the compressive
strength equals the tensile strength
usually results in a conservative design.
Flexural Modulus
Defned as the ratio of stress to strain
in the elastic region of a stress-strain
curve derived from fexural testing,
fexural modulus measures a resin’s
stiffness during bending. A test bar
subjected to bending loads distributes
tensile and compressive stresses
through its thickness. The fexural
modulus is based upon the calculated
outer-fber stress. Test values for
tensile modulus typically correlate well
with those of the fexural modulus in
solid plastics, but differ greatly for
foamed plastics that form solid skins.
Coeffcient of Friction
The coeffcient of friction is the ratio
of friction force, the force needed
to initiate or maintain sliding, to
normal force, the force perpendicular
to the contact surfaces. Coeffcients
are commonly listed for two types
of friction: static friction, the forces
acting on the surfaces to resist initial
movement, and dynamic friction, the
forces acting between surfaces that are
already sliding. Table - lists typical
values for common plastics.
51
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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LONG-TERM MECHANICAL
PROPERTIES

Time and temperature affect the long-
term mechanical properties of plastics
because they affect polymer-chain
mobility. Plastics under constant load
tend to deform over time to redistribute
and lower internal stresses. The
mobility of polymer chains determines
the rate of this stress redistribution.
Higher temperatures increase the free
space between molecules, as well as the
molecular-vibration energies, resulting
in a corresponding increase in polymer-
chain mobility. Even at moderate
temperatures, polymer chains can
reorient in response to applied loads, if
given enough time. Two consequences
of long-term loading are creep, the
added deformation that occurs over
time in parts under constant stress,
and stress relaxation, the reduction
in stress in parts subjected to constant
strain.
Creep and Recovery Figure 3- 9
Creep and recovery of
polycarbonate at 73°F
(23°C).
Creep Properties
Over time, parts subjected to a constant
load often distort beyond their initial
deformation; they creep. Long-term
creep data helps designers estimate and
adjust for this additional deformation.
A common creep test involves hanging
a weight axially on the end of a test
bar and monitoring increases in the bar
length over time. Presented graphically
in a variety of forms, creep and
recovery data is often plotted as strain
versus time at various stress levels
throughout the creep and recovery
phases (see fgure -9).
Another popular form for creep data,
the isochronous stress-strain curve,
plots tensile stress versus strain at
given time increments (see fgure -0).
To determine the apparent modulus or
creep modulus, divide the calculated
stress by the resulting strain as read
from the isochronous curve

52
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30
25
20
15
10
5
0
0 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 10 0.5 4
Isochronous Stress-Strain Figure 3-10
Isochronous
stress-strain curves
at 73°F (23°C) for ABS.
Isochronous Stress-Strain Figure 3-11
Isochronous stress-strain curves at
140°F (60°C) for ABS.
53
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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corresponding to the time duration
desired. For example, assuming room-
temperature conditions, a tensile stress
of ,000 psi, and a load duration of 00
hours, we see in fgure -0 that the
corresponding strain is .%. Dividing
the stress by the strain, we calculate
an apparent modulus of 70,000 psi.
Substituting this apparent modulus or
creep modulus into defection formulas,
in place of the instantaneous tensile
modulus, will enable the formula to
better predict the deformation that will
occur over time.
Stress Relaxation
Stress relaxation, the stress reduction
that occurs in parts subjected to
constant strain over time, is an
important design concern for parts
that will be subjected to long-term
defection. Because of stress relaxation,
press fts, spring fngers, and other part
features subject to constant strain can
show a reduced retention or defection
force over time (see example problem
-7).
You can derive stress-relaxation
information from isochronous
stress-strain curves by noting the
change in stress corresponding to
a given strain on the different time
curves. In fgure -0, the tensile
stress at .75% strain drops from an
instantaneous value of ,65 psi to
approximately ,050 psi after ,000
hours. Stress-relaxation modulus,
calculated by dividing the stress (after
a specifc time) by the fxed strain
value, accounts for stress relaxation in
standard engineering equations.
S-N Curves Figure 3-12
Fatigue test curve for glass-flled Durethan polyamide in three cyclic-loading
modes.


As mentioned earlier, temperature
affects the long-term and short-term
properties of plastics. Compare the
isochronous stress-strain curve for ABS
at room temperature in fgure -0 with
the curves in fgure - for the same
material at 76°F (80°C). In general,
higher ambient temperatures will cause
more creep deformation. Be sure to
use creep data derived at temperatures
appropriate for your application.
54
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Fatigue curves, generated from
tests that subject test specimens to
cyclic loading until failure or a fxed
reduction in stress or strain, provide a
useful means for comparing the relative
fatigue endurance of different plastics.
The results are often presented in the
form of S-N curves (see fgure -)
that plot the stress amplitude against
the number of cycles to failure. Fatigue
information can also appear as stress
or strain limits on stress-strain curves
as in fgure -. The white line shows
the suggested design limit at various
temperatures for a PC/ABS resin used
in applications subjected to dynamic
fatigue loading for 07 cycles.
Fatigue properties are sensitive
to many factors including notch
effects, environmental factors, stress
concentrators, loading frequency, and
temperature. Surface texture, surface
fnish, and whether the part is plated
also affect fatigue performance. In
contrast to metals, plastics have a
high degree of inherent damping and
relatively low thermal conductivity.
Therefore, vibration frequencies as low
as 0 Hz can cause heat generation in
plastic parts. This can lead to thermal
failure if the energy cannot be properly
dissipated by other means, such as
convection.
Fiber orientation can also affect fatigue
performance. Fatigue strength for a
given fber-flled resin can be many
times greater when the fbers are
aligned lengthwise in the direction of
loading rather than perpendicularly.
When calculating fatigue-life values,
use fatigue data that is appropriate for
your application, and always include a
suitable safety factor.
Dynamic Load Limits Figure 3-13
Stress-strain curves for PC/ABS
showing limits at various temperatures
for dynamic loading.
Fatigue Properties
Molded plastic parts exposed to cyclic
loading often fail at substantially lower
stress and strain levels than parts under
static loading, a phenomenon known
as fatigue. Applications that expose
parts to heavy vibrations or repeated
defections — such as snowplow
headlight housings, one-piece salad
tongs, and high-use snap-latch closures
— need plastics with good fatigue
characteristics.
55
Chapter 3
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STRUCTURAL DESIGN FORMULAS
Finite-element-analysis (FEA)
techniques, now common in plastic part
design, provide valuable information
about the mechanical performance of
complex or critical designs. For simple
geometries and noncritical parts,
standard design formulas can give good
results if the material remains within its
elastic limit. Even in a complex part, an
area or feature under load can often be
represented by standard formulas.
Because they are primarily a function
of part geometry and load and not
material properties, stress calculation
formulas derived for metals apply
directly to plastics. Generally material
dependent, defection formulas
require elastic (Young’s) modulus and
sometimes Poisson’s ratio, v. Poisson’s
ratio varies slightly with temperature
and loading conditions, but usually
only to an insignifcant degree.
Single-point data suffces for most
calculations. Table - lists typical
values for a variety of materials.

For long-term loads, use a creep
or apparent modulus derived from
isochronous stress-strain curves.
A time-dependent property, creep
modulus is the calculated stress divided
by the corresponding strain value read
from the isochronous stress-strain
curve for the desired time span.
Because the strain value is always
changing in a part that is exhibiting
creep, the creep modulus is also time
dependent. Calculations using the creep
modulus, a decreased-representative
modulus value, predict the defection
that occurs after a period of time. See
the Long-Term Properties section in
this chapter for more information and
example problems dealing with creep
behavior.
Use of Moduli
For short-term loads at room
temperatures and stress levels below
a resin’s proportional limit, use the
instantaneous elastic modulus. At
other temperatures, use isothermal
stress-strain curves to calculate elastic
modulus — simply stress divided by
strain in the linear region — at the
desired temperature. Simple bending
calculations involving solid plastics
undergoing short-term loading below
the proportional limit can use either
the fexural modulus or the published
instantaneous tensile modulus.
For short-term loads in the nonlinear
region above the proportional limit,
such as assembly stresses, you
will have to use a secant modulus,
calculated from the curves and based
upon the actual calculated stress. To
calculate secant modulus, frst solve the
stress equation, which is independent
of the elastic modulus for the material.
Next read the strain corresponding to
this calculated stress on the appropriate
stress-strain curve. Then, divide the
calculated stress by the strain to obtain
the secant modulus for that stress level.
The secant modulus typically provides
satisfactory predictions of defections
in applications that experience higher
strain levels. See example problem -
for a demonstration of this procedure.
56
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Stress and Strain Limits
Plastics differ in the level of stress or
strain they can tolerate in structural
applications. Engineering strain is
defned as the change in length of a
specimen divided by its original length
and is represented by the symbol ε. The
actual units of strain are length divided
by length (inches per inch, millimeters
per millimeter) but it is most often
represented as a percentage. Stress has
units of force per cross-sectional area
(pounds per square inch = psi, Newtons
per square millimeter = Megapascals,
MPa). Because stress and strain are
interrelated, plastic parts can be
designed based on either stress or strain
limits.
Stress limits are best determined
from isochronous stress-strain curves
showing either crazing or design limits
for the given time and temperature.
Of course, appropriate safety factors
should always be used. Use a safety
factor of at least .0 — higher values
are necessary in critical applications.
General stress limits (such as 5%
of the published tensile yield stress)
usually have large inherent safety
factors, but become less conservative
at elevated temperatures or long-time
use conditions. To apply a stress limit,
simply solve the stress equation for the
given load and geometry to determine
if the limit is exceeded. Be sure to
multiply the result by an appropriate
stress concentration factor (see fgure
-) before making the comparison.
If the limit is exceeded, reduce the load
or increase the cross-sectional area to
reduce stress below the limit. Note that
because the stress equation itself is not
modulus-dependent, it is almost always
used in conjunction with the defection
equation to evaluate true design
performance.
Permissible Short-Term Table 3-3
Strain Limits at 23°C (73° F)
General guide data for the allowable
short-term strain for snap joints
(single joining operation); for frequent
separation and rejoining, use about
60% of these values.
Table - lists the permissible short-
term strain limits at room temperature
for various families of LANXESS
engineering plastics. One-time, short-
duration load applications that stay
below these limits typically do not
fracture or exhibit signifcant permanent
deformation. Designs that see multiple
applications of an applied load should
stay below 60% of these values.
Permissible strain values are typically
used to design parts with short-term
or intermittent loads such as cantilever
snap arms. If a strain-based formula
is not available, it can be created by
substituting σ / ε for E in the defection
equation, then substituting the complete
stress equation for σ.
57
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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Uniaxial Tensile and Compressive
Stress
Because most plastic part failures
are tensile failures and this failure
mode is easy to test, the majority of
the available stress-strain data were
produced using tensile test methods.
The compressive strength of plastic
usually exceeds the tensile strength,
but because it is more diffcult to test,
the compressive strength is usually
assumed to equal the tensile strength,
which is a conservative assumption.
Depending on geometry, excessive
compressive stress may cause the part
to buckle. Long, slender shapes are
the most susceptible to this failure
mode. Consult a strength-of-materials
textbook or engineering handbook for
analytical buckling formulas.
A 5 inch long bar with a cross section
of 0.5 inch by 0.125 inch is exposed to
a 350 pound tensile load. Calculate the
stress and elongation of the ABS bar.
The defnition of stress is load divided
by cross-sectional area, so the stress is:
σ
t
= P / A = 50 /
[(0.5)(0.5)]
= 5,600 psi
Note that no modulus values are
required to determine the stress, simply
load and cross-sectional area. (In
some cases however, Poisson’s ratio is
required.)
To fnd the elongation of the bar,
determine the strain (change in length
per unit length) created by the applied
5,600 psi stress. Using Young’s
modulus to calculate strain gives:
ε = σ / E = 5,600 psi / 60,000 psi
= 0.056 in/in = .56% strain
However, reading from the stress-strain
curve at room temperature (23°C)
in fgure 3-2 gives a value of 1.7%
strain for a stress of 5,600 psi. Since
this strain value is greater than that
calculated with Young’s modulus, the
sample must be strained beyond the
proportional limit. The proper secant
modulus for this case is then:
E
secant
= 5,600 psi / 0.07
= 9,4 psi
The defnition of engineering strain is
ΔL / L, so to fnd the change in length,
ΔL, multiply the original length of the
sample by the strain. For the Young’s
modulus case, ΔL = (5 inch)(0.0156)
= 0.078 inch. But the correct answer
using the actual stress-strain curve is
ΔL = (5 inch)(0.017) = 0.085 inch. In
this case, the error introduced by using
Young’s modulus was about 8%.
Keep in mind that these calculations
are assuming short-term loading. If the
5,600 psi stress is not removed after
a short time, the material will creep
causing strain to increase.
Example 3-1:
Tensile Stress and Strain
58
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Bending and Flexural
Stress Bending or fexing a plastic part
induces both tensile and compressive
stresses through the cross section, as
shown in fgure -4. Bending creates
tensile stresses on the convex side of
the part and compressive stresses on
the concave side. The neutral plane
defnes the plane of zero stress in
which the stress magnitude switches
from tensile to compressive. The stress
distribution through the thickness of
the part is defned by the formula:
σ
b
=
Mc
I
In this formula, M represents the
bending moment applied to the beam.
Bending moment can be defned as
applied force times the distance to
the point of interest. For the simple
cantilever shown in fgure -4, the
moment at the attachment point is the
load times the length of the beam, or P
times L. The common units of moment
are pound-inches or Newtonmeters.
The distance from the neutral plane
to the point of interest is represented
by c, and the moment of inertia of the
cross section (not to be confused with
bending moment) is represented by
capital letter I. The moment of inertia
indicates resistance to bending and
has units of length to the fourth power
(inches
4
, millimeters
4
). Defning section
modulus, Z (not to be confused with
the material modulus, E) as I divided by
c allows the bending-stress formula to
be rewritten:
σ
b
= M / Z
For design purposes, the maximum
tensile bending stress is of primary
interest. The maximum tensile bending
stress is found when c is set equal to
the distance from the neutral plane to
the outer surface in tension.
Table -4 shows formulas for the
cross-sectional area, A; distance from
the neutral plane to the outer surface
in tension, c; moment of inertia, I; and
section modulus, Z, for various cross
sections. The dashed line in the cross-
sectional diagrams denotes the neutral
plane, or in this case, neutral axis. The
formulas assume the bending moment
is applied about this axis. The cross
sections that are not symmetrical about
the neutral axis require some back-
substitution of A and c to calculate I
and Z.
Tensile and Compressive Figure 3-14
Stresses in Bending
Bending-stress formulas are highly
dependent on boundary conditions.
Boundary conditions defne how the
ends of the part are restrained, as well
as the position of the load and whether
it is concentrated or distributed across
the surface of the part. Table -5 gives
stress and defection formulas for
the bending of beams with different
boundary conditions. The symbol P
denotes concentrated loads (pounds,
Newtons) and the symbol w denotes
loads evenly distributed across
the beam (pounds/inch, Newtons/
millimeter). Use the values from table
-4 for I and Z. For accurate results,
use the secant modulus or apparent
modulus for E.
59
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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Section Properties for Bending Table 3-4
60
Page 60 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
For a > b:
Pb(L
2
-b
2
)
3/2
9 3EI L
At x
m
=
L
2
-b
2
3
PL
Z
Pab
LZ
PL
4 Z
PL
8 Z
PL
8 Z
PL
12 Z
PL
3
48EI
5wL
4
384EI
wL
4
192EI
wL
4
384EI
wL
2
2 Z
wL
4
8EI
PL
3
3EI
P
y
L/2
L
w
L
y
L
y
a
P
b
xm
L
y
L/2 P
L
w
y
L
y
P
y
L
w
Beam Bending Formulas Table 3-5
61
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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Simply Supported Plate Figure 3-15
A load of 250 pounds is placed on a
10 inch long beam 4 inches from one
end. The I-shaped beam is 1 inch wide
and 1 inch tall with a uniform thickness
of 0.2 inch. The environmental
temperature is 140°F (60°C). The
beam was injection molded from
Durethan BKV 130 PA 6 resin through
a gate on one end. Find the maximum
defection of the beam and at what
point the maximum defection occurs.
First, calculate the section properties
of the I-beam. From table 3-4 with b =
h = 1, s = t = 0.2 and d = 0.6:
c = h / = / = 0.5 inch
I = [()()

- (0.6)

(-0.)] /
= 0.0689 inch
4
Z = I / c = 0.0689 / 0.5 = 0.78 inch

Example 3-2: Beam Bending
Now fnd the appropriate stress formula
for the given boundary conditions
in table 3-5. The fourth condition is
correct. Solving for maximum tensile
bending stress with a = 6, b = 4, L =
10, and P = 50 gives:
σ
b
= Pab / LZ
= (50)(6)(4) / [(0)(0.78)]
= 4,54 psi (0 MPa)
The stress result is needed in this case
only to calculate the proper secant
modulus. Because the resin is 30%
glass reinforced, fber orientation is
considered. The gate at one end of
the beam will align most of the fbers
along the length of the beam, therefore,
the curves in fgure 3-5 apply. Reading
from the 60°C curve at a stress of
4,354 psi (30 MPa) gives a strain of
1.3%. The secant modulus for this
case is 4,354 psi / 0.013 = 334,923
psi.
Now solve the defection equation
using the secant modulus.
y = Pb(L

-b

)
/
5.6EIL
= (50)(4)(0

-4

)
/
(5.6)(4,9)(0.0689)(0)
= 0.4 inch
For this special case, the maximum
defection does not occur at the point
where the load is applied. It instead
occurs at:
x
m
= [(L

-b

) / ]
/
= [(0

-4

) / ]
/

= 5.9 inches from the left
end of the beam
62
Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Assume that the simply supported plate
shown in fgure 3-15 has a diameter
of 1.5 inches and a thickness of 0.2
inches. A uniform load of 275 psi is
applied in an ambient temperature of
104°F (40°C). Using the stress-strain
curves for ABS resin, determine the
defection of the plate.
The maximum defection (δ) and stress
(σ) for this case can be calculated from
the formulas:
Example 3-3: Plate Defection
δ
max
=
pr
4
(5-4ν−ν

)
6Et

σ =
pr

(+ν)
8t

where:
p = applied pressure load (275 psi)
r = plate radius (0.75 inches)
ν = Poisson’s ratio (0.38)
t = plate thickness (0.2 inches)
E = modulus of elasticity in psi
This pressure load will cause strain
in the disk to exceed the proportional
limit. In addition, the elevated-
temperature condition rules out the
use of the room temperature Young’s
modulus. Therefore, frst calculate the
appropriate secant modulus to use
in the defection formula. Solving the
stress equation yields:
σ
max
= (75)(0.75)

(+0.8) / 8(0.0)

= 4,90 psi
Using the 40°C isothermal stress-strain
curve in fgure 3-2, a 1.56% strain
is found to correspond to a stress
of about 4,900 psi. Dividing stress
by strain gives a secant modulus of
314,103 psi. Solving the defection
equation using this modulus value
gives:
δ
max
=
(75)(0.75)
4
[5-4(0.8)-(0.8)

]
6(4,0)(0.0)

= 0.06 inches
Shear Stress on a Pin Figure 3-16
Shear Stress
In tensile or compressive loading, the
load is applied perpendicular to the
cross section of interest. Shear stress is
calculated by considering the stress on
the cross section that lies in-plane or
parallel to the load. The most common
example of shear stress is the shearing
of a bolt or pin as shown in fgure
-6. The load in the plates creates a
shear stress on the cross section B-B
equal to the load, P, divided by the
cross-sectional area of the pin, A. Shear
stress is denoted by the Greek letter τ.
The units of shear stress (psi) are the
same as for tensile or bending stress.
63
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
A 0.2 inch diameter, 0.5 inch long,
ABS shaft is part of a torsional latch. A
torque of 5 inch-pounds is applied to
activate the latch. First the shear stress
in the shaft and the resulting angle of
twist.
The polar moment of inertia for the
round cross section is:
Torsion
Shear stress is the primary type
of stress in parts that experience
torsional or twisting loads. The stress
formula for torsion is analogous to
the bending-stress formula, σb = Mc
/ I. The bending moment is replaced
with a twisting moment, T, and the
moment of inertia is replaced by a
polar moment of inertia, J. The distance
c now represents the distance from
the centroid of the section to the outer
surface. This yields the following
formula:
τ =
Tc
J
For the torsion problem the angle of
twist, w, is analogous to defection. It
is defned as:
In this expression, L is the length of the
shaft and G is the shear modulus of the
material. Assuming linear elasticity, the
shear modulus can be approximated
from the tensile modulus and Poisson’s
ratio using the relation:
The strain produced in torsion is a
shear strain, γ. It can be related to
tensile strain using the approximate
relation:
This equation is useful for converting
permissible tensile-strain limits to
permissible shear-strain limits. Lastly,
for a circular cross section, the angle of
twist in radians can be calculated given
the shear strain and geometry by:
w = γL / d, (d = shaft diameter)
Example 3-4:
Torsion of a Round Shaft
J = πd
4
/ = (.4)(0.)
4
/
= 0.00057 inch
For this case, c = d / 2, or 0.1 inch.
The maximum shear stress in the shaft
is then:
τ = Tc / J = (5)(0.) / (0.00057)
= ,85 psi
To fnd the angle of twist, we need
G, and therefore E. Combining the
relations for G and γ and replacing
the moduli with their stress/strain
defnitions gives the relation: σ ≈ 2τ.
This allows us to calculate secant
modulus from the tensile stress-strain
curve with a stress value of 2 times τ,
or 6,370 psi. Using the 23°C curve in
fgure 3-2 gives a secant modulus of
about 6,370 psi / 0.022 = 290,000 psi.
G ≈ E
s
/ [(+ν)]
≈ 90,000 / [(+0.8)]
≈ 05,07 psi
The calculated angle of twist is then:
w= TL / JG
= (5)(0.5) / [(0.00057)(05,70)]
= 0.5 radians
= 8.7 degrees
Note that the conversion factor
between radians and degrees is 180/π.
w=
TL
JG
G ≈
E
(+ν)
γ ≈
(+ν)ε
64
Page 64 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
DESIGNING FOR STIFFNESS
You can use a variety of options to
improve part stiffness including overall
shape, wall thickness, ribs, and material
selection. This section will discuss these
and other options.
Part Shape
In many applications, the overall
part shape is the predominant design
factor affecting part stiffness and
load-carrying capabilities. Taking steps
early in the design stage to select a
good basic shape can avoid expensive
and/or troublesome measures later in
the product development to achieve the
desired strength and stiffness. Selecting
inherently stiffer shapes seldom adds
signifcantly to the fnal part costs.
Take advantage of the design fexibility
in the molding process to maximize the
stiffness of your design. Consider


and distribute loads (see fgure -8).
The height and spacing of corrugated
features can be adjusted to achieve the
desired stiffness. Cosmetic parts usually
must disguise corrugations as styling
features. Corrugation features usually
avoid the flling and read-through
problems sometimes encountered with
reinforcing ribs.
Long, unsupported edges, such as
those on the sidewalls of box-shaped
parts, exhibit low stiffness. They also
tend to warp during molding. Adding
curvature to the sidewalls (see fgure
-9) increases stiffness and reduces
the hourglass-shaped warpage common
in box-shaped parts. Design permitting,
strengthen unsupported edges with
a stiffening profle (see fgure -0),
preferably a straight-draw profle that
maintains uniform wall thickness and
molds without side-action mechanisms.


crowns or corrugations for large
surfaces. Flat surfaces lack inherent
stiffness.
Crowns round the surface to form
a slightly domed shape that adds
considerable stiffness with little
additional material. Figure -7 shows
the effect of crown height on stiffness
in a circular disk rigidly supported at
the perimeter. The graph shows relative
stiffness — stiffness domed divided
by stiffness fat — plotted against the
ratio of dome height to disk diameter.
The different curves represent disk-
diameter-to-disk-thickness ratios. For
the example of a 0 inch diameter disk
with a 0.00 inch wall thickness, we see
that adding a 0.5 inch dome increases
the stiffness by about 00%.
Non-cosmetic parts frequently rely on
corrugations to increase stiffness
Crown Height vs. Stiffness Figure 3-17
65
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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Stiffening Profles for Edges Figure 3-20 Corrugation Figure 3-18
Curved Side Walls Figure 3-19
Adding curvature to the sidewalls enhances stiffness
and appearance.
Stiffening profles increase the stiffness
of sidewalls and edges.
Corrugations can add stiffness to non-cosmetic parts.

When possible, use other components
of the assembly to provide additional
stiffness. Plastic housings often contain
rigid internal components, such as
cooling fans, metal shields, and heat
sinks, which could add support to
load-bearing surfaces.
Typically, plastic parts perform better in
compression than in fexure or tension.
To maximize part stiffness, design
the nonappearance, bottom half of an
assembly with hollow towers, center
walls, or ribs that add support to the
underside of the upper half.
Generally diffcult to mold via
conventional methods, hollow profles
can provide high levels of stiffness.
Until recently, manufacturability and
economic considerations have made
full-scale production of high-quality
plastic hollow parts diffcult. The
66
Page 66 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
lost-core process, used to manufacture
engine manifold parts, employs a
sacrifcial, low-melt temperature core
to mold intricate hollow shapes. The
hollowed sections function both as air
ducts and as stiffening members that
withstand the loads and vibrations of
the application. Another process for
producing similar hollow parts, the
multi-shell process, forms hollow
shapes from separately molded parts,
which are joined later by welding or
over-molding, as shown in fgure -.
In gas-assist molding, a growing
technology, high-pressure gas is
injected into the melt stream behind the
fow front to produce hollow sections.
This process can create networks of
hollow channels for stiffening (see
fgure -). The hollow channels can
augment stiffness in weak areas such
as unsupported edges or provide major
support in areas subject to high loads.
Gas-Assist Channels Figure 3-22
Hollow-Shaped Parts Figure 3-21
Gas-assist channels
add stiffness to
unsupported edges
and load-bearing
areas.
The hollow shape of this
multi-shell manifold adds
both function and high
rigidity.
67
Chapter 3
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Wall Thickness
Because stiffness is proportional to
thickness cubed, relatively small
increases in thickness can reduce
defection greatly. A 5% increase in
thickness nearly doubles the stiffness
of a simple plastic surface. While
adding wall thickness to improve
stiffness is a simple solution, it is
not always practical. Although they
generally offer excellent strength-to-
weight performance, most parts made
of plastic would have to have wall
thicknesses several times greater than
other common structural materials
to achieve the same stiffness without
geometry changes.
In reality, molding and economic
factors limit the available wall
thickness range for stiffening. Molding-
related issues, such as shrinkage stress,
packing diffculties, and cycle times,
typically set practical thickness limits
well below 0.5 inches for most solid
thermoplastics. Because good molding
practice calls for a uniform thickness
throughout a part, a local need for
additional stiffness often results in an
overall thickness increase, adding both
part weight and cost.
Table -6 shows the wall-thickness
relationships between various materials
and steel to give the same defection
for a given load. The equivalent-
thickness factor (ETF) listed in this
table assumes a fat shape and short-
term loading at room temperature. The
table shows that, to have the same
stiffness, a fat shape would need to be
.4 times thicker in 0% GF nylon 6
than in steel.
To estimate the equivalent thickness
of other materials or material
combinations, solve the following
equation:
t
equivalent
=t
current
(E
current
/ E
proposed
)
/
where t is thickness and E is the
appropriate fexural or tensile modulus.
Table 3-6
This table shows how many times thicker than steel various materials would need
to be to yield the same defection under a given load. The ETF assumes a fat
shape and short-term loading at room temperature.
If an existing aluminum part is 0.030-
inch thick (t
current
), what thickness
(t
proposed
) does an identical part made
of a 50% glass-flled polyamide 6 need
to be for equivalent fexural rigidity?
The fexural modulus of aluminum
is 10,000,000 psi (E
current
). The
fexural modulus of a 50% glass-flled
polyamide 6 is 1,116,000 psi after
conditioning (E
proposed
).
Example 3-5: Equivalent Thickness
t
equiv
=0.00(0,000,000 / ,6,000)
/
= 0.06 inch
The equivalent thickness (t
equiv
) equals
0.062 inch. Depending upon your
application, you should apply a suitable
safety factor.
Calculations of equivalent thickness
for long-term loads or loads at
temperatures other than room
temperature should substitute the
appropriate creep-modulus or secant-
modulus values for the current and
proposed materials.
68
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Doubling Stiffness Figure 3-23
In this example,
adding a rib to
double stiffness
increases part
volume by only
7% as compared
to 25% when the
part thickness is
increased.
Ribs
Ribs provide a means to increase
stiffness without increasing wall
thickness. Figure - shows the
relative amount of material needed to
double the stiffness of a fat part, both
by increasing thickness and by adding
ribs. Adding a rib doubles the part
stiffness with much less material than
simply increasing the part thickness.
Because they are usually thinner than
the main-wall sections, ribs seldom
add to the molding-cycle time. Ribs
also add stiffness selectively in specifc
areas and directions. Plastic part
designs often require ribs to strengthen
and stiffen structural elements such as
hinges, attachment features, and load
points.
Bidirectional ribs stiffen surfaces
subjected to pure defection or sagging-
type loading. Parts subjected to both
bending and twisting loads, such as
chair star bases, need diagonal-rib
patterns (see fgure -4). Figure -5
shows a common diagonal-rib design
for chair base members. The deep
U-shape provides primary strength and
stiffness. The deep diagonal ribs add
torsional support and resist buckling
in the U-channel. The rib thickness is
a compromise between what is needed
for mold flling and strength, and the
maximum thickness that will produce
a cosmetically acceptable part. Overly
thick ribs can lead to read-through on
the cosmetic upper surface. For this
reason, limit rib thickness to about /
the nominal part thickness.
Two factors determine the performance
of ribbed structures: the moment of
inertia (I), which indicates resistance
to bending; and the section modulus
(Z = I / c), which refects centroid-
normalized resistance to bending. Ribs
increase the moment of inertia of plate
structures subjected to bending loads
thereby increasing stiffness.
Chair-Base Ribs Figure 3-24
The U-shaped sections with deep diagonal ribs provide the
strength and stiffness required for chair bases.
69
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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The rib’s moment of inertia is
proportional to its height cubed, and
linear to the width (for a rectangular
section, I = bh

/ ). Because of this
property, tall ribs add greater stiffness
and rigidity than short ribs. Ribs that
are too tall can cause diffculties: when
the edge of ribs lies too far from the
section’s center of gravity, the resulting
outer-fber stress can exceed material
limits, reducing strength in spite of an
increase in stiffness.
Replace tall ribs with multiple, shorter
ribs to reduce stress to acceptable levels
while maintaining required stiffness.
The three rib options in fgure -6
provide roughly the same rigidity.
Option A is too thick and will lead to
sink on the opposite surface. Option
B is too tall and may see excessive
stress along the rib edge. The pair of
ribs in option C represents a good
compromise between strength, stiffness,
and moldability. When designing ribbed
structures, consider the moldability
guidelines for ribs outlined in Chapter .
Diagonal Ribs Figure 3-25
Typical rib design for chair-base applications.
Equivalent Ribs Figure 3-26
These three rib options provide roughly the same rigidity for a vertical load.
Multiple ribs often provide better performance than single ribs that are either
too thick or too tall.
70
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LONG-TERM LOADING
Generally, long-term loading is
either a constant applied load or
a constant induced strain. Plastic
parts subjected to a constant load,
such as pressure vessels or structures
supporting weight, tend to creep and
show increased deformation over
time. Other design elements, such
as a press-ft boss or spring fnger,
undergo continuous, fxed deformation
or strain. These features stress relax
over time and show a loss in retention
force. See the Long-Term Mechanical
Properties section in this chapter for
an explanation of creep and stress
relaxation.
Creep data, such as isochronous
stress-strain curves, provide a means
for predicting a material’s behavior.
Figure -7 shows a typical set of
time-dependent curves at 40°C for
0% Glass- Fiber reinforced polyamide
6 resin. Each curve represents the
material behavior for different
loading durations. To predict creep,
substitute an apparent modulus for
the instantaneous elastic or Young’s
modulus in structural calculations.
Many people confuse actual modulus
and creep modulus. Except for
environmental effects the material’s
elasticity does not decrease over time;
nor does its strength. Because of visco-
elasticity, deformation occurs over time
in response to a constant load. While
the instantaneous tensile modulus of
the material remains constant, the
apparent modulus decreases over
time (see fgure -8). We use this
hypothetical, time-dependent creep
modulus to predict the amount of sag
or deformation that occurs over time.
Isochronous Stress-Strain Figure 3-27
Isochronous stress-strain curve for polycarbonate at 40 °C.
71
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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Stress relaxation is the decrease in
stress that occurs in a material that is
subjected to constant, prolonged strain
at a constant temperature. Measuring
stress relaxation involves varying the
load over a period of time to maintain
a constant strain rate. This test is more
diffcult than the test for creep that
measures the change in defection over
time in a specimen under constant
stress. For this reason, creep curves
are often used to calculate stress
relaxation, generally resulting in a
±0% margin of error.
To fnd the apparent modulus from
isochronous strain-strain data,
divide the calculated stress by the
corresponding strain on the curve
for the selected load duration. For
example, if a fat part made of 0%
GF Nylon 6 at 90°C (see fgure -7),
has a tensile stress of ,000 psi ( MPa)
and a load duration of ,000 hours,
you can calculate an apparent modulus
of 00,000 psi from the isochronous
stress-strain curve. Signifcantly
lower than the instantaneous value
of 600,000 psi, this lower apparent
modulus will account for the added
defection that occurs because of creep
when it is substituted into defection
calculations.
Creep Modulus vs. Time Figure 3-28
Creep modulus for Durethan BKV30, 30% Glass-Fiber reinforced Polyamide 6 at 90°C.
Creep (apparent) modulus decreases over time, but the actual modulus remains constant.
For a given strain, read vertically
through the isochronous stress-strain
curves to predict the effects of stress
relaxation. Again, using the curves in
fgure -7, you can see that for an
applied strain of %, the tensile stress
drops from an instantaneous value of
8,400 psi (58 MPa) to approximately
5,00 psi (5 MPa) after 0,000 hours.
72
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Example 3-6:
Plate Defection Considering Creep
Find the defection in the circular plate
of example 3-3 after 10,000 hours at
90°C. The geometry and loading are
shown in fgure 3-15.
As in the short-term case, the frst step
is to calculate the stress. Because the
stress calculation does not depend on
modulus, the result is the same as in
example 3-3:
σ
max
= 4,90 psi
To fnd the appropriate modulus value
requires a set of isochronous stress-
strain curves at 90°C as shown in
fgure 3-27. On the 10,000 hour curve,
a stress of 5,100 psi corresponds
to roughly 2% strain. Calculate the
apparent (creep) modulus by dividing
stress by strain. Use the result of
255,000 psi to calculate the actual
defection after 10,000 hours.
δ
max
= pr
4
(5-4ν-ν

)
6E
creep
t

= (75)(0.75)
4
[5-4(0.8)-(0.8)

]
6(55,000)(0.0)

= 0.067 inches
The defection at 10,000 hours is more
than double the instantaneous value of
0.0113 inches!
Table 3-7
Example 3-7:
Stress Relaxation
A permanently defected ABS
cantilever snap arm is used to hold
a metal part in position. The arm is 1
inch long, 0.080 inch thick and 0.25
inch wide. The defection of the arm
is 0.1 inch. What is the instantaneous
retention force of the arm? After four
days (~10
2
hours)? After six weeks
(~10
3
hours)?
First, fnd the strain level in the arm
from the formula shown below. This
can be derived from y = PL
3
/ 3EI
(Table 3-5) and letting E = σ
b
/ ε.
ε =
yh
=
(0.)(0.08)
= .% strain
L

(.0)

Now, using fgure 3-10, fnd the stress
corresponding to 1.2% strain on the
desired time curves. Then calculate the
relaxation modulus (E
r
= σ / 0.012) and
fnd the retention force using P = 3E
r
Iy
/ L
3
. The results are shown in Table
3-7.
Note that the drop off in retention
force is proportional to the drop in
stress. For a given strain, the stress
drops a similar amount during each
logarithmic increase in time period. The
initial retention force drops by 38%
in the four days, then by an additional
20% over the next six weeks. For
this reason, designs that rely on such
retention forces are not recommended
in thermoplastics.
73
Chapter 3
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DESIGNING FOR IMPACT
As discussed earlier in this chapter,
load duration and ambient temperature
affect the mechanical performance of
plastic parts and must be addressed in
part design. Plastic parts designed for
impact must also consider the effect
of strain rate or rate of loading on
mechanical behavior. As fgure -9
shows, plastics become stiffer and
more brittle at high strain rates and
low temperatures. If your part will
be exposed to impact strains, address
energy management issues early in the
design process, including:
• Stress concentration;
• Energy dissipation; and
• Material impact properties.

As ambient temperature increases,
materials become more ductile.
The yield strength decreases, but
the strain-at-break value increases.
Although a part will be less rigid at
elevated temperatures, it may have
better impact properties, because it can
absorb more energy before failing.
Avoid stress concentrations. While this
is an important goal in good design
practice, it becomes of paramount
importance in impact applications. An
impact causes a high energy wave that
passes through the part and interacts
with its geometry. Design features
such as sharp corners, notches, holes,
and steps in thickness can focus this
energy, initiating fracture. As corners
or notches become sharper, the part’s
Brittle and Ductile Behavior Figure 3-29
Effects of strain rate and temperature on material behavior.


impact performance will diminish.
Figure -0 shows the effect of notch
radius on the Izod impact performance
of unflled polycarbonate resin.
Increasing the notch radius from 0.005
to 0.00 inch increases the Izod impact
strength by about 400%. Therefore,
• Round inside corners and notches
to reduce stress concentrations.
Look for potential problems from
sources other than part design, such as
post-molding operations. Machining,
for instance, can leave deep scratches,
microcracks and internal stresses
leading to stress concentrations.
74
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Position gates and knit lines in areas
that will not be subjected to high
impact forces. The area around gates
generally has higher levels of molded-
in stress. In addition, improper gate
removal can leave rough edges and
notches. Knit lines typically exhibit
lower strength than other areas and
can concentrate stresses along the fne
V-notch that forms the visible knit
lines.
Designers often attempt to enhance
impact performance by adding ribs or
increasing wall thickness. While this
can sometimes work, stiffening the part
in this way can often have the opposite
effect. For example, increasing the part
thickness beyond the critical thickness
can lead to brittle failure, and adding
ribs can introduce stress-concentration
points that initiate cracks and part
failure.
Often a better strategy is to design
the part to fex, so it can absorb
and distribute the impact energy.
In some instances, this can involve
reducing thickness and removing or
redistributing ribs to accommodate
controlled fexure. Consider the
following rules of thumb to improve
impact performance:
• If using multiple ribs, space them
unevenly or orient them to prevent
resonance amplifcation from the
impact energy;
• Avoid boxy shapes that
concentrate impact forces on rigid
edges and corners; and
• Use rounded shapes to spread
impact forces over larger areas.
When selecting a plastic material
for impact applications, consider
the following design tips:
• Select a material with good impact
performance throughout the part’s
working-temperature range;
• Address all temperatures and
impact loads including those found
in the manufacturing process and
shipping;
• Consider notch sensitivity of the
material in applications with
unavoidable notches and stress
concentrators; and
• Check fow orientation — especially
in fber-flled materials — and
the difference between fow and
cross-fow mechanical properties.
The complex nature of plastic
performance in impact has led to the
development of a variety of impact
tests in an attempt to predict material
performance in different impact modes.
Despite the many specialized tests,
material impact data are diffcult to
relate to actual part performance,
and nearly impossible to apply
quantitatively with good accuracy. Use
test data only for general comparisons
of material impact performance or
to screen potential materials. Always
prototype test your fnal material in
actual, in-use environments. See the
publication Material Selection for more
information on impact properties.
Stress Concentration Figure 3-30
Effect of notch radius on the Izod impact strength
of polycarbonate.
75
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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FATIGUE APPLICATIONS
Fatigue can cause rigid plastic parts
exposed to cyclic loading to fail at
substantially lower stress or strain
levels than parts made of the same
material under static loading. Consider
fatigue endurance in applications or
features subjected to heavy vibrations or
repeated defections such as snowplow
headlight assemblies, one-piece salad
tongs, and high-use snap-latch closures.
In areas subjected to fatigue, avoid
stress concentrators, such as holes, sharp
corners, notches, gates, knit lines, and
thickness variations. Optimize the design
to distribute defection over large areas.
The type and severity of fatigue loading
determines which material fatigue
data applies. A reduced, single-point,
allowable strain limit may suffce in
a simple, snap-latch arm subjected to
few defections over the product life.
Calculations for parts subjected to many
defections and temperature extremes
may require data of the type shown in
fgure - in the fatigue properties
section of this chapter. These curves
show the stress and strain


limits at various temperatures for parts
subjected to dynamic loading. Reversing
loads place more severe demands on
plastic parts. Fatigue data in the form
of S-N curves (see fgure -) show
the number of cycles until failure for
different cyclic, reversing-load modes.
Many factors affect fatigue performance
including notch effects, temperature,
loading frequency, fatigue mode, and
part geometry. Generally scarce, fatigue
data is seldom available for the precise
conditions of your application. For this
reason, it is diffcult to predict fatigue
performance quantitatively. Design
efforts in fatigue applications generally
focus on the following:
• Using available data to select a
suitable, fatigue-resistant resin;
and
• Reducing stress and strain levels as
much as possible.
Cycles to Failure Figure 3-31
Fatigue performance
for representative
grades of ABS and PC
plotted with a PC/PET
resin.

Often you must screen your material
choices based on general fatigue data
of the type shown in fgure -.
Sharp inside corners act as stress
concentrators, and can lead to much
higher stress levels than those indicated
by standard formulas. Figure -
shows the effects of a fllet radius on
stress concentration in a snap-arm
member. As the ratio of root radius to
beam thickness becomes less than about
0., the stress concentration factor
climbs quickly to much higher values.
To avoid fatigue failures at inside
corners, select the largest fllet radius the
design can tolerate without excessive
sink and packing problems. Typically
fllet radii of 0.05 to 0.00 inch provide
a good compromise between fatigue
performance and part moldability.
76
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Fillet Radius and Stress Concentration Figure 3-32
Effects of a fllet radius on stress concentration.
Thermal Expansion Figure 3-33
The slotted hole and sliding
attachment at one end of the plastic
cover in the lower assembly enable
it to accommodate the thermal
expansion difference with the
metal base.
77
Chapter 3
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
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THERMAL LOADING
Coeffcient-of-linear-thermal-
expansion (CLTE) values for plastics
vary widely and are generally much
higher than those for metals (see table
-8). When designing parts that will
be exposed to a range of temperatures,
you must account for the expansion
differences between materials.
Figure - gives an example of a
long gauge housing made of aluminum
with a nylon impact shield rigidly
attached at both ends, with screws
placed ten inches apart. This gauge
has an in-use temperature range from
0° to 0°F. When assembled at room
temperature and then heated to the
upper temperature limit, the nylon
shield will expand much more than
the aluminum housing. This expansion
equals the difference in the CLTE for
the two materials, multiplied by the
temperature difference and the part
length.
ΔL = (α
plastic

metal
) • ΔT • L
= (4.5-.) x 0
-5
• (0-70) • 0
= 0.06 inch
This expansion variation causes the
nylon shield to compress, making the
part bow. Cooling the assembly by 50°F
to its lower limit would cause the nylon
shield to shrink 0.06 inches if the ends
were not fxed. Because they are fxed,
the shield effectively stretches 0.06
inches, resulting in an overall applied
strain equal to the defection divided
by the length between the screws,
expressed as a percentage:
applied strain = (0.06 / 0.00) / 00
= 0.006 = 0.6%


The applied strain induces stress in
the nylon shield. This induced stress is
amplifed at the mounting holes, which
act as stress concentrators.
To avoid the problem, choose an
attachment method that allows
the plastic component to slide
relative to the other material. In the
aforementioned example, affx a
screw to one end of the shield and
design a slotted screw hole on the
other end to accommodate expansion
and contraction. Refer to the Joining
Dissimilar Materials section of Joining
Techniques, A Design Guide for more
information.
Coeffcients of Table 3-8
Linear Thermal
Expansion (CLTE) for
Common Materials
78
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79
Chapter 4
DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY
Page 79 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Virtually every fnished part requires
some assembly: mechanical fasteners,
welding, bonding, snap-ft joints, or other
joining techniques. These methods and
their design implications are discussed
in this chapter.
Optimizing part assembly should begin
with the concept stage and continue
through product development and
production. At each stage look for
opportunities to simplify and improve
the assembly. Consider consolidating
parts, reducing fastener and assembly
steps, improving automation, and
selecting other assembly methods. Well
designed parts include features to ease
assembly and assure correct positioning
and orientation. In addition to cost
and quality concerns, the optimization
process should address disassembly for
repair and recycling. Good commu-
nication and cooperation between
the various design and engineering
disciplines is essential. This chapter
addresses assembly primarily as it
relates to thermoplastic part design. For
more specifc information about various
joining techniques and guidelines for
their use with LANXESS resins, please
request a copy of Joining Techniques
and/or Snap-Fit Joints for Plastics from
your LANXESS representative.
PART CONSOLIDATION
To lessen the need for fastening
hardware and reduce the number
of assembly operations, consider
consolidating the number of parts
in a given design. Closely scrutinize
your total design for opportunities to
combine function and reduce fnal
assembly count. By way of example,
fgure 4- shows several options for
attaching a gear to a shaft: a three-
piece design, featuring a shaft, gear,
and roll pin; a two-piece, snap-on
gear design; and a one-piece shaft and
gear design that needs no assembly.
A variety of factors — including
required strength, wear properties, and
moldability — determine which of these
design options is most feasible.
Consider design options that eliminate
or reduce the need for hardware. As
an example, fgure 4- shows several
examples of molded-in alternatives
to cable-guide hardware. Usually, the
cost savings in hardware and assembly
far exceed the added costs of mold
modifcation and materials.
Gear-to-Shaft Figure 4-1
Attachment Options
80
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MECHANICAL FASTENERS
Mechanical fasteners — screws,
bolts, rivets, and others — and their
installation often represent a large
portion of total assembly costs. They
also add to the cost of dismantling
products for repair or recycling.
To reduce costs, consider replacing
mechanical fasteners with snap-ft
joints, molded-in hinges, latches, and
other similar design features. Use
interlocking and/or nesting features to
reduce the number of screws needed.
When you must use fasteners, choose
from the multitude of inexpensive,
off-the-shelf varieties to lower costs.
Additionally, many specialty fasteners
for almost any type of application
are available such as the spring-
clip fasteners in fgure 4-. Avoid
expensive, custom, or low-production
fasteners, unless the performance
advantage justifes the additional
costs. Whenever possible, standardize
fasteners to simplify inventory control
and automation processes, as well as
reduce unit cost.
Consider simplifying installation. For
example, use hex holes to captivate
nuts during assembly (see fgure 4-4).
Other ideas to consider include:
• Select good-quality screws with
shaft-to-head-diameter ratios and
head styles suited to automatic
feed in assembly equipment;
• Avoid handling loose washers
— use screws with washers affxed
under the head;
• Use self-tapping screws to avoid a
secondary tapping step;
• Use metal threaded inserts for
screw connections subjected to
frequent disassembly; and
• Consult Joining Techniques for
more information on mechanical
fastening.
Cable Guides Figure 4-2
Molded-in features can replace cable-guide hardware.
81
Chapter 4
DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY
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Spring Clips Figure 4-3
Inexpensive spring-clip fasteners are
available for many applications.
Hex Hole Figure 4-4
Hex holes captivate nuts during assembly.
82
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SNAP-FIT JOINTS
Both economical and versatile,
snap joints can eliminate fastening
hardware, as well as reduce assembly
and disassembly costs in a wide range
of applications. Although they vary
in appearance, all snap-ft joints rely
upon the brief defection of a fexible
member to interlock a depression
or undercut with a protrusion on a
mating part. Varieties include cantilever
snap-arms, and torsional or annular
snap-joint styles (see fgure 4-5). The
shape of the undercut determines if the
joint can be separated later. Snap-ft
designs with an angled undercut
contact can be disassembled without
frst defecting the snap feature to
disengage the connection.
If designed properly, snap-ft joints
can secure parts of assemblies, such
as solenoids and switches, replacing
more expensive screws (see fgure 4-6).
Special snap-joint designs can also act
as latches for access doors and panels.
Multiple snap arms or a combination of
snap arms and rigid undercuts can often
secure covers and panels (see fgure
4-7). Rounded lids — such as on flm
canisters or food-storage containers—use
annular snap-ft designs for continuous
attachment and a good seal.
Snap-ft joints provide both secure
attachment and easy disconnection
of electrical connectors. They also
facilitate quick and easy detachment
of electrical components for repair and
recycling. Some rules of thumb for
designing snap-ft joints include:
• Design parts so that the fexure
during snapping does not exceed
the allowable strain limit of the
material;
• Design parts so that the fexing
member of the snap-ft joint
returns to a relaxed, undefected
position after assembly;
• Avoid sharp corners in high-stress
areas, such as at the base of a
cantilever arm;
Snap-Fit Joints Figure 4-5
Varieties of snap-joint types.
83
Chapter 4
DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY
Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
• Round corners to a minimum
radius of 0.05 inch to reduce
stress concentrations; and
• Avoid excessively large radii that
could lead to sinks or voids.
Table 4- shows the permissible
strain limits for various materials. The
publication Snap-Fit Joints for Plastics
explains how to calculate strain,
permissible defection, and assembly
forces for various types of snap-ft
joints. Consult this publication for
additional information on snap-ft joint
design.
In addition to meeting functional
requirements, snap-ft joints must
conform to standard, part-design
guidelines, including:
• Avoid thin-wall sections that could
lead to flling problems;
• As with ribs, make snap arms that
project perpendicular to the part
surface no more than / to / of
the thickness of the part wall; and
• Draft snap-arms as you would ribs
to ease release from the mold.
Consider molding issues early in part
design. To lower mold-construction
and maintenance costs, design simple,
straight-draw, snap-ft joints (see
fgure 4-8), rather than ones that need
slides in the mold. In some designs, the
proximity of the snap-ft joint to other
part or mold features does not leave
enough room for a slide mechanism.
Annular designs can be particularly
diffcult to mold. Some need collapsible
cores or ejector sleeves, which can be
problematic and diffcult to maintain.
Consult an experienced mold engineer
before specifying any design that uses
slides or other mechanisms to clear or
eject undercuts.
Permissible Short-Term Strain
Limits at 23°C (73°F) Table 4-1
General guide data for the allowable
short-term strain for snap joints (single
joining operation); for frequent
separation and rejoining, use about
60% of these values.
Snap Arms Figure 4-6
Positioning posts and snap arms eliminate screws and
speed assembly.
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The molding process offers the
versatility to customize snap-ft designs
for each application. For example,
snap arms on frequently used doors
or access panels could have fnger
tabs added for easier opening (see
fgure 4-9). Limited-access doors could
have hidden snap-ft joints or require
special tools. Some applications may
require modifcations in the snap arm
to prevent excessive material strain
during defection. Consider lengthening
the snap arm, reducing the undercut,
or tapering the arm thickness in these
situations (see fgure 4-0).
Snap-ft features intended for
automated assembly should join with
a simple, one-direction motion, rather
than a tilt-and-push or slide-and-push
motion. The opposite may be true for
hand-assembled components. Avoid
designs that require more than two
hands to engage or release a snap-ft
joint.
Snap-Fit Assembly Figure 4-7
Multiple snap arms secure cover in this assembly.
Snap Arm Figure 4-8
Snap-ft hook molded through hole to form undercut.
Thumb Tab Figure 4-9
Special “U”-shaped snap latch with thumb tab.
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WELDING AND BONDING
Welding and bonding techniques
offer a wide variety of excellent
joining and assembly options. In many
applications, they provide the only
viable methods of assembly. Both of
these methods provide permanent
bonds. Avoid welding and bonding
when using materials that will have to
be separated for recycling or repair, or
when less-expensive joining methods
suffce. When you must weld or bond,
minimize the mix of techniques and
equipment used.
This section deals with the broader
aspects of welding and bonding and
their effects on part and assembly
design. For more specifc information
on welding and bonding, request a
copy of Joining Techniques from your
LANXESS representative.
Common welding methods, including
ultrasonic, vibration, hot plate, spin,
and induction, each have specifc
advantages, as well as design and
equipment requirements. These are
discussed below.
Snap Arms Figure 4-10
Short, thick snap arms
with large undercuts can
experience excessive
strain during defection.
Consider lengthening
or thinning the arm,
reducing the undercut
or tapering the arm to
reduce strain.
Energy Director Figure 4-11
Typical energy-director design for
LANXESS thermoplastics.
Welding Flash Figure 4-12
Butt-joint welds result in fash along the joint.
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Ultrasonic Welding
Ultrasonic welding, one of the most
widely used joining techniques, is
an excellent bonding method for
thermoplastics. It makes permanent,
aesthetically pleasing joints, at
relatively high rates of speed. In this
welding technique, an ultrasonic
assembly unit generates mechanical
vibratory energy at ultrasonic
frequencies. The ultrasonic vibrational
energy is transmitted through one
of the mating parts to the joint
area where frictional heating melts
the plastic and forms the weld.
When designing parts that will be
ultrasonically welded, consider the
following:
• For strong, consistent welds,
ultrasonic joints need properly
designed energy directors (see
fgure 4-) or shear weld
features;

• The equipment size and welding-
horn design limitations determine
the size and number of ultrasonic
welds per operation;
• Mating materials must be
compatible and rigid enough to
transmit the ultrasonic energy to
the joint area; and
• Stray welding energy can damage
free-standing features and delicate
components. Consult your welding
experts for help in resolving this
problem.
For more specifc information on
ultrasonic welding, request a copy
of Joining Techniques from your
LANXESS representative.
Vibration and Hot-Plate Welding
To form continuous welds over large
areas — particularly those too large
for conventional ultrasonic welding
— consider vibration or hot-plate
welding. A friction-welding technique,
vibration welding requires wide joint
surfaces to accommodate the sliding
vibration. To avoid dampening the
vibration, part geometry must rigidly
support the mating joint surfaces.
In this process, one part remains
stationary, while the second vibrates on
the joint plane, generating heat. When
the joint interface reaches a melted
state, the parts are aligned and clamped
until the bond has set.
For permanent, non-cosmetic welds
along a single plane, hot-plate welding
offers an economical joining method.
In this joining method, a heated platen
contacts two plastic parts until the joint
area melts slightly. The platen retracts,
and the parts are then pressed together
until the bond sets.
Both techniques can produce fash or
a bead along the joint when applied to
simple butt-weld confgurations (see
fgure 4-). Consider joint designs
with fash traps (see fgure 4-) for
applications requiring fash-free joints.
Flash Traps Figure 4-13
Variations with fash traps.
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Spin Welding
Spin welding is used extensively to
weld circular parts with continuous
joints. Spin welding relies on frictional
heat generated between mating parts,
one spinning and one stationary, to
melt plastic in a circular joint. After the
friction melts a suffcient amount of
plastic in the joint, the rotating stops
and pressure increases to distribute
melted material and complete the
bonding process.
Parts designed for spin welding often
have an alignment feature, such as a
tongue and groove, to index the parts
and make a uniform bearing surface.
Joints for spin welding can also include
fash traps to avoid visible welding
fash.
Solvent and Adhesive Bonding
Probably the most versatile joining
methods, solvent and adhesive bonding
produce permanent bonds. These
techniques place few restrictions on
the part design. Solvent bonding
joins one plastic to itself or another
plastic by softening small areas on the
joining surfaces with a volatile solvent.
Adhesives are one-part or two-part
“glues” that adhere to mating surfaces
and cure to form the bond.
Solvent bonding limits your choice of
materials to plastics for which there
is a suitable solvent. When bonding
dissimilar materials, the same solvent
must work on both materials. If your
part will be made of polycarbonate
resin, allow for vapor dispersion after
bonding. Trapped solvent vapors can
attack and damage polycarbonate
resins.

Adhesive bonding offers more
versatility for bonding different types
of plastics together and also dissimilar
materials, such as plastics to metal,
plastics to glass, fabric to plastic,
etc. The LANXESS brochure Joining
Techniques lists various adhesives and
their suitability for use with different
LANXESS resin families.
When selecting an adhesive, consider
curing time and cost as well as special
adhesive system requirements. UV-
cured adhesives, for instance, work best
with transparent plastic parts. The part
design must accommodate direct-line-
of-sight access from the UV source to
the bond area or the bond edge.
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RETENTION FEATURES
The molding process offers the freedom
to custom-design features to locate and
retain components during assembly.
Components can nest between ribs
or slide into molded-in retainers for
assembly without hardware (see fgure
4-4). In some products, halves of the
assembly can captivate components
without additional attachment (see
fgure 4-5). This joining method
permits effcient assembly and
simplifes dismantling for repairs or
recycling.
Retention Features Figure 4-14
Molded-in assembly features can captivate and retain
components without hardware.
Assembly Features Figure 4-15
Parts can be captivated between halves of an
assembly as in this illustration of a gear held in
place between axle posts.
ALIGNMENT FEATURES
To help in assembly, consider designing
your part with alignment features. Parts
must assemble easily and effciently,
despite minor misalignments. Parts
with sharp leading edges can snag or
catch during assembly, requiring more
time and effort. Chamfers added to
either or both leading edges quickly
align mating features, reducing the
positioning accuracy needed for
assembly (see fgure 4-6).
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Lead-In Angle Figure 4-16
Lead-in angles on the lid in the lower
assembly help to align the lid with the
base and ease assembly.
Alignment Fingers Figure 4-18
Bypass fngers ensure proper
alignment of sidewalls while
maintaining uniform wall thickness.
Edge Alignment Figure 4-17
Tongue-and-groove or stepped
features ensure proper edge
alignment.
Boss Alignment Figure 4-19
Existing design elements can often
be modifed to provide positive part
alignment as in the angled lead-ins
added to these mating screw bosses.
Housing or enclosure sidewalls can
bow during molding or defect under
loading, resulting in poor alignment
along mating edges. When appearance
is important, consider designing an
interlocking edge to correct for this
bowing (see fgure 4-7). On thin
sidewalls, full tongue-and-groove
designs split the sidewall thickness
into two thin sections. This design may
lead to molding problems and lack the
required strength. A somewhat better
design, the stepped edge, can have high
molding stresses and a gloss difference
at the thickness transition. Rounding or
chamfering the transition corner often
improves this condition. The stepped-
edge design supports the wall in just
one direction. Adding a protruding rib
to support the inside surface locks the
walls in two directions and provides
better alignment.
When aesthetics are less important,
choose a more-robust, interlocking
design for aligning sidewalls. A variety
of easily molded design options using
interlocking alignment fngers can
align and secure the sidewalls while
maintaining uniform wall thickness
(see fgure 4-8). Other simple options
for aligning mating parts include post-
in-hole and boss-alignment features
(see fgure 4-9). The astute designer
often can modify existing part-design
features for positioning and alignment
with little added part or mold cost.
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ORIENTATION
Adding orienting features to molded
parts can simplify assembly, reduce
costs, and prevent assembly errors.
When possible, incorporate features
that prevent assembly unless
components are oriented correctly.
Otherwise, clearly indicate correct
orientation on the mating parts (see
fgure 4-0). Symmetry simplifes
assembly. Often parts need only minor
modifcations to increase symmetry
and allow orientation in more than one
direction (see fgure 4-).
EXPANSION DIFFERENCES
Plastic parts are often attached to
components made of materials with
much different coeffcients of linear
thermal expansion (CLTE). If your part
will contain different materials, design
for CLTE differences. For instance,
a plastic part tightly attached to a
metal component can bow between
attachment points when exposed
to elevated temperatures (see fgure
4-). Designing the plastic section
with slotted holes provides a sliding
ft to accommodate dissimilar levels
of expansion. You may need to make
similar design adjustments when
joining plastic parts to parts made of
certain polyamides and other plastics
that swell signifcantly as they absorb
moisture.
Orientation Features Figure 4-20
To ensure proper orientation during assembly, add features that either mark the correct position or prevent
assembly of misaligned components.
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TOLERANCES
If all components of an assembly
could be produced and joined with
perfect repeatability and accuracy, the
task of assigning tolerances would be
simple. However, each manufacturing
step introduces its own variability and
with it, potential tolerance problems.
For instance, molded-plastic part
dimensions vary with processing
fuctuations. Stamping and machining
create part-to-part differences in metal
components. Assembly steps such
as positioning, guiding, indexing,
fxturing, and welding present
additional sources of variability. When
developing part tolerances, consider the
following:
• Avoid specifying arbitrarily tight
tolerances to components and the
assembly process, as it can add
needlessly to costs;
• Accommodate part and process
variability in your design;
• Include design features such as
slotted holes, alignment features,
and angled lead-ins to lessen the
need for tight tolerances;
• Take advantage of the ability of
the injection-molding process to
mold small features with excellent
repeatability; and
• Avoid tight tolerances on long
dimensions and on features prone
to warpage or distortion.
Orientation Symmetry Figure 4-21
Simple modifcations can often increase symmetry and
simplify assembly.
Thermal Expansion Figure 4-22
The slotted hole and sliding attachment at one end
of the plastic cover in the lower assembly enable
it to accommodate the thermal expansion
difference with the metal base.
Exercise discretion when assigning
available tolerances between the
components and assembly processes.
Give the tightest tolerances to the
part, feature, or process that adds the
least cost to the entire process. It may
be more economical to loosen the
tolerance on the plastic component and
tighten the tolerance on the assembly
procedure or mating components.
Consider all the sources of variability
and optimize tolerances for the lowest
overall cost. See the mold design
chapter for more information on
tolerances.
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Injection-molded parts seldom need to
be machined or fnished. The machining
operations described in this section
— drilling, reaming, sawing, punching,
die cutting, and others — are used more
commonly for fabricating prototypes
and for trimming or modifying parts
produced by other processes such as
thermoforming or extrusion.
DRILLING AND REAMING
While most frequently used to form
holes in thermoformed or prototype
parts, drilling and reaming can also
make holes in injection-molded parts
when forming the hole would require
complicated side actions or inserts.
Although standard drills and bits work
with LANXESS plastics, specially
designed drills and bits perform much
better. Overheating, gumming, and
induced machining stresses pose the
greatest diffculties, particularly when
drilling parts made of PC blends. Sharp
drills and bits designed for plastics and
proper drilling speeds alleviate most
diffculties. Table 5- lists common
problems and remedies.
Common Drilling Troubles Table 5-1
and Remedies
Drills for plastics generally have wide,
polished futes to reduce friction, as
well as spiral or helix designs to remove
chips quickly. Drill-point angles for
plastics typically range between 60
and 90 degrees, with smaller angles
for smaller holes and larger angles for
larger holes. The suggested drilling
speeds for most LANXESS plastics are
between 00 and 00 feet per minute.
Table 5- lists common feed rates in
inches per revolution for a range of hole
sizes. Under ideal conditions — good
cooling, sharp drills, and effcient chip
removal — considerably faster feed rates
are usually possible.
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Consider a water spray mist or water-
soluble coolant when a forced-air
stream cannot provide suffcient
cooling.
Reaming creates smooth fnishes and
precise hole dimensions, making it
ideal for determining fnal tolerances in
prototype parts. Additionally, reaming
removes gate vestige or fash from
holes, as well as enlarges drilled or
thermoformed holes. As in drilling,
reaming requires sharp cutting edges
and relatively slow cutting speeds to
prevent heat buildup and gumming.
For smoothly drilled holes, remove most
of the plastic with a roughing drill. Then
fnish and size the hole with a second
drill. Or, as an alternative method, use a
two-step drill as illustrated in fgure 5-.
For accurate work and to minimize drill
breakage, consider using jigs with guide
bushings (see fgure 5-).
Some rules of thumb for drilling
thermoplastics include:
• Use carbide-tipped drills, because
they resist gumming and maintain
edge sharpness longer than
standard drills;
• Avoid cutting oils and cooling
liquids, because they may create
chemical compatibility problems
and will have to be removed after
drilling; and
• Use a forced-air stream for cooling.
Feed Rate Table 5-2
Two-Step Drill Figure 5-1
The frst step removes most of the material.
The second step makes a fne cut to size.
Drilling Jig Figure 5-2
For accurate work, use a drilling jig with a
hardened drill bushing.
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TAPPING
Tapping adds screw threads to drilled
or molded holes in plastic parts.
Coarse threads, such as National
Coarse (NC), tend to work better in
plastics because they provide greater
thread depth relative to the overall
diameter. This improves the thread
strength. Coarse threads also make
chip removal easier because there are
fewer threads per inch.
The tap futes should be fnish ground
and highly polished to reduce friction
and heat. The cutting futes might
need to be somewhat oversized to
compensate for plastic recovery and
subsequent reduction in the diameter
of the tapped hole. The amount of
recovery will depend on the size of the
tap and the properties of the material.
For a given tap size, the hole size
needs to be slightly larger for plastics
than for metals. The hole size for
tapped plastic threads should yield
about 75% of the full thread. This
helps to prevent breakage and peeling
of the threads. For blind holes, use
a tapered tap before a bottom tap or
employ the three-tap system as used
with metals. Low spindle speeds,
about 50 feet per minute, and use
of a coolant will minimize frictional
heating and thread distortion. All rigid
LANXESS plastics can be tapped, but
because of its brittle nature, tapping is
not recommended for Lustran SAN.
SAWING
While molded parts seldom require
sawing, thermoformed plastic parts
are sawed regularly to trim edges
and form openings. Some fabricated
prototype parts or molded designs
using extruded sheet components
may also need to be sawed. LANXESS
plastics are best cut on band saws or
circular saws. The reciprocating action
of a jigsaw makes it diffcult to control
cooling, feeding, and pressure. If you
must use a jig saw, keep the feed rate
slow and the pressure light with the
part held frmly. Choose blades with
generous set to minimize friction.
Most LANXESS plastics have been
successfully cut with standard jig saw
blades operating at 875 cycles per
minute.
Band sawing, the preferred method for
plastics, can cut contoured or irregular
shapes in addition to straight lines. As
rules of thumb:
• Use precision or standard blades
for thin parts;
• Use buttress or skip-tooth blades
for wall sections greater than /8
inch;
• Choose band-saw blades with a
generous set to reduce friction and
heat buildup;
• Cool the cut junction area with air
or a water mist;
• Control the feed speed carefully to
prevent binding or gumming; and
• Use saw guides whenever possible.
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Table 5- lists suggested band saw
speeds and confgurations for most
LANXESS plastics including Lustran
and Novodur ABS, Centrex ASA, and
Triax PA/ABS.
Durethan PA6 resins cut well with
5% more teeth per inch and cutting
speeds about 50% faster than listed.
Circular sawing is usually used
only for straight cuts. Circular saw
blades for plastics should be hollow
ground with slots provided for blade
expansion and cooling. The required
blade pitch depends on the diameter
of the blade. Larger blade size and
greater plastic thickness reduce the
optimum pitch value. A four-inch
blade for thin sheet should have eight
to ten teeth per inch for most plastics.
The pitch can increase to about six
to eight teeth per inch for eight to
ten inch blades used on sheet thicker
than /4 inch. As a general rule, use
the highest pitch value that gives the
desired results. Cutting speeds can
vary from about 5,000 peripheral
feet per minute for polycarbonate to
about double that rate for most other
LANXESS thermoplastics.
Band Saw Conditions Table 5-3
PUNCHING, BLANKING, AND DIE
CUTTING
Although common in thermoforming
for edge trimming and hole forming,
punching and die cutting are used
rarely on fnished molded parts.
Possible applications for molded parts
include removing ring or diaphragm
gates, and trimming lengths to custom
sizes. Additionally, if your part has
varying hole positions that require
many different mold confgurations,
punching may be an economical
alternative. Blanking dies are used
on occasion to trim parting lines and
remove fash from parts.
The types of dies used with plastics
include punch, steel-rule, and clicker.
Steel-rule dies trim lighter-gauge parts.
Clicker dies perform heavier gauge
cuts and continuous cuts in sheet.
For a clean cut, maintain a clearance
between the punch and die of about
0.005 inch for most applications. Dies
usually have a backup surface made
of end-grain wood or hard rubber.
The dies are mounted on either a kick
press, “clicker” or dinking machine, or
a punch press. System selection will
depend on the thickness and quality
of the cut desired and on the type of
process: continuous or intermittent.
When planning to punch, die cut, or
blank thermoplastics, consider the
following:
• For best results, consider warming
the plastic part to soften it when
using any of these techniques;
• Maintain sharp cutting edges for
clean cut and to avoid notches and
scratches that could act as stress
concentrators;
• Avoid sharp radii in the corners of
non-circular cut-outs; and
• Avoid punching, die cutting, or
blanking parts made of flled
materials.
Punching, blanking, and die cutting
work best on ductile materials with
limited toughness. Because of its lack
of ductility, these techniques should
not be used with Lustran SAN. Plastic
resins which are polycarbonate blends
exhibit high levels of toughness and
should only be considered for these
processes in thin sections such as gates,
flms, or thin sheet.
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Milling Conditions Table 5-4
MILLING
Used to remove large volumes of plastic
with relatively high accuracy and
precision, milling fnds applications in
prototype fabrication or as a secondary
operation for trimming parting lines,
glue joints, or gate excess. Additionally,
molders often use end mills to trim
sprue gates.
Mounted in a drill press, an end mill
can plunge repeatedly to a preset
depth to produce fush, smooth fnal
trims of fxtured parts. High-speed
end mills with four cutting futes and
a 5° rake angle give good results for
most plastics. Additionally, parts can
follow guides to side mills or reamers
for accurate trimming of thick edge
gates or tab gates. Always keep mills
extremely sharp and well polished to
reduce friction.
Table 5-4 lists a generic range of
conditions when using a steel tool to
mill most other types of LANXESS
plastics.
Carbide cutters generally provide
smoother fnishes and higher feed rates
for all types of rigid plastics, especially
glass-flled materials. Special cutters
designed specifcally for plastics produce
the smoothest fnishes at the fastest feed
rates. Check with your cutter supplier for
the latest designs for plastics. Consider
the following when milling plastics:
• Excessive feed rates can cause
rough surfaces;
• Insuffcient feed rates can generate
too much heat and cause part
melting, distortion, or poor surface
quality;
• Water mists help to remove heat
and prevent buildup. Use them on
all but the very shortest of milling
operations; and
• Improper milling can induce
high stress levels, causing
later problems. Proper milling
techniques are particularly
important for parts made of
polycarbonate, which can stress
crack and craze long after milling.
Consider annealing milled
polycarbonate parts to relieve the
machining stresses. Do this by
heating the supported work to 60
– 70°F for / hour for each 0.
inch of part thickness.
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TURNING AND BORING
Turning is often used to manufacture
round shapes from bar stock. Exercise
care when turning thermoplastics to
prevent vibration or chatter. When
turning plastics, consider the following:
• Support the material rigidly either
by chucking closely on short parts
or by using supporting tools for
longer parts;
• Use air, water mist, or water-
soluble coolants to remove heat
and prevent vibration and crazing;
and
• Keep the cutting edge sharp to
prevent friction and overheating.
Proper, low-stress turning removes
material in a continuous ribbon. To
achieve this the cutting tool should
have the following:
• 0 to 5 degree positive rake angle to
reduce friction;
• Front clearance angle of 0 to 5
degrees to prevent contact of the
part and tool heel;
• Side clearance angle of 0 to 5
degrees to reduce friction; and
• Nose radius of /6 – /6 inch.
To minimize the tendency of the work
to climb, set the cutting edge to
degrees above the center of the work
rather than in the direct center.
Table 5-5 shows the standard turning
conditions for a variety of LANXESS
resins.
Cutting Tool for Plastics Figure 5-3
Turning Conditions Table 5-5
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LASER MACHINING
The laser machining process provides
a non-contact method for drilling,
cutting, or sealing most thermoplastics.
In this process, a laser — usually a
carbon dioxide type operating in the
infrared region — directs a fnely
focused, high energy beam at the
plastic surface. The high intensity
beam, either pulsed or continuous,
quickly vaporizes the plastic leaving a
smooth cut with little heat buildup in
the adjacent surfaces.
Pulsed beams can quickly bore holes
from 0.00 inch to 0.050 inch diameter.
Dwell time and beam intensity
determine the depth of penetration
into the hole. Because the focused laser
beam is slightly cone-shaped, lasers
tend to produce cone-shaped holes
unless corrective lenses are used. Larger
holes are “cut” by moving the part in a
circular pattern through a continuous
beam. The cutting rate depends on the
thickness and type of material. Holes
formed this way are clean but with a
slight taper along the edge, typically
about degrees. Cut features can also
have a slight bead along the edge.
Laser machining can cut or drill areas
that are inaccessible by traditional
methods. In addition, the process
produces holes and cuts that are
essentially free of the notches and
residual stresses associated with most
machining methods.
FILING
A relatively quick and controllable
method for removing signifcant
amounts of unwanted plastic, fling is
used frequently to smooth edges on
thermoformed parts, trim gate excess,
and remove fash. If your part design
calls for fling, address the following:
• Use fles with relatively coarse
teeth and a suitable rake for
effcient chip removal on parts
made of ABS and other medium-
hard plastics;
• Use single-hatched fles that resist
clogging under high pressure for
parts made of polycarbonate; and
• Do not fle parts made of unflled
nylon.
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POLISHING AND BUFFING
Use polishing and buffng to
create uniform high-gloss or satin
fnishes, as well as to remove surface
imperfections, sanding marks,
scratches, and gate marks. Buffng can
involve different types of fnishing
operations including:
• Satin Finishing — for a satin or
brushed fnish;
• Cut-Down Buffng — for a smooth
fnish;
• Cut-and-Color Buffng — for a
lustrous fnish;
• Final Color Buffng — for a high
gloss, mirror-like fnish.
Satin fnishing, or ashing, removes
major irregularities on the surface and
leaves a satin fnish. Cut-down buffng,
with a cotton or muslin wheel and
buffng compound, brings the luster to
an intermediate, smooth fnish ready
for fnal color buffng. Cut-and-color
buffng produces a high-gloss fnish in
most LANXESS materials.
Wheels for cut-and-color buffng often
consist of unbleached cotton discs laid
alternately with two layers of 5 inch
discs and two layers of inch discs.
Final wheels have two layers of inch
and four layers of 5 inch unbleached
cotton discs laid alternately. The
buffng wheels mount to conventional
buffng equipment and spin at ,500 to
,000 rpm.
Buffng to a high gloss requires a
sequence of steps that may vary from
material to material. For ABS, the
process usually starts with unbleached
cotton buffng discs for cleaning and
preparation. A cutting or polishing
step, followed by a wiping or coloring
step, increases gloss. After buffng with
an appropriate polishing compound
— such as rouge or greasy tripoli — the
part receives a fnal polishing on a
clean fnishing wheel made of a soft
material, such as muslin, fannel, or
felt. Light application pressure and
cooling liquids help prevent heat
buildup and resulting surface damage.
SANDING
Use a conventional belt or disc sander
to remove gate excess, fash, mold
marks, and imperfections in most
parts made of rigid plastics. To inspect
internal features and assemblies, you
can sand parts for cross-sectional
views, although sanding will destroy
the part or assembly.
Frictional heating, the primary
source of diffculties when sanding
thermoplastics, can melt plastic
surfaces and clog sanding media. Heat
dissipates slowly in most plastics, so
dry sanding must usually be done at
slow speeds with coarse-grit paper. Dry
sanding produces quick results and
rough fnishes, and requires provisions
for dust collection and/or removal.
In wet sanding, a liquid — usually water
— alleviates frictional heat and removes
sanding debris, reducing the chance of
gumming. When wet sanding, you can
use a wider range of grit sizes, from
coarse to very fne, depending upon the
requirements. Although wet sanding
can produce very smooth surfaces,
plastic parts will generally need an
additional buffng step to achieve a
glossy fnish.
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TRIMMING, FINISHING, & FLASH
REMOVAL
In addition to the machining and
fnishing methods discussed earlier
in this chapter, molders have a wide
variety of hand- and pneumatically
operated nippers, cutters, and scrapers,
as well as some remelting and honing
techniques to remove gate excess and
fash. These techniques and equipment
are discussed in this section.
For aesthetic reasons, gate marks and
fash on some parts must be totally
removed. Two common techniques to
remove these blemishes are hot-air
remelting and vapor honing. The
hot-air method uses a heat stream from
a hot-air gun to remelt and smooth the
area. Vapor honing uses a chemical
vapor to dissolve the surface, resulting
in a similar effect.
Because both of these processes add
to your overall costs, try to position
gates so they are not visible in the fnal
assembly or choose a less-noticeable
gate, such as a valve gate. Do not rely
on unrealistically small gates to hide
or lessen the appearance of the gate
mark. Part geometry, molding resin,
and processing requirements dictate
appropriate gate size. Please refer to
the mold design chapter in this manual
for information on gate size and
placement.
Most of the machining and fnishing
methods described in this chapter are
used to remove fash from molded
plastic parts. Another more common
method, scraping or trimming uses
specially designed, knife-edged scrapers
that remove fash as a continuous
flament without digging into the part.
A variety of scraper shapes and sizes are
available commercially.
Another method, tumbling, removes
fash by tumbling parts together in
a special rotating drum with a mild
abrasive media such as crushed cocoa
bean shells. Commonly used to remove
fash from rigid thermosets, tumbling
usually does not work well with
LANXESS plastic materials. Tumbling
in these materials tends to bend or
fatten fash rather than remove it by
breaking or abrasion.
In one new and novel approach, parts
placed in a specially designed chamber
are exposed to a fash detonation that
instantaneously melts fash, without
damaging the part. While expensive, if
your part has diffcult-to-remove fash,
this method may prove economical.
Always compare the cost of reworking
the mold to the cost of secondary
fash removal operations. Many times,
repairing the mold could result in
long-term cost savings.
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103
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While some plastic parts require
painting, plating, and/or decorating for
aesthetic or functional concerns, most do
not for two reasons: frst, the injection-
molding process accommodates a
diversity of high-quality surface fnishes
and textures; second, thermoplastic
resins can be produced in a rainbow of
colors. Some specifc instances where
painting or plating may be needed
include: protecting fnal assemblies from
harsh chemicals or UV degradation,
shielding electronic devices from EMI
radiation, or adding graphics or labeling
in contrasting colors. Painting, plating,
and decorating, as well as their design
considerations, are discussed in this
chapter.
PAINTING
The most common reason for painting
or coating thermoplastic parts is to
enhance aesthetics and provide uniform
color and texture to assemblies made
of different materials or by different
processes. Paints and coatings can
hide some molding defects, such as
gate blush or foam swirl. They also
offer colors or surface effects that
resins cannot, such as certain metallic
or stippled effects. In addition, some
paints perform a function, such as
electrically conductive paints for
EMI/RFI shielding.
Paints and coatings can also protect
the plastic substrate from chemicals,
abrasion, or environmental attack. For
instance, paint prevents many colored
plastics from fading and becoming
brittle when exposed to the elements
and/or UV radiation from sunlight or
artifcial lighting. Coatings can also
prevent attack from cleaning solvents,
lubricants, and other substances
encountered in-use or during
manufacture. Commercial scratch-
resistant coatings commonly provide
abrasion resistance for lenses. Contact
your sales representative for the latest
information on scratch coatings and
treatments for LANXESS plastic resins.
Types of Paints
Paints are generally made up of four
components: a polymeric resin or resin
components that form the coating;
pigments or dyes for color; a solvent
or carrier for thinning, delivery, and
uniform coverage; and additives
to enhance or modify application,
adhesion, and appearance. A variety
of paints have been developed based
on different chemistries and polymer
types.
The common types of paints used on
plastics include polyurethane, acrylic,
alkyd, epoxy, and vinyl.
• Polyurethane paints provide
a fexible, durable fnish, cure
without heat, and are compatible
with most plastics, including many
chemically sensitive, amorphous
plastics, such as ABS and
polycarbonate blends.
• Epoxies typically produce hard,
tough, glossy fnishes.
• Vinyls tend to produce soft,
rubbery fnishes.
• Acrylic paints give brittle, scratch
resistant fnishes that resist most
common oils.
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Several factors determine the type of
paint systems you choose, including
the specifc plastic substrate, the
type of fnish required, available
painting facilities, and local regulatory
restrictions. To some degree, the paint
system should chemically react with
the plastic surface for good adhesion,
but it should not damage the plastic
substrate.
Paint systems also differ in the types
of solvent system used. Solvent
systems generally fall into two types:
organic solvent systems or water-based
systems.
Organic solvents penetrate the
plastic substrate to form strong
chemical bonds for superior adhesion.
Excessively aggressive solvents may
damage the substrate. Damage and
chemical attack tend to be worse in
areas of high molding or assembly
stresses. Always test your solvent
system on an actual, fnished part to
determine its suitability.
Water-based systems are generally
less aggressive to plastic parts but
tend to form slightly weaker bonds.
An increasingly important advantage,
water-based systems avoid most of
the environmental, health, and safety
issues associated with organic-solvent
systems.
Paint Curing
There are a variety of methods to cure
paints:
• Air-curing paints solidify as the
solvent evaporates, leaving the
resin to polymerize on the part
surface.
• Heat-curing systems bake parts
for rapid and complete curing. The
curing temperature for these paints
may limit your choice of plastics
on which these paints can be used.
Parts must withstand the required
curing temperature. Polycarbonate
parts can usually withstand paint
bake temperatures of about 0°C
(50°F).
• Two-component paint systems
use a chemical reaction to drive
the curing process. These systems
generally give off very few
volatiles, but have a short pot life
after mixing: often only minutes.
• Other paints rely upon exposure
to oxygen or UV radiation to
completely cure.
Paint-Selection Considerations
Semi-crystalline plastics, such
as nylons, tend to be chemically
resistant to most solvent systems and
often require special pre-treatments
or primers. Acetal, polypropylene,
and polyethylene, which have waxy
surfaces, are chemically resistant
to most solvent systems as well.
Amorphous plastics, such as ABS,
because they are less chemically
resistant, achieve good adhesion with
many more paint systems.
Look for a system that is not too
chemically aggressive: especially for
polycarbonate blends. To achieve the
optimum match of substrate and paint
system, consult both your resin and
paint suppliers before making your
fnal selection. The cost of the paint
is usually insignifcant compared to
the labor and overhead costs, and the
cost of complying with environmental
protection regulations. Be sure to
consider the cost of the entire process
when making your selection.
Government regulatory agencies,
especially OSHA and EPA, limit
the emission of volatile organic
compounds (VOCs) into the air.
Many organic-solvent- based paint
systems and application systems
cannot meet current emission limits
without elaborate and expensive
environmental-protection equipment.
Generally, waterborne coatings and
high-solid polyurethane systems
comply with most government
regulations. Check the current and
near-future regulations in your area,
because these regulations vary.
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Spray Painting
Spraying, the most common
painting method for plastics, can
be conventional, airless, or in some
instances, electrostatic. Robotics can
automate the spraying process and
improve painting consistency.
• In conventional spray painting,
compressed air atomizes and
delivers tiny droplets of paint onto
the part surface.
• In airless systems, paint is forced
through a spray nozzle at high
velocity.
• In electrostatic systems, opposite
electrical charges applied to
the paint and part attract paint
droplets to the part surface.
Electrostatic systems improve
coverage and reduce over-spray
(see fgure 6-).
The spraying process breaks the paint
or coating into tiny droplets that must
coalesce on the surface of the part
and blend together to form a smooth
surface in an action called leveling.
For leveling to occur properly, the
solvent and paint formula may need
to be adjusted to compensate for daily
variations in weather. Changes in
temperature or humidity can change
the volatility of the paint system
and affect the time for leveling. Hot,
dry days tend to cause the solvent
to evaporate before the paint can
adequately level, leading to a defect
known as dry spray.
Crazing and paint soak, two painting
defects unique to molded plastic parts,
are both affected by:
• High molded-in surface stresses on
the molded part;
• The composition and morphology
of the polymer; and
• The particular paint solvent system
used in the formulation.
High surface stresses tend to occur
near gates, at knit lines, and in areas
of nonuniform wall thickness. An
aggressive solvent can cause small
cracks in these areas that can lead to
dullness known as crazing. In severe
cases, large areas of the surface can
become rough and appear as if the
paint has soaked into the plastic. This
condition is called paint soak.
To minimize these problems, the parts
must be designed and processed to
minimize surface stresses. To reduce
the high degree of surface orientation
at gates and abrupt geometry changes
that can lead to paint soak, consider
adding 0.008 inch deep grooves in
the mold steel on the back surface.
Orient the grooves perpendicular to the
advancing fow front in the problem
areas. The groove-to-groove (or ridge-
to-ridge in the part) spacing should be
no greater than the part wall thickness.
High mold and melt temperatures, good
venting, and proper gate design and
placement also tend to reduce surface
stresses and paint soak problems. In
addition, paint manufacturers can tailor
solvents and paint systems for a given
polymer to reduce the surface attack
problem.
Electrostatic Spraying Figure 6-1
Electrostatic spraying improves coverage and reduces over-
spray by attracting paint droplets to the part surface.
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Other Painting Methods
In addition to spraying, other common
methods of paint application include
brushing, pad painting, rolling, wiping,
and dipping. Each has advantages in
specifc kinds of applications.
Brushing is most commonly used in
automated stripe-painting applications.
Programmable machines manipulate the
brush position and vary the application
pressure to adjust the stripe pattern and
width.
Pad painting uses a patterned resilient
pad to transfer paint to the plastic
substrate much like a rubber ink stamp
applies ink to paper. In an automated
process, a roller applies a flm of paint
to a transfer plate. The patterned pad
with raised fgures is frst pressed onto
the flm of paint and then onto the
plastic part being decorated.
Rolling applies paint to raised surfaces
on a plastic part by means of a rubber
or felt roller (see fgure 6-). A transfer
roller is commonly used in production
to maintain a uniform flm thickness on
the paint roller. The paint viscosity must
be high enough to prevent running.
Wiping applies paint to molded inlays
such as dial numerals and indented
letters. In this method, high viscosity
paint is frst applied to coat the inlay
features and surrounding area. After
a period of time, usually ten to thirty
minutes, the excess paint is wiped from
the surrounding areas with a solvent
impregnated rag or brush, leaving paint
in the inlays.
Dipping, a simple and inexpensive
painting method, uses a conveying
system to frst submerse parts in a tank
of paint and thinner, and then move
the parts through subsequent stages for
dripping, draining, and drying. Because
few applications require complete paint
coverage on all surfaces, dipping is
used less often than spraying. Dipping
is commonly used to apply base coats
to parts prior to vacuum metallizing or
sputtering.
Masking
Part drawings should clearly specify
areas to receive paint, areas which must
be free from paints, and areas that can
receive over-spray. Paint-free areas will
probably require masking: a procedure
often more complicated and labor-
intensive than the actual painting.
Some considerations to address with
masking include:
• Take steps in the part design
stage to avoid masking or at least
simplify the masking process;
• Avoid vaguely defned transitions
between masked and painted
features such as fllet radii and
rounded or irregular surfaces;
• Allow at least /8 inch between
masked areas and the part edge;
• Avoid thin or intricate masking;
and
• Work closely with your painting
and masking experts to avoid
unnecessary work and expense.
To prevent leakage between the stencil
or mask and the plastic part, the mask
and stencils must ft tightly against
the molded part. For this to happen,
the parts must be molded to tolerance
without shot-to-shot variations in size
or shape. The masks and stencils must
also be held to tight tolerances. Buildup
on the masks and stencils must be
periodically cleaned to maintain a good
ft. To avoid interrupting production to
clean masks, try to have several masks
for each masking job.
Roller Painting Figure 6-2
The roller transfers paint to the raised features on the molded part.
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Other Design Considerations
for Painting
In all application methods, parts
should be clean and free of surface
contamination for good paint adhesion.
When possible, design parts to release
from the mold easily, so they can be
ejected without using external mold
release sprays. Oils from hands can also
contaminate the part surface. Consider
designing designated handling areas
or features to reduce contamination in
critical painting areas.
Part design can have a direct impact
on the ease and cost of painting. For
instance, spray painting, a line-of-sight
process, works within a short nozzle-
to-part distance range. To achieve
uniform coverage, avoid undercuts and
deep, narrow recesses, which may not
coat completely. Sharp corners can be
diffcult to coat suffciently and may
chip or wear through. Consider painting
transparent parts on the back surface
(or second surface) to protect the paint
from scratches and abrasion.
Brittle coatings and paints can greatly
reduce the impact performance
of painted plastic parts. Cracks in
the paint or coating act as stress
concentrators to initiate fracture in the
plastic substrate. Exercise extra care
in the design and paint selection for
painted parts subjected to impact loads.
Flexible paint systems, such as two-
part urethanes, tend to perform better
in impact applications.
IN-MOLD DECORATING
Applying decorations during molding,
instead of as a secondary post-mold
process, can lower your decorating
costs. In-mold decorating methods tend
to reduce or eliminate VOC emissions,
and eliminate many of the problems
associated with other decorating
methods such as solvent/substrate
compatibility problems, heat-curing
restrictions, and painting line costs.
Some methods also offer options not
feasible in conventional painting, such
as applying multi-color graphics and
patterns. This section discusses two
common in-mold decorating methods.
In the powdered-paint method, powder
is sprayed onto the mold surface before
the thermoplastic resin is injected.
The paint then melts and bonds to
the plastic-part surface as the part
solidifes. Because painting takes place
in the mold, there is no need for an
expensive paint line. However, this
process does add cost and complexity
to automate the painting process at the
mold. It also can generate considerable
housekeeping problems at the molding
press.
In-mold transfer decoration involves
transferring graphics from a preprinted
carrier, typically polyester flm, to
the plastic surface during molding.
The decorated flm is placed into the
mold either as a separate sheet held
by electrostatic charge or as part of an
indexed roll that positions the graphics
over the cavity surface. Under the heat
and pressure of molding, the decoration
transfers from the flm to the molded
part. The transfer flm is then removed
and discarded.
In-mold transfer decoration offers
multiple colors in a single operation
as well as greater design freedom than
most traditional decorating methods.
Manufacturers can also quickly change
designs by simply switching the printed
flms. This process has been used with
many LANXESS resin types including
ABS and SAN.
The process has several notable
limitations. Wrinkles and indexing
problems can arise on large parts
or in parts with complex or deeply
contoured geometries. Also, because
the decoration is on the part outer
surface (frst surface), it is vulnerable
to abrasion, chemical attack, and UV
degradation. For these reasons, in-mold
transfer decoration may not be suitable
for many applications.
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FILM-INSERT MOLDING
Film-insert molding differs from
conventional in-mold decoration in
that the decorated flm, either fat or
formed, becomes an integral part of
the molded product during the molding
process. Typically the process begins
by forming a pre-heated, printed flm,
by means of vacuum or high-pressure
forming, into the exact shape required
to ft tightly into the mold. The formed
flm is then cut and placed into the
mold. During molding, plastic injects
behind the flm forming a molded part
with an integral flm layer. Figures 6-
and 6-4 show a decorated flm in place
in the mold in preparation for molding
and the fnal mold part.
The process incorporates a variety
of flm options. In frst-surface flm
decorating, the print design is printed
on the outer surface. This places the
flm substrate between the printing
and the part, and protects the printed
graphic from the direct contact with
the molten plastic. Protective graphic
hard coats provide various levels of
protection against chemicals and wear.
Film-Insert Molding Figure 6-3
The decorated, formed flm is positioned in the mold and then
backflled with transparent resin
Film-Insert Molding Figure 6-4
This flm-insert-molded control panel has a decorative matte
fnish with backlit fgures and symbols.
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Single-layer, second-surface flm
decorating places the printed graphic
on the inner surface of a transparent
flm substrate. This confguration
protects the graphic from the
environment but places it toward the
molten plastic during molding. This can
lead to distortion of the printed graphic
at hot spots such as the gate area. To
protect the graphics, a second flm can
be bonded to the printed surface using
a heat-activated adhesive. This process
works particularly well with backlit
parts.
Film insert decorating advantages
include:
• Design freedom to decorate
compound curves and complex
geometries;
• Multi-color graphics in a single
step;
• Options for both opaque and
transparent graphics;
• Long-lasting fnishes; and
• Reduced decorating costs.
Contact your LANXESS sales
representative for more information
and assistance regarding potential flm
insert molding applications.
Metallic Coatings Figure 6-5
Decorative metallic coatings enable plastic parts to function as
economical, lightweight alternatives to metal.
METALLIC COATINGS
Metallic coatings are applied to plastic
parts for decoration or for a variety
of functional reasons. Decorative
metallic coatings enable plastic parts
to function as economical, lightweight
alternatives to metals in applications
such as automotive grilles and trim
hardware (see fgure 6-5). Functional
coatings can provide electromagnetic
shielding, circuit paths, or refective
surfaces for lighting applications. The
processes for applying metallic coatings
include electroplating, electroless
plating, vacuum metallizing, and
sputter coating. These are discussed in
the following sections.
Electroplating
Electroplating can provide a durable,
high-quality fnish for a variety
of applications. Although many
polymers can be electroplated, only
a few polymer families obtain the
adhesion and appearance required
by high-performance applications.
Special plating grades of Lustran ABS
meet the performance requirements of
many tough automotive and appliance
applications. Certain Triax blends
containing ABS also plate well and can
provide reasonably tough fnishes.
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Electroless Plating Figure 6-6
Electroless plating provides EMI shielding for electrical
housings.
Design Considerations for
Electroplating
The electroplating process places
special requirements on the plastic part
design. Because electric current density
distribution over the part surfaces
determines plating thickness, high
current density at edges, notches, and
outside corners can lead to excessive
plating buildup (see fgure 6-7).
Recessed areas plate at lower current
densities and tend to plate much
thinner than other areas. To minimize
these problems consider the following:
• Add a radius of at least 0.00 inch
to all plated edges.
• Include a /6 inch minimum
radius on all outside corners.
• Avoid extreme recesses that
could lead to inadequate plating
thickness.
Electroless Plating Figure 6-6
Round corners and edges to prevent
excessive plating buildup.
Prior to electroplating, the non-
conductive plastic surface of most
plastics must frst undergo an
electroless chemical process to deposit
a conductive metallic flm layer. The
electroless process usually involves
immersing the parts in a series of
specially formulated, aqueous baths
and rinses to clean, etch, and activate
the part surface. Then, a metallic flm
layer, such as copper, is chemically
deposited on the part. After this
treatment, more conventional metal-
plating methods apply additional metal
layers to the now conductive surface. A
common plating combination is nickel
over copper. Many electrical-shielding
applications skip the electroless step
and apply only an electroless plating
layer to the inside surface of the
housing or device (see fgure 6-6).
During plating, molded parts mounted
on specially designed plating racks pass
on conveyors through the various baths
and rinses. These racks both secure and
orient the parts for total immersion
and complete draining at each step.
Your part must be stiff enough to resist
fexure and distortion when clamped
onto the rack. Otherwise, the thin-
plated layer could crack as the parts
are removed and handled. Consider
edge-stiffening and surface-crowning
to reduce fexure and cracking (see
fgures 6-8 and 6-9). The points where
the rack clamps contact the part will
not plate. Plan for these contact points
and work with your plater to fnd
suitable clamp locations. Other design
considerations include:
• Avoid features that may trap air
during immersion in the baths, or
hinder rinsing afterwards.
• Design clamping points that secure
the part on the rack without
fexing it.
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Molding Considerations for
Electroplating
The molding process directly affects
plating adhesion and end-use
performance. High molded-in stresses
on the part surface can reduce adhesion
and lead to cracking, blistering, and
warping in the plated part. To minimize
surface stresses, molding resins for
plating are normally processed at
high mold and melt temperatures and
slow flling speeds. Proper drying
also prevents moisture-related surface
defects that could appear worse after
plating. Other molding considerations
include:
• Assuring that molded part surfaces
are free of oils and contaminates;
• Designing parts and molds to
facilitate part ejection without
mold-release agents, especially
silicone;
• Using self-lubricating ejector pins
to prevent oil contamination;
• Designing and maintaining mold
and parting lines carefully to
prevent sharp or ragged edges
that could be exaggerated by the
plating process;
• Positioning gates out-of-sight and
trimming gates cleanly; and
• Applying a light satin-fnish to the
mold cavity surfaces to enhance
plating adhesion on the molded
part.
Edge Stiffening Figure 6-8
Stiffen edges to prevent damage to plating
during racking and handling.
Surface Crowning Figure 6-9
Surface crowning stiffens the surface and promotes uniform
plating thickness.
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Vacuum Metallization
The vacuum metallizing process
deposits an extremely thin metallic
flm (typically .5 microns) onto plastic
parts in a vacuum chamber. The process
usually begins with the application
of a specially formulated base coat to
smooth out surface irregularities and
improve metal adhesion. After curing,
the coated parts move to special racks
that rotate within the vacuum chamber
to provide the uniform coverage during
the line-of-sight deposition process.
Deposition takes place by vaporizing
the metal, usually aluminum, and
then condensing it onto the part
surface. Tungsten flaments or
electron beams typically provide the
energy to vaporize the source metal
through direct sublimation from a
solid to a vapor. After metallization,
decorative parts usually receive a
clear topcoat to protect the thin
metal flm from abrasion. Metallized
surfaces in protected environments,
such as refectors in sealed lighting
applications, can often skip the topcoat
step (see fgure 6-0).
A related process, sputter deposition,
uses mechanical displacement, rather
than heat, to vaporize the coating
metal. An inert gas plasma impacts
the metal to provide the energy for
phase transition. Sputter deposition
offers thicker metallic layers, and
more metal choices than traditional
vacuum metallization. Common
metals and alloys include chromium,
copper, gold, tungsten, stainless steel,
and brass. Sputtering also tends to
provide better adhesion and abrasion
performance than conventional vacuum
metallization.
Vacuum Metallization Figure 6-10
Vacuum metallization applies the refective coating in
many lighting applications.
Design Considerations for Vacuum
Metallization
Because vacuum metallization
processes deposit metal flms in a
line-of-sight pattern, deep recesses
and undercuts will not coat. Typically,
the part must rotate for full coverage
of surfaces and standing features.
Areas “shadowed” by other elements
of the part geometry, despite being
rotated, will also not coat. Complete
front-and-back coverage may require
a second racking step to reorient the
parts, and an additional pass through
the metallization process. Vacuum
metallization works best on parts with
relatively simple shapes that require
coating on just one side. The process
is often limited to sizes that will ft in
standard vacuum chambers.
Vacuum metallizing is much less
sensitive to processing and part design
than electroplating. Adherence to
standard plastic part design guidelines
and good molding practices is usually
suffcient to obtain satisfactory results.
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EMI/RFI Shielding
With the proliferation of electronic
devices such as cell phones and portable
computers, Electromagnetic Interference
(EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference
(RFI) become increasingly important
design considerations. EMI and RFI
problems occur when electromagnetic
energy escapes an electrical device
and reaches an unintended device,
causing a malfunction or interference.
Untreated plastic parts generally appear
“transparent” to electromagnetic energy,
requiring a secondary shielding process
or method when used in electronic
enclosures needing EMI/RFI shielding.
A variety of shielding methods exist,
including coatings, sheet-metal shrouds,
adhesive foils, and special conductive
fllers in the molding resin. More
often, manufacturers use metallic
coating. Each of the metallic-coating
processes covered in this chapter thus
far — painting (conductive coatings),
electroless plating, electroplating, and
vacuum metallization — fnd use in
EMI/RFI shielding. A number of factors
determine the best process for your
application, such as part geometry and
size, masking requirements, production
levels, and required shielding
performance. Contact your LANXESS
representative for guidance on your
specifc application.
Design Considerations for EMI/RFI
Shielding
Enclosure design usually affects
shielding performance more than the
coating process chosen. Any openings
in the enclosure assembly, whether
they be intentional — holes and cooling
vents — or unintentional — gaps along
mating edges, can allow electromag-
netic radiation to escape. The length of
the opening determines the frequency
of radiation that can escape. Long gaps,
such as between mating halves, could
release a wide range of frequencies.
For proper shielding, these interfaces
require a generous overlap and snug ft.
One design employs contact fngers
with a slight interference ft to create
a low-impedance connection and
reduced gap size. The fnger spacing
determines the slot length and the
minimum frequency that can escape.
Consult your shielding experts for help
in calculating the correct spacing for
your application.
Generally, do not place “noisy” circuit
boards close to cooling vents and other
possible weak links in the shield. Part
designers and shielding experts need
to work together early in the design
process to assure a good combination
of performance and manufacturability.
All electronic devices with metallized
parts submitted for recognition under
standard UL 746 C must undergo
testing of the adhesion between the
shielding material and the substrate.
UL test QMSS evaluates conductive
coating and substrate combinations
for acceptable levels of adhesion after
elevated temperature, humidity, and
environmental cycling conditions.
Vendors that apply conductive coatings
to plastic parts used in devices requiring
UL 746 C recognition must meet the
requirements of QMRX. Contact
your LANXESS representative for
information on UL-recognized vendor/
coating combinations for EMI/RFI
shielding.
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PRINTING
Printing is often used to apply designs,
characters, and markings to parts
made from LANXESS plastics. The
most common printing processes used
on plastic parts are discussed in this
section.
Pad printing involves pressing ink onto
the part from a custom-designed soft
ink pad. In one process, the patterned
ink pad picks up a flm layer deposited
onto a transfer plate by a roller. In
another process, a smooth pad picks up
a pattern of ink from an etched plate
that was fooded with ink and then
wiped with a blade, leaving ink in the
etched recesses of the pattern. In both
processes, the loaded ink pad then
stamps the pattern onto the plastic part.
The soft pad can accommodate textures
and many irregular shapes. Irregular
shapes cause distortions in the printed
pattern that must be compensated by
adjustments in the ink pad pattern.
Screening, an inexpensive technique
used to decorate fat or cylindrical
plastic parts (see fgure 6-), begins
with an open-weave fabric or screen,
commonly made of silk, polyester, or
stainless steel, which has been stretched
in a frame. Stencils, often made using
a photoetching process, are then placed
on the screen where ink transfer is
not desired. A rubber squeegee forces
ink through the screen and onto the
part surface. The screening process
requires careful control of the ink
viscosity and ambient conditions to
avoid fuctuations in temperature and
humidity that could cause the screen to
stretch or shrink. Screens also require
periodic cleaning to remove dried ink
that could clog screen.
Screen Printing Figure 6-11
The screen-printing process can apply designs and
markings to fat and cylindrical parts.
The sublimation ink transfer process,
commonly used on computer and
calculator keys, relies on deep ink
penetration to produce abrasion-
resistant printed symbols. In this
process, heat and pressure vaporize inks
printed on special transfer papers that
rest against the part surface. Depending
on the material and ink system, the ink
vapors can penetrate 0.008 inch into
the part surface.
Laser Printing Figure 6-12
Laser printing can produce light or
dark markings on plastic parts.
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Laser printing produces designs and
symbols in plastic parts either by direct
marking of the plastic or by selective
evaporation of a coating applied to
the plastic. In direct laser printing, the
laser usually burns dark symbols into
light colored parts (see fgure 6-).
Some dark-colored plastics have been
developed that produce light-colored
symbols during laser printing. This
process usually does not produce
suitable results for back lighting.
White, back-lit symbols can be
produced on a dark background by frst
coating white plastic with an opaque
dark paint. The laser then vaporizes the
paint in the shape of the symbol, and
exposes the white plastic substrate. The
pigmented, white plastic refects the
laser beam without marking.
Hot stamping provides a quick and
easy method for creating colored
indentations for numbers, letters,
and demarcations. In this process, a
heated stamp presses against a color
foil positioned on the part surface. The
force and heat simultaneously melt a
recess and transfer ink from the foil
(see fgure 6-). Dome printing, a
variation of the hotstamping process,
prints on top of raised features or
patterns in the molded part (see fgure
6-4). The reinforced silicone rubber
pad used in this process compensates
for minor deviations in the part surface.
Your ink and printing-equipment
suppliers can offer assistance in
selecting the correct process for your
part. Their early involvement can
prevent problems later in the design
and production process. Always
pretest printing processes on actual,
production assemblies.
Hot Stamping Figure 6-13 Dome Printing Figure 6-14
In standard hot stamping, a pattern on the heated die
transfers color from the foil to the plastic part.
In dome printing, a heated silicone rubber pad
transfers color to the raised features on the molded
part.
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LABELS AND DECALS
Self-adhering printed labels and
decals provide an easy means for
applying items such as logos, model
identifcation, and decorative graphics.
Available in transparent, opaque,
metallic, or embossed materials, they
offer an unlimited choice of shapes and
colors. Opaque labels are particularly
helpful for hiding trimmed sprue gates.
Instead of relying upon a self-adhering
backing, heat-transfer labeling uses a
heated platen to release the print from
a carrier and attach it to the plastic
part. Labels and decals occasionally
have problems with adhesion. Carefully
pretest and evaluate any proposed
adhesive system on actual production
parts. Also, avoid placing decals and
labels on irregular surfaces, as they will
lift more easily.
TEXTURE
Texture affects the look and feel of a
molded part, as well as our perception
of its quality. Textures can reduce
glare, hide molding imperfections, and
improve scratch resistance. Because of
their ease of molding, thermoplastic
resins can duplicate the surface
appearance of many natural materials
— such as wood, leather, and fabric
— to disguise plastic parts.
The thermoplastic molding process
also accommodates surfaces ranging
from high-gloss to deep texture. For
ease of cleaning, many food-contact
and health care products require
glossy fnishes. Achieving high levels
of gloss requires the correct resin,
careful mold-steel selection, expensive
mold polishing, and meticulous mold
care. Glossy fnishes are sensitive to
mold and processing imperfections,
and may readily show scratches. Mold
fnishing with somewhat coarser
abrasive media can produce a brushed
fnish that doesn’t show scratches and
imperfections as easily. Glass-bead
blasting and light sandblasting of the
mold surface can produce uniform
matte fnishes of varying degrees.
Mold surface fnishing is discussed
in more detail in Chapter 7 (Mold
Design) of this manual.
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Electric discharge machine (spark
erosion) and photoetching processes
offer greater control over the mold
texture. They also make possible
patterned textures such as leather
and wood grains. Spark-eroded
mold-surface textures tend to be
smoother and more rounded than the
sharp-edged textures produced by
photoetching. High-viscosity materials,
such as ABS, tend not to reproduce
the sharp edges and porous micro
fnishes of photoetched cavities, as
do low-viscosity resins such as nylon.
Consequently, the molding resin
and processing conditions can lead
to quite different part textures from
photoetched cavities.
Likewise, parts from molds with similar
textures may look different because
one used photoetching and another
spark erosion. The inherently smooth
and rounded textures produced by
spark erosion tend to exhibit better
scratch resistance than sharp textures.
Photoetched mold fnishes can be
blasted with glass beads to reduce
sharp edges and enhance scratch
resistance when molding low-viscosity
resins. Consider the following when
designing parts with texture:
• Avoid abrupt changes in wall
thickness, as they can cause
noticeable differences in the
texture appearance, especially with
sharp-etched textures;
• Use spark-eroded textures to hide
weld lines and other molding
imperfections;
• Consider profle textures, such as
rows of lines or fne checkered
patterns to hide read-through from
linear features such as ribs; and
• Add extra draft when designing
parts with textured surfaces to
aid in part ejection: typically one
degree of additional draft for every
0.00 inch of texture depth.
See the mold and part design chapters
in this manual for more information on
mold textures and draft.
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Key to the injection-molding process,
the injection mold forms the molten
plastic into the desired shape, provides
the surface texture, and determines
the dimensions of the fnished molded
article. In facilitating mold-cavity flling
and cooling, the mold also infuences
the molding cycle and effciency as well
as the internal stress levels and end-use
performance of the molded part.
The success of any molding job depends
heavily on the skills employed in the
design and construction of the mold. An
injection mold is a precision instrument
yet must be rugged enough to withstand
hundreds of thousands of high-pressure
molding cycles. The added expense for
a well-engineered and constructed mold
can be repaid many times over in molding
effciency, reduced down time and scrap,
and improved part quality.
MOLD BASICS
At the most basic level, molds consist
of two main parts: the cavity and
core. The core forms the main internal
surfaces of the part. The cavity forms
the major external surfaces. Typically,
the core and cavity separate as the
mold opens, so that the part can be
removed. This mold separation occurs
along the interface known as the
parting line. The parting line can lie
in one plane corresponding to a major
geometric feature such as the part
top, bottom or center-line, or it can
be stepped or angled to accommodate
irregular part features.
• Choose the parting-line location
to minimize undercuts that would
hinder or prevent easy part
removal.
Undercuts that cannot be avoided via
reasonable adjustments in the parting
line require mechanisms in the mold
to disengage the undercut prior to
ejection.
Two-Plate Mold Figure 7-1
A conventional two-plate mold with two cavities.
TYPES OF MOLDS
The two-plate mold, the most common
mold confguration, consists of two
mold halves that open along one
parting line (see fgure 7-). Material
can enter the mold cavity directly via
a sprue gate, or indirectly through
a runner system that delivers the
material to the desired locations along
the parting line. The movable mold
half usually contains a part-ejection
mechanism linked to a hydraulic
cylinder operated from the main press
controller.
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The three-plate mold confguration
opens at two major locations instead
of one. Figures 7-A through 7-C
show the mold-opening sequence for
a typical three-plate mold. Typically, a
linkage system between the three major
mold plates controls the mold-opening
sequence. The mold frst opens at
the primary parting line breaking the
pinpoint gates and separating the parts
from the cavity side of the mold. Next,
the mold separates at the runner plate
to facilitate removal of the runner
system. Finally, a plate strips the runner
from the retaining pins, and parts and
runner eject from the mold.
Three-Plate Mold Figure 7-2A
Schematic of a two-cavity, three-plate mold with
cutaway view showing frst stage of opening.
Unlike conventional two-plate molds,
three-plate molds can gate directly
into inner surface areas away from the
outer edge of parts: an advantage for
center-gated parts such as cups or for
large parts that require multiple gates
across a surface. Disadvantages include
added mold complexity and large
runners that can generate excessive
regrind. Also, the small pinpoint gates
required for clean automatic de-gating
can generate high shear and lead to
material degradation, gate blemish, and
packing problems. Because of the high
shear rates generated in the tapered
runner drops and pinpoint gates, three-
plate molds are not recommended for
shear-sensitive materials such as Cadon
SMA and materials with shear-sensitive
colorants or fame retardants.
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Three-Plate Mold Figure 7-2B
Schematic of a two-cavity, three-plate mold with cutaway
view showing second stage of opening.
Three-Plate Mold Figure 7-2C
Schematic of a two-cavity, three-plate mold with
cutaway view showing fnal opening phase and
stripper plate in forward position.
Another confguration, the stack mold,
reduces the clamp force required by
multi-cavity molds. Typically, multiple
cavities are oriented on a single parting
line and the required clamp force is
the sum of the clamp needed by each
cavity plus the runner system. In stack
molds, cavities lie on two or more
stacked parting lines. The injection
forces exerted on the plate separating
parting lines cancel, so the resulting
clamp force is the same as for just one
parting line. Stack molds produce more
parts per cycle than would otherwise be
possible in a given size molding press.
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MOLD BASES AND CAVITIES
The mold base comprises the majority
of the bulk of an injection mold.
Standard off-the-shelf mold bases
are available for most molding needs.
Typical mold bases are outftted with
a locating ring (see fgure 7-) and
provisions for a sprue bushing in the
stationary or “A” half of the mold and
an ejector assembly in the moving “B”
half. Both halves come with clamp
slots to affx the mold in the press.
The “B” half has holes to accommodate
bars that connect the press ejection
mechanism to the ejector plate in the
mold.
Leader pins projecting from corners
of the “A” half align the mold halves.
Return pins connected to the ejector
plate corners project from the mold
face when the ejection mechanism is
in the forward (eject) position. As the
mold closes, the return pins retract the
ejector plate (if not retracted already) in
preparation for the next cycle.
Mold Components Figure 7-3
Components of a standard
two-plate mold base with
two cavities.
Mold cavities, here meaning core and
cavity sets, can be incorporated in
the mold three ways: they can be cut
directly into the mold plates, inserted
in pieces into the mold base, or inserted
as complete cavity units. Cutting
cavities directly into the mold base can
be the most economical approach for
large parts and/or parts with simple
geometries. When doing so, select the
mold base steel carefully. The physical
properties of standard mold base steels
may be inadequate for heavy-wear
areas or critical steel-to-steel contact
points. Use inserts made of appropriate
materials in these areas.
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MOLDING UNDERCUTS
Undercuts, part features that prevent
straight ejection at the parting line,
tend to increase mold complexity and
lead to higher mold construction and
maintenance costs. Whenever feasible,
redesign the part to avoid undercuts.
Minor part design changes can often
eliminate problematic undercuts in the
mold. For example, adding through-
holes can give access to the underside
of features that would otherwise be
undercuts (see fgure 7-4). Likewise,
simple modifcations enable the
mold to form a hole in the sidewall
with bypass steel rather than with
a side-action mechanism. For more
information on design alternatives to
avoid undercuts, see the section on
undercuts in Chapter of this manual.
Undercut features that cannot be
avoided through redesign require
mechanisms in the mold to facilitate
ejection. These types of mechanisms
include side-action slides, lifter rails,
jiggler pins, collapsible cores and
unscrewing mechanisms. The remainder
of this section discusses these options.
Undercut Alternatives Figure 7-4
Simple/complex part design for undercuts.
Assembling the cavity in the mold base
lets you select different metals for the
various cavity components, optimizing
the mold’s durability and performance.
It also simplifes and speeds repairs for
worn or damaged cavity components,
especially if you maintain spare mold
pieces for vulnerable components.
Additionally, assembling the cavities
from pieces can simplify component
fabrication. Some of the drawbacks of
mold-base cavity assemblies include
high initial mold cost, less-effcient
mold cooling, and potential tolerance
accumulation problems with the cavity
components.
Cavity units offer many of the same
advantages found in mold-base cavity
assemblies. Because many cavity units
are face-mounted in the mold base
for quick removal, worn or damaged
cavities are easily replaced. Some mold
bases are designed to accept standard
cavity-insert units for rapid part change
while the mold is still in the molding
press. These cavity units typically have
independent cooling circuits and ejector
mechanisms that automatically connect
to the mold-base ejector system.
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Side-action slides use cam pins or
hydraulic (or pneumatic) cylinders to
retract portions of the mold prior to
ejection. Cam-pin-driven slides retract
as the mold opens (see fgure 7-5). As
the mold closes, the cam pins return the
slides to their original position for the
next injection cycle. Slides driven by
hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders can
activate at any time during the molding
cycle, an advantage in applications
requiring the slides to actuate prior to
mold opening or closing.
Shallow undercuts can often be formed
by spring-loaded lifters (see fgure 7-
6) or lifter rails attached to the ejector
system. These lifters move with the
part on an angle during mold opening
or ejection until the lifter clears the
undercut in the part. A variation on
this idea, the “jiggler” pin (see fgure
7-7), has angled surfaces to guide the
pin away from the undercut during
ejection, then return it to the molding
position as the ejector system retracts.
Side-Action Slide Figure 7-5
The cam pin
retracts the slide
during mold
opening.
Lifter Figure 7-6
Typical spring-loaded lifter mechanism.
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Features such as internal threads,
dimples, slots, or grooves on the inside
of holes or caps may require collapsible
cores. These complex cores are made in
segments that collapse toward the center
as they retract during mold opening
(see fgure 7-8). Available in a variety
of standard sizes from various mold-
component suppliers, these specialty
cores are typically modifed to produce
the desired undercut shape. The number
and complexity of individual core
components limit the minimum size of
collapsible cores. Collapsible cores are
rarely used for inside diameters less than
0.65 inch.
Unscrewing mechanisms are commonly
used to produce internal threads. A
variety of devices can drive the rotation
of the threaded cores, including rack-
and-pinion devices actuated by mold
opening, motors, or hydraulic cylinders;
or motor-driven gear and chain
mechanisms. The mold design should
include provisions to lubricate the
various moving parts of the unscrewing
mechanism.
Slides, cams, collapsible cores, and
unscrewing mechanisms add to the cost
and complexity of the mold, as well as
the mold maintenance cost. Investigate
options that avoid complex mold
mechanisms. Clever part design can
often eliminate troublesome undercuts.
Some undercuts are most economically
produced as secondary operations,
particularly if they can be automated or
performed within the cycle at the press.
Jiggler Pin Figure 7-7
Angled surfaces slide the jiggler pin to clear the
undercut during ejection.
Collapsible Core Figure 7-8
Standard-style collapsible core pin in
expanded and contracted position.
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PART EJECTION
Typically, molds have ejector systems
built into the moving “B” half. The
ejection unit of the molding press
activates these systems. Rods linking
the press-ejector mechanism to an
ejector plate in the mold enable the
press controller to control the timing,
speed, and length of the ejection stroke.
Reverse injection molds eject parts
from the stationary side of the mold
via independent ejection mechanisms
operated by springs or hydraulic
cylinders. This confguration facilitates
direct injection onto the inside or back
surface of cosmetic parts. The added
complexity of reverse-injection molds
adds to the mold cost.
Specialized ejection components, such
as knockout (KO) pins, KO sleeves, or
stripper plates, project from the mold
ejector plate to the part surface where
they push the part out of the mold (see
fgures 7-9 through 7-). These topics
are discussed in this section.
The common, round knockout pin
provides a simple and economical
method for part ejection. Manufactured
with high surface hardness and a tough
core, these inexpensive, off-the-shelf
items resist wear and breakage. The
mold maker selects the desired diameter
and shank length from the vast array
of standard sizes and machines it to ft.
The ft of the ejector pin into the round
ejector hole must be held to a tight
tolerance to avoid fash. Worn ejector
holes can be reftted with 0.005 inch
oversized pins available for standard
diameters. Ejector blades, KO pins with
a rectangular cross section, operate
much the same as standard round pins,
but can be more diffcult to ft and
maintain. Typically, they are used on
the edges of ribs or walls that are too
thin for standard round pins.
Ejector pins and ejector blades push the part
off of the core as the ejector plate moves
forward.
Ejector Pins and Blades Figure 7-9
Ejector Sleeves Figure 7-10
Cylindrical ejector sleeves provide
maximum ejection contact area along the edge
of circular parts.
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KO pins usually extend to the surfaces
lying parallel to the mold face. If KO
pins push on angled surfaces, consider
adding grooves to the part design to
prevent pin defection (see fgure 7-).
KO pins extending to narrow walls and
edges can be stepped or positioned, so
that only a portion of the pin contacts
the molded part (see fgure 7-9). This
avoids using small-diameter KO pins
that are more diffcult to maintain and
can defect or bend.
KO pins leave witness marks, small
indentations or rings where the
pin contacts the part, that could be
objectionable on cosmetic surfaces.
Additionally, they can read-through
to the opposite surface if the part is
diffcult to eject, or if the ejector area is
too small.
Angled Ejector Pin Figure 7-12 Stripper Plate Figure 7-11
Ejector pins on angled surface must be keyed
to prevent rotation and often require grooves to
prevent sideways defection of the ejector pin.
In molds with stripper-plate ejection, the face
plate which forms the edge of the parts moves
forward stripping the parts from the core.
Many factors determine the amount of
ejector area needed, including the part
geometry, mold fnish, material-release
characteristics, and part temperature at
the time of ejection. To prevent damage
during ejection, thin-walled parts
generally require larger ejectors and
greater ejector area than comparable
parts with thicker walls.
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Air-Poppet Valve Figure 7-13
Air valve at the top of a core to relieve vacuum.
Draw polishing the mold steel in the
direction of ejection generally helps
ejection. Also, adding a generous
amount of mold draft helps ejection.
Draft refers to the slight angle or taper
added to part features to ease part
ejection. Most LANXESS materials
require at least one degree of draft
for easy ejection. Lustran SAN resins
require at least two degrees of draft.
See the section on draft in Chapter
for additional information.
Materials with internal mold release
can reduce the required ejection force
and alleviate some ejection problems.
Spray mold releases, though often
effective as a short-term fx, can
lengthen the molding cycle and lead
to cosmetic problems. If planning to
use a spray mold release, check it for
chemical compatibility with your resin.
Ejection diffculties can arise if a
vacuum forms between the part and
mold during ejection. Typically, this
diffculty develops in deeply cored,
closed-bottom parts. Off-the-shelf
mold components such as air-poppet
valves (see fgure 7-) can alleviate
the problems. Air-poppet valves relieve
the vacuum and deliver pressurized
air between the part and mold surface
during ejection.
Core shift and mold fexure can pinch
part surfaces, hindering ejection. To
prevent this problem, add support to
the mold or core, or change the flling
pattern to balance the injection forces.
MOLD VENTING
As molten plastic enters the mold,
it quickly displaces air in the tightly
sealed mold. Although some air escapes
through the parting line or loose-ftting
ejectors or slides, most molds need
strategically placed vents for rapid
and complete air removal. This section
discusses vent design and placement.
Parting-Line Vents
As a frst choice, place vents along the
mold parting line. Typically easy to cut
and keep clear of material, vents in the
parting line provide a direct pathway
for air escaping the mold.
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Vent Placement Figure 7-15
Parting-line vents were positioned along the perimeter
of this cavity insert. Extra vents were directed to
corners opposite the gate that flls last.
Vent Depth Figure 7-14
Vent Placement
Vents should be placed at various
locations along the runner system and
part perimeter, but they are especially
needed at the last areas of the mold to
fll (see fgure 7-5). Typically these
areas are located on the parting line
and lie farthest from the gate. When
the last area to fll is not vented, air
may become trapped in the mold,
preventing complete flling of the
cavity and causing a gas burn on the
part. The trapped air is super heated
during compression and in severe cases
can pit or erode the mold steel.
Figure 7-4 shows standard parting-
line vent guidelines for LANXESS
plastic resins. To prevent material from
fowing into the vent during flling,
the depth of the frst 0.50 inch to
0.00 inch of vent length must be
small, typically less than 0.000 inch
for amorphous resins and less than
0.005 inch for semi-crystalline resins.
Your resin selection and processing
conditions determine the vent’s
maximum depth. The ranges given in
fgure 7-4 apply to typical molding
conditions. Other rules of thumb for
venting:
• The amount of venting needed
increases with part volume and
flling speed;
• Add more vents or widen existing
ones to increase venting; and
• To avoid fash, do not increase vent
depth beyond the guidelines.
For the vast majority of resins and part
geometries, more vents are better. The
exceptions are resins with components
— usually fame retardants or other
additives — that can boil to the surface
at the fow front and deposit on the
mold surface and vents. These resins
rely on pressurized air in front of the
fow front to hold volatiles in the
material. Over-venting can prevent the
fow front from generating the required
pressure.
Add vents sparingly in molds for these
materials. Carefully review LANXESS’s
Product Information Bulletin for
specifc venting recommendations,
particularly for fame-retarded
materials.
130
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Part features produced by blind holes
in the mold, such as posts and bosses,
require venting at the last area to fll,
usually the tip or end. Bosses can
usually vent along the core insert
forming the inside diameter of the boss.
Posts usually require ejector-pin vents
at the tip of the post. Other venting
issues you should address:
• Direct mold flling along the length
of the rib so gasses can escape at
the ends; and
• Round or angle the ends of
standing ribs to prevent air
entrapment (see fgure - in
Chapter ).
Air trapped in unvented pockets or
recesses in the mold can exit these
areas behind the fow front and lead
to splay or teardrop-shaped surface
defects.
When feasible, move gates or vary part
thickness to change the flling pattern
and direct air to parting-line vents. If
air-trap areas persist, consider using
ejector pins modifed with fats for
venting (see fgure 7-6). Ejector-pin
vents usually self clean with each
ejection stroke. Air-trap areas not
accessible by ejector-pin vents may
require vents placed along mold inserts
or splits in the mold. This type of vent
usually requires periodic disassembly
for cleaning. Porous metal inserts
can also provide venting for diffcult
air-trap areas but may require periodic
cleaning.
Overfow Well Figure 7-17
Overfow wells can improve the strength and
appearance of weld lines.
Ejector-Pin Vent Figure 7-16
Ejector pin in forward position showing
fats added to provide venting.
Severe weld lines often form where
fow streams meet head on, especially
at the end of fll. You can often
improve the strength and appearance of
these weld lines by installing overfow
wells (see fgure 7-7). Overfow wells
are modifed vent features that provide
an extra-deep vent channel, usually
about one-third the part thickness,
that empties into a cylindrical well.
Venting air escapes the well around
a shortened ejector pin ftted with a
0.00 inch clearance. Cool material at
the leading edge of the advancing fow
fronts merges and enters the overfow
well leaving hotter material to mix and
fuse at the weld line. The overfow well
is ejected with the part and clipped off
after molding. Overfow wells can also
provide ejector-pin locations for parts
such as clock faces or instrument lenses
that cannot tolerate ejector-pin marks
on the part surface.
131
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Sprue Brushing Figure 7-18
Sprue bushings convey the melt from the press nozzle tip to the
mold parting line.
SPRUES, RUNNERS, AND GATES
Standard horizontal clamp presses
deliver molten resin to the mold
through a hole in the center of the
stationary press platen. A material
delivery system — usually consisting
of a sprue, runners, and gates — then
leads the resin through the mold and
into the cavity. These components
of the material delivery system are
discussed in this section.
Sprues

The sprue, oriented parallel to the press
injection unit, delivers resin to the
desired depth into the mold, usually the
parting line. Though they can be cut
directly into the mold, sprue bushings
are usually purchased as off-the-shelf
items and inserted into the mold (see
fgure 7-8). The head end of the sprue
bushing comes pre-machined with a
spherical recess — typically 0.5- or 0.75
inch radius — to receive and seal off
against the rounded tip of the press
injection nozzle. The sprue bushing
fow-channel diameter typically tapers
larger toward the parting line at a rate
of 0.5 inch per foot. This eases removal
of the molded sprue. The sprue orifce
size, the diameter at the small end,
comes standard in odd /s from 5/
to / inch.
Sprue design can affect molding
effciency and ease of processing. In
many molds, the greatest restriction
to material fow occurs at the press
nozzle tip and sprue orifce. These areas
see the highest volumetric fow rate
of the entire system. An excessively
small sprue orifce can generate large
amounts of material shear and lead
to material degradation, cosmetic
problems, and elevated flling pressure.
The problem can be worse in the press
nozzle tip because the tip orifce must
be slightly smaller than the sprue
orifce to avoid forming an undercut.
The volumetric fow rate used during
flling largely determines the correct
sprue orifce size. Shot size and flling
speed, as well as the fow properties of
the specifc resin, govern the required
fow rate.
132
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• Large parts and/or parts needing
fast flling speeds require large
sprue orifce diameters to avoid
problems associated with excessive
fow shear.
• As a general rule, amorphous resins
and blends such as Lustran SAN,
Lustran and Novodur ABS, Centrex
ASA resins require larger sprues
and runners than semi-crystalline
resins such as Durethan PA 6 and
Pocan PBT.
Figure 7-9 shows typical sprue sizes
for LANXESS amorphous resins as a
function of shot size and flling time.
Because the maximum shear rate in
a sprue occurs at the orifce and the
majority of shear heating and pressure
loss takes place in the frst two inches,
these guidelines should apply to sprues
of various lengths. Part geometry
infuences flling time to some extent.
For example, parts with a mix of thick
and thin features may need a fast flling
speed to prevent premature cooling of
the thin features. Other geometries may
require slower flling speeds to prevent
problems such as cosmetic defects or
excessive clamp tonnage requirements.
Figure 7-19
Sprue-size (small end
diameter) recommendations
as a function of shot volume
and fll time.
The diameter at the base of the sprue
increases with increasing sprue
length. Standard sprue taper, typically
one-half inch per foot, leads to large
base diameters in long sprues. For
example, a 6 inch sprue with a 7/
inch orifce diameter will have nearly a
0.5 inch diameter at the base. This large
base diameter lengthens cooling and
cycle times and also leads to regrind
problems.
Hot sprue bushings provide one
solution to this problem. Hot sprue
bushings have a heated fow channel
that transports material along its
length in molten form, eliminating
or shortening the molded cold sprue.
Additionally, some molds rely on
extension press nozzles that reach deep
into the mold to reduce sprue length.
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Runners
Unlike sprues, which deliver material
depth-wise through the center of the
mold plates, runners typically transport
material through channels machined
into the parting line. Runner design
infuences part quality and molding
effciency. Overly thick runners can
lengthen cycle time needlessly and
increase costs associated with regrind.
Conversely, thin runners can cause
excessive flling pressures and related
processing problems. The optimum
runner design requires a balance
between ease of flling, mold design
feasibility, and runner volume.
Material passing through the runner
during mold flling forms a frozen wall
layer as the mold steel draws heat from
the melt. This layer restricts the fow
channel and increases the pressure
drop through the runner. Round
cross-section runners minimize contact
with the mold surface and generate
the smallest percentage of frozen
layer cross-sectional area. As runner
designs deviate from round, they
become less effcient (see fgure 7-0).
Round runners require machining in
both halves of the mold, increasing
the potential for mismatch and fow
restriction. A good alternative, the
“round-bottomed” trapezoid, requires
machining in just one mold half.
Essentially a round cross section
with sides tapered by fve degrees
for ejection, this design is nearly as
effcient as the full-round design.
The runner system often accounts for
more than 40% of the pressure required
to fll the mold. Because much of this
pressure drop can be attributed to
runner length, optimize the route to
each gate to minimize runner length.
For example, replace cornered paths
with diagonals or reorient the cavity to
shorten the runner.
Runner thickness has a direct effect
on flling pressure, cycle time, packing,
and runner volume. The optimum
runner diameter depends on a variety
of factors including part volume, part
thickness, flling speed and pressure,
runner length, and material viscosity.
Runner Cross Sections Figure 7-20
Full round runners provide the most effcient fow.
• For suffcient packing, make
runners at least as thick as the part
nominal wall thickness.
• Increase runner thickness for long
runners and runners subjected to
high volumetric fow rates.
• Amorphous resins typically
require larger runners than semi-
crystalline resins.
134
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Rounding up, the secondary runner
diameter becomes /6 inch. The
methods outlined above for calculating
runner diameters usually generate
reasonable, but not necessarily
optimum, runner sizes. Consider
computerized mold-flling analysis to
achieve a higher level of optimization.
r
sec
= (r
prim

÷ )
/
so
r
sec
= (0.5

÷ )
/
and d
sec
= 0.77
where r = radius and d = diameter
Figures 7- and 7- provide a
means for estimating primary-runner
diameters based on volumetric fow
rate and runner length. Calculate the
fow rate by dividing the part volume
of material passing through the runner
segment by the anticipated flling time.
For example a primary runner section
feeding half of a 6 in

part, with an
anticipated flling time of seconds,
would have a volumetric fow rate of
in

/sec. Use fgure 7- for amorphous
LANXESS resins, and fgure 7- for
semi-crystalline LANXESS resins.
Amorphous-Runner Diameters Figure 7-21
Runner-diameter guidelines based on volumetric fow rate
and runner length.
Semi-crystalline Runner Diameters Figure 7-22
As an approximation, calculate
secondary-runner diameters so that
the total cross-sectional area of the
secondary runners equals the cross-
sectional area of the primary runner,
and then round up to the nearest
standard cutter size. For example, to
calculate diameters for two secondary
runners branching from a 0.5 inch
primary runner, frst solve for a runner
diameter with half the cross-sectional
area of the 0.5 inch primary runner:

Runner-diameter guidelines based on volumetric fow rate
and runner length.
135
Chapter 7
MOLD DESIGN
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Runners for Multi-cavity Molds
Runners for multi-cavity molds require
special attention. Runners for family
molds, molds producing different
parts of an assembly in the same
shot, should be designed so that all
parts fnish flling at the same time.
This reduces overpacking and/or fash
formation in the cavities that fll frst,
leading to less shrinkage variation and
fewer part-quality problems. Consider
computerized mold-flling analysis to
adjust gate locations and/or runner
section lengths and diameters to
achieve balanced fow to each cavity
(see fgure 7-). The same computer
techniques balance fow within multi-
gated parts. Molds producing multiples
of the same part should also provide
balanced fow to the ends of each
cavity. Naturally balanced runners
provide an equal fow distance from
the press nozzle to the gate on each
cavity. Spoked-runner designs (see
fgure 7-4) work well for tight clusters
of small cavities. However they become
less effcient as cavity spacing increases
because of cavity number or size.
Spoked Runners Figure 7-24
The spoked runner on the right provides a cold slug well at
the end of each primary runner branch.
Family Mold Figure 7-23
The runner diameter feeding the smaller part was reduced
to balance flling.
136
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Often, it makes more sense to orient
cavities in rows rather than circles.
Rows of cavities generally have
branched runners consisting of a
primary main feed channel and a
network of secondary or tertiary
runners to feed each cavity. To be
naturally balanced, the fow path to
each cavity must be of equal length
and make the same number and type of
turns and splits. This generally limits
cavity number to an integer power of
two — , 4, 8, 6, , etc. — as shown
in fgure 7-5. Generally, the runner
diameter decreases after each split in
response to the decreased number of
cavities sharing that runner segment.
Assuming a constant fow rate feeding
the mold, the fow-front velocity in
the cavity halves after each split. The
molding press fow-rate performance
may limit the number of cavities that
can be simultaneously molded if the
press cannot maintain an adequate
fow-front velocity.
Naturally Balanced Runners Figure 7-25
Naturally balanced runners for cavities in two rows.
137
Chapter 7
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Runners for three-plate molds (see
fgures 7-A through 7-C) initially
convey material along the runner-split
parting line and then burrow perpen-
dicularly through the middle plate to
the cavity parting line. Tapered drops
typically project from the main runner
to pinpoint gates on the part surface.
To ease removal from the mold, these
drops taper smaller toward the gate
at a rate of about 0.5 inch per foot.
Avoid long drops because the taper
can lead to excessive thickness at the
runner junction or fow restriction
at the thin end. Three-plate runners
usually require sucker pins or some
other feature to hold the runner on the
stripper plate until the drops clear the
center plate during mold opening. Be
sure these features do not restrict fow.
See fgure 7-7 for three-plate runner
and gate-design guidelines.
Runner Balancing Figure 7-26
The artifcially balanced runner
achieves fow balance by adjusting
runner diameters instead of by
maintaining uniform runner length.
Three-Plate Runner Figure 7-27
Three-plate runner system guidelines.
Artifcially balanced runners provide
balanced flling and can greatly reduce
runner volume. Artifcially balanced
designs usually adjust runner-segment
diameters to compensate for differences
in runner fow length. For instance,
in ladder runners, the most common
artifcially balanced runner design,
a primary runner feeds two rows
of cavities through equal-length
secondary runners. The diameters of
these secondary runners are made
progressively smaller for the cavities
with shortest runner fow distance (see
fgure 7-6). These designs require
enough secondary runner length to
fow balance using reasonable runner
diameters.
• As a general rule, secondary runner
length should be no less than /5
the fow distance from the inboard
secondary/primary runner junction
to the gates on the outboard
cavities.
138
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Gates
Except for special cases, such as
sprue-gated systems which have no
runner sections, gates connect the
runner to the part. Gates perform two
major functions, both of which require
the thickness to be less than the runner
and part wall. First, gates freeze-off
and prevent pressurized material in the
cavity from backing through the gate
after the packing and holding phases
of injection. Applied pressure from the
press injection unit can stop earlier
in the cycle, before the part or runner
system solidifes, saving energy and
press wear-and-tear. Secondly, gates
provide a reduced thickness area for
easier separation of the part from the
runner system.
A variety of gate designs feed directly
into the parting line. The common
edge gate (see fgure 7-8) typically
projects from the end of the runner and
feeds the part via a rectangular gate
opening. When designing edge gates,
limit the land length, the distance
from the end or edge of the runner to
the part edge, to no more than 0.060
inch for LANXESS plastics. Edge gates
generate less fow shear and consume
less pressure than most self-degating
designs. They are therefore preferred for
shear-sensitive materials, high-viscosity
materials, highly cosmetic applications,
and large-volume parts.
Common Edge Gate Figure 7-28
Common edge-gate guidelines.
Variations of the Edge Gate Figure 7-29
Fan gates and chisel gates can provide better cosmetics in
some applications.
Fan gates and chisel gates, variations
of the edge gate, fare wider from the
runner (see fgure 7-9) to increase
the gate width. Chisel gates can
provide better packing and cosmetics
than standard edge gates on some
thick-walled parts. Like the standard
edge gate, the land length for fan gates
should not exceed 0.060 inch at the
narrowest point. Chisel gates taper
from the runner to the part edge with
little or no straight land area. Edge
gates can also extend to tabs (see fgure
7-0) that are removed after molding
or hidden in assembly. These tab
gates allow quick removal of the gate
without concern about gate appearance.
139
Chapter 7
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Edge gates may also extend from the
side of a runner oriented parallel to
the part edge (see fgure 7-). This
design, coupled with a “Z”-style runner,
tends to reduce gate blush by providing
uniform fow along the width of the
gate and a cold-slug well at the end
of the runner. To hide the large gate
vestige left by large edge gates, the gate
can extend under the edge as shown in
fgure 7-.
Tab Gate Figure 7-30
The gate tab can be hidden in the assembly or trimmed off
after molding.
“Z” Runner Figure 7-31
Edge gate from the side of a “Z” runner.
Gate Under the Edge Figure 7-32
This gate can be trimmed without leaving a gate mark on the
cosmetic part surface.
140
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Knockout-Pin Gate Figure 7-33
Tunnel gates that extend below the parting line on the
ejector side of the mold degate during ejection.
Stationary-Side Tunnel Gate Figure 7-34
Tunnel gates into non-ejector side of the mold degate and
separate from the part during mold opening.
Because they extend under the mold
parting surfaces, tunnel gates can
reach surfaces or features that are
not located on the parting line. The
gates typically feed surfaces oriented
perpendicular to the mold face.
Depending upon their design, they
degate during ejection or mold opening
(see fgures 7- and 7-4). Tunnel
gates that degate during mold opening
often require a sucker pin or a feature
similar to a sprue puller to hold the
runner on the ejector half of the mold.
The runner must fex for the gate to
clear the undercut in the mold steel.
The gate may break or lock in the mold
if the runner is too stiff or if the ejector
pin is too close to the gate. Normally,
the ejector pin should be at least two
runner diameters away from the base of
the gate.
141
Chapter 7
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The orifce edge closest to the parting
line must remain sharp to shear the
gate cleanly. When molding abrasive
materials such as those flled with
glass or mineral, make the gate of
hardened or specially treated mold
steel to reduce wear. Also, consider
fabricating the gate on an insert for
easy replacement. The drop angle and
conical angle must be large enough to
facilitate easy ejection (see fgure 7-5).
Stiff materials, glass-flled grades
for example, generally require drop
angles and conical angles at the high
side of the range shown in the fgure.
The modifed-tunnel gate design (see
fgure 7-6) maintains a large fow
diameter up to the gate shear-off point
to reduce pressure loss and excessive
shear heating.
Curved-tunnel gates permit gating
into the underside of surfaces that
are oriented parallel to the parting
plane (see fgure 7-7). Unlike mold
fabrication for conventional tunnel
gates, the curved, undercut shape of
this design must be machined or EDM
burned on the surface of a split gate
insert. The curved gate must uncurl as
the runner advances on guided posts
during ejection.
Tunnel-Gate Confguration Figure 7-35
Standard tunnel-gate guidelines.
Modifed Tunnel-Gate Confguration Figure 7-36
Modifed tunnel-gate guidelines.
Curved-Tunnel Gate Figure 7-37
Curved-tunnel gates can reach past the fnished
edge to the underside of surfaces oriented parallel
to the parting plane.
142
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Other Gate Designs
Pinpoint gates feed directly into part
surfaces lying parallel to the mold
parting plane. On the ends of three-
plate runner drops, multiple pinpoint
gates can help reduce fow length on
large parts and allow gating into areas
that are inaccessible from the part
perimeter. For clean de-gating, the gate
design must provide a positive break-
off point (see fgure 7-40) to minimize
gate vestige. Set in recesses or hidden
under labels, properly designed and
maintained pinpoint gates seldom
require trimming. Because gate size
must also be kept small, typically less
than a 0.080 inch diameter, pinpoint
gates may not provide suffcient
packing for parts with thick wall
sections.
Curved-Tunnel-Gate Design Guidelines Figure 7-39
The curved tunnel gate needs a well-defned break-off point
for clean de-gating.
This gate design works well for unflled
materials that remain somewhat
fexible at ejection temperature such as
Lustran ABS and amorphous blends.
Avoid this gate for flled materials,
brittle materials, or materials with very
high stiffness. See fgures 7-8 and
7-9 for curved-tunnel gate design
guidelines.
Curved-Tunnel-Gate Guidelines Figure 7-38
143
Chapter 7
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Pinpoint Gate Figure 7-40
Both of these pinpoint gate designs provide a well-defned
break-off point for clean de-gating. Design permitting,
pinpoint gates should be placed in recessed gate wells to
accommodate gate vestige.
Filter-Bowl Gate Figure 7-41
Typical flter-bowl gate avoids knit-lines and provides even
fow around the core..
Diaphragm Gate Figure 7-42
The diaphragm gate, which extends from the center disk to
the inside of the cylinder, must be removed in a secondary
step.
Parts with holes in the center such
as flter bowls, gears, and fans often
use the “flter-bowl” gate design to
provide symmetrical flling without
knit-lines. Typically, the gate extends
directly from a sprue and feeds the
cavity through a continuous gate into
the edge of the hole (see fgure 7-4).
De-gating involves trimming away
the sprue and conical gate section
fush with the outer surface. Another
design variation, the diaphragm gate,
feeds the inside edge of the hole from
a circumferential edge gate extending
from a center disk (see fgure 7-4).
De-gating usually involves punching or
drilling through the hole.
144
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Materials differ in the maximum
shear rate they can tolerate before
problems occur. Table 7- lists the
suggested shear-rate limits for a variety
of LANXESS resins. Shear-related
problems seldom occur below these
limits.
To minimize packing and gate shear
problems:
• Set edge-gate thickness according
to the packing rules and adjust
the width to achieve an acceptable
gate shear rate;
• Adjust the diameter of round gates,
such as tunnel gates and pinpoint
gates, based upon the packing
rules or on the size needed to stay
within the shear-rate limits of the
material: whichever is larger; and
• Increase the quantity of gates if the
calculated gate size is too large to
degate cleanly.
Bulk Shear-Rate Limits Table 7-1
Gate Optimization
Factors affecting optimum gate size
include part thickness, part volume,
flling speed, material properties,
and number of gates. Gate thickness
controls packing ability. For proper
packing, gates must remain open
and free from freeze-off long enough
to inject additional material during
packing to compensate for shrinkage.
In general:
• Unflled materials require gates
that are at least half as thick as the
part.
• Use gates that are two-thirds the
part thickness for highly cosmetic
parts or parts that could exhibit
read through from features such as
ribs and bosses.
• Glass- and/or mineral-flled nylons
may pack suffciently with gates
as small as one-third the wall
thickness.
The volumetric fow rate through the
gate may dictate gate sizes larger than
needed for packing alone. High fow
rates in gates can generate excessive
shear rates and shear heating, damaging
the material and leading to a variety of
molding problems.
Thin-walled parts — those with nominal
wall thicknesses less than .5 mm
— often require disproportionately large
gates to accommodate the very high
flling speeds needed for flling.
Gate diameters that are greater than
80% of the wall thickness are often
required to prevent excessive gate shear.
Ideally these gates should feed into
thickened wells that ease fow from the
gate into the part wall sections. Hot-
runner valve gates are often required to
achieve the required gate size without
excessive gate vestige.

Volumetric fow rate and gate size
control shear rate in the gate. Bulk shear
rate in the gate is roughly proportional
to the volumetric fow rate. Reducing
the flling speed or fow rate by half
reduces the shear rate by about half.
The effect of gate size on bulk shear
rate depends on the gate geometry. For
example, increasing the diameter of a
round gate by 5% cuts the shear rate
to half. For rectangular gates, doubling
the width or increasing the thickness
by about 40% reduces the shear rate by
half.
Computer fow analysis can take into
account the best flling-speed and
injection-velocity profle for a given
system when calculating the maximum
shear rate encountered in the gate. A
less accurate but simpler method is
to calculate bulk shear rate using an
estimated, uniform volumetric fow rate
in the appropriate shear-rate formula:
Where:
Q = fow rate (in/sec)
r = gate radius (in)
w = gate width (in)
t = gate thickness (in)
Note: See fgure 7-8 for edge gate
nomenclature.
To calculate fow rate, divide the
volume passing through the gate by
the estimated time to fll the cavity.
For parts with multiple gates, this will
mean assigning a portion of the part
volume to each gate. Note that the
rectangular gate formula becomes more
accurate when the gate width is much
greater than the gate thickness.
shear rate = 4Q/πr

for round gates
shear rate = 6Q/wt

for rectangular gates
145
Chapter 7
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Gate Position
Gate position can have a direct impact
on part moldability, performance,
appearance, and cost. The location
of the gate determines the flling
pattern and maximum material fow
length. Ideally the gate would be
positioned to balance flling and
minimize fow length, typically near
the center of the part or at strategic
intervals for multi-gated parts. Often
these best gate locations for flling are
unacceptable for other reasons. For
example, they might result in unsightly
gate marks or weld lines in cosmetic
areas, or increase mold construction
costs. Cavity layout restrictions and
mechanisms in the mold such as slides
or lifters may also restrict gating to
less-than-ideal locations. The best gate
position is often a compromise between
molding ease and effciency, part
performance and appearance, and mold
design feasibility. The Applications
Engineering Group at LANXESS
Corporation has the experience and
resources to assist you in choosing the
optimum gate locations.
Gate position determines the flling
pattern and resulting fow orientation.
Plastics typically exhibit greater
strength in the fow direction. Glass
fber- flled plastics can often withstand
more than twice the level of applied
stress in the fow direction as in the
cross-fow direction. Keep this in mind
when choosing gate locations for parts
subjected to mechanical loads. When
feasible:
• Position gates to direct flling in
the direction of applied stress and
strain.
Flow orientation also affects part
shrinkage in the mold. Shrinkage in
unflled plastics, which tend to shrink
just a little more in the fow direction
than in the cross-fow direction, is only
slightly affected by fow orientation.
Flow orientation has a large effect on
fber-flled plastics, which typically
exhibit two or three times as much
shrinkage in the cross-fow direction.
As general rules:
• To minimize warpage and
dimensional problems in glass-
flled plastics, position the gates to
provide uniform fow orientation
along the part length.
• In parts with varying thickness,
always try to gate into the thickest
sections to avoid packing problems
and sink.
Avoid thin-to-thick flling scenarios.
When gating must feed a thinner wall,
consider adding a thickened channel or
fow leader from the gate to the thicker
wall sections to facilitate packing and
minimize shrinkage variations. The
advancing fow front in parts with
thick and thin wall section will often
hesitate in the thin walls until the
thicker walls have flled. This fow
hesitation can lead to freeze-off and
incomplete flling of the thin-wall
section. Often, positioning the gate so
that the thinnest walls are near the
end of fll reduces the hesitation time,
enabling the thin sections to fll. This is
particularly helpful in thin-walled parts
which are prone to fow-hesitation
problems.
Gates typically generate elevated levels
of molded-in stress in the part area
near the gate. Also, gate removal often
leaves scratches or notches that can act
as stress concentrators that weaken the
area. For these reasons:
• Avoid gating into or near areas
that will be subject to high levels
of applied stress such as screw
bosses, snap arms or attachment
points.
The fow length resulting from the
chosen gate locations must not exceed
the fow capabilities of the material.
Check the calculated fow length,
usually the shortest distance from the
gate to the last area to fll, against
the published spiral fow data for
the material. Consider computerized
mold-flling analysis if the fow
length is marginal or if the wall
thickness varies or is outside the range
of published spiral fow data. Flow
leaders, thickened areas extending
from the gate toward the last areas to
fll, can aid flling without thickening
the entire part. See Chapter for more
information on fow leaders.
The pressure imbalance from uneven
fow around long, unsupported cores
can bend or shift the cores within the
mold. This core shift increases the wall
thickness on the side nearest the gate
and reduces the wall thickness opposite
the gate. In severe cases, this can lead
to non-fll opposite the gate and/or
mold opening or ejection problems as
the core springs back after flling and
pinches the thicker wall. Such parts
require symmetric gating around the
core or wall-thickness adjustments to
balance fow around the core.
146
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HOT-RUNNER SYSTEMS
Hot-runner systems use heated or
insulated channels to transport molten
resin through the mold, delivering it
directly into the mold cavity or to a
cold-runner system. Used to eliminate
or reduce cold-runner size and runner
regrind, hot runners add to mold
construction and maintenance costs,
and can complicate processing and
mold startup procedures. Properly
designed hot runners effciently
distribute fow to widely dispersed
gates with little pressure loss or melt
temperature change. They also facilitate
gating in areas inaccessible from
parting line runners and gates. This
section discusses hot-runner design
issues.
Internally vs. Externally Figure 7-43
Heated Hot Runners
Unlike externally heated systems, internally heated hot-
runner systems form a cool layer of stagnant material along
the outer surface of the fow channel.
Hot-Runner Designs
Commercially available in a wide
array of standard designs, hot-runner
systems range from simple, hot sprue
bushings costing a few hundred dollars
to large, valve-gated, sequential-flling
designs costing tens of thousands
of dollars. Most hot runners consist
of a center drop that receives melt
from the press nozzle, a manifold to
distribute fow parallel to the mold
face, and drops that move material
perpendicularly through the mold
plate to the mold cavity or cold
runner. Zones of electrical-resistant
heaters maintain uniform melt
temperature throughout the system via
separate temperature controllers and
strategically placed thermocouples.
The many wires feeding the heaters
and thermocouples are usually guided
through channels or conduits in the
mold to prevent shorting or pinching
of the wires between mold plates.
Pinched thermocouple wires can cause
erroneous temperature measurements
and lead to excessive heater
temperatures and degraded material.
In addition to resistance heaters, some
designs use high-conductivity metals
and/or heat pipes to distribute heat.
Hot-runner systems are available in
both externally and internally heated
confgurations (see fgure 7-4).
Externally heated designs maintain
the temperature through heat supplied
from outside the molten fow channel.
These systems rely on heaters or
thermal conductors attached to the
outside of the hot-runner components
or encapsulated, embedded, or inserted
under the metal surface. Internally
heated designs typically maintain melt
temperature by way of torpedo heaters
or heated probes placed inside the fow
channel.
Although both types of hot runners
have been used successfully with
LANXESS engineering thermoplastics,
internally heated designs have an
inherent disadvantage in some
applications. Internally heated fow
channels tend to form a stagnant layer
of material on the cooler outer surface
of the fow channels. Over time, this
material can degrade and produce
black specks, brown streaks, and other
cosmetic problems in molded parts. The
same problems can occur in all types of
hot-runner systems if the fow channels
are not streamlined to prevent material
hang-up at trouble spots such as corner
plugs and the transitions between
components.
• Avoid internally heated designs
when molding transparent or
heat-sensitive materials, or when
surface cosmetics are critical.
• Streamline fow channels to
eliminate areas in the hot runner
where material could hang-up and
degrade.
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Hot-Runner Gates
Molten materials exit the hot-runner
system through gates at the ends of
the heated drops. In conventional
hot-runner gates, the material in the
hot-drop tip must solidify just enough
to prevent material leakage or drool
through the gate between injection
cycles. Conversely, if it solidifes too
much and forms a large cold slug,
it may leave blemishes on the next
molded part. To achieve the optimum
balance, one of the most challenging
aspects of hot-runner design, you must
control heat transfer into and out of the
area where the hot-drop tips contact
the mold.
Many factors determine the rate of
heat transfer, including the molding
material, the tip orifce size and shape,
the proximity of cooling channels, melt
temperature, and cycle time. Many
designs minimize the drop-to-mold
contact area or insulate the tip to
reduce heat loss to the mold. In some
designs, the frst material shot through
the hot-runner system flls a gap at the
tip of the drop and forms an insulating
layer of plastic (see fgure 7-44). This
plastic layer remains in place until
the tip is removed for service. Because
the insulating layer can degrade in
time and release burnt material into
the melt stream, avoid this design for
transparent parts and any part that
cannot tolerate occasional streaks or
black specks. Contact your hot-runner
manufacturer for guidance in selecting
the best tip design for your material
and application.
Hot-runner gates come in a variety of
styles. Mini-sprue gates (see fgure
7-45) are one of the most popular
designs for high-viscosity, amorphous
engineering plastics. Because they
isolate the heated portion of the drop
further from the mold surface, mini-
sprue gates usually do not develop the
heat build up and dull gate blemish
problems associated with some designs.
Mini-sprue gates form a short sprue on
the runner or part.
Insulated Tips Figure 7-44
Some hot-tip gate designs rely on an insulating layer of the
molding material to control heat transfer at the tip. These
designs are not suitable for all applications.
Free-Flow Gates Figure 7-45
Free-fowing gate designs provide the large orifce sizes
and low shear rates required by many high-viscosity
amorphous resins.
148
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Reduced-Vestige Gate Figure 7-46
A stationary probe in the reduced-vestige gate helps the
gate break cleanly. In the closed position, the valve pin in the
valve gate leaves a ring similar to an ejector-pin mark.
Standard free-fowing gates typically
leave a short gate vestige, which may
require trimming. Some anti-vestige
designs rely on annular fow around
unheated probes in the tip to promote
cleaner gate separation with less
vestige (see fgure 7-46).
• Amorphous engineering resins
— including PC blends, ABS, and
SAN — tend to experience fewer
problems with free-fowing gate
types.
• Crystalline resins — including PA
6, PA 66 and PBT — are generally
more tolerant of restrictive,
reduced vestige gate designs, but
require careful temperature control
to prevent freeze-off or drooling.
• Direct mold cooling to the gate
area, both on the gate side and side
opposite the gate, to prevent heat
buildup and variations in gloss on
the part surface.
Valve Gates
Some hot-runner designs feature
mechanical shutoffs to prevent
leakage or drool. Rather than relying
on delicate control of temperature
and heat transfer to seal the gate
between injection cycles, valve-gated
hot runners use hydraulically or
pneumatically driven valves to
close the gate orifce mechanically.
These valves provide positive gate
shutoff, offer freedom from drool,
and accommodate very large gates.
Valves designed to shutoff fush with
the mold surface produce no gate
vestige and leave only a ring witness
mark similar to an ejector-pin mark.
Additionally, mechanical shutoff
designs offer the option to open gates
sequentially to maintain a continuous
fow front over long distances without
knit-lines. Drawbacks of valve-gated
systems include higher cost, frequent
maintenance, and increased mold
complexity.
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THERMAL EXPANSION AND
ISOLATION
Because of the high operating
temperatures of hot-runner systems,
typically between 400 and 600°F
for LANXESS resins, you must
address both thermal expansion and
thermal isolation within the mold.
Usually, hot runners are fxed at the
manifold centering ring and at the
end of each hot drop. The design must
accommodate the substantial growth of
the system between these fxed points
as the components heat and expand
during startup. Systems with short
drops often have a sliding ft between
the drop and the manifold to allow for
expansion. Designs with long drops
may simply allow the drops to fex.


The length of the hot drops also grows
signifcantly during startup. Some
designs only create a positive seal
at the tip of the drop when at the
intended operating temperature. Plastic
injected before the drop reaches this
temperature could fow into the gap
between the hot-runner drop and the
mold plate, creating a messy problem.
Hot-runner manufacturers calculate
the expansion and make expansion
provisions based on the hot-runner
confguration and anticipated operating
temperatures.
Hot-Runner-Channel Pressure Gradients Figure 7-47
Use this graph to calculate the pressure drop per inch of
heated hot-runner channel.
To avoid excessive heat loss to the
mold, minimize metal-to-metal
contact between the heated hot-runner
components and the mold. When
feasible, use materials with low
thermal conductivity at the contact
points. In addition to an insulating
air gap around the hot-runner system,
some designs surround the heated
components with insulating material
and/or infrared refectors.
150
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Flow Channel Size
As in cold-runner systems, fow
channels and gates require proper
sizing for optimum performance.
Generally hot-runner gate sizes
should follow the size guidelines for
cold-runner gates outlined in the
gate-optimization section of this
chapter. With regrind or runner waste
not a concern, hot-runner channels
can be considerably larger than cold
runners and consequently consume less
pressure.
Figure 7-47 shows the approximate
correlation between pressure gradient
and fow rate at various diameters for a
range of LANXESS engineering resins.
To estimate the pressure drop through a
given hot-runner channel section, frst
calculate the fow rate in that section
by dividing the volume of material,
in cubic inches, fed by that section by
the number of seconds required to fll
the mold. Then read from the graph
the pressure gradient corresponding
to the fow rate and channel size.
To estimate the pressure drop in psi,
multiply the channel length in inches
by the pressure gradient. The pressure-
gradient range for a given fow rate
and channel diameter correlates to the
range of material viscosities. Use the
lower pressure gradient values for low-
viscosity materials such as Durethan PA
6 and higher values for high-viscosity
grades.
Most hot-runner systems are naturally
balanced and provide an equal fow
distance to each hot-runner gate.
As the hot-runner channels branch
off to form secondary or tertiary
channels, the channel diameters can
become smaller to accommodate
the corresponding drop in material
throughput. Unbalanced confgurations
— for example a row of drops fed from
a common manifold channel — need
Stagnant Flow Figure 7-48
Improper fow-channel design
and construction can result
in stagnant-fow areas where
material can degrade.
careful adjustment of the hot-drop,
fow-channel diameters to balance
fow. Typically, smaller diameters are
assigned to the channels or hot drops
feeding the shorter fow path. The
choice of channel diameters is often
limited to the standard sizes offered
by the hot-runner manufacturer. Most
hot-runner manufacturers will calculate
the required diameters for you. If not,
consider computer fow simulation.
The process of drilling fow channels
can produce dead spaces where
material can stagnate and degrade
(see fgure 7-48). Plug and streamline
the fow in these areas to prevent
black specks, burnt streaks, and
material discoloration. Dead spaces
can also occur at gaps between poorly
ftting components and at unblended
transitions in the fow channel.
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Mold-surface temperature can affect
the surface appearance of many parts.
Hotter mold-surface temperatures
lower the viscosity of the outer resin
layer and enhance replication of the
fne micro-texture on the molding
surface. This can lead to reduced gloss
at higher mold-surface temperatures.
In glass-fber-reinforced materials,
higher mold-surface temperatures
encourage formation of a resin-rich
surface skin. This skin covers the fbers,
reducing their silvery appearance on
the part surface. Uneven cooling causes
variations in mold-surface temperature
that can lead to non-uniform part-
surface appearance.
MOLD COOLING
In thermoplastic molding, the mold
performs three basic functions: forming
molten material into the product
shape, removing heat for solidifcation,
and ejecting the solid part. Of the
three, heat removal usually takes the
longest time and has the greatest
direct effect on cycle time. Despite
this, mold cooling-channel design
often occurs as an afterthought in the
mold-design process; after the feed
system, mold mechanism, and ejection
system designs are already designed.
Consequently, many cooling designs
must accommodate available space and
machining convenience rather than the
thermodynamic needs of the product
and mold. This section discusses mold
cooling, a topic to consider early in the
mold-design process.
Mold-Cooling Considerations
Good mold-cooling design maintains
the required mold temperature,
provides uniform cooling, and achieves
short molding cycles. Optimizing mold
cooling promotes improved part quality
and cost savings. Improper cooling can
introduce elevated levels of thermal
and shrinkage stresses resulting from
cooling- rate variations throughout the
part. Differences in cooling rate cause
areas to shrink and solidify at different
rates and by different amounts. In
parts made of semi-crystalline resins
such as PA 6 or PBT, the cooling rate
affects the degree of crystallization
and shrinkage. Variations in shrinkage
within the part can lead to warpage,
distortion, and dimensional problems.
Cooling Time vs. Wall Thickness Figure 7-49
152
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Before heat from the melt can be
removed from the mold, it must frst
conduct through the layers of plastic
thickness to reach the mold surface.
Material thermal conductivity and part
wall thickness determine the rate of
heat transfer. Generally good thermal
insulators, plastics conduct heat
much more slowly than typical mold
materials. Cooling time increases as
a function of part thickness squared;
doubling wall thickness quadruples
cooling time.
• Core out thick sections or provide
extra cooling in thick areas to
minimize the effect on cycle time.
Figure 7-49 plots cooling time (to
freeze) versus wall thickness for a
variety of LANXESS plastics assuming
typical mold-cooling conditions.
Once at the cavity wall, heat must
travel through the mold material to
the surface of the cooling channels.
The thermal conductivity of the mold
material and the spacing of the cooling
channels determine heat transfer in
this area. Table 7- shows thermal
conductivity for a variety of mold
materials.
• Avoid low-conductivity mold
materials, such as stainless steel,
when fast cycles and effcient
cooling are important.
Thermal Conductivity of Various Figure 7-47
Mold Materials at 68°F
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Cooling-Channel Placement
Cooling-channel placement determines
cooling effciency and uniformity.
Positioning the channels too close to
the cavity surface can cause cold spots
and uneven cooling. If they are too far
away, cooling becomes more uniform
but less effcient.
• Place cooling-channel center lines
approximately .5 cooling-channel
diameters away from the mold
cavity surface.
The spacing between adjacent
cooling channels also affects cooling
uniformity.
• As a general rule of thumb, use
center-to-center spacing of no
more than three cooling-channel
diameters (see fgure 7-50).
Because of size and/or machining
constraints, standard round cooling
channels may not be feasible for some
deeply-cored part geometries. Parts
tend to shrink tightly onto deep cores,
separating from the cavity wall. This
separation transfers more heat to the
core.
• Consider using baffes (see fgure
7-0) and bubblers (see fgure 7-5)
to remove heat from deep cores;
• Adjust the bubbler tube or baffe
length for optimum cooling. If
they are too long, fow can become
restricted. If too short, coolant fow
may stagnate at the ends of the
hole; and
• Consider using spiral channels cut
into inserts for large cores (see
fgure 7-5).
IN
O
U
T
Cooling-Line Spacing Figure 7-50
Cooling-line spacing guidelines.
Bubbler Figure 7-51
In bubblers, coolant fows up through a tube and then
cascades down the outside of the tube. Baffes perform a
similar function by splitting the channel with a blade.
Coolant fows up one side of the blade and then down the
other side.
When designing cooling channels,
pay special attention to the sections
of the mold forming inside corners
in the part design to prevent possible
part distortion problems. Corners
place a higher thermal load on this
mold area than on the mold area in
contact with the outside corner (see
fgure 7-5). The resulting heat buildup
slows cooling and shifts the molten
core toward the inside. As the shifted
molten core shrinks and solidifes, it
pulls disproportionately on the inside
corner, leading to corner warpage
and a reduction in corner angle.
This phenomenon causes the classic
hourglass distortion in box shaped
154
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IN
OUT
IN
O
U
T
Improved Corner Cooling Figure 7-54
Illustration of heat distribution through a corner cross
section showing improved cooling with cooling line moved
closer to the inside corner.
Heat Buildup in Corner Figure 7-53
Illustration of heat distribution through the cross section of a
corner showing heat buildup in the corner of the core.
Spiral Cooling Channels Figure 7-52
Round core and cavity cooled via spiral cooling channels.
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Chapter 7
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parts.
There are several possible ways to
correct heat buildup on inside corners
including:
• Moving a cooling line closer to the
hot corner area (see fgure 7-54) to
more effectively remove heat;
• Rounding the corner or using
corner coring to remove material
from the corner and lessen heat
buildup (see fgure 7-55);
• Directing cooling into corners
with bubblers or baffes (see fgure
7-56);
• Using high-conductivity metal
inserts or heat pipes to remove
excess heat and reduce corner
distortion; and
• Placing ejector pins away from
the inside corners. The air-gap
clearance surrounding ejector pins
in corners acts as an insulator and
hinders heat fow out of the corner.
Corner Cooling Figure 7-55
Rounding the corner or removing material from the corner
lessens the heat buildup in the corner steel.
Ejectors in Corners Figure 7-56
Ejector pins in corners act as thermal insulators that can
aggravate heat buildup and corner warpage. It is better to
direct cooling to the corners and provide ejection via ejector
sleeves or rails.
156
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Cooling-Line Confguration
Cooling lines can be arranged in series
or parallel confgurations (see fgure
7-57). Cooling lines in parallel circuits
share the coolant delivered by the mold
temperature controller. Assuming equal
pressure drop per line, the coolant fow
rate- per-line approximately equals
the total fow rate delivered by the
temperature controller divided by the
number of parallel lines connected to
it. For example, a 0 gallon-per-minute
control unit would deliver about .5
gallons per minute to each of eight
equal parallel cooling lines.
Slight differences in pressure drop
between parallel lines can cause
large differences in coolant fow
rate and potential cooling problems.
Series circuits avoid this problem by
maintaining a uniform coolant fow
rate throughout the circuit. On the
other hand, a large rise in coolant
temperature in long series circuits can
lead to less effcient cooling at the
ends of the circuits. As a compromise,
consider splitting large cooling circuits
into multiple smaller series circuits of
equal pressure drop. Use fow-control
meters to balance fow through
circuits with unequal lengths and/or
restrictions. In series circuits, direct
cooling to areas requiring the most
cooling frst: typically, thick sections,
hot cores, or the mold center.
Cooling Circuits Figure 7-57
Ejector pins in corners act as thermal insulators that can
aggravate heat buildup and corner warpage. It is better to
direct cooling to the corners and provide ejection via ejector
sleeves or rails.
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Reynolds Number Figure 7-58
Coeffcient of heat transfer as a function of Reynolds
number for water.
Coolant Flow Rate
For effcient heat transfer from the
mold to the coolant, design the cooling
system to achieve turbulent fow, that
is, a Reynolds number signifcantly
higher than the turbulence onset value
of about ,500. At a Reynolds number
of 0,000, the normal design target
value, water coolant transfers heat an
order of magnitude faster than laminar
fow (see fgure 7-58). You can estimate
Reynolds number using the following
formula.
R
e
=
,60Q

Q = gallons per minute
D = fow channel diameter
η = kinematic viscosity (centistokes)
η water = . @ 50°F
= 0.7 @ 00°F
= 0.4 @ 50°F
= 0. @ 00°F
Solving for Q assuming 50°F water,
the formula shows that a standard
7/6- inch-diameter, cooling channel
requires 0.5 gallons per minute to
achieve a Reynolds number of 0,000.
Q =
DηR
=
0.48 • 0.4 • 0,000
,60 ,60

= 0.5 gal/min
Multiply this value by the number
of parallel circuits to estimate the
fow-rate requirement for the mold-
temperature control unit. Flow rate
has a greater infuence on cooling
effciency than mold temperature. Be
sure the cooling system and mold-
temperature control unit can deliver the
cooling rate needed.
Do not underestimate the cooling
requirements of thin-walled parts.
Decreasing wall thickness by half
reduces minimum cooling time to one
fourth. To realize the full cycle-time-
reduction potential, the cooling system
must remove heat at four times the
rate. Other cooling considerations to
address:
• Avoid fow restricting, quick
disconnects, and other obstructions
that increase pressure drop and
reduce coolant fow rate;
• Use fow-control meters to check
for obstructions and to adjust
the coolant fow rate through the
cooling circuits; and
• Provide enough coolant fow to
limit the coolant temperature rise
in the circuits to no more than 4°F.

158
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MOLD SHRINKAGE
Typically, thermoplastics shrink
signifcantly as they cool and solidify
during the molding process. Mold
designers make the mold cavity
larger than the desired fnal part size
to compensate for shrinkage. Mold
shrinkage data published by the resin
supplier for the specifc material can
be used to estimate the amount of
compensation needed. Published mold
shrinkage data, based on simple part
geometries and standard molding
conditions, is calculated using the
following formula:
shrinkage=
(mold dimension – part size)
mold dimension
Mold shrinkage, listed as length-
per-unit- length values or as
percentages, assumes room-temperature
measurements. Many processing and
design factors determine the amount of
shrinkage for a given application. Use
published shrinkage information with
caution as it is tested under laboratory
conditions that may not refect your
specifc part geometry or processing
environment. Consider the following
when addressing shrinkage:
• Cooling rate and mold temperature
can affect the level of crystallinity
and shrinkage in semi-crystalline
resins;
• Thick-wall sections cool more
slowly and tend to shrink more
than thin wall sections (see fgure
7-59);
• Fiber-flled materials typically
exhibit much less shrinkage in the
fow direction;
• Mixed orientation typically leads
to shrinkage ranging between
published fow and cross-fow
shrinkage values (see fgure 7-60);
and
• Shrinkage varies with the level of
Shrinkage vs. Wall Thickness Figure 7-59
Examples of shrinkage as a function of wall thickness.
Shrinkage Figure 7-60
Shrinkage ranges for various resins at a 2 mm wall thickness.
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packing.
Packing forces additional material into
the mold to compensate for volume
reduction, lowering shrinkage. Gate
size, part thickness, and gate position
can limit the level of packing that
can be achieved through processing
adjustments. Large gate thickness and
high mold temperature delay gate
freeze-off and promote higher levels
of packing. Packing typically decreases
and shrinkage increases further from
the gate, particularly in distant thick-
wall sections.
The mold constrains the part and
prevents signifcant dimensional
change until after part ejection. The
type and duration of this constraint
can affect net shrinkage between part
features. For example, the shrinkage
percentage between holes in a molded
plate will tend to be less than between
the unconstrained edges of the plate.
Long cycle times constrain the part
in the mold longer and reduce initial
shrinkage, but can induce stresses that
lead to additional shrinkage over time
as the stresses relax.
As explained above, many factors
can affect the level of shrinkage. You
can usually obtain the most accurate
shrinkage values for new molds by
calculating the actual shrinkage in
existing molds producing similar
parts sampled in the same material.
Ideally, the gating, fow orientation,
mold cooling, and processing should
be similar to that expected for the
new mold. Prototype molds can also
be a good source of shrinkage values,
but may not replicate production
conditions.
Published shrinkage data represents
the typical range of shrinkage based
on laboratory conditions. Applying
this data to a specifc part and mold
requires a combination of engineering
judgment and educated guess. Tend
toward the lower end of the range for
parts thinner than 0.00 inch, and for
highly constrained features such as
the distance between holes. Anticipate
fow orientation in glass-flled parts
and apply the fow and cross-fow
shrinkage values appropriately. Areas
of random orientation will tend to
shrink at a level midway between
the fow and cross-fow values.
Computerized shrinkage analysis takes
some of the guesswork out of shrinkage
prediction and is worth considering if
the resin has undergone the required
testing. Consider designing critical
features and dimensions “steel safe” to
simplify modifcations to correct for
errors in shrinkage prediction.
160
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Mold Steels able 7-3
MOLD METALS
Mold designers consider a variety
of factors when selecting the mold
metal including, machining ease,
weldability, abrasion resistance,
hardness, corrosion resistance, and
durability. Metals can range from the
soft, low-melt-temperature alloys used
in inexpensive, cast-metal, prototype
molds to the porous metal used in
vent inserts. Metals are chosen based
not only on the cost, manufacturing,
and performance requirements of the
mold or component, but also on the
experience and comfort level of the
mold design and construction shop.
Aluminum, long a popular choice for
prototype molds, is gaining acceptance
in moderate-run production molds.
Improved aluminum alloys, such as
QC-7, exhibit greater strength and
hardness than standard aircraft-grade
aluminum, and suffcient durability
for some production molds. Hard
coatings can raise the surface hardness
of aluminum molds to more than 50
Rockwell C (HRC) for improved wear
resistance. Steel inserts and mechanical
components are usually used in high
wear areas within the aluminum mold
to extend mold life. Aluminum offers
easier machining and faster cycle times
than conventional mold steels at the
expense of wear resistance and mold
durability.
Most high production injection molds
designed for engineering plastics are
fabricated from high-quality tool steel.
Mold bases are usually made of P-0
pre-hardened to 0 – 5 HRC and
are often plated to resist corrosion.
Specifcations for high-quality molds,
especially for medical parts, often
specify 40 stainless steel to eliminate
corrosion concerns.
Cavity and cores steels vary based
on the production requirements,
machining complexity, mold size,
mechanical needs, and the abrasive or
corrosive nature of the molding resin.
P-0 steel (0-6 HRC) provides a
good mix of properties for most molds
running non-abrasive materials such as
unflled PC or ABS. Pre-hardened 40
stainless (0-5 HRC) can also be used
when corrosion resistance is needed.
For longer mold life and increased
durability, many medical molders select
40 stainless hardened to 50-5 HRC
for their molds running unflled resin
grades. This highly polishable stainless
steel resists corrosion and staining but
provides less effcient cooling than
most other mold steels.
Most abrasive glass or mineral-flled
resins require mold steels with hardness
ratings of at least 54 HRC. Air hardened
steels, such as H-, machine more
easily than pre-hardened steels and can
be hardened to 54 HRC for use with
most abrasive glass or mineral-flled
resins. Air hardened S-7 sees similar
applications as H-, but can be
hardened to 54-56 HRC for higher-wear
areas. Air hardened D- (54-56 HRC)
provides superior abrasion and is often
used in high wear areas such as runner
and gate inserts for abrasive materials.
Small inserts and components that see
steel-to-steel wear can be manufactured
from steels that can achieve hardness
levels greater than 56 HRC such as
O-, O-6, A-, and A-0. Table 7- lists
some of the common steels used in
mold making. Steel manufacturers also
offer a variety of specialty grades with
properties tailored to mold making. The
heat-treating process used to achieve
the high hardness values of some of
the mold steels, can result in cracks in
large cores, particularly if the cross-
sectional thickness is not consistent.
Consider pre-hardened mold steels for
these applications.
As a general rule, the Rockwell
hardness of mold components that
slide against each other, such as bypass
cores, should differ by at least HRC
to reduce galling and damage to both
components. The less expensive or
more easily replaced component should
have the lower hardness.
Inserts made of BeCU or high-
conductivity alloys can reduce heat
buildup in diffcult-to-cool areas of
the mold. The metals with the best
thermal conductivity tend to be the
softest. To protect the soft metals from
abrasion and deformation, they are
often inserted into harder steel cores or
components.
161
Chapter 7
MOLD DESIGN
Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
SURFACE TREATMENTS
To varying degrees, plastics replicate
the fnish and texture of the molding
surface. Fine scratches and roughness on
the molding surface will tend to create
a non-glossy part surface and potential
part-ejection problems. Polish molding-
surface roughness in the direction of
ejection to ease part release and remove
surface defects. Most thermoplastics
eject more easily from polished mold
surfaces. Thermoplastic urethane resins,
exceptions to this rule, release more
easily from mold surfaces that have
been blasted with sand or glass beads, or
vapor honed to an SPI D (formerly SPI
#5) fnish.
Polishing with 40 – 0 grit paper
can produce a uniform brushed fnish.
High-gloss fnishes typically require
a sequence of polishing steps using
progressively fner silicon carbide
stones ranging from 0 to 900 grit.
The surface is then polished and buffed
with increasingly fner diamond pastes
ending with a -micron paste. The
level of gloss attainable on the molding
surface generally increases with greater
steel hardness. A surface hardness of
at least 0 HRC is usually required for
moderately fne gloss fnishes. High
gloss fnishes typically require hardness
in excess of 50 HRC. The steel type and
quality, heat treatment, and polishing
technique all affect the attainable gloss
level.
Molding-surface treatments can produce
a variety of surface fnishes and
textures in the molded part. Textures
can enhance the overall part aesthetics
and hide surface blemishes such as
minor sink and gate blush. Relatively
fat surfaces can be blasted with sand
or glass beads to produce a low-luster
matte fnish. The spark-erosion process
for manufacturing mold cavities in
an EDM machine can also produce
textured surfaces ranging from very
fne to coarse. Textures produced this
way tend to have rounded peaks that
resist scratching and marring better
than comparable photoetched textures.
In general, coarser textures resist
scratching better than fne textures.
Photoetching uses an acid etching
process to create a wide array of
surfaces ranging from leather fnishes
to wood grain. The process creates
detailed textures by photographically
applying an acid-resistant masking
material to the mold surface and then
etching the exposed areas with acid. To
avoid variations in texture, make sure
that the molding surfaces for matching
textured parts are manufactured from
the same mold steel and have undergone
the same heat treatment process.
Texture uniformity and gloss level can
be adjusted to some extent through
multiple etching steps or by blasting the
surface with glass beads.
Different molding resins and processing
conditions can change the surface
appearance of parts molded from
the same mold surface texture. Low-
viscosity resins such as Durethan PA
6 and Pocan PBT can replicate the
fne micro-texture and sharp edges
of photoetched textures. The molded
surface appears duller than that
produced by higher-viscosity plastics
such as Lustran ABS which tends to
round off the micro-texture. Higher melt
temperatures and pressures increase the
matte level by enhancing the ability of
the resin to replicate the fne features of
the mold texture.
Mold components are coated or
plated for a variety of reasons. Flash
chrome and thin deposits of electroless
nickel less than 0.00 inch thick offer
protection against rust and corrosion.
Thicker deposits of hard chrome, usually
more than 0.00 inch thick, prolong
the life of molds running glass-flled
or mineral-flled resins. Hard chrome
and electroless nickel plating can also
build thickness to correct dimensional
problems or refurbish worn areas. Mold
release coatings such as PTFE modifed
hard chrome or electroless nickel have
performed well in molds with ejection
problems such as medical parts with
insuffcient draft.
162
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MOLD COST AND QUALITY
The true cost of a mold includes
not only the costs of design and
construction, but also mold-
maintenance costs and the mold-related
costs associated with scrap, cycle
time, part quality problems, and
press down time. In the long run, the
least-expensive mold option seldom
produces the most economical, high-
quality parts. Extra engineering and
expense up front can improve molding
effciency and increase the number of
good parts the mold can produce. When
developing the mold specifcations,
consider the following.
• Hardened steel molds last longer
and require less maintenance and
rework than soft steel molds.
• Money spent on enhanced mold
cooling can pay back many times
over in reduced cycle time and
improved part quality.
• Hardened mold interlocks and
alignment features ensure proper
mold alignment and prevent wear
or damage due to misalignment.
• Spare parts for items prone to wear
or breakage are usually cheaper
to manufacture during mold
construction than after the mold is
in production. Spare parts reduce
costly down time.
• In the long run, it is usually more
economical to adjust the mold steel
to produce parts in the middle of
the tolerance range at optimum
processing conditions than to
adjust dimensions by processing
within a narrow processing
window at less-than-optimum
conditions.
When obtaining quotations for new
mold construction, make sure that
every mold maker works from the
specifc set of mold specifcations. Also
consult processing, mold-maintenance,
and inspection personnel at the
molding facility for mold-design input
based on experience with similar
molds.
163
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A
Acme threads, 5
acrylic paints, 0
adhesive bonding, 87
adhesives, 87
agency approvals, 9
air-curing paints, 04
air entrapment, 8
air-poppet valves, 8
alignment, 88
alignment features, 88
alignment fngers, 89
aluminum, 60
American National (Unifed) thread, 5
amorphous plastics, 0
annealing, 97
apparent modulus, 5
appearance, 8
artifcially balanced runners, 7
ashing, 00
automated assembly, 84
B
baffes, 5
balance flling, 0
balanced fow, 5
band sawing, 95
beam bending, 60
bearings, 4
bending, 58
bending moment, 58
black specks, 46, 50
blanking, 96
blind holes, 0
blow molding,
bolts, 80
bonding, 85
bosses, 5, 0
break point, 49
brown streaks, 46
brushing, 06
bubblers, 5
buffng, 00
bulk shear rate, 44
burnt streaks, 50
buttress threads,
bypass steel,
C
cable-guide hardware, 79
cam pins, 4
cams,
cavities,
cavity, 7
cavity assemblies,
cavity units,
chamfers, 88
chemical exposure, 8
chisel gates, 8
circular sawing, 96
clamp slots,
clicker dies, 96
coeffcient of friction, 5
coeffcients of linear
thermal expansion (CLTE), 90
collapsible cores, ,
compressive properties, 50
compressive stress, 57
consolidation, 4, 79
coolant fow rate, 56
cooling-vent design, 4
cooling channel placement, 5
cooling rate, 57
cooling time, 5
core pulls,
core shift, 8, 45
cores, , 9
corner radius, 8
corner warpage, 5
corners, 9
corrugations, 64
crazing, 56, 05
creep, 44, 5, 70
creep and recovery data, 5
creep modulus, 5, 55, 70
creep properties, 5
critical thickness, 7
crowns, 64
crystallinity, 58
crystallization, 5
curved-tunnel gates, 4
cutting oils, 94
cyclic loading, 74
D
decals, 6
depth-to-diameter ratio,
design formulas, 55
design process, 7
diaphragm gates, 96, 4
die cutting, 96
dimensional tolerances, 9
dipping, 06
distortion, 5
draft, , 0
draw polishing, 8
drilled holes, 94
drilling, 94
drills, 94
drops, 49
dry sanding, 00
dry spray, 04
dynamic friction, 50
E
edge gate, 8, 9
edge-stiffening, 0
ejector assembly,
ejector blades, 6
ejector plate,
ejector-pin vents, 0
elastic limit, 49
elastic modulus, 55
electric discharge machine, 7
electrical performance, 8
electroless nickel, 6
electroless process, 0
electroplating, 09
electrostatic systems, 05
elongation at yield, 49
EMI/RFI shielding,
end mills, 97
energy directors, 86
engineering strain, 56
epoxies, 0
equivalent thickness, 67
equivalent-thickness factor (ETF), 67
external threads, 5
extension press nozzles,
externally heated, 46
extrusion,
extrusion blow molding,
F
fan gates, 8
fasteners, 80
fatigue, 54, 75
fatigue curves, 54
fatigue data, 75
fatigue endurance, 75
fber orientation, 47, 54
fling, 98
fllet radius, 75
flm-insert molding, 08
“flter-bowl” gate, 4
fnger tabs, 84
frst-surface flm decorating, 08
fash, 0
fash chrome, 6
fexural modulus, 5, 55
fow channels, 46, 50
fow-control meters, 56, 57
fow hesitation, , 45
fow leaders, 0, 45
fow length, 8, 4, 45
fow orientation, 45
fow restrictors, 0
free-fowing gates, 48
G
gas-assist molding, , 66
INDEX
164
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gas burn, 9
gate marks, 00, 0
gate optimization, 44
gate position, 45
gate size, 4, 50
gate vestige, 4, 48
gates, 0, 8
gears, 4
geometric tolerancing, 9
glass-bead blasting, 6
gloss differences, 9
glossy fnishes, 6
glue, 87
gussets, 8
H
hard chrome, 6
hard coats, 08
hardware, 4, 89
heat-curing systems, 04
heat pipes, 55
hex holes, 80
high-gloss fnishes, 6
hot-air remelting, 0
hot-plate welding, 86
hot runner designs, 46
hot-runner gates, 47
hot runner systems, 46
hot sprue bushings,
hot stamping, 5
I
impact, 7
impact performance, 7, 7
in-mold decorating, 07
in-mold transfer decoration, 07
injection blow molding,
injection molding, 0
interlocking edge, 89
internal runners, 0
internal threads, 5, 4
internally heated, 46
isochronous stress-strain curve, 5
J
“jiggler” pin,
K
knockout pins, 6
KO sleeves, 6
L
labels, 6
laser, 99
laser machining, 99
laser printing, 5
latches, 80
leader pins,
lettering, 8
life expectancy, 9
lifter rails,
lifters,
locating ring,
logos, 5
long-term loads, 55, 67
lost-core process, 66
louvers, 4
Luer tubing connectors, 6
M
machining stresses, 96
manufacturing costs, 5
markings, 5
masking, 05
manifold, 49
material discoloration, 50
mating edges, 89
matte fnish, 6
mechanical fasteners, 80
mechanical loading, 8
metallic coatings, 09
milling, 97
mini-sprue gates, 47
mismatch,
modifed-tunnel gate, 4
mold base,
mold cooling, 5
mold draft, 8
mold fexure, 8
mold interlocks, 6
mold metals, 60
mold release, 9
mold-flling analysis, 4, 5
mold-release coatings, 6
molded-in hinges, 80
molded-in stress, 45
molded-in threads, 5
moment of inertia, 58
multi-shell process, 66
N
naturally balanced runners, 5
nesting features, 80
O
orientation, 90
overfow wells, 0
P
packing, , 44, 58
pad painting, 06
pad printing, 4
paint curing, 04
paint soak, 04
paints, 0
parallel circuits, 56
part design checklist, 69
part ejection, 0, 6
parting line, 9
parting-line vent, 8
permissible strain, 54
photoetching, 4, 6
pinpoint gates, 4
plate defection, 6, 7
plating adhesion,
plating racks, 0
Poisson’s ratio, 5
polishing, 00, 6
polyurethane paints, 0
porous metal, 0
powdered paint, 07
press nozzle tip,
pressure gradient, 50
primary-runner diameters, 4
proportional limit, 49
prototype testing, 6
prototype molds, 59
punching, 96
PV factor, 4
PV limit, 4
Q
quick disconnects, 57
R
radiation, 8
radius-to-thickness ratio, 8
reamers, 97
reaming, 9
recycling, 79, 80, 8, 85, 88
repair, 80, 8, 85, 88, 0
retention features, 88
return pins,
reverse-injection molds, 6
rework, 6
Reynolds number, 57
rib design,
rib location, 4
rib size,
rib thickness,
ribs, 4, 7, 7
rivets, 80
Rockwell hardness, 60
rolling, 06
rotomolding,
“round-bottomed” trapezoid,
runner system,
runner thickness,
runners,
S
S-N curves, 54
safety factors, 56
sandblasting, 9
sanding, 00
sanding marks, 00
satin fnishing, 00
165
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saw guides, 95
sawing, 95
scrap, 6
scrapers, 0
scraping, 0
scratches, 00
screening, 4
screws, 80
secant modulus, 46, 55
second-surface flm decorating, 09
secondary-runner diameters, 4
self-tapping screws, 80
semi-crystalline plastics, 04
series circuits, 56
shape, 64
sharp corners, 8
shear modulus, 6
shear rate limits, 44
shear stress, 5
shrinkage, 45, 5, 58
shrinkage analysis, 59
side-action slides,
side mills, 97
sink, 8, , 5
skip-tooth blades, 95
slides, 0
slotted holes, 90, 9
snap-ft joints, 8
solvent bonding, 87
spark erosion, 7. 6
spin welding, 87
spiral channels, 5
spiral fow data, 45
splay, 0
split cavities,
split cores,
spoked runners, 5
spray painting, 05
spraying, 05
spring-clip fasteners, 80
spring-loaded lifters, 4
sprue,
sprue bushing, ,
sprue orifce,
sprue taper,
sputter deposition,
stack mold,
stainless steel, 60
static friction, 56
steel-rule dies, 96
steel safe, 59
stencil, 06
stiffness, 44, 64
strain limits, 54
stress concentration, 5, 8, 7, 74
stress-concentration factor, 56
stress limits, 56
stress relaxation, 45, 50, 5, 7
stress-strain behavior, 46
stripper plates, 6
stripping undercuts,
sublimation ink transfer, 4
sucker pins, 7, 40
surface appearance, 5
surface contamination, 07
surface-crowning, 0
surface treatments, 6
symmetry, 90
T
tab gates, 8
tangent modulus, 49
tapered drops, 7
tapered pipe threads, 6
tapered threads, 6
tapping, 95
temperature, 8
tensile modulus, 46, 49, 55
tensile properties, 49
tensile stress, 57
tensile stress at break, 49
tensile stress at yield, 49
texture, 6, 6
thermal conductivity, 49
thermal expansion, 76, 90, 49
thermal isolation, 49
thermal load, 77, 5
thermoforming,
thickness transitions, 9
thin-wall molding, 8
thin-walled parts, 8, , 7, 45,
45, 57
thread pitch, 5
thread profles, 5
threaded inserts, 80
threads, 95
three-plate mold, 0, 7
three-plate runners, 7
tight-tolerance holes,
tolerances, 9, 90
tool steel, 60
torsion, 6
trapped air, 9
tumbling, 0
tunnel gates, 40
turbulent fow, 57
turning, 98
two-component paint systems, 04
two-plate mold, 9
U
ultimate strength, 49
ultrasonic welding, 86
undercuts, ,
unscrewing cores, 5
unscrewing mechanisms,
use of moduli, 55
UV-cured adhesives, 87
V
vacuum metallizing,
valve-gated hot runners, 48
vapor honing, 0
vent channel, 0
vent designs, 4
vent placement, 9
vents, 8
vibration welding, 86
vinyls, 0
viscoelasticity, 44
voids, 9
Voight-Maxwell model, 44
volatile organic compounds, 04
W
wall thickness, 7, 67
warpage, 0, 45, 5
washers, 80
waterborne coatings, 04
weather resistance, 8
weld lines, 0, 54
welding, 85
wet sanding, 00
wiping, 06
witness marks, 7
Y
yield point, 49
Young’s modulus, 46
INDEX
166
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PART DESIGN CHECKLIST
For Injection-Molded Engineering Thermoplastics
Material Selection Requirements
Loads � Magnitude � Duration � Impact � Fatigue � Wear
Environment � Temperature � Chemicals � Humidity � Cleaning Agents
� Lubricants � UV Light
Special � Transparency � Paintability � Plateability � Warpage/Shrinkage
� Flammability � Cost � Agency Approval
Part Details Review
Radii � Sharp Corners � Ribs � Bosses � Lettering
Wall Thickness
Material � Strength � Electrical � Flammability
Flow � Flow Length � Too Thin � Avoid Thin to Thick
� Picture Framing � Orientation
Uniformity � Thick Areas � Thin Areas � Abrupt Changes
Ribs � Radii � Draft � Height � Spacing
� Base Thickness
Bosses � Radii � Draft � Inside Diameter/Outside Diameter
� Base Thickness � Length/Diameter
Weld Lines � Proximity to Load � Strength vs. Load � Visual Area
Draft � Draw Polish � Texture Depth � 1/2 Degree (Minimum)
Tolerances � Part Geometry � Material � Tool Design (Across Parting Line, Slides)
Assembly Considerations
Press Fits � Tolerances � Hoop Stress � Long-Term Retention
Snap Fits � Allowable Strain � Assembly Force � Tapered Beam � Multiple Assembly
Screws � Thread-Cutting vs. Forming � Avoid Countersinks (Tapered Screw Heads)
Molded Threads � Avoid Feather Edges, Sharp Corners, and Pipe Threads
Ultrasonics � Energy Director � Shear Joint Interference
Adhesive and � Shear vs. Butt Joint Compatibility
Solvent Bonds � Trapped Vapors
General � Stack Tolerances � Assembly Tolerances � Care with Rivets and Molded-In Inserts
� Thermal Expansion � Component Compatibility
Mold Concerns
Warpage � Cooling (Corners) � Ejector Placement
Gates � Type � Size � Location
Runners � Size and Shape � Sprue Size � Balanced Flow
� Cold-Slug Well � Sharp Corners
General � Draft � Part Ejection � Avoid Thin/Long Cores
LANXESS CORPORATION • 111 RIDC Park West Drive • Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1112 • Phone: 800-LANXESS
For further design assistance in using LANXESS’s engineering thermoplastics, contact a field market development representative at a regional office near you.
USA Sales Offices:
Michigan: 2401 Walton Blvd., Suite A , Auburn Hills, MI 48326-1957 • 1-248-475-7790 • Fax: 1-248-475-7791
Ohio: 356 Three Rivers Parkway, Addyston, OH 45001 • 1-513-467-2479 • Fax: 1-513-467-2137
Canadian Affiliate:
Ontario: 77 Belfield Road, Etobicoke, Ontario M9W 1G6 • 1-416-248-0771 • Fax: 1-416-248-6762
Quebec: 7600 Trans Canada Highway, Pointe Claire, Quebec H9R 1C8 • 1-514-697-5550 • Fax: 1-514-697-5334
167
Page 67 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.
Avoid
Prefer
Sharp
R
.015 in
min.
Avoid
Prefer
Avoid
Prefer
R
Taper
Undercut
vs. Length
vs. Material
Shallow
Lead-In
Avoid
Prefer
No Draft
1/2° min. Draw Polish
Avoid
Prefer
Thread Forming
(Avoid for PC
Blends)
Thread Cutting
Avoid
Prefer
1/32 in
Lead-In
Avoid
Prefer
Too Thick Too Close Too
Tall
w
2
2w
3w
w
R
Avoid
Prefer
Thin
Sharp
Too
Tall
Screw Lead-In
Thick
Gussets
Avoid Avoid
Ejector
Pins
Prefer
Mold
Cooling
Prefer
y t i m r o f i n U l l a W i i d a R
s e s s o B s b i R
t i F - p a n S t f a r D
s d a e r h T n I - d e d l o M s w e r c S
e g a p r a W g n i m a r F e r u t c i P
168
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KU-GE028 Copyright © 2007, LANXESS Corporation Printed in U.S.A. 570 (25M) 04/00 Printed on recycled paper
LANXESS Corporation • 111 RIDC Park West Drive • Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1112 • 800-LANXESS
http://techcenter.lanxess.com
Sales Offices:
Michigan: 2401 Walton Boulevard, Suite A, Auburn Hills, MI 48325-1957
1-248-475-7790 • Fax: 1-248-475-7791
Canadian Affiliate:
Ontario: LANXESS Inc.
77 Belfield Road, Etobicoke, Ontario M9W 1G6
1-416-248-0771 • Fax: 1-416-248-6762
Quebec: LANXESS Inc.
7600 Trans Canada Highway, Pointe Claire, Quebec H9R 1C8
1-514-697-5550 • Fax: 1-514-697-5334
Note: The information contained in this bulletin is current as of September 2007.
Please contact LANXESS Corporation to determine whether this
publication has been revised.
Ohio: 356 Three Rivers Parkway, Addyston, OH 45001
1-513-467-2479 • Fax: 1-513-467-2137
LANXESS Corporation
111 RIDC Park West Drive • Pittsburgh, PA 15275 • Phone: 1-800-LANXESS • www.US.LANXESS.com
The manner in which you use and the purpose to which you put and utilize our products, technical assistance and information
(whether verbal, written or by way of production evaluations), including any suggested formulations and recommendations are
beyond our control. Therefore, it is imperative that you test our products, technical assistance and information to determine to
your own satisfaction whether they are suitable for your intended uses and applications. This application-specific analysis must at
least include testing to determine suitability from a technical as well as health, safety, and environmental standpoint. Such testing
has not necessarily been done by us. Unless we otherwise agree in writing, all products are sold strictly pursuant to the terms of
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granted under the claims of any patent.

INTRODUCTION
A product of the LANXESS Applications Engineering Group, this manual is primarily intended as a reference source for part designers and molding engineers working with LANXESS plastic resins. The table of contents and index were carefully constructed to guide you quickly to the information you need either by topic or by keyword. The content was also organized to allow the manual to function as an educational text for anyone just entering the field of plastic-part manufacturing. Concepts and terminology are introduced progressively for logical cover-to-cover reading.

The manual focuses primarily on plastic part and mold design, but also includes chapters on the design process; designing for assembly; machining and finishing; and painting, plating, and decorating. For the most part, it excludes information covered in the following LANXESS companion publications: Material Selection: Engineering Plastics A comprehensive look at material testing and the issues to consider when selecting a plastic material. Joining Techniques: Includes information and guidelines on the methods for joining plastics including mechanical fasteners, welding techniques, inserts, snap fits, and solvent and adhesive bonding. Snap-Fit Joints for Plastics: Contains the engineering formulas and worked examples showing how to design snapfit joints for LANXESS plastic resins.

Contact your LANXESS sales representative for copies of these publications. This publication was written specifically to assist our customers in the design and manufacture of products made from the LANXESS line of thermoplastic engineering resins. These resins include: • • • • • • Triax® Polyamide/ABS Blend Lustran® and Novodur® ABS Lustran® SAN Centrex® ASA, AES and ASA/AES Weatherable Polymers Durethan® Polyamide 6 and 66, and Amorphous Polyamide Pocan® PBT Polyester

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contact your sales representative or refer to the following information sources: Engineering Polymers Properties Guides: Contain common single-point properties by resin family and grade. Contact your LANXESS sales representative for more information on these other services.  Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. techcenter. much of the data is generic and may differ from the properties of specific resin grades. and prototype test new designs under actual in-use conditions. In addition. The material data scattered throughout the chapters is included by way of example only and may not reflect the most current testing. We also offer a range of design engineering services to qualified customers. In addition to design manuals. Allows you to search grades of LANXESS resins that meet a particular set of performance requirements. This manual provides general information and guidelines. When discussing guidelines or issues for a specific resin family. LANXESS Corporation provides design assistance in other forms such as seminars and technical publications.Most of the design principles covered in this manual apply to all of these resins. . CAMPUS: Software containing single and multi-point data that was generated according to uniform standards. Apply appropriate safety factors.com: LANXESS Web site containing product information on-line. Because each product application is different. For up-to-date performance data for specific LANXESS resins. especially in applications in which failure could cause harm or injury. Plastics Product Information Bulletins: List information and properties for a specific material grade.lanxess. we reference these materials either by their LANXESS trade names or by their generic polymer type. always conduct a thorough engineering analysis of your design.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1 PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0 0     4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 Design Process Defining Plastic Part Requirements Mechanical Loading Temperature Chemical Exposure Electrical Performance Weather Resistance Radiation Appearance Agency Approvals Life Expectancy Dimensional Tolerances Processing Production Quantities Cost Constraints Assembly Thermoplastic Processing Methods Injection Molding Extrusion Thermoforming Blow Molding Rotomolding Optimizing Product Function Consolidation Hardware Finish Markings and Logos Miscellaneous Reducing Manufacturing Costs Materials Overhead Labor Scrap and Rework Prototype Testing Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN 7 0     4 5 8 8 0    4 5 8 9 4 Wall Thickness Flow Leaders and Restrictors Ribs Rib Design Rib Thickness Rib Size Rib Location and Numbers Bosses Gussets Sharp Corners Draft Holes and Cores Undercuts Slides and Cores Louvers and Vents Molded-In Threads Lettering Tolerances Bearings and Gears Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.  .

and Die Cutting Milling Turning and Boring Laser Machining Filing Sanding Polishing and Buffing Trimming.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN 4 44 44 46 47 48 49 49 49 49 49 49 50 50 50 5 5 5 54 55 55 56 57 58 6 6 64 64 67 68 70 7 75 77 Structural Considerations In Plastics Stiffness Viscoelasticity Stress-Strain Behavior Molding Factors Short-Term Mechanical Properties Tensile Properties Tensile Modulus Tensile Stress at Yield Tensile Stress at Break Ultimate Strength Poisson’s Ratio Compressive Properties Flexural Modulus Coefficient of Friction Long-Term Mechanical Properties Creep Properties Stress Relaxation Fatigue Properties Structural Design Formulas Use of Moduli Stress and Strain Limits Uniaxial Tensile and Compressive Stress Bending and Flexural Stress Shear Stress Torsion Designing for Stiffness Part Shape Wall Thickness Ribs Long-Term Loading Designing for Impact Fatigue Applications Thermal Loading Chapter 4 DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY 79 80 8 85 86 86 87 87 88 88 90 90 9 Part Consolidation Mechanical Fasteners Snap-Fit Joints Welding and Bonding Ultrasonic Welding Vibration and Hot-Plate Welding Spin Welding Solvent and Adhesive Bonding Retention Features Alignment Features Orientation Expansion Differences Tolerances Chapter 5 MACHINING AND FINISHING 9 95 95 96 97 98 99 99 00 00 0 Drilling and Reaming Tapping Sawing Punching. . Blanking. and Flash Removal  Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Finishing.

PLATING. and Gates Sprues Runners Runners for Multi-cavity Molds Gates Other Gate Designs Gate Optimization Gate Position Hot-Runner Systems Hot-Runner Designs Hot-Runner Gates Valve Gates Thermal Expansion and Isolation Flow Channel Size Mold Cooling Mold-Cooling Considerations Cooling-Channel Placement Cooling-Line Configuration Coolant Flow Rate Mold Shrinkage Mold Metals Surface Treatments Mold Cost and Quality APPENDICES 6 Index 66 Part Design Checklist Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Runners.  . AND DECORATING 0 0 04 04 05 06 06 07 07 08 09 09 0      4 6 6 Painting Types of Paints Paint Curing Paint-Selection Considerations Spray Painting Other Painting Methods Masking Other Design Considerations for Painting In-Mold Decorating Film-Insert Molding Metallic Coatings Electroplating Design Considerations for Electroplating Molding Considerations for Electroplating Vacuum Metallization Design Considerations for Vacuum Metallization EMI/RFI Shielding Design Considerations for EMI/RFI Shielding Printing Labels and Decals Texture Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN 9 9   6 8 8 9    5 8 4 44 45 46 46 47 48 49 50 5 5 5 56 57 58 60 6 6 Mold Basics Types of Molds Mold Bases and Cavities Molding Undercuts Part Ejection Mold Venting Parting-Line Vents Vent Placement Sprues.TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 6 PAINTING.

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level of transparency. Early input from various design and manufacturing groups also helps to focus attention on total product cost rather than just the costs of individual items or processes. Often adding a processing step and related cost in one area produces a greater reduction in total product cost. Your chance of producing a product that successfully competes in the marketplace increases when your strategy takes full advantage of team strengths. and avoids overburdening any one person. assembly. such as mechanical loading and ultraviolet stability. before many aspects of the design have been determined and cannot be changed. reducing manufacturing costs. accounts for members’ limitations. DESIGN PROCESS Like a successful play in football. aesthetic needs.Chapter 1 PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART Many factors affect plastic-part design. specifying actual part requirements. and part consolidation — are discussed in this chapter. including conceptual designers. Among these factors are: functional requirements. processors. selecting an appropriate material. and conducting prototype testing. processing. finishers. Likewise. your team should consist of diverse players. Too often designs pass sequentially from concept development to manufacturing steps with features that needlessly complicate production and add cost. produce greater savings in assembly operations and related costs. materials suppliers. these efforts should proceed simultaneously. design engineers. These factors. and capital equipment. Accommodate suggestions for enhancing product performance. such as cost of materials.  . adding snap latches and nesting features may increase part and mold costs. while eliminating painting costs. specifying a moreexpensive resin with molded-in color and UV resistance may increase your raw-material cost. Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. When designing and developing parts. such as color. coupled with other design concerns — such as agency approval. For example. and economic concerns. you must consider these factors early in strategy development and make adjustments based upon input from the various people on the design team. successful plastic product design and production requires team effort and a well-developed strategy. labor. manufacturing personnel. focus on defining and maximizing part function and appearance. processing parameters. stylists. As the designer. or for simplifying and improving the various manufacturing steps such as mold construction. mold makers. and tactile response. When designing plastic parts. and finishing. Solicit simultaneous input from the various “players” early in product development. evaluating process options. For the reasons stated above. and decorators. and at the same time.

Weather Resistance Temperature. and feel. Consider the full range of end-use temperatures. heat gain from sun on dark surfaces may raise the upper temperature requirement considerably higher than maximum expected temperatures. and UV sun exposure affect plastic parts’ properties and appearance. For certain colors and effects. Radiation A variety of artificial sources — such as fluorescent lights. Chemical Exposure Plastic parts encounter a wide variety of chemicals both during manufacturing and in the end-use environment. Styling concerns may dictate the product shape. some parts may need to be painted or decorated in the mold. finishing. Ascertain long-term loads that could cause creep or stress relaxation. Remember that impact resistance generally diminishes at lower temperatures. warnings. Mechanical Loading Carefully evaluate all types of mechanical loading including short-term static loads. and vibrational or cyclic loads that could lead to fatigue. and ejector-pin positioning. Look at all aspects of part and material performance including the following. Make sure that these chemicals are compatible with your selected material and final part. Photoetching the mold steel can impart special surface textures for parts. For example. cutting oils. including mold releases. Plastics must often match the color of other materials used in parts of an assembly. a need for transparency greatly reduces the number of potential plastics. In resins. For reference. Some applications require the plastic part to weather at the same rate as other materials in an assembly. parts with metallic finishes may require painting. and creep resistance to name a few — vary with temperature.DEFINING PLASTIC PART REQUIREMENTS Thoroughly ascertain and evaluate your part and material requirements. impacts. external automotive parts such as mirror housings must withstand continuous outdoor exposure and perform in the full range of weather conditions. For example. outdoor Christmas decorations and other seasonal products may only have to satisfy the requirements for their specific. these areas may influence gate. and gamma sterilization units — emit radiation that can yellow and/or degrade many plastics. The end-use of a product determines the type of weather resistance required. consider painting it. or specifying a UV-stabilized resin. list materials that are known to have sufficient electrical performance in your application. When evaluating these requirements. Note all cosmetic and non-cosmetic surfaces. Temperature Many material properties in plastics — impact strength. modulus. de-greasers. and automotive fluids. look. which will influence both part design and material selection. Depending upon the application. Color may also play an important role. lubricants. especially if the product is part of a component system or existing product family. moisture. limited exposure. custom colors generally cost more than standard colors. Conversely. tensile strength. instructions. Determine if your part requires EMI shielding or UL testing. high-intensity discharge lamps. printing dyes. Determine if these features can be molded directly onto the part surface or if they must be added using one of the decorating methods discussed in Chapter 6. in-mold decorating or vacuum metallization. paints. cleaning solvents. Among other things. end-use conditions and loads: Plastic parts are often subjected to harsher conditions during manufacturing and shipping than in actual use.  Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. and control labels. particularly for small-order quantities. Surface finishes range from high-gloss to heavy-matte. consider more than just the intended. runner. Additionally. as well as temperatures to which the part will be exposed during manufacturing. Many part designs must include markings or designs such as logos. . Clearly identify impact requirements. cooking greases. and shipping. your requirements may be less severe if your part is exposed to weather elements only occasionally. If your part will be exposed to a radiation source. especially if the part needs high clarity. adhesives. Appearance Aesthetic requirements can entail many material and part-design issues. Electrical Performance Note required electrical property values and nature of electrical loading. For instance.

or would be prone to warpage and bow. Over-specification of tolerance can increase product cost significantly. and National Sanitation Foundation Testing Laboratory. needlessly increasing part cost and reducing part competitiveness. material choice. will the part need a mold geometry that is particularly difficult to fill. etc. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for plastics in meat and poultry equipment. If so. Military (MIL) for military applications. Consider the effect of load. adhesives. State any recycling requirements. assembly techniques. These agencies include Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) for electrical devices. Always check for compliance and approval from appropriate agencies. Cost Constraints Plastic-part cost can be particularly important. temperature. if your molded part comprises all or most of the cost of the final product. note rating and thickness. List likely or proposed assembly methods: screws. Some mating parts require only that mating features have the same dimensions. Address all part-ejection and regrind issues. Dimensional Tolerances Many applications have features requiring tight tolerances for proper fit and function. Determine a reasonable life expectancy for your part. Life Expectancy Many functional parts need to meet certain life-cycle expectations. Because parts perform as intended.  . The “Part Requirements and Design Checklist” in the back of this manual serves as a guide when developing new products. Production Quantities The number of parts needed may influence decisions. such as the number of times the product will be disassembled or if assembly will be automated. snap-latches. Generally for greater production quantities. Processing Determine if your part design places special demands on processing.Chapter 1 PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART Agency Approvals Government and private agencies have specifications and approval cycles for many plastic parts. (NSF) for plastics in food-processing and potable-water applications. and creep on dimensions. Determine if your part requires flame resistance in accordance with UL 94. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for applications with food and bodily-fluid contact. welds. For example. Note mating materials and potential problem areas such as attachments to materials with different values of coefficient of linear thermal expansion. not just part and material cost. Also do not over-specify your requirements. Be careful to consider total system cost. you should spend money to streamline the process and optimize productivity early in the design process. the costs of overspecification normally go uncorrected. Others must have absolute size and tolerance. including processing methods. mold design. Page 9 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. and finishing methods. Be sure not to overlook any requirements relevant to your specific application. Life expectancy may involve a time duration — as in years of outdoor exposure — time at a specific set of conditions — such as hours in boiling water — or repetitions of an applied load or condition — as in number of gamma sterilization cycles or snap-arm deflections. Inc. Assembly Address assembly requirements.

Usually part design. This section briefly explains the common processes used for thermoplastics from LANXESS Corporation. the part concept lends itself to more than one process. and shape clearly determine the best process. The same mold producing 500. as well as structural and assembly elements such as ribs and bosses. size.000 parts would contribute $50 to the cost of each part.THERMOPLASTIC PROCESSING METHODS A variety of commercial methods are used to produce thermoplastic products. Additionally. require large and expensive molds and presses. mold modifications for product design changes can be very expensive. The injection molding process generally requires large order quantities to offset high mold costs. accommodate a wide variety of part sizes. a $50. such as automotive bumpers and fenders. offer excellent part-to-part repeatability. 0 Page 0 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Occasionally. Injection Molding The most common processing method for LANXESS thermoplastics. Very large parts. Molds can produce intricate features and textures.000 mold producing only . Injection Molding Figure 1.0 to part cost. For example. The plastic then forms to the shape of the mold as it cools and solidifies (see figure -). injection molding.1 The injection molding process can quickly produce large quantities of parts in multi-cavity molds. injection molding can produce large quantities of parts. as well as limitations. Undercuts and threads usually require mold mechanisms that add to mold cost. Each has its specific design requirements. your design team must decide which process to pursue early in product development. involves forcing molten plastic into molds at high pressure. and make parts with relatively tight tolerances.000 parts would contribute only $0. Usually a quick-cycle process. Because product development differs depending upon the process. .

Typically inexpensive for simple profiles. measured in linear units. such as feet/minute. Most commonly used for sheet. automotive trim.  . cooled.Chapter 1 PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART Extrusion In extrusion forming.2 The extrusion process produces profile shapes used in the manufacture of window frames. Extrusion Figure 1. extrusion also produces profiles used in applications such as road markers. which are cut to length. It produces continuous. and window frames (see figure -). Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. straight profiles. molten material continuously passes through a die that forms a profile which is sized. Part features such as holes or notches require secondary operations that add to final cost. and pipe production. film. extrusion dies usually contribute little to product cost. Production rates. and solidified. ordinarily are reasonably high. store-shelf price holders.

and light globes.  Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.Thermoforming Figure 1. Secondary operations can play a large role in part cost. The two most-common types of blow molding are extrusion and injection. containers. Mold or form costs for this low-pressure process are much lower than for injection molds of comparable size. Blow molding cannot produce features that project from the surface such as ribs and bosses. . In extrusion blow molding. Blow Molding Thermoforming Thermoforming creates shapes from a thermoplastic sheet that has been heated to its softening point. Design permitting. The automobile industry has taken advantage of the production efficiency. This process cannot produce features that project from the part surface such as ribs and bosses.4 This large water bottle was blow molded in polycarbonate resin. Cutouts and holes require secondary machining operations. especially along the sides of deepdrawn features. Material selection is limited to extrusion grades. Applied vacuum or pressure draws or pushes the softened sheet over an open mold or form where it is then cooled to the conforming shape. Thermoforming can produce large parts (see figure -) on relatively inexpensive molds and equipment. which can range as high as those for injection molding. Because the plastic is purchased as sheet stock. the process may also produce hollow shapes such as automotive air ducts and gas tanks. The process of stretching the sheet over the form or mold causes thinning of the wall. Figure 1. Thermoformed parts usually need to be trimmed to remove excess sheet at the part periphery.3 Blow Molding Blow molding efficiently produces hollow items such as bottles (see figure -4). appearance. mold halves pinch the end of a hanging extruded tube — called a parison — until it seals. Part geometry determines mold and equipment costs. Wall thickness can vary throughout the part and may change with processing. light weight. materials tend to be costly. and performance of thermoformed engineering thermoplastics for many OEM and after-market products like this tonneau cover.

Chapter 1 PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART Rotomolding Air pressure applied into the tube expands the tube and forces it against the walls of the hollow mold. the mold is cooled to solidify the shape. Injection blow molding substitutes a molded shape in place of the extruded parison. As the mold rotates on two perpendicular axes. and the process is suited to low-production quantities and large parts. Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Rotomolding In rotomolding. This process eliminates pinch-off vestige and facilitates molded features on the open end such as screw threads for lids. a measured quantity of thermoplastic resin. including decorative streetlight globes (see figure -5) or hollow yard toys. This continues until all the plastic melts to form the walls of the hollow. Large production runs may require multiple sets of molds. Cycle times run very long. This process is used for hollow shapes with large open volumes that promote uniform material distribution. While still rotating. Figure 1. Mold and equipment costs are typically low.  . the resin coats the heated mold surface. which is then externally heated. is placed inside a mold.5 Rotomolding can produce large hollow parts such as this street light globe. The blown shape then cools as a thinwalled hollow shape. Air pressure applied from inside the still-soft molded shape expands the shape into the form of the hollow mold. usually powdered. molded shape. A secondary step removes the vestige at the pinch-off area.

OPTIMIZING PRODUCT FUNCTION The molding process affords many opportunities to enhance part functionality and reduce product cost. For example, the per-part mold costs associated with adding functional details to the part design are usually insignificant. Molds reproduce many features practically for free. Carefully review all aspects of your design with an eye toward optimization, including part and hardware consolidation, finishing considerations, and needed markings and logos, which are discussed in this section. Consolidation Within the constraints of good molding practice and practical mold construction, look for opportunities to reduce the number of parts in an assembly through part consolidation. A single molded part can often combine the functionality of two or more parts. Hardware Clever part design can often eliminate or reduce the need for hardware fasteners such as screws, nuts, washers, and spacers. Molded-in hinges can replace metal ones in many applications (see figure -6). Molded-in cable guides perform the same function as metal ones at virtually no added cost. Reducing hardware lessens material and assembly costs, and simplifies dismantling for recycling.

Hinges

Figure 1- 6

Molded-in hinge features can eliminate the need for hinge hardware. Finish Consider specifying a molded-in color instead of paint. The cost savings could more than justify any increase in material cost for a colored material with the required exposure performance. If you must paint, select a plastic that paints easily, preferably one that does not require surface etching and/or primer. 

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Chapter 1 PART DESIGN PROCESS: CONCEPT TO FINISHED PART
Markings and Logos Secondary methods of adding directions, markings, and logos — including labels, decals, printing, stamping, etc. — add cost and labor. Molded-in techniques, when applied properly, produce permanent lettering and designs at a very low cost (see figure -7). Mixtures of gloss and texture can increase contrast for improved visibility. Miscellaneous Look for opportunities to add easily molded features to simplify assembly and enhance product function such as aligning posts, nesting ribs, finger grips, guides, stops, stand-offs, hooks, clips, and access holes. REDUCING MANUFACTURING COSTS Although many factors contribute to costs of producing plastic parts, most costs fall into one of four basic categories: materials, overhead, labor, and scrap/ rework. This section highlights potential methods for reducing these manufacturing costs. Carefully evaluate the effect each cost-reduction step may have on your product’s performance and overall cost. Materials To reduce material costs, you must reduce material usage and obtain the best material value. Within the limits of good design and molding practice, consider some of the following: • • • Core out unneeded thickness and wall stock; Use ribs, stiffening features, and supports to provide equivalent stiffness with less wall thickness; Optimize runner systems to minimize waste; Use standard colors, which are less expensive than custom colors; Compare the price of materials that meet your product requirements, but avoid making your selection based upon price alone; and Consider other issues such as material quality, lot-to-lot consistency, on-time delivery, and services offered by the supplier.

• •

Molded-In Illustrations

Figure 1- 7

This molded in schematic is a cost effective alternative to labels or printing.

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Overhead Hourly press rates comprise a significant portion of part cost. The rate varies by region and increases with press size. Some options to consider when evaluating overhead costs include: • Maximizing the number of parts produced per hour to reduce the machine overhead cost per part;

Labor When looking to maintain or lower your labor costs, consider the following: • • Simplify or eliminate manual tasks as much as possible; Design parts and molds for automatic de-gating or place gates in areas that don’t require careful trimming; Keep parting lines and mold kiss-off areas in good condition to avoid flash removal; Design parting lines and kiss-off points to orient flash in a less critical direction; and Streamline and/or automate time-consuming assembly steps.

Scrap and Rework Part and mold design can contribute to quality problems and scrap. To avoid rework and minimize scrap generation, consider the following: • • • Follow the part design recommendations and guidelines outlined in Chapter ; Avoid specifying tighter tolerances than actually needed; Adjust the mold steel to produce parts in the middle of the tolerance range, when molding parts with tight tolerances.

• • Avoiding thick sections in your part and runner system that can increase cooling time; Designing your mold with good cooling and plenty of draft for easy ejection; and Increasing the number of cavities in a mold to increase hourly production. • •

This last option requires careful evaluation to determine if machine– cost–per–part savings compensate for the added mold cost. Mold costs, usually amortized over a specified number of parts or years, can also make up a significant portion of part cost. This is particularly true if the production quantities are low. The complex relationship between mold cost, mold quality, and molding efficiency is covered in Chapter 7.

In the long run, this last suggestion is usually less expensive than trying to produce parts at the edge of the tolerance range by molding in a narrow processing window. Do not select your mold maker based on price alone. Cheap molds often require costly rework and frequent mold maintenance, and are prone to part quality problems. PROTOTYPE TESTING Prototype testing allows you to test and optimize part design and material selection before investing in expensive production tooling. Good prototype testing duplicates molding, processing, and assembly conditions as closely as possible. Molded prototype parts can also be tested under the same range of mechanical, chemical, and environmental conditions that the production parts must endure. Simplifying or eliminating prototype testing increases the chance of problems that could lead to delays and expensive modifications in production tooling. You should thoroughly prototype test all new designs. 

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cosmetic appearance. In some cases. cycle time.  . with very little increase in weight. Walls with thickness greater than the critical thickness may undergo brittle.Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN While engineering resins are used in many diverse and demanding applications. These features can add sufficient strength. gussets. The critical thickness for medium-viscosity polycarbonate at room temperature is approximately /6 inch (see figure -). Critical Thickness Figure 2. and economy. Consider using geometric features — such as ribs. there are design elements that are common to most plastic parts. increasing wall thickness reduces deflection during impact and increases the energy required to produce failure. increasing wall thickness can stiffen the part to the point that the geometry cannot flex and absorb the impact energy. For more information on designing for part stiffness. and material cost. The result can be a decrease in impact performance. or cost. polycarbonate for example. Generally. such as ribs. WALL THICKNESS Wall thickness strongly influences many key part characteristics. moldability. thickness at various temperatures. This chapter covers these general design issues. cycle times. and corrugations — to stiffen parts. The optimum thickness is often a balance between opposing tendencies. see Chapter .1 Izod impact strength of polycarbonate vs. Increasing wall thickness also adds to part weight. lose impact strength if the thickness exceeds a limit known as the critical thickness. flat-wall sections. In simple. such as strength versus weight reduction or durability versus cost. failure during impact. and draft. Some materials. bosses. as well as others you should consider when designing parts made of thermoplastic resins. curves. rather than ductile. The critical thickness reduces with lowering temperature and molecular weight. each 0% increase in wall thickness provides approximately a % increase in stiffness. wall thickness. Above the critical thickness parts made of polycarbonate can show a marked decrease in impact performance. Both geometric and material factors determine the effect of wall thickness on impact performance. Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Give wall thickness careful consideration in the design stage to avoid expensive mold modifications and molding problems in production. including mechanical performance and feel.

or appearance problems. low-shrinkage materials. This can drive up the molding costs and offset any material savings. Thin-walled parts — those with main walls that are less than . and Avoid wall thickness variations that result in filling from thin to thick sections. warpage. Usually. Flow length — the distance from the gate to the last area fill — must be within acceptable limits for the plastic resin chosen. such as most amorphous or filled resins. Other points to consider when addressing wall thickness include: • Avoid designs with thin areas surrounded by thick perimeter sections as they are prone to gas entrapment problems (see figure -). and filling problems that could restrict the processing window. These guidelines pertain to the part’s main walls.2 Incorrect Air Trap Thick Thin Correct Consistent Wall Thickness Non-uniform wall thickness can lead to air traps. Ribs and other protrusions from the wall must be thinner to avoid sink. Excessively thin walls may develop high molding stresses. Consider moldability when selecting the wall thicknesses for your part. because of their high molding shrinkage. can tolerate nominal wall thickness variations up to about 5% without significant filling. Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.5 mm thick — may require special highperformance molding equipment to achieve the required filling speeds and injection pressures.Racetracking Figure 2. Parts with wall thicknesses greater than  mm can also be considered as thin-walled parts if their flow-lengthto-thickness ratios are too high for conventional molding. overly thick walls can extend cycle times and create packing problems. Unfilled crystalline resins. can only tolerate about half as much thickness variation. Maintain uniform nominal wall thickness. For more information about designing ribs and other protrusions. see the section on ribs in this chapter. • •  . Thin-wall molding is generally more suited for size or weight reduction than for cost savings. Conversely. cosmetic problems.

for example. thickness-dependent properties such as flame retardancy. Page 9 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. In some cases.3 • • Core out thick sections as shown on right to maintain a more uniform wall thickness.Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN Many designs. and sound deadening determine the minimum required thickness. have thick sections that could cause sinks or voids. Make the outside radius one wall-thickness larger than the inside radius to maintain constant wall thickness through corners (see figure -4). Blending also reduces the moldedin stresses and stress concentration associated with abrupt changes in thickness. Coring Figure 2. electrical resistance. When adapting these designs to plastic parts. consider the following: • Core or redesign thick areas to create a more uniform wall thickness (see figure -). UL flammability ratings. If your part requires these properties. be sure the material provides the needed performance at the thicknesses chosen. are listed with the minimum wall thickness for which the rating applies. especially those converted from cast metal to plastic.  . and Round or taper thickness transitions to minimize readthrough and possible blush or gloss differences (see figure -5).

and reduce sink in thick sections (see figure -6). Corner Design Figure 2. • Thickness Transitions Figure 2. Reduce the thickness by no more than % in high-shrinkage resins or 50% for low-shrinkage materials. areas of reduced thickness intended to modify the filling pattern. called flow leaders or internal runners. can alleviate air-entrapment problems (see figure -7) or move knit-lines. These flow leaders help mold filling or packing in areas far from the gate.5 Too Thin Incorrect Too Thick Correct Correct t R1 R2 R2 = R1 + t Correct Internal and external corner radii should originate from the same point. 0 Blend transitions to minimize read-through. For best results. Carefully transition the flow leader into the wall to minimize read-through and gloss differences on the other side of the wall. alter the filling pattern. and Lengthen the restrictor to decrease flow. flow leaders can balance filling in non-symmetrical parts. amorphous or filled materials and to 5% for unfilled crystalline resins.4 Flow restrictors. Page 0 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. When restricting thick flow channels as in figure -7. To avoid possible warpage and shrinkage problems. into the part design. Additionally.FLOW LEADERS AND RESTRICTORS Occasionally designers incorporate thicker channels. limit the added thickness to no more than 5% of the nominal wall for low-shrinkage. the flow-leader thickness should extend from the gate without restrictions. . use the following rules of thumb in your design: • • Extend the restrictor across the entire channel profile to effectively redirect flow.

7 Corners typically fill late in box-shaped parts.6 Flow Restrictors Figure 2. Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Adding flow leaders balances flow to the part perimeter. Today. Flow leader and restrictor placement were traditionally determined by trial and error after the mold was sampled. Gate Flow restrictors can change the filling pattern to correct problems such as gas traps.Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN Flow Leaders Figure 2.  . computerized flow simulation enables designers to calculate the correct size and placement before mold construction.

proximity to a gate. Because of flow hesitation. location. Highly glossy.5 mm — can often tolerate ribs that are thicker than the percentages in these guidelines.  Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. critical surfaces may require thinner ribs. Other uses for ribs include: • • • Locating and captivating components of an assembly. Consider these issues carefully when designing ribs. . Rib Thickness Many factors go into determining the appropriate rib thickness. Rib thickness also directly affects moldability. The material.8 at the base of the rib. On parts with wall thicknesses that are . Providing alignment in mating parts. Sink Offset Rib Figure 2. Rib Design Proper rib design involves five main issues: thickness. structural considerations are covered in Chapter . thin ribs near the gate can sometimes be more difficult to fill than those further away. Flow entering the thin ribs hesitates and freezes while the thicker wall sections fill. rib thickness. and moldability. height.9 Sink opposite thick rib. quantity. Thin-walled parts— those with walls that are less than . Very thin ribs can be difficult to fill. Thick ribs often cause sink and cosmetic problems on the opposite surface of the wall to which they are attached (see figure -8). This section deals with general guidelines for ribs and part design.0 mm or less. Table - gives common guidelines for rib thickness for a variety of materials. and a variety of processing conditions determine the severity of sink. the rib thickness should be equal to the wall thickness. These guidelines are based upon subjective observations under common conditions and pertain to the thickness Figure 2. color.RIBS Ribs provide a means to economically augment stiffness and strength in molded parts without increasing overall wall thickness. Offset rib to reduce read-through and sink. Placing ribs opposite character marks or steps can hide rib readthrough (see figure -9). surface texture. and Acting as stops or guides for mechanisms.

To avoid mold filling. More than one degree of draft per side can lead to excessive rib thickness reduction and filling problems in tall ribs. venting. These channels can enhance flow in the rib direction and alter the filling pattern.Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN Rib Thickness as a Percentage of Wall Thickness Table 2-1 Rib Size Ribs usually project from the main wall in the mold-opening direction and are formed in blind holes in the mold steel. In materials with nearly uniform shrinkage in the flow and cross-flow directions. To facilitate part ejection from the mold. thinner ribs tend to solidify earlier and shrink less than the base wall. high cross-flow shrinkage over the length of the rib can cause the ends to warp toward the ribs. design extra mold cooling on the ribbed side to compensate for the added heat load from the ribs. this type of warpage generally decreases. taller ribs provide greater support. voids. this effect diminishes. the ends of ribbed surfaces may warp toward the opposing wall (see figure -). very tall ribs are prone to buckling under load. ribs generally require at least one-half degree of draft per side (see figure -0). or excessive shrinkage. As rib thickness approaches the wall thickness. Additionally. consider designing two or more shorter. Thick ribs form thickened flow channels where they intersect the base wall. Warpage can reverse as the ribs become thicker than the wall. rather than along their length. Because thin ribs tend to fill from the base up. However. the tops of tall ribs may become too thin to fill easily. ribs that are the same thickness as the wall may develop ends that warp toward the ribbed side. The base of thick ribs is often a good location for gas channels in gas-assist molding applications. Rib thickness also determines the cooling rate and degree of shrinkage in ribs. standard rules of thumb limit rib height to approximately three times the rib-base thickness. If you encounter one of these conditions. Generally. which in turn affects overall part warpage. Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Rib Design Guidelines Figure 2-10 . thinner ribs to provide the same support with improved moldability (see figure -). In this situation. To prevent this warpage. Because of the required draft for ejection. and ejection problems. As rib thickness increases and the flow direction becomes more aligned along the length of the ribs. the effect of rib thickness on warpage can be quite different (see figure -). The gas-assist process takes advantage of these channels for filling. Maintain enough space between ribs for adequate mold cooling: for short ribs allow at least two times the wall thickness. and hollows the channels with injected gas to avoid problems with sink.  For glass-filled materials with higher shrinkage in the cross-flow versus flow direction.

. rib thickness in unfilled resins. Likewise. Rib Thickness Figure 2-11 Warpage vs. a grid of ribs added to ensure part flatness may lead to mold-cooling difficulties and warpage. ribs added to increase part strength and prevent breakage might actually reduce the ability of the part to absorb impacts without failure. rib thickness in glass-filled resins. Typically much easier to add than remove. Multiple Ribs Figure 2-13 Replace large problematic ribs with multiple shorter ribs. Warpage vs. Rib Thickness Figure 2-12 Warpage vs.Warpage vs.  Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. For example. ribs should be applied sparingly in the original design and added as needed to fine tune performance. Rib Location and Numbers Carefully consider the location and quantity of ribs to avoid worsening problems the ribs were intended to correct.

05inch blend (fillet) radius provides a good compromise between strength and appearance. Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. bosses should have a blended radius. • For most applications.0 to . Boss Sink Recess Figure 2-15 Boss Design Figure 2-14 Typical boss design Specifying smaller screws or inserts often prevents overly thick bosses.  .4 times the outside diameter of the screw or insert (see figure -4).Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN BOSSES Bosses find use in many part designs as points for attachment and assembly. As a rule of thumb. To reduce stress concentration and potential breakage. the outside diameter of bosses should remain within . keep the ratio of boss-wall thickness to nominal-wall thickness the same as the guidelines for rib thickness (see table -). A recess around the base of a thick boss reduces sink. a 0. rather than a sharp edge. or other types of fastening hardware. Small screws attain surprisingly high retention forces (see the Joining Techniques manual). If the boss-wall thickness must exceed the recommended ratio. To limit sink on the surface opposite the boss. The most common variety consists of cylindrical projections with holes designed to receive screws. consider adding a recess around the base of the boss (as shown in figure -5) to reduce the severity of sink. at their base. Larger radii minimize stress concentration but increase the chance of sink or voids. threaded inserts.

the cores in tall bosses can be difficult to cool and support. leading to filling problems. even if the full depth is not needed for assembly. Consider coring a tall boss from two sides or extending tall gussets to the standoff height rather than the whole boss (see figure -9). or surface blemishes. use connecting ribs for support (see figure -6). Consider using openboss designs for bosses near a standing wall (see figure -7). Avoid bosses that merge into sidewalls because they can form thick sections that lead to sink.Bosses Figure 2-16 Boss in Attachment Wall Figure 2-17 Connecting bosses to wall Open bosses maintain uniform thickness in the attachment wall. knit-lines. The goal is to maintain a uniform thickness in the attachment wall (see figure -8).  Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Deeper holes reduce the base wall thickness. . Normally. resulting in sink or voids. and if needed. Because of the required draft. the boss hole should extend to the base-wall level. Instead. Additionally. position the bosses away from the sidewall. Shallower holes can leave thick sections. Other alternatives include splitting a long boss into two shorter mating bosses (see figure -0) or repositioning the boss to a location where it can be shorter. tall bosses — those greater than five times their outside diameter — can create a filling problem at their top or a thick section at their base.

Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN Boss Core Depth Figure 2-18 Mating Bosses Figure 2-20 Excessively long bosses can often be replaced by two shorter bosses.  . Boss holes should extend to the base-wall level. Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Long-Core Alternatives Figure 2-19 Options to reduce the length of excessively long core pins.

limit gusset thickness to one-half to two-thirds the thickness of the walls to which they are attached if sink is a concern. cantilevered snap arm. Avoid universal radius specifications that round edges needlessly and increase mold cost (see figure -). In critical areas. Sharp inside corners concentrate stresses from mechanical loading.5 provides a good compromise between performance and appearance for most applications subjected to light to moderate impact loads. The stress concentration factor climbs sharply as the radiusto-thickness ratio drops below approximately 0. to prevent sink and read-through. Squared gussets can trap air in the corners. Gussets Figure 2-21 Contour lines show flow front position at incremental time intervals. sharp corners can cause high. In addition to reducing mechanical performance.. resulting in material damage. Because of their shape and the EDM process for burning gussets into the mold. rather than a maximum allowable value. The location of gussets in the mold steel generally prevents practical direct venting.005 inch radius.  Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Specify proper draft and draw polishing to help with mold release. ribs. substantially reducing mechanical performance. Figure - shows the effect of root radius on stress concentration in a simple. Conversely. Avoid designing gussets that could trap gasses and cause filling and packing problems. Adjust the shape or thickness to push gasses out of the gussets and to areas that are more easily vented (see figure -). SHARP CORNERS Avoid sharp corners in your design. . A maximum value allows the mold maker to leave corners sharp as machined with less than a 0. and possible cosmetic defects. As with ribs.GUSSETS Gussets are rib-like features that add support to structures such as bosses. such as Durethan polyamide. Inside corner radii can then be increased as needed based upon prototype testing. large ratios cause thick sections. corner radii should appear as a range. Initially use a minimal corner radius when designing parts made of high-shrinkage materials with lownotch sensitivity. leading to sinks or voids. high molding stresses. and walls (see figure -). on the product drawings. localized shear rates. • A radius-to-thickness ratio of approximately 0. gussets are prone to ejection problems.

Page 9 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Round Edges Figure 2-23 Avoid universal radius specifications that round edges needlessly and increase mold cost.  .Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN Fillet Radius and Stress Concentration Figure 2-22 Effects of a fillet radius on stress concentration.

posts. part geometry.DRAFT Draft — providing angles or tapers on product features such as walls. Generally. SAN resins typically require one to two degrees of draft. The mold finish. Figure -4 shows common draft guidelines. resin. Other rules of thumb for designing draft include: • • Draft all surfaces parallel to the direction of steel separation. Design permitting. and bosses that lie parallel to the direction of release from the mold — eases part ejection. An exception is thermoplastic 0 Page 0 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. polyurethane resin. ultimately leading to longer cycle times and higher part costs. Angle walls and other features that are formed in both mold halves to facilitate ejection and maintain uniform wall thickness. and posts — should taper thinner as they extend into the mold. How a specific feature is formed in the mold determines the type of draft needed. molders may have to apply mold release or special mold surface coatings or treatments. Surfaces formed by slides may not need draft if the steel separates from the surface before ejection. ribs. and mold ejection system determine the amount of draft needed. ribs. Some part designs leave little room for ejector pins. Additionally. use one degree of draft for easy part ejection. Features formed by blind holes or pockets — such as most bosses. Use the standard one degree of draft plus one additional degree of draft for every 0. some deep closed-bottomed shapes may need air valves at the top of the core to relieve the vacuum that forms during ejection (See figure 7- in Chapter 7). which tends to eject easier from frosted mold surfaces. and Use a draft angle of at least one-half degree for most materials. . Parts with little ejector-pin contact area often need extra draft to prevent distortion during ejection.00 inch of texture depth as a rule of thumb. In addition to a generous draft. Draft Figure 2-24 • Common draft guidelines • Less draft increases the chance of damaging the part during ejection. Parts with many cores may need a higher amount of draft. polished mold surfaces require less draft than surfaces with machined finishes.

Cores also remove plastic from thick areas to maintain a uniform wall thickness.  Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. and recesses. Even with some mismatch. make one core larger to accommodate mismatch in the mold. These forces can push or bend the cores out of position. Mismatch can reduce the size of the opening in holes formed by mating cores. Ratios up to 5: are feasible if filling progresses symmetrically around the unsupported hole core or if the core is in an area of slow-moving flow. The level of support on the core ends determines the maximum suggested ratio (see figure -5). the guidelines for length-to-diameter ratio double: typically 6: but up to 0: if the filling around the core is symmetrical. the required hole diameter can be maintained. Otherwise. Properly interlocked cores typically resist deflection better than cores that simply kiss off. altering the molded part. you may have to add slides or hydraulic moving cores that can increase the cost of mold construction and maintenance (see section on undercuts). If the core is supported on both ends. the advancing plastic flow can exert very high side forces on tall cores forming deep or long holes. These features add to mold construction and maintenance costs. Mismatch HOLES AND CORES Cores are the protruding parts of the mold that form the inside surfaces of features such as holes. Whenever possible. Single cores for through-holes can interlock into the opposite mold half for support. On short through-holes that can be molded with one core. During mold filling. . Under severe conditions. round the edge on just one side of hole to eliminate a mating core and avoid mismatch (see figure -7). the depth-to-diameter ratio for blind holes should not exceed :. Tight tolerance holes that cannot be stepped may require interlocking features on the cores to correct for minor misalignment. make one core slightly larger (see figure -6). Consider alternative part designs that avoid the need for long delicate cores. Figure 2-27 Rounding both edges of the hole creates a potential for mismatch. Design permitting. pockets. When feasible. this bending can fatigue the mold steel and break the core. Generally. such as the alternative boss designs in figures -9 and -0. design parts so that the cores can separate from the part in the mold-opening direction.Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN Interlocking Cores Figure 2-25 Core Mismatch Figure 2-26 The ends of the long cores should interlock into mating surfaces for support.

split cores. In addition. Cams. depending upon the undercut’s depth and shape and the resin’s flexibility. needing an additional mechanism in the mold to move certain components prior to ejection (see Chapter 7). Others use external devices such as hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders to generate movement. can tolerate 5% undercuts. Slides and Cores Most undercuts cannot strip from the mold. and reinforced grades of polyamide 6. They also add hidden costs in the form of increased production scrap.  Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Undercuts up to % are possible in parts made of these resins. cam pins. as well as maintenance. . quality problems. Typically. collapsible cores. lifters. Various design solutions for this problem are illustrated in figures -9 through -. avoid stripping undercuts in parts made of stiff resins such as polycarbonate. the part can flex enough to strip from the mold during ejection. guidelines for stripping undercuts from round features limit the maximum amount of the undercut to a percentage defined as follows and illustrated in figure -8 as: Generally. polycarbonate blends. parts made of flexible resins. they may tolerate up to 0% undercuts. The types of mechanisms include slides. Stripping Undercut Guidelines Figure 2-28 Undercut features can often successfully strip from the mold during ejection if the undercut percentage is within the guidelines for the material type. place portions of the mold in the way of the ejecting plastic part. Get input from your mold designer early in product design to help identify options and reduce mold complexity. Clever part design or minor design concessions often can eliminate complex mechanisms for undercuts. Called “undercuts. All of these mechanisms add to mold cost and complexity. flash removal. or springs activate most of these as the mold opens.” these elements can be difficult to redesign. if the walls are flexible and the leading edges are rounded or angled for easy ejection. Under ideal conditions. Generally. the part must have room to flex and deform. because of their orientation.UNDERCUTS Some design features. split cavities. such as unfilled polyamide 6 or thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer. and increased mold downtime. and core pulls. Sometimes. Undercuts can only be stripped if they are located away from stiffening features such as corners and ribs.

Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN Snap Fit Figure 2-30 Snap-fit hook molded through hole to form undercut.  . Sidewall Windows Figure 2-29 Wire Guides Figure 2-31 Bypass steel can form windows in sidewalls without moving slides. Simple wire guides can be molded with bypass steel in the mold. Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

LOUVERS AND VENTS Minor variations in cooling-vent design can have a major impact on the molding costs. For instance. Angling the louver surface can also allow vent slots to be molded without side actions in the mold (see figure -). Louvers on sloping walls can be molded in the direction of draw. Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. molds designed with numerous. angled kiss-offs of bypass cores are expensive to construct and maintain. .Vent Slots Figure 2-32 Louvers on Sloping Wall Figure 2-33 Extending vent slots over the corner edge eliminates the need for a side action in the mold. Consult all pertinent agency specifications for cooling vents in electrical devices. Fully test all cooling-vent designs for compliance. Using moving slides or cores to form vents adds to mold cost and complexity. Extending vents over the top of a corner edge can facilitate straight draw of the vent coring and eliminate a side action in the mold (see figure -).  Carefully consider the molding process during part design to simplify the mold and lower molding costs. Additionally. Vent designs respond differently to the flame and safety tests required by many electrical devices. these molds are susceptible to damage and flash problems.

Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN MOLDED-IN THREADS The molding process accommodates thread forming directly in a part. molding threads on removable cores reduces mold cost and complexity but adds substantially to the costs of molding and secondary operations. thread-cutting steps. and Avoid tapered threads unless you can provide a positive stop that limits hoop stresses to safe limits for the material. threads that do not lie on the parting line require slides or side actions that could add to molding costs. external threads centered on the mold parting line add little to the molding cost.  . this option usually requires generously rounded threads and a diameter-towall-thickness ratio greater than 0 to . All threads molded in two halves are prone to parting line flash or mismatch. threads in parts made of flexible plastics. Rarely suited to filled resins or stiff plastics such as polycarbonate. Stop threads short of the end to avoid making thin. Rounding the thread’s crests and roots lessens these effects. such as unfilled polyamide 6 or polyurethane elastomers. such as self-tapping screws. Always compare this cost to the cost of alternative attachment options. Although less common than the American National (Unified) thread. Consider the following when specifying molded-in threads: • • Use the maximum allowable radius at the thread’s crest and root. • • Thread Profiles Figure 2-34 Common thread profiles used in plastic parts. Occasionally. avoiding the expense of secondary. Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. limit this option to low-production quantities or designs that would be prohibitively complex to mold otherwise. Typically. Usually. Thread designs requiring unscrewing devices add the most cost to the mold. The cost and complexity of the tooling usually determines the feasibility of molding threads. For this reason. Most of the mechanisms for molding internal threads — such as collapsible and unscrewing cores — significantly increase the mold’s cost and complexity. can be stripped from the mold without special mechanisms. Easily molded in both mold halves. Acme and Buttress threads generally work better in plastic assemblies. Limit thread pitch to no more than  threads per inch for ease of molding and protection from cross threading. Thread profiles for metal screws often have sharp edges and corners that can reduce the part’s mechanical performance and create molding problems in plastic designs. feathered threads that can easily cross-thread (see figure -5). Figure -4 shows common thread profiles used in plastics.

Pipe Threads Figure 2-36 Standard NPT tapered pipe threads can cause excessive hoop stresses in the plastic fitting.  Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. are slightly conical and tapered and can place excessive hoop stresses on the internal threads of a plastic part. Parts that do not have to mate with standard metal threads can have unique threads that meet the specific application and material requirements. Design guidelines to avoid cross threading. . in particular. Also. common in plumbing for fluid-tight connections. Thread designs can also be simplified for ease of molding as shown in figure -8. For best performance. are susceptible to chemical attack from many of these compounds. assure that any thread dopes or thread lockers are compatible with your selected plastic resin. has developed special. plastic-thread designs for Luer-lock tubing connectors (see figure -7). use threads designed specifically for plastics. Polycarbonate resins. The medical industry. design the external threads on the plastic component to avoid hoop stress in plastic or use straight threads and an “O” ring to produce the seal (see figure -6). for example.Threads Figure 2-35 Tapered pipe threads. When mating plastic and metal tapered threads.

Molded Threads Figure 2-38 Examples of thread designs that were modified for ease of molding.  .Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN Medical Connectors Figure 2-37 Luer-lock thread used in medical applications. Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

Lettering

Figure 2-39

LETTERING The molding process adapts easily for molding-in logos, labels, warnings, diagrams, and instructions, saving the expense of stick-on or painted labels, and enhancing recyclability. Deep, sharp lettering is prone to cosmetic problems, such as streaks and tear drops, particularly when near the gate (see figure -9). To address these cosmetic issues, consider the following: • Limit the depth or height of lettering into or out of the part surface to approximately 0.00 inch; and Angle or round the side walls of the letters as shown in figure -40.

Deep, sharp lettering can cause teardrop defects as shown on top photo. The bottom shows the improvement with rounded, shallow lettering.

Lettering

Figure 2-40

Design suggestions for the cross-sectional profile of lettering. 

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Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN
TOLERANCES Many variables contribute to the dimensional stability and achievable tolerances in molded parts, including processing variability, mold construction, material characteristics, and part geometry. To improve your ability to maintain specified tolerances in production: • • Use low-shrinkage materials in parts with tight tolerances; Avoid tight tolerances in dimensions affected by the alignment of the mold halves or moving mold components such as slides; Design parts and assemblies to avoid tight tolerances in areas prone to warpage or distortion, and • Adjust the mold to produce dimensions in the middle of tolerance range at optimum processing conditions for the material. Geometric tolerancing methods can expand the effective molding tolerance by better defining the size and position requirements for the assembly. Rather than define the position and size of features separately, geometric tolerancing defines a tolerance envelope in which size and position are considered simultaneously.

To avoid unnecessary molding costs, specify tight tolerances only when needed. Generally, the size and variability of other part features determine the actual tolerance required for any one component or feature within an assembly. Rather than dividing the allowable variability equally over the various features that govern fit and function, allot a greater portion of the total tolerance range to features that are difficult to control. Reserve tight tolerances for features that can accommodate them reasonably.

Tolerances

Figure 2-41

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Tolerances

Figure 2-42

As the hole size increases, the position tolerance can increase without restricting the through-hole clearance.

Figure -4 shows the size and position of a hole specified in both standard and geometric tolerances. The standard tolerances hold the position and size of the hole to ±0.00. The geometric tolerances specify a hole size tolerance of ±0.00 but allow the position tolerance to vary within a 0.006 tolerance zone when the hole is at its smallest diameter (maximum material condition). When the hole is larger than the minimum size, the difference between the actual hole size and the minimum hole size can be added to the tolerance zone for the position tolerance. At the maximum hole size, 0.50, the position tolerance zone for the center of the hole is 0.0 or ±0.006 from the stated vertical and horizontal positions. As the hole becomes larger, the position can vary more without restricting the required through-hole for the post or screw that passes through the hole (see figure -4). 
0 Page 40 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

Chapter 2 GENERAL DESIGN
BEARINGS AND GEARS Material friction and wear properties play a key role in the performance of bearings and gears made of plastic. For instance, Durethan polyamide resins exhibit properties suitable for many gear and bearing applications. Used frequently as over-molded, geartooth liners, thermoplastic urethane elastomers demonstrate excellent abrasion resistance and shockdampening properties. Because plastic parts exhibit complex wear behavior, predicting gear and bearing performance can be difficult. However, certain trends prevail: • When the mating components of a bearing or gear are made of the same material, the wear level is much higher, unless the load and temperature are very low; When both contacting plastics are unfilled, usually wear is greater on the moving surface; When plastic components will wear against steel, use glass fillers to increase the life of plastic components; and When designing bearing parts for longevity, keep frictional heating low and ensure that heat dissipates quickly from the bearing surface.

Approximate PV Limits at 100 Feet/Minute

Table 2-2

Many factors influence the effective PV limit and actual bushing performance. For instance, bushings made of plastic last longer when the shafts are hard and finely polished. Other points to consider: • • Avoid soft-metal shafts when the loads or rotational speeds are high; Add holes or grooves to the inside of the bushing to capture debris and prevent premature wear; Protect the bearings with seals or guards in dirty environments; and Check the compatibility of lubricants with your specific plastic.

If chemically compatible, lubricants can more than double the PV limit and greatly increase the life of gears and bearings. Differences in the coefficient of linear thermal expansion between the shaft and the bushing can change the clearance and affect part life. Calculate the clearance throughout the service temperature range, maintaining a minimum clearance of approximately 0.005 inch per inch of diameter. Always test your specific shaft and bushing combination under the full range of temperatures, speeds, loads, and environmental conditions before specifying a bushing material or design.

The PV factor, a major factor in the formation of frictional heat, is the product of the pressure (P) exerted on the projected area of the bushing and the surface velocity (V) of the shaft. Testing shows that plastics exhibit a sharp increase in wear at PV values above a limit characteristic of the specific resin (see table -). The PV factor for the bushing must not exceed the PV limit (minus appropriate safety factor) established for the selected resin.

• •

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Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN
This chapter assumes the reader has a working knowledge of mechanical engineering and part design, and therefore focuses primarily upon those aspects of structural design that are unique or particularly relevant to plastics. Two main goals of this chapter are to show how to use published data to address the unusual behavior of plastics in part design, and to show how to take advantage of the design freedom afforded by molding processes to meet your structural requirements. STRUCTURAL CONSIDERATIONS IN PLASTICS When designing parts made of plastics, be sure to consider not only the magnitude of mechanical loads but also their type and duration. More so than for most materials, plastics can exhibit dramatically different behavior depending on whether the loading is instantaneous, long term, or vibratory in nature. Temperature and other environmental conditions can also dramatically affect the mechanical performance of the plastic material. Many aspects of plastic behavior, including viscoelasticity and sensitivity to a variety of processingrelated factors, make predicting a given part’s performance in a specific environment very difficult. Use structural calculations conservatively and apply adequate safety factors. We strongly suggest prototype testing for all applications. Plastic part design must also take into account not only the structural requirements anticipated in the end-use application, but also the less obvious mechanical loads and stresses that can occur during operations such as manufacturing, assembly, and shipping. These other sources of mechanical loads can often place the highest structural demands on the plastic part. Carefully evaluate all of the structural loads the part must endure throughout its entire life cycle. The mechanical properties of plastics differ from metals in several important ways: • • • • Plastics exhibit much less strength and stiffness; Mechanical properties are time and temperature dependent; Plastics typically exhibit nonlinear mechanical behavior; and Processing and flow orientation can greatly affect properties.

The following sections briefly discuss the relevance of these differences when designing plastic parts. For more on these topics, consult the LANXESS Corporation companion to this manual: Material Selection: Engineering Plastics.

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Viscoelasticity Plastics exhibit viscoelastic behaviors under load: they show both plastic and elastic deformation. this same plastic will deform. Increasing wall thickness may compensate for the lower stiffness of plastic resins. you must account for the large disparity between plastic and metal mechanical properties (see table -). Generally. good part designs incorporate stiffening features and use part geometry to help achieve required stiffness and strength.60 inches. Dashpot A connected to the spring simulates the permanent deformation that occurs over time. In practice. If your design needs the strength and/or stiffness of a metal part.and temperature-dependent behavior occurs because the polymer chains in the part do not return to their original position when the load is removed. injection-molded parts. wall thickness ranges from 0. The Voight– Maxwell model of springs and dashpots illustrates these characteristics (see figure -).Stiffness Designing parts with adequate stiffness can be difficult.  Page 44 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. exhibiting an elastic response. particularly if your part was made of metal originally. Under long-term. heavy loads or at elevated temperatures. This time. These design considerations are covered in greater detail in the section Designing for Stiffness on page 67.5 inch in solid. Under mild loading conditions. the molding process limits wall thickness to approximately 0. plastics usually return to their original shape when the load is removed.060 to 0. More typically. Spring A in the Maxwell model represents the instantaneous response to load and the linear recovery when the load is removed. Property Comparison of Metals and Plastics Table 3-1 Voight-Maxwell Model Figure 3. however.1 Voight-Maxwell model simulating iscoelastic characteristics. This dual behavior accounts for the peculiar mechanical properties found in plastics. . behaving more like a high-viscosity liquid.

Plastic parts also exhibit creep. To account for this behavior. These topics are discussed more fully in the section Long-Term Loading on page 7. it becomes more ductile: yield strength decreases and the strain-at-break value increases. load. as well as stress relaxation. designers should use data that reflect the correct temperature.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Viscoelasticity causes most plastics to lose stiffness and strength as the temperature increases (see figure -). As a plastic part is exposed to higher temperatures. Stress-Strain vs.  . the reduction in stress over time in a part under constant strain or deformation. and duration to which the part will be exposed.2 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 1 2 3 4 Page 45 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. the increase in deformation over time in parts under continuous load or stress. Temperature Figure 3.

usually expressed as a curve. A calculated secant modulus can better represent material stiffness at a specific stress or strain. unreinforced plastic materials tend to exhibit nonlinear behavior through much of their operating range. In this context. in structural calculations could lead to an error. The results. Figure - shows typical stress-strain curves for steel and unreinforced thermoplastic materials. they typically function within the elastic (Hookean) range of mechanical performance. Unreinforced plastics tend to exhibit nonlinear behavior represented here by the combination of springs and dashpots. the term “nonlinear” means that the resulting strain at any particular point does not vary proportionally with the applied stress. Because of viscoelasticity. While metals can exhibit plastic behavior. Viscoelasticity Figure 3. Secant Modulus Figure 3. the percentage of change in length as a result of the force. the force per original cross-sectional area. Even at low strain values. The use of secant modulus is discussed in the example problems later in this chapter. Nearly linear at very low stress and strain levels. show the relationship between stress. and strain. . As a result. derived from stress over strain in the linear region of the stress-strain curve. which represents the stiffness of a material at a specific strain or stress level (see figure -4). You may need to calculate the secant modulus.Stress-Strain Behavior A simple tensile test determines the stress-strain behavior of plastic materials. the stress-strain behavior of plastics tends to become increasingly nonlinear as these loads increase. using the tensile modulus or Young’s modulus.4 The Young’s modulus derived from the stressstrain behavior at very low strain can overstate the material stiffness.3 Metals usually function within the elastic (Hookean) range of mechanical behavior.  Page 46 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. plastics tend to exhibit some nonlinear behavior.

fiber orientation also affects mechanical performance: fatigue strength for a given fiber-filled resin is often many times greater when the fibers are aligned lengthwise. Fiber orientation in an actual part is seldom as uniform as it is in test bars. Address this potential source of error in your calculations and apply appropriate safety factors.5 This graph shows the stress-strain performance parallel to fiber orientation at various temperatures for a 30% glass-filled PA 6 material after conditioning. rather than perpendicular to the fatigue load. The high molding stresses in an actual part may reduce certain mechanical properties. such as the amount of applied stress a given part can endure. .  Page 47 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Stress-strain performance in the direction of fiber orientation can also differ greatly from the performance in the direction perpendicular to the fibers. most mechanical properties derive from end-gated test bars that exhibit a high degree of orientation in the direction of the applied test load. Figures -5 and -6 show stress versus strain for a 0% glass-filled PA 6 in the parallel-to-fiber and perpendicular-to-fiber directions. In glass-filled resins. The standard test bars used to determine most mechanical properties have low levels of molding stress. Stress-Strain Perpendicular to Orientation Figure 3. you may want to perform a structural finite-element analysis using fiber-orientation data from moldfilling analysis and unique mechanical properties for the orientation and cross-orientation directions.6 Stress-Strain Parallel to Orientation Figure 3. Mechanical calculations based on this kind of data may over-predict material stiffness and performance in parts with random fiber orientation or in applications in which the fibers lie perpendicular to the applied loads. Unless otherwise stated.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Molding Factors The injection-molding process introduces stresses and orientations that affect the mechanical performance of plastic parts. Always add reasonable safety factors and test prototype parts before actual production. This graph shows the stress-strain performance perpendicular to fiber orientation at various temperatures for a 30% glass-filled PA 6 material after conditioning. For critical parts.

and in LANXESS’ Property Guides. Figure 3. . These publications are available through your sales representative.8 Typical stress-strain behavior of unreinforced plastics.SHORT-TERM MECHANICAL PROPERTIES This section gives some commonly used criteria to define and describe the short-term strength mechanical behavior of thermoplastic materials.  Page 48 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Consult the publication Material Selection for information on the various test methods and property data used for thermoplastics engineering resins.7 Figure 3. These curves illustrate the characteristic differences in the stress-strain behavior of various plastics. Specific property data for LANXESS materials can be found in the CAMPUS© database system for plastics.

40 for engineering resins (see table -). The jaws separate at a steady rate. the break point. The results are often graphed as stress versus percentage elongation (strain). Tensilestress-at-yield values can be measured only for materials that yield under test conditions. Elongation at yield gives the upper limit for applications that can tolerate the small permanent deformation that occurs between the elastic limit and the yield point. Tensile Stress at Yield Tensile stress at yield. Point B is the elastic limit. Ductile materials display a more complex behavior. and applications in which the parts can still function after undergoing permanent deformation. Tensile Modulus Commonly used in structural calculations. Point C. Because of plastic’s viscoelastic behavior. determining tensile modulus is more subjective and less precise for plastics than it is for metals and most other materials.%. you can determine the tensile modulus by taking the ratio of stress to strain as measured below the proportional limit on the stress-strain curves. Point D. tensile modulus measures material stiffness. For ductile materials. it may be more appropriate to derive a modulus from the slope of a line drawn tangent to the curve at a point on the stress-strain diagram (tangent modulus). Mathematically. Poisson’s ratio measures the ratio of lateral to longitudinal strains as the material undergoes tensile loading. or the point after which the part will be permanently deformed even after the load is removed. Figure -7 shows the kinds of stressstrain behavior exhibited by plastics. and the device records the force per cross-sectional area (stress) required to stretch the sample from 0% elongation to break.  . This value should be used in general strength comparisons. Ultimate Strength Ultimate strength measures the highest stress value encountered during the tensile test. Figure -8 identifies the transitional points in the stress-strain behavior of ductile plastics. it narrows laterally. shows the end of the region in which the resin exhibits linear stress-strain behavior. buckling analysis.50. Page 49 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. When dealing with materials with no clear linear region. Point A. marks the beginning of the region in which ductile plastics continue to deform without a corresponding increase in stress. generally establishes the upper limit for applications that can tolerate only small permanent deformations. Tensile Stress at Break Tensile stress at break is defined as the stress applied to the tensile bar at the time of fracture during the steady-deflection-rate tensile test. the stress level corresponding to the point of zero slope on the stress-strain curve. rather than as a design criterion. for example. Poisson’s Ratio As a plastic specimen stretches longitudinally in response to tensile loading. but not the larger deformation that occurs during yield. the proportional limit. typically at 0. shows the strain value when the test bar breaks. Higher values indicate greater stiffness. Data for tensile stress at break establish the upper limits for two types of applications: one-time-use applications that normally fail because of fractures.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Tensile Properties Tensile properties are measured in a device that stretches a molded test bar between two clamping jaws. you can calculate the modulus at some specified strain value. For some applications. Poisson’s ratio usually falls between 0.5 and 0. the yield point. it is often the value at yield or break. Some elastomeric materials approach the constant-volume value of 0. Ultimate strength is usually the stress level at the breaking point in brittle materials. Rigid plastics exhibit a nearly linear behavior similar to metals. Applications that cannot tolerate any permanent deformation must stay below the elastic limit.

. Coefficients are commonly listed for two types of friction: static friction. to normal force. Consult your LANXESS representative if you require detailed analysis in a compressive mode. For this reason it is more common to test tensile properties rather than compressive properties. the forces acting on the surfaces to resist initial movement. Table - lists typical values for common plastics. The flexural modulus is based upon the calculated outer-fiber stress. Test values for tensile modulus typically correlate well with those of the flexural modulus in solid plastics. Coefficients of Friction (Static) Ranges for Various Materials Table 3-2 0 Page 50 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. A test bar subjected to bending loads distributes tensile and compressive stresses through its thickness. Flexural Modulus Defined as the ratio of stress to strain in the elastic region of a stress-strain curve derived from flexural testing.Compressive Properties Under equivalent loading conditions. Coefficient of Friction The coefficient of friction is the ratio of friction force. plastics tend to be approximately 0% stronger under compressive loading. the forces acting between surfaces that are already sliding. and dynamic friction. but differ greatly for foamed plastics that form solid skins. As a rule of thumb. the force perpendicular to the contact surfaces. flexural modulus measures a resin’s stiffness during bending. plastics tend to fail in tension rather than compression. Assuming that the compressive strength equals the tensile strength usually results in a conservative design. the force needed to initiate or maintain sliding.

9 Creep and recovery of polycarbonate at 73°F (23°C). Creep Properties Over time. the added deformation that occurs over time in parts under constant stress. the isochronous stress-strain curve. parts subjected to a constant load often distort beyond their initial deformation. polymer chains can reorient in response to applied loads. A common creep test involves hanging a weight axially on the end of a test bar and monitoring increases in the bar length over time. Another popular form for creep data. LONG-TERM MECHANICAL PROPERTIES Time and temperature affect the longterm mechanical properties of plastics because they affect polymer-chain mobility.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Creep and Recovery Figure 3. and stress relaxation. they creep. The mobility of polymer chains determines the rate of this stress redistribution. Even at moderate temperatures. divide the calculated stress by the resulting strain as read from the isochronous curve Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Presented graphically in a variety of forms. Long-term creep data helps designers estimate and adjust for this additional deformation. the reduction in stress in parts subjected to constant strain. plots tensile stress versus strain at given time increments (see figure -0).  . creep and recovery data is often plotted as strain versus time at various stress levels throughout the creep and recovery phases (see figure -9). Plastics under constant load tend to deform over time to redistribute and lower internal stresses. Two consequences of long-term loading are creep. as well as the molecular-vibration energies. Higher temperatures increase the free space between molecules. if given enough time. To determine the apparent modulus or creep modulus. resulting in a corresponding increase in polymerchain mobility.

 .Isochronous Stress-Strain Figure 3-10 30 Isochronous stress-strain curves at 73°F (23°C) for ABS.5 2 2. Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.5 10 1.5 3 3.5 4 Isochronous Stress-Strain Figure 3-11 Isochronous stress-strain curves at 140°F (60°C) for ABS. 25 20 15 10 5 0 0 0.

000 hours. Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. will enable the formula to better predict the deformation that will occur over time. You can derive stress-relaxation information from isochronous stress-strain curves by noting the change in stress corresponding to a given strain on the different time curves. Dividing the stress by the strain. spring fingers. Because of stress relaxation. the stress reduction that occurs in parts subjected to constant strain over time. S-N Curves Figure 3-12 Fatigue test curve for glass-filled Durethan polyamide in three cyclic-loading modes.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Stress Relaxation corresponding to the time duration desired. and a load duration of 00 hours. is an important design concern for parts that will be subjected to long-term deflection.%.000 psi. Substituting this apparent modulus or creep modulus into deflection formulas. calculated by dividing the stress (after a specific time) by the fixed strain value. higher ambient temperatures will cause more creep deformation. Stress relaxation.  . Compare the isochronous stress-strain curve for ABS at room temperature in figure -0 with the curves in figure - for the same material at 76°F (80°C). For example. As mentioned earlier.000 psi. a tensile stress of . and other part features subject to constant strain can show a reduced retention or deflection force over time (see example problem -7). assuming roomtemperature conditions.050 psi after . we see in figure -0 that the corresponding strain is . the tensile stress at . Be sure to use creep data derived at temperatures appropriate for your application. temperature affects the long-term and short-term properties of plastics. press fits. in place of the instantaneous tensile modulus. Stress-relaxation modulus.65 psi to approximately .75% strain drops from an instantaneous value of . In general. In figure -0. accounts for stress relaxation in standard engineering equations. we calculate an apparent modulus of 70.

Fatigue Properties Molded plastic parts exposed to cyclic loading often fail at substantially lower stress and strain levels than parts under static loading. Fatigue strength for a given fiber-filled resin can be many times greater when the fibers are aligned lengthwise in the direction of loading rather than perpendicularly. and always include a suitable safety factor. surface finish. and temperature. The white line shows the suggested design limit at various temperatures for a PC/ABS resin used in applications subjected to dynamic fatigue loading for 07 cycles. In contrast to metals. and whether the part is plated also affect fatigue performance. When calculating fatigue-life values. loading frequency. plastics have a high degree of inherent damping and relatively low thermal conductivity. stress concentrators. .Dynamic Load Limits Figure 3-13 Stress-strain curves for PC/ABS showing limits at various temperatures for dynamic loading. vibration frequencies as low as 0 Hz can cause heat generation in plastic parts. Fatigue curves. a phenomenon known as fatigue.  Page 54 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. such as convection. Fatigue information can also appear as stress or strain limits on stress-strain curves as in figure -. use fatigue data that is appropriate for your application. and high-use snap-latch closures — need plastics with good fatigue characteristics. Applications that expose parts to heavy vibrations or repeated deflections — such as snowplow headlight housings. Therefore. This can lead to thermal failure if the energy cannot be properly dissipated by other means. Fatigue properties are sensitive to many factors including notch effects. Fiber orientation can also affect fatigue performance. generated from tests that subject test specimens to cyclic loading until failure or a fixed reduction in stress or strain. The results are often presented in the form of S-N curves (see figure -) that plot the stress amplitude against the number of cycles to failure. environmental factors. Surface texture. one-piece salad tongs. provide a useful means for comparing the relative fatigue endurance of different plastics.

deflection formulas require elastic (Young’s) modulus and sometimes Poisson’s ratio. For short-term loads in the nonlinear region above the proportional limit. now common in plastic part design. Generally material dependent. Table - lists typical values for a variety of materials. Because the strain value is always changing in a part that is exhibiting creep. Simple bending calculations involving solid plastics undergoing short-term loading below the proportional limit can use either the flexural modulus or the published instantaneous tensile modulus. The secant modulus typically provides satisfactory predictions of deflections in applications that experience higher strain levels. A time-dependent property. Because they are primarily a function of part geometry and load and not material properties. which is independent of the elastic modulus for the material. the creep modulus is also time dependent.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN STRUCTURAL DESIGN FORMULAS Finite-element-analysis (FEA) techniques. v. For simple geometries and noncritical parts. use the instantaneous elastic modulus. Next read the strain corresponding to this calculated stress on the appropriate stress-strain curve. Poisson’s ratio varies slightly with temperature and loading conditions. Calculations using the creep modulus. calculated from the curves and based upon the actual calculated stress. See example problem - for a demonstration of this procedure. such as assembly stresses. Then. use isothermal stress-strain curves to calculate elastic modulus — simply stress divided by strain in the linear region — at the desired temperature. Even in a complex part. an area or feature under load can often be represented by standard formulas.  . To calculate secant modulus. creep modulus is the calculated stress divided by the corresponding strain value read from the isochronous stress-strain curve for the desired time span. a decreased-representative modulus value. divide the calculated stress by the strain to obtain the secant modulus for that stress level. See the Long-Term Properties section in this chapter for more information and example problems dealing with creep behavior. you will have to use a secant modulus. Single-point data suffices for most calculations. provide valuable information about the mechanical performance of complex or critical designs. At other temperatures. standard design formulas can give good results if the material remains within its elastic limit. For long-term loads. use a creep or apparent modulus derived from isochronous stress-strain curves. but usually only to an insignificant degree. predict the deflection that occurs after a period of time. Page 55 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. first solve the stress equation. stress calculation formulas derived for metals apply directly to plastics. Use of Moduli For short-term loads at room temperatures and stress levels below a resin’s proportional limit.

it is almost always used in conjunction with the deflection equation to evaluate true design performance. To apply a stress limit. One-time. use about 60% of these values.  Page 56 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. appropriate safety factors should always be used. . Because stress and strain are interrelated. millimeters per millimeter) but it is most often represented as a percentage. Permissible strain values are typically used to design parts with short-term or intermittent loads such as cantilever snap arms. it can be created by substituting σ / ε for E in the deflection equation. General stress limits (such as 5% of the published tensile yield stress) usually have large inherent safety factors. Designs that see multiple applications of an applied load should stay below 60% of these values. Of course. The actual units of strain are length divided by length (inches per inch. Use a safety factor of at least .Stress and Strain Limits Plastics differ in the level of stress or strain they can tolerate in structural applications. shortduration load applications that stay below these limits typically do not fracture or exhibit significant permanent deformation. reduce the load or increase the cross-sectional area to reduce stress below the limit. Be sure to multiply the result by an appropriate stress concentration factor (see figure -) before making the comparison. Newtons per square millimeter = Megapascals. simply solve the stress equation for the given load and geometry to determine if the limit is exceeded. then substituting the complete stress equation for σ. plastic parts can be designed based on either stress or strain limits.0 — higher values are necessary in critical applications. Note that because the stress equation itself is not modulus-dependent. MPa). If a strain-based formula is not available. Stress limits are best determined from isochronous stress-strain curves showing either crazing or design limits for the given time and temperature. If the limit is exceeded. for frequent separation and rejoining. Permissible Short-Term Table 3-3 Strain Limits at 23°C (73° F) General guide data for the allowable short-term strain for snap joints (single joining operation). Stress has units of force per cross-sectional area (pounds per square inch = psi. Engineering strain is defined as the change in length of a specimen divided by its original length and is represented by the symbol ε. Table - lists the permissible shortterm strain limits at room temperature for various families of LANXESS engineering plastics. but become less conservative at elevated temperatures or long-time use conditions.

Page 57 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.600 psi Note that no modulus values are required to determine the stress.7% strain for a stress of 5.  . the compressive strength is usually assumed to equal the tensile strength.5)] = 5. Consult a strength-of-materials textbook or engineering handbook for analytical buckling formulas. The proper secant modulus for this case is then: Esecant = 5. reading from the stress-strain curve at room temperature (23°C) in figure 3-2 gives a value of 1. but because it is more difficult to test.600 psi / 0.5 inch by 0. multiply the original length of the sample by the strain. Example 3-1: Tensile Stress and Strain A 5 inch long bar with a cross section of 0. the error introduced by using Young’s modulus was about 8%. Poisson’s ratio is required.07 = 9.017) = 0. In this case.600 psi. so to find the change in length.125 inch is exposed to a 350 pound tensile load. Keep in mind that these calculations are assuming short-term loading. which is a conservative assumption. The definition of stress is load divided by cross-sectional area. Using Young’s modulus to calculate strain gives: ε = σ / E = 5. slender shapes are the most susceptible to this failure mode. But the correct answer using the actual stress-strain curve is ΔL = (5 inch)(0. The compressive strength of plastic usually exceeds the tensile strength. simply load and cross-sectional area.0156) = 0. ΔL = (5 inch)(0. Depending on geometry. ΔL. Since this strain value is greater than that calculated with Young’s modulus. the sample must be strained beyond the proportional limit.5)(0. the material will creep causing strain to increase.600 psi / 60. If the 5.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Uniaxial Tensile and Compressive Stress Because most plastic part failures are tensile failures and this failure mode is easy to test.085 inch. the majority of the available stress-strain data were produced using tensile test methods.078 inch.600 psi stress is not removed after a short time. Long.4 psi The definition of engineering strain is ΔL / L.56% strain However. Calculate the stress and elongation of the ABS bar. so the stress is: σt = P / A = 50 / [(0. excessive compressive stress may cause the part to buckle. (In some cases however.600 psi stress. For the Young’s modulus case.) To find the elongation of the bar.056 in/in = . determine the strain (change in length per unit length) created by the applied 5.000 psi = 0.

Page 58 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. The stress distribution through the thickness of the part is defined by the formula: Tensile and Compressive Stresses in Bending Figure 3-14 σb = Mc I In this formula. The formulas assume the bending moment is applied about this axis. E) as I divided by c allows the bending-stress formula to be rewritten: Table -4 shows formulas for the cross-sectional area. the maximum tensile bending stress is of primary interest. M represents the bending moment applied to the beam.Bending and Flexural Stress Bending or flexing a plastic part induces both tensile and compressive stresses through the cross section. Newtons) and the symbol w denotes loads evenly distributed across the beam (pounds/inch. Z (not to be confused with the material modulus. σb = M / Z For design purposes. Table -5 gives stress and deflection formulas for the bending of beams with different boundary conditions. For the simple cantilever shown in figure -4. Defining section modulus. Boundary conditions define how the ends of the part are restrained. Use the values from table -4 for I and Z. The symbol P denotes concentrated loads (pounds. for various cross sections. For accurate results. and section modulus. Bending moment can be defined as applied force times the distance to the point of interest. The neutral plane defines the plane of zero stress in which the stress magnitude switches from tensile to compressive. the moment at the attachment point is the load times the length of the beam. or P times L. The common units of moment are pound-inches or Newtonmeters. and the moment of inertia of the cross section (not to be confused with bending moment) is represented by capital letter I. moment of inertia. The maximum tensile bending stress is found when c is set equal to the distance from the neutral plane to the outer surface in tension. Bending-stress formulas are highly dependent on boundary conditions. or in this case. The dashed line in the crosssectional diagrams denotes the neutral plane. c. The cross sections that are not symmetrical about the neutral axis require some backsubstitution of A and c to calculate I and Z. millimeters4). The moment of inertia indicates resistance to bending and has units of length to the fourth power (inches4. A. Z. as shown in figure -4. Newtons/ millimeter). distance from the neutral plane to the outer surface in tension. Bending creates tensile stresses on the convex side of the part and compressive stresses on the concave side. as well as the position of the load and whether it is concentrated or distributed across the surface of the part. I. The distance from the neutral plane to the point of interest is represented by c. neutral axis. use the secant modulus or apparent modulus for E.  .

 .Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Section Properties for Bending Table 3-4 Page 59 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

Beam Bending Formulas Table 3-5 P y L PL Z PL3 3EI w y L wL2 2Z wL4 8EI L/2 P y PL 4Z PL3 48EI L a xm P b For a > b: y Pb(L2-b2)3/2 9 3EIL Pab LZ At xm = L L2-b2 3 w y PL 8Z 5wL4 384EI L L/2 P y PL 8Z wL4 192EI L w y PL 12 Z wL4 384EI L 0 Page 60 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. .

)] /  = 0. Find the maximum deflection of the beam and at what point the maximum deflection occurs.  . It instead occurs at: xm = [(L-b) / ]/ = [(0-4) / ]/ = 5.6EIL   / For this special case.5 inch I = [()() .354 psi / 0. b = 4. L = 10.(0.2 inch.013 = 334. The fourth condition is correct.5 = 0. fiber orientation is considered.923 psi. the maximum deflection does not occur at the point where the load is applied.54 psi (0 MPa) The stress result is needed in this case only to calculate the proper secant modulus.4 inch σb = Pab / LZ = (50)(6)(4) / [(0)(0.3%. the curves in figure 3-5 apply.78)] = 4. Reading from the 60°C curve at a stress of 4. s = t = 0. The secant modulus for this case is 4. y= = Pb(L -b ) 5.6)(4. Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.6: c = h /  =  /  = 0. The beam was injection molded from Durethan BKV 130 PA 6 resin through a gate on one end. The environmental temperature is 140°F (60°C). therefore. and P = 50 gives: Simply Supported Plate Figure 3-15 Now solve the deflection equation using the secant modulus. The gate at one end of the beam will align most of the fibers along the length of the beam.9)(0.354 psi (30 MPa) gives a strain of 1. Solving for maximum tensile bending stress with a = 6.78 inch Now find the appropriate stress formula for the given boundary conditions in table 3-5. Because the resin is 30% glass reinforced.0689 / 0.0689 inch4 Z = I / c = 0. calculate the section properties of the I-beam.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Example 3-2: Beam Bending A load of 250 pounds is placed on a 10 inch long beam 4 inches from one end. The I-shaped beam is 1 inch wide and 1 inch tall with a uniform thickness of 0.0689)(0)   / = 0. From table 3-4 with b = h = 1.9 inches from the left end of the beam (50)(4)(0 -4 ) (5.2 and d = 0.6)(-0. First.

the elevatedtemperature condition rules out the use of the room temperature Young’s modulus.8) / 8(0. The load in the plates creates a shear stress on the cross section B-B equal to the load.5 inches and a thickness of 0.2 inches. Shear stress is denoted by the Greek letter τ.900 psi. first calculate the appropriate secant modulus to use in the deflection formula.0)(0.75)4[5-4(0.56% strain is found to correspond to a stress of about 4. Therefore. a 1. The most common example of shear stress is the shearing of a bolt or pin as shown in figure -6. δmax = = 0. Solving the deflection equation using this modulus value gives: (75)(0.0) In tensile or compressive loading. Solving the stress equation yields: σmax = (75)(0. .0) = 4.38) t = plate thickness (0. The maximum deflection (δ) and stress (σ) for this case can be calculated from the formulas: δmax = σ= pr4(5-4ν−ν) 6Et pr(+ν) 8t Shear Stress on a Pin Figure 3-16 where: p = applied pressure load (275 psi) r = plate radius (0. determine the deflection of the plate. Using the stress-strain curves for ABS resin. Shear stress is calculated by considering the stress on the cross section that lies in-plane or parallel to the load.8)] 6(4. P. The units of shear stress (psi) are the same as for tensile or bending stress.8)-(0. Dividing stress by strain gives a secant modulus of 314. divided by the cross-sectional area of the pin.06 inches  Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. A.90 psi Shear Stress Using the 40°C isothermal stress-strain curve in figure 3-2. A uniform load of 275 psi is applied in an ambient temperature of 104°F (40°C).Example 3-3: Plate Deflection Assume that the simply supported plate shown in figure 3-15 has a diameter of 1.103 psi.75)(+0.75 inches) ν = Poisson’s ratio (0. In addition. the load is applied perpendicular to the cross section of interest.2 inches) E = modulus of elasticity in psi This pressure load will cause strain in the disk to exceed the proportional limit.

5 inch long. It is defined as: w= TL JG Note that the conversion factor between radians and degrees is 180/π.00057 inch For this case.000 / [(+0.5 radians = 8.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Torsion Shear stress is the primary type of stress in parts that experience torsional or twisting loads. and therefore E. The stress formula for torsion is analogous to the bending-stress formula. Using the 23°C curve in figure 3-2 gives a secant modulus of about 6. L is the length of the shaft and G is the shear modulus of the material. or 0. the shear modulus can be approximated from the tensile modulus and Poisson’s ratio using the relation: E G ≈ (+ν) The strain produced in torsion is a shear strain.00057) = .000 psi.370 psi / 0. w.2 inch diameter. 0.)4 /  = 0. γ. First the shear stress in the shaft and the resulting angle of twist. (d = shaft diameter) Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. The bending moment is replaced with a twisting moment.5) / [(0.  .4)(0.70)] = 0.1 inch. The distance c now represents the distance from the centroid of the section to the outer surface.022 = 290.) / (0.07 psi The calculated angle of twist is then: w = TL / JG = (5)(0. Combining the relations for G and γ and replacing the moduli with their stress/strain definitions gives the relation: σ ≈ 2τ. Lastly. for a circular cross section. The polar moment of inertia for the round cross section is: J = πd4 /  = (.370 psi. T.8)] ≈ 05.85 psi To find the angle of twist. In this expression. It can be related to tensile strain using the approximate relation: γ≈ (+ν)ε This equation is useful for converting permissible tensile-strain limits to permissible shear-strain limits.7 degrees For the torsion problem the angle of twist. The maximum shear stress in the shaft is then: G ≈ Es / [(+ν)] ≈ 90. This yields the following formula: τ= Tc J Example 3-4: Torsion of a Round Shaft A 0.00057)(05. and the moment of inertia is replaced by a polar moment of inertia. or 6. σb = Mc / I. the angle of twist in radians can be calculated given the shear strain and geometry by: w = γL / d. is analogous to deflection. J. Assuming linear elasticity. This allows us to calculate secant modulus from the tensile stress-strain curve with a stress value of 2 times τ. ABS shaft is part of a torsional latch. we need G. c = d / 2. A torque of 5 inch-pounds is applied to activate the latch. τ = Tc / J = (5)(0.

They also tend to warp during molding. such as those on the sidewalls of box-shaped parts. ribs. Corrugation features usually avoid the filling and read-through problems sometimes encountered with reinforcing ribs. Design permitting. Non-cosmetic parts frequently rely on corrugations to increase stiffness and distribute loads (see figure -8).5 inch dome increases the stiffness by about 00%. the overall part shape is the predominant design factor affecting part stiffness and load-carrying capabilities. For the example of a 0 inch diameter disk with a 0. unsupported edges.DESIGNING FOR STIFFNESS You can use a variety of options to improve part stiffness including overall shape. Selecting inherently stiffer shapes seldom adds significantly to the final part costs. Stiffness Figure 3-17  Page 64 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Consider crowns or corrugations for large surfaces. Long. strengthen unsupported edges with a stiffening profile (see figure -0). exhibit low stiffness. This section will discuss these and other options. Take advantage of the design flexibility in the molding process to maximize the stiffness of your design. preferably a straight-draw profile that maintains uniform wall thickness and molds without side-action mechanisms. . Crowns round the surface to form a slightly domed shape that adds considerable stiffness with little additional material. Figure -7 shows the effect of crown height on stiffness in a circular disk rigidly supported at the perimeter. The graph shows relative stiffness — stiffness domed divided by stiffness flat — plotted against the ratio of dome height to disk diameter. Taking steps early in the design stage to select a good basic shape can avoid expensive and/or troublesome measures later in the product development to achieve the desired strength and stiffness. The different curves represent diskdiameter-to-disk-thickness ratios. Flat surfaces lack inherent stiffness.00 inch wall thickness. wall thickness. Cosmetic parts usually must disguise corrugations as styling features. Adding curvature to the sidewalls (see figure -9) increases stiffness and reduces the hourglass-shaped warpage common in box-shaped parts. The height and spacing of corrugated features can be adjusted to achieve the desired stiffness. Crown Height vs. Part Shape In many applications. and material selection. we see that adding a 0.

Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Curved Side Walls When possible. Corrugation Figure 3-18 Stiffening Profiles for Edges Figure 3-20 Corrugations can add stiffness to non-cosmetic parts. Until recently. and heat sinks.  . plastic parts perform better in compression than in flexure or tension. or ribs that add support to the underside of the upper half. To maximize part stiffness. Typically. metal shields. hollow profiles can provide high levels of stiffness. use other components of the assembly to provide additional stiffness. manufacturability and economic considerations have made full-scale production of high-quality plastic hollow parts difficult. Plastic housings often contain rigid internal components. The Figure 3-19 Adding curvature to the sidewalls enhances stiffness and appearance. Stiffening profiles increase the stiffness of sidewalls and edges. bottom half of an assembly with hollow towers. design the nonappearance. such as cooling fans. Generally difficult to mold via conventional methods. center walls. Page 65 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. which could add support to load-bearing surfaces.

employs a sacrificial. This process can create networks of hollow channels for stiffening (see figure -). the multi-shell process. In gas-assist molding. forms hollow shapes from separately molded parts. low-melt temperature core to mold intricate hollow shapes. high-pressure gas is injected into the melt stream behind the flow front to produce hollow sections.lost-core process. as shown in figure -. a growing technology. The hollowed sections function both as air ducts and as stiffening members that withstand the loads and vibrations of the application. Another process for producing similar hollow parts. Hollow-Shaped Parts Figure 3-21 The hollow shape of this multi-shell manifold adds both function and high rigidity. which are joined later by welding or over-molding. Gas-Assist Channels Figure 3-22 Gas-assist channels add stiffness to unsupported edges and load-bearing areas. used to manufacture engine manifold parts.  Page 66 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. The hollow channels can augment stiffness in weak areas such as unsupported edges or provide major support in areas subject to high loads. .

000.000. Because good molding practice calls for a uniform thickness throughout a part. to have the same stiffness. a flat shape would need to be . you should apply a suitable safety factor. Although they generally offer excellent strength-toweight performance.00(0.000)/ = 0. relatively small increases in thickness can reduce deflection greatly. A 5% increase in thickness nearly doubles the stiffness of a simple plastic surface. typically set practical thickness limits well below 0. what thickness (tproposed) does an identical part made of a 50% glass-filled polyamide 6 need to be for equivalent flexural rigidity? The flexural modulus of aluminum is 10. most parts made of plastic would have to have wall thicknesses several times greater than other common structural materials to achieve the same stiffness without geometry changes.06 inch tequivalent=tcurrent(Ecurrent / Eproposed)/ where t is thickness and E is the appropriate flexural or tensile modulus. it is not always practical.  . The equivalentthickness factor (ETF) listed in this table assumes a flat shape and shortterm loading at room temperature. molding and economic factors limit the available wall thickness range for stiffening. To estimate the equivalent thickness of other materials or material combinations. Page 67 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. such as shrinkage stress. The equivalent thickness (tequiv) equals 0. The table shows that.000 psi after conditioning (Eproposed). Table -6 shows the wall-thickness relationships between various materials and steel to give the same deflection for a given load. Table 3-6 This table shows how many times thicker than steel various materials would need to be to yield the same deflection under a given load. In reality.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Wall Thickness Because stiffness is proportional to thickness cubed. The ETF assumes a flat shape and short-term loading at room temperature.000 psi (Ecurrent). tequiv =0.030inch thick (tcurrent).5 inches for most solid thermoplastics. solve the following equation: Example 3-5: Equivalent Thickness If an existing aluminum part is 0. adding both part weight and cost. packing difficulties.000 / . Moldingrelated issues. Depending upon your application. The flexural modulus of a 50% glass-filled polyamide 6 is 1.6. While adding wall thickness to improve stiffness is a simple solution.4 times thicker in 0% GF nylon 6 than in steel. Calculations of equivalent thickness for long-term loads or loads at temperatures other than room temperature should substitute the appropriate creep-modulus or secantmodulus values for the current and proposed materials. and cycle times.116. a local need for additional stiffness often results in an overall thickness increase.062 inch.

Overly thick ribs can lead to read-through on the cosmetic upper surface. The deep diagonal ribs add torsional support and resist buckling in the U-channel. Parts subjected to both bending and twisting loads. and the maximum thickness that will produce a cosmetically acceptable part. Ribs also add stiffness selectively in specific areas and directions.Ribs Ribs provide a means to increase stiffness without increasing wall thickness. Two factors determine the performance of ribbed structures: the moment of inertia (I). and load points. which reflects centroidnormalized resistance to bending. The U-shaped sections with deep diagonal ribs provide the strength and stiffness required for chair bases. . need diagonal-rib patterns (see figure -4). Bidirectional ribs stiffen surfaces subjected to pure deflection or saggingtype loading. adding a rib to double stiffness increases part volume by only 7% as compared to 25% when the part thickness is increased. Because they are usually thinner than the main-wall sections. Adding a rib doubles the part stiffness with much less material than simply increasing the part thickness. limit rib thickness to about / the nominal part thickness. both by increasing thickness and by adding ribs. Plastic part designs often require ribs to strengthen and stiffen structural elements such as hinges. Figure -5 shows a common diagonal-rib design for chair base members. attachment features. The deep U-shape provides primary strength and stiffness. Figure 3-23 Chair-Base Ribs Figure 3-24 chair star bases. ribs seldom add to the molding-cycle time. Figure - shows the relative amount of material needed to double the stiffness of a flat part. The rib thickness is a compromise between what is needed for mold filling and strength. such as Doubling Stiffness In this example. which indicates resistance to bending.  Page 68 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. For this reason. Ribs increase the moment of inertia of plate structures subjected to bending loads thereby increasing stiffness. and the section modulus (Z = I / c).

Diagonal Ribs Figure 3-25 Typical rib design for chair-base applications. and moldability. reducing strength in spite of an increase in stiffness. Option A is too thick and will lead to sink on the opposite surface. Option B is too tall and may see excessive stress along the rib edge. Replace tall ribs with multiple. shorter ribs to reduce stress to acceptable levels while maintaining required stiffness. Because of this property. stiffness. The pair of ribs in option C represents a good compromise between strength. The three rib options in figure -6 provide roughly the same rigidity. the resulting outer-fiber stress can exceed material limits. tall ribs add greater stiffness and rigidity than short ribs. Ribs that are too tall can cause difficulties: when the edge of ribs lies too far from the section’s center of gravity. I = bh / ). consider the moldability guidelines for ribs outlined in Chapter . Multiple ribs often provide better performance than single ribs that are either too thick or too tall.  .Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN The rib’s moment of inertia is proportional to its height cubed. and linear to the width (for a rectangular section. Equivalent Ribs Figure 3-26 These three rib options provide roughly the same rigidity for a vertical load. When designing ribbed structures. Page 69 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

To predict creep.Fiber reinforced polyamide 6 resin. fixed deformation or strain. Isochronous Stress-Strain Figure 3-27 Isochronous stress-strain curve for polycarbonate at 40 °C. Many people confuse actual modulus and creep modulus. such as pressure vessels or structures supporting weight. the apparent modulus decreases over time (see figure -8). Each curve represents the material behavior for different loading durations. Creep data. Because of viscoelasticity. While the instantaneous tensile modulus of the material remains constant. long-term loading is either a constant applied load or a constant induced strain. substitute an apparent modulus for the instantaneous elastic or Young’s modulus in structural calculations. deformation occurs over time in response to a constant load.LONG-TERM LOADING Generally. . time-dependent creep modulus to predict the amount of sag or deformation that occurs over time. Figure -7 shows a typical set of time-dependent curves at 40°C for 0% Glass. 0 Page 70 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. tend to creep and show increased deformation over time. nor does its strength. We use this hypothetical. undergo continuous. See the Long-Term Mechanical Properties section in this chapter for an explanation of creep and stress relaxation. Other design elements. Except for environmental effects the material’s elasticity does not decrease over time. Plastic parts subjected to a constant load. such as a press-fit boss or spring finger. such as isochronous stress-strain curves. provide a means for predicting a material’s behavior. These features stress relax over time and show a loss in retention force.

000 hours.00 psi (5 MPa) after 0. Measuring stress relaxation involves varying the load over a period of time to maintain a constant strain rate. has a tensile stress of . To find the apparent modulus from isochronous strain-strain data. Again. the tensile stress drops from an instantaneous value of 8. generally resulting in a ±0% margin of error.000 psi ( MPa) and a load duration of . Time Figure 3-28 Creep modulus for Durethan BKV30. This test is more difficult than the test for creep that measures the change in deflection over time in a specimen under constant stress. but the actual modulus remains constant.000 psi from the isochronous stress-strain curve. if a flat part made of 0% GF Nylon 6 at 90°C (see figure -7). For example. prolonged strain at a constant temperature. you can see that for an applied strain of %.400 psi (58 MPa) to approximately 5. read vertically through the isochronous stress-strain curves to predict the effects of stress relaxation. using the curves in figure -7.000 psi. Creep Modulus vs. Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.  . For a given strain.000 hours. divide the calculated stress by the corresponding strain on the curve for the selected load duration. creep curves are often used to calculate stress relaxation. Significantly lower than the instantaneous value of 600.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Stress relaxation is the decrease in stress that occurs in a material that is subjected to constant. this lower apparent modulus will account for the added deflection that occurs because of creep when it is substituted into deflection calculations. Creep (apparent) modulus decreases over time. For this reason. you can calculate an apparent modulus of 00. 30% Glass-Fiber reinforced Polyamide 6 at 90°C.

067 inches Now. Then calculate the relaxation modulus (Er = σ / 0.% strain L (.90 psi To find the appropriate modulus value requires a set of isochronous stressstrain curves at 90°C as shown in figure 3-27.000 hours at 90°C. . On the 10. This can be derived from y = PL3 / 3EI (Table 3-5) and letting E = σb / ε.012) and find the retention force using P = 3ErIy / L3. The deflection of the arm is 0.000 hours. δmax=pr4(5-4ν-ν) 6Ecreept = (75)(0.)(0.25 inch wide. The geometry and loading are shown in figure 3-15. Calculate the apparent (creep) modulus by dividing stress by strain. Table 3-7 The deflection at 10. the first step is to calculate the stress. ε = yh = (0. the result is the same as in example 3-3: Example 3-7: Stress Relaxation A permanently deflected ABS cantilever snap arm is used to hold a metal part in position.2% strain on the desired time curves. 0.100 psi corresponds to roughly 2% strain. For a given strain. As in the short-term case.000 psi to calculate the actual deflection after 10.000 hour curve. The arm is 1 inch long. Because the stress calculation does not depend on modulus.000 hours is more than double the instantaneous value of 0. find the stress corresponding to 1. Use the result of 255. then by an additional 20% over the next six weeks.0) = 0. The initial retention force drops by 38% in the four days.8)] 6(55. For this reason.0) σmax = 4. find the strain level in the arm from the formula shown below.000)(0.0113 inches!  Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.75)4[5-4(0. Note that the drop off in retention force is proportional to the drop in stress.08) = . the stress drops a similar amount during each logarithmic increase in time period. The results are shown in Table 3-7. designs that rely on such retention forces are not recommended in thermoplastics.1 inch.8)-(0.Example 3-6: Plate Deflection Considering Creep Find the deflection in the circular plate of example 3-3 after 10. a stress of 5. using figure 3-10. What is the instantaneous retention force of the arm? After four days (~102 hours)? After six weeks (~103 hours)? First.080 inch thick and 0.

plastics become stiffer and more brittle at high strain rates and low temperatures.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN DESIGNING FOR IMPACT As discussed earlier in this chapter.  . materials become more ductile. address energy management issues early in the design process. and Material impact properties. Design features such as sharp corners. it becomes of paramount importance in impact applications. If your part will be exposed to impact strains. initiating fracture. The yield strength decreases. Plastic parts designed for impact must also consider the effect of strain rate or rate of loading on mechanical behavior. Therefore. An impact causes a high energy wave that passes through the part and interacts with its geometry. it may have better impact properties. Figure -0 shows the effect of notch radius on the Izod impact performance of unfilled polycarbonate resin.005 to 0. While this is an important goal in good design practice. the part’s impact performance will diminish. Avoid stress concentrations. such as post-molding operations. Look for potential problems from sources other than part design.00 inch increases the Izod impact strength by about 400%. • Round inside corners and notches to reduce stress concentrations. but the strain-at-break value increases. As ambient temperature increases. because it can absorb more energy before failing. load duration and ambient temperature affect the mechanical performance of plastic parts and must be addressed in part design. and steps in thickness can focus this energy. Increasing the notch radius from 0. As corners or notches become sharper. As figure -9 shows. including: • • • Stress concentration. Energy dissipation. notches. microcracks and internal stresses leading to stress concentrations. for instance. Machining. holes. Although a part will be less rigid at elevated temperatures. Brittle and Ductile Behavior Figure 3-29 Effects of strain rate and temperature on material behavior. Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. can leave deep scratches.

increasing the part thickness beyond the critical thickness can lead to brittle failure. • • • • Avoid boxy shapes that concentrate impact forces on rigid edges and corners. in-use environments. consider the following design tips: • Stress Concentration Figure 3-30 The complex nature of plastic performance in impact has led to the development of a variety of impact tests in an attempt to predict material performance in different impact modes. Often a better strategy is to design the part to flex. Address all temperatures and impact loads including those found in the manufacturing process and shipping. Despite the many specialized tests. stiffening the part in this way can often have the opposite effect. See the publication Material Selection for more information on impact properties. and adding ribs can introduce stress-concentration points that initiate cracks and part failure. The area around gates generally has higher levels of moldedin stress. • Select a material with good impact performance throughout the part’s working-temperature range. improper gate removal can leave rough edges and notches. For example.Position gates and knit lines in areas that will not be subjected to high impact forces. Consider notch sensitivity of the material in applications with unavoidable notches and stress concentrators. this can involve reducing thickness and removing or redistributing ribs to accommodate controlled flexure.  Page 74 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Always prototype test your final material in actual. Knit lines typically exhibit lower strength than other areas and can concentrate stresses along the fine V-notch that forms the visible knit lines. Designers often attempt to enhance impact performance by adding ribs or increasing wall thickness. so it can absorb and distribute the impact energy. In some instances. Effect of notch radius on the Izod impact strength of polycarbonate. material impact data are difficult to relate to actual part performance. . and Use rounded shapes to spread impact forces over larger areas. In addition. and nearly impossible to apply quantitatively with good accuracy. and Check flow orientation — especially in fiber-filled materials — and the difference between flow and cross-flow mechanical properties. Consider the following rules of thumb to improve impact performance: • If using multiple ribs. Use test data only for general comparisons of material impact performance or to screen potential materials. While this can sometimes work. space them unevenly or orient them to prevent resonance amplification from the impact energy. When selecting a plastic material for impact applications.

fatigue data is seldom available for the precise conditions of your application. • Page 75 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. For this reason. temperature. knit lines. fatigue-resistant resin. Generally scarce. As the ratio of root radius to beam thickness becomes less than about 0. and high-use snap-latch closures. The type and severity of fatigue loading determines which material fatigue data applies. one-piece salad tongs. Often you must screen your material choices based on general fatigue data of the type shown in figure -. Typically fillet radii of 0. reversing-load modes.05 to 0. Sharp inside corners act as stress concentrators. Consider fatigue endurance in applications or features subjected to heavy vibrations or repeated deflections such as snowplow headlight assemblies. notches. gates. A reduced. To avoid fatigue failures at inside corners. Design efforts in fatigue applications generally focus on the following: • Using available data to select a suitable. sharp corners. loading frequency. Calculations for parts subjected to many deflections and temperature extremes may require data of the type shown in figure - in the fatigue properties section of this chapter. such as holes. and Reducing stress and strain levels as much as possible. avoid stress concentrators. FATIGUE APPLICATIONS Fatigue can cause rigid plastic parts exposed to cyclic loading to fail at substantially lower stress or strain levels than parts made of the same material under static loading. the stress concentration factor climbs quickly to much higher values. and thickness variations. single-point. In areas subjected to fatigue. Reversing loads place more severe demands on plastic parts. it is difficult to predict fatigue performance quantitatively. These curves show the stress and strain limits at various temperatures for parts subjected to dynamic loading. select the largest fillet radius the design can tolerate without excessive sink and packing problems..00 inch provide a good compromise between fatigue performance and part moldability. allowable strain limit may suffice in a simple. Many factors affect fatigue performance including notch effects. and part geometry. snap-latch arm subjected to few deflections over the product life.  .Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN Cycles to Failure Figure 3-31 Fatigue performance for representative grades of ABS and PC plotted with a PC/PET resin. Figure - shows the effects of a fillet radius on stress concentration in a snap-arm member. and can lead to much higher stress levels than those indicated by standard formulas. Optimize the design to distribute deflection over large areas. fatigue mode. Fatigue data in the form of S-N curves (see figure -) show the number of cycles until failure for different cyclic.

 Page 76 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. .Fillet Radius and Stress Concentration Figure 3-32 Effects of a fillet radius on stress concentration. Thermal Expansion Figure 3-33 The slotted hole and sliding attachment at one end of the plastic cover in the lower assembly enable it to accommodate the thermal expansion difference with the metal base.

This expansion equals the difference in the CLTE for the two materials. Refer to the Joining Dissimilar Materials section of Joining Techniques.06 / 0. the nylon shield will expand much more than the aluminum housing. In the aforementioned example. When designing parts that will be exposed to a range of temperatures. multiplied by the temperature difference and the part length. which act as stress concentrators. The applied strain induces stress in the nylon shield. affix a screw to one end of the shield and design a slotted screw hole on the other end to accommodate expansion and contraction. This induced stress is amplified at the mounting holes.  . Coefficients of Linear Thermal Expansion (CLTE) for Common Materials Table 3-8 ΔL = (αplastic-αmetal) • ΔT • L = (4. To avoid the problem. you must account for the expansion differences between materials.6% Page 77 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.00) / 00 = 0. the shield effectively stretches 0. A Design Guide for more information. expressed as a percentage: applied strain = (0.06 inch This expansion variation causes the nylon shield to compress.Chapter 3 STRUCTURAL DESIGN THERMAL LOADING Coefficient-of-linear-thermalexpansion (CLTE) values for plastics vary widely and are generally much higher than those for metals (see table -8). Figure - gives an example of a long gauge housing made of aluminum with a nylon impact shield rigidly attached at both ends. making the part bow.5-. Cooling the assembly by 50°F to its lower limit would cause the nylon shield to shrink 0. with screws placed ten inches apart.006 = 0. This gauge has an in-use temperature range from 0° to 0°F.) x 0-5 • (0-70) • 0 = 0. resulting in an overall applied strain equal to the deflection divided by the length between the screws. Because they are fixed.06 inches if the ends were not fixed. When assembled at room temperature and then heated to the upper temperature limit.06 inches. choose an attachment method that allows the plastic component to slide relative to the other material.

. Page 78 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

bonding. Optimizing part assembly should begin with the concept stage and continue through product development and production. reducing fastener and assembly steps.Chapter 4 DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY Virtually every finished part requires some assembly: mechanical fasteners. improving automation. For more specific information about various joining techniques and guidelines for their use with LANXESS resins. PART CONSOLIDATION To lessen the need for fastening hardware and reduce the number of assembly operations. please request a copy of Joining Techniques and/or Snap-Fit Joints for Plastics from your LANXESS representative. In addition to cost and quality concerns. Consider design options that eliminate or reduce the need for hardware. Well designed parts include features to ease assembly and assure correct positioning and orientation. and selecting other assembly methods. figure 4- shows several options for attaching a gear to a shaft: a threepiece design. wear properties. Gear-to-Shaft Attachment Options Figure 4-1 Page 79 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. A variety of factors — including required strength. This chapter addresses assembly primarily as it relates to thermoplastic part design. Usually. As an example. gear. At each stage look for opportunities to simplify and improve the assembly. a two-piece. Good communication and cooperation between the various design and engineering disciplines is essential. snap-fit joints. or other joining techniques. and roll pin. featuring a shaft.  . Consider consolidating parts. the cost savings in hardware and assembly far exceed the added costs of mold modification and materials. and a one-piece shaft and gear design that needs no assembly. Closely scrutinize your total design for opportunities to combine function and reduce final assembly count. These methods and their design implications are discussed in this chapter. consider consolidating the number of parts in a given design. snap-on gear design. By way of example. and moldability — determine which of these design options is most feasible. welding. figure 4- shows several examples of molded-in alternatives to cable-guide hardware. the optimization process should address disassembly for repair and recycling.

rivets. • 0 Page 80 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Use interlocking and/or nesting features to reduce the number of screws needed. consider replacing mechanical fasteners with snap-fit joints. custom. and Consult Joining Techniques for more information on mechanical fastening. Use metal threaded inserts for screw connections subjected to frequent disassembly. Whenever possible. molded-in hinges. use hex holes to captivate nuts during assembly (see figure 4-4). choose from the multitude of inexpensive. To reduce costs. off-the-shelf varieties to lower costs.MECHANICAL FASTENERS Mechanical fasteners — screws. They also add to the cost of dismantling products for repair or recycling. . Avoid handling loose washers — use screws with washers affixed under the head. unless the performance advantage justifies the additional costs. Additionally. bolts. as well as reduce unit cost. When you must use fasteners. Consider simplifying installation. Other ideas to consider include: • Select good-quality screws with shaft-to-head-diameter ratios and head styles suited to automatic feed in assembly equipment. Cable Guides Figure 4-2 • • • Molded-in features can replace cable-guide hardware. and other similar design features. Avoid expensive. For example. and others — and their installation often represent a large portion of total assembly costs. latches. or low-production fasteners. standardize fasteners to simplify inventory control and automation processes. Use self-tapping screws to avoid a secondary tapping step. many specialty fasteners for almost any type of application are available such as the springclip fasteners in figure 4-.

 . Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.Chapter 4 DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY Spring Clips Figure 4-3 Inexpensive spring-clip fasteners are available for many applications. Hex Hole Figure 4-4 Hex holes captivate nuts during assembly.

•  Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. replacing more expensive screws (see figure 4-6). snap joints can eliminate fastening hardware. They also facilitate quick and easy detachment of electrical components for repair and recycling. Avoid sharp corners in high-stress areas. such as at the base of a cantilever arm. Design parts so that the flexing member of the snap-fit joint returns to a relaxed. The shape of the undercut determines if the joint can be separated later. undeflected position after assembly. Multiple snap arms or a combination of snap arms and rigid undercuts can often secure covers and panels (see figure 4-7). Rounded lids — such as on film canisters or food-storage containers—use annular snap-fit designs for continuous attachment and a good seal. If designed properly. snap-fit joints can secure parts of assemblies. Special snap-joint designs can also act as latches for access doors and panels. Snap-fit designs with an angled undercut contact can be disassembled without first deflecting the snap feature to disengage the connection.Snap-Fit Joints Figure 4-5 SNAP-FIT JOINTS Both economical and versatile. and torsional or annular snap-joint styles (see figure 4-5). Some rules of thumb for designing snap-fit joints include: • Design parts so that the flexure during snapping does not exceed the allowable strain limit of the material. Although they vary in appearance. all snap-fit joints rely upon the brief deflection of a flexible member to interlock a depression or undercut with a protrusion on a mating part. such as solenoids and switches. . • Varieties of snap-joint types. Varieties include cantilever snap-arms. as well as reduce assembly and disassembly costs in a wide range of applications. Snap-fit joints provide both secure attachment and easy disconnection of electrical connectors.

and assembly forces for various types of snap-fit joints. Some need collapsible cores or ejector sleeves. and Draft snap-arms as you would ribs to ease release from the mold. General guide data for the allowable short-term strain for snap joints (single joining operation).Chapter 4 DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY • Round corners to a minimum radius of 0. Positioning posts and snap arms eliminate screws and speed assembly. As with ribs.  .05 inch to reduce stress concentrations. part-design guidelines. The publication Snap-Fit Joints for Plastics explains how to calculate strain. make snap arms that project perpendicular to the part surface no more than / to / of the thickness of the part wall. Consult an experienced mold engineer before specifying any design that uses slides or other mechanisms to clear or eject undercuts. permissible deflection. and Avoid excessively large radii that could lead to sinks or voids. for frequent separation and rejoining. To lower mold-construction and maintenance costs. including: • • Avoid thin-wall sections that could lead to filling problems. In some designs. Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Annular designs can be particularly difficult to mold. snap-fit joints (see figure 4-8). Snap Arms Figure 4-6 • Consider molding issues early in part design. rather than ones that need slides in the mold. design simple. snap-fit joints must conform to standard. which can be problematic and difficult to maintain. the proximity of the snap-fit joint to other part or mold features does not leave enough room for a slide mechanism. Consult this publication for additional information on snap-fit joint design. straight-draw. In addition to meeting functional requirements. Permissible Short-Term Strain Limits at 23°C (73°F) Table 4-1 • Table 4- shows the permissible strain limits for various materials. use about 60% of these values.

Avoid designs that require more than two hands to engage or release a snap-fit joint. reducing the undercut. Consider lengthening the snap arm. rather than a tilt-and-push or slide-and-push motion. one-direction motion. For example. Page 84 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. or tapering the arm thickness in these situations (see figure 4-0). snap arms on frequently used doors or access panels could have finger tabs added for easier opening (see figure 4-9). Multiple snap arms secure cover in this assembly. Thumb Tab Figure 4-9 Snap Arm Figure 4-8 Snap-fit hook molded through hole to form undercut.  Special “U”-shaped snap latch with thumb tab. The opposite may be true for hand-assembled components. Snap-fit features intended for automated assembly should join with a simple.Snap-Fit Assembly Figure 4-7 The molding process offers the versatility to customize snap-fit designs for each application. . Some applications may require modifications in the snap arm to prevent excessive material strain during deflection. Limited-access doors could have hidden snap-fit joints or require special tools.

spin. hot plate.Chapter 4 DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY WELDING AND BONDING Welding and bonding techniques offer a wide variety of excellent joining and assembly options. Butt-joint welds result in flash along the joint. For more specific information on welding and bonding. including ultrasonic. each have specific advantages.  Page 85 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Consider lengthening or thinning the arm. In many applications. These are discussed below. . This section deals with the broader aspects of welding and bonding and their effects on part and assembly design. Both of these methods provide permanent bonds. When you must weld or bond. Common welding methods. vibration. as well as design and equipment requirements. they provide the only viable methods of assembly. Energy Director Figure 4-11 Welding Flash Figure 4-12 Typical energy-director design for LANXESS thermoplastics. Snap Arms Figure 4-10 Short. thick snap arms with large undercuts can experience excessive strain during deflection. Avoid welding and bonding when using materials that will have to be separated for recycling or repair. minimize the mix of techniques and equipment used. request a copy of Joining Techniques from your LANXESS representative. or when less-expensive joining methods suffice. and induction. reducing the undercut or tapering the arm to reduce strain.

When designing parts that will be ultrasonically welded. a heated platen contacts two plastic parts until the joint area melts slightly. the parts are aligned and clamped until the bond has set.Ultrasonic Welding Ultrasonic welding. Both techniques can produce flash or a bead along the joint when applied to simple butt-weld configurations (see figure 4-). Vibration and Hot-Plate Welding To form continuous welds over large areas — particularly those too large for conventional ultrasonic welding — consider vibration or hot-plate welding. while the second vibrates on the joint plane. The platen retracts. one of the most widely used joining techniques. consistent welds. . generating heat. and the parts are then pressed together until the bond sets.  Page 86 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. request a copy of Joining Techniques from your LANXESS representative. • • For more specific information on ultrasonic welding. When the joint interface reaches a melted state. It makes permanent. part geometry must rigidly support the mating joint surfaces. vibration welding requires wide joint surfaces to accommodate the sliding vibration. To avoid dampening the vibration. In this joining method. A friction-welding technique. at relatively high rates of speed. aesthetically pleasing joints. and Stray welding energy can damage free-standing features and delicate components. Consider joint designs with flash traps (see figure 4-) for applications requiring flash-free joints. In this welding technique. Consult your welding experts for help in resolving this problem. • The equipment size and weldinghorn design limitations determine the size and number of ultrasonic welds per operation. is an excellent bonding method for thermoplastics. hot-plate welding offers an economical joining method. ultrasonic joints need properly designed energy directors (see figure 4-) or shear weld features. In this process. Mating materials must be compatible and rigid enough to transmit the ultrasonic energy to the joint area. consider the following: • For strong. an ultrasonic assembly unit generates mechanical vibratory energy at ultrasonic frequencies. non-cosmetic welds along a single plane. For permanent. Flash Traps Figure 4-13 Variations with flash traps. one part remains stationary. The ultrasonic vibrational energy is transmitted through one of the mating parts to the joint area where frictional heating melts the plastic and forms the weld.

Trapped solvent vapors can attack and damage polycarbonate resins. The part design must accommodate direct-lineof-sight access from the UV source to the bond area or the bond edge. Solvent bonding limits your choice of materials to plastics for which there is a suitable solvent.  . Page 87 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. After the friction melts a sufficient amount of plastic in the joint. Adhesive bonding offers more versatility for bonding different types of plastics together and also dissimilar materials. allow for vapor dispersion after bonding. to melt plastic in a circular joint. When selecting an adhesive. Solvent bonding joins one plastic to itself or another plastic by softening small areas on the joining surfaces with a volatile solvent. such as plastics to metal. fabric to plastic. Parts designed for spin welding often have an alignment feature. the rotating stops and pressure increases to distribute melted material and complete the bonding process. consider curing time and cost as well as special adhesive system requirements. Joints for spin welding can also include flash traps to avoid visible welding flash. Adhesives are one-part or two-part “glues” that adhere to mating surfaces and cure to form the bond. UVcured adhesives. one spinning and one stationary. work best with transparent plastic parts. These techniques place few restrictions on the part design. to index the parts and make a uniform bearing surface. Solvent and Adhesive Bonding Probably the most versatile joining methods. for instance. etc. solvent and adhesive bonding produce permanent bonds. When bonding dissimilar materials. plastics to glass. such as a tongue and groove.Chapter 4 DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY Spin Welding Spin welding is used extensively to weld circular parts with continuous joints. Spin welding relies on frictional heat generated between mating parts. If your part will be made of polycarbonate resin. the same solvent must work on both materials. The LANXESS brochure Joining Techniques lists various adhesives and their suitability for use with different LANXESS resin families.

requiring more time and effort. Components can nest between ribs or slide into molded-in retainers for assembly without hardware (see figure 4-4). Parts can be captivated between halves of an assembly as in this illustration of a gear held in place between axle posts. consider designing your part with alignment features. ALIGNMENT FEATURES To help in assembly. despite minor misalignments. .  Page 88 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Chamfers added to either or both leading edges quickly align mating features. Parts with sharp leading edges can snag or catch during assembly. reducing the positioning accuracy needed for assembly (see figure 4-6). RETENTION FEATURES The molding process offers the freedom to custom-design features to locate and retain components during assembly.Retention Features Figure 4-14 Assembly Features Figure 4-15 Molded-in assembly features can captivate and retain components without hardware. Parts must assemble easily and efficiently. In some products. halves of the assembly can captivate components without additional attachment (see figure 4-5). This joining method permits efficient assembly and simplifies dismantling for repairs or recycling.

On thin sidewalls.Chapter 4 DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY Housing or enclosure sidewalls can bow during molding or deflect under loading. Adding a protruding rib to support the inside surface locks the walls in two directions and provides better alignment. A variety of easily molded design options using interlocking alignment fingers can align and secure the sidewalls while maintaining uniform wall thickness (see figure 4-8). When appearance is important. consider designing an interlocking edge to correct for this bowing (see figure 4-7). The steppededge design supports the wall in just one direction. This design may lead to molding problems and lack the required strength. interlocking design for aligning sidewalls. Existing design elements can often be modified to provide positive part alignment as in the angled lead-ins added to these mating screw bosses. Edge Alignment Figure 4-17 Boss Alignment Figure 4-19 Tongue-and-groove or stepped features ensure proper edge alignment. The astute designer often can modify existing part-design features for positioning and alignment with little added part or mold cost. Other simple options for aligning mating parts include postin-hole and boss-alignment features (see figure 4-9). choose a more-robust. Bypass fingers ensure proper alignment of sidewalls while maintaining uniform wall thickness. can have high molding stresses and a gloss difference at the thickness transition. Lead-In Angle Figure 4-16 Alignment Fingers Figure 4-18 Lead-in angles on the lid in the lower assembly help to align the lid with the base and ease assembly. the stepped edge. full tongue-and-groove designs split the sidewall thickness into two thin sections. When aesthetics are less important. Rounding or chamfering the transition corner often improves this condition.  . Page 89 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. A somewhat better design. resulting in poor alignment along mating edges.

add features that either mark the correct position or prevent assembly of misaligned components. Often parts need only minor modifications to increase symmetry and allow orientation in more than one direction (see figure 4-). design for CLTE differences. clearly indicate correct orientation on the mating parts (see figure 4-0). incorporate features that prevent assembly unless components are oriented correctly.ORIENTATION Adding orienting features to molded parts can simplify assembly. Symmetry simplifies assembly. Orientation Features Figure 4-20 To ensure proper orientation during assembly. You may need to make similar design adjustments when joining plastic parts to parts made of certain polyamides and other plastics that swell significantly as they absorb moisture. If your part will contain different materials. Otherwise. Designing the plastic section with slotted holes provides a sliding fit to accommodate dissimilar levels of expansion. a plastic part tightly attached to a metal component can bow between attachment points when exposed to elevated temperatures (see figure 4-). When possible. and prevent assembly errors. For instance. reduce costs. . EXPANSION DIFFERENCES Plastic parts are often attached to components made of materials with much different coefficients of linear thermal expansion (CLTE). 0 Page 90 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

• Page 9 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. feature. alignment features. For instance. However.  • • • Exercise discretion when assigning available tolerances between the components and assembly processes. It may be more economical to loosen the tolerance on the plastic component and tighten the tolerance on the assembly procedure or mating components.Chapter 4 DESIGN FOR ASSEMBLY Orientation Symmetry Figure 4-21 Thermal Expansion Figure 4-22 Simple modifications can often increase symmetry and simplify assembly. the task of assigning tolerances would be simple. as it can add needlessly to costs. consider the following: • Avoid specifying arbitrarily tight tolerances to components and the assembly process. Include design features such as slotted holes. See the mold design chapter for more information on tolerances. fixturing. and angled lead-ins to lessen the need for tight tolerances. Stamping and machining create part-to-part differences in metal components. each manufacturing step introduces its own variability and with it. When developing part tolerances. potential tolerance problems. Consider all the sources of variability and optimize tolerances for the lowest overall cost. molded-plastic part dimensions vary with processing fluctuations. The slotted hole and sliding attachment at one end of the plastic cover in the lower assembly enable it to accommodate the thermal expansion difference with the metal base. Accommodate part and process variability in your design. Take advantage of the ability of the injection-molding process to mold small features with excellent repeatability. guiding. or process that adds the least cost to the entire process. TOLERANCES If all components of an assembly could be produced and joined with perfect repeatability and accuracy. and welding present additional sources of variability. indexing. . Assembly steps such as positioning. and Avoid tight tolerances on long dimensions and on features prone to warpage or distortion. Give the tightest tolerances to the part.

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gumming. polished flutes to reduce friction. sharp drills. specially designed drills and bits perform much better. Although standard drills and bits work with LANXESS plastics.Chapter 5 MACHINING AND FINISHING Injection-molded parts seldom need to be machined or finished. die cutting. Overheating. Under ideal conditions — good cooling. Table 5- lists common feed rates in inches per revolution for a range of hole sizes. as well as spiral or helix designs to remove chips quickly. Common Drilling Troubles and Remedies Drills for plastics generally have wide. Drill-point angles for plastics typically range between 60 and 90 degrees. sawing. The suggested drilling speeds for most LANXESS plastics are between 00 and 00 feet per minute. with smaller angles for smaller holes and larger angles for larger holes. Table 5- lists common problems and remedies. Sharp drills and bits designed for plastics and proper drilling speeds alleviate most difficulties. The machining operations described in this section — drilling. drilling and reaming can also make holes in injection-molded parts when forming the hole would require complicated side actions or inserts. and induced machining stresses pose the greatest difficulties. reaming. and efficient chip removal — considerably faster feed rates are usually possible. and others — are used more commonly for fabricating prototypes and for trimming or modifying parts produced by other processes such as thermoforming or extrusion. punching. DRILLING AND REAMING While most frequently used to form holes in thermoformed or prototype parts. Table 5-1 Page 9 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.  . particularly when drilling parts made of PC blends.

reaming requires sharp cutting edges and relatively slow cutting speeds to prevent heat buildup and gumming. The second step makes a fine cut to size. consider using jigs with guide bushings (see figure 5-). use a two-step drill as illustrated in figure 5-. reaming removes gate vestige or flash from holes. As in drilling. Additionally. because they resist gumming and maintain edge sharpness longer than standard drills. Or. For accurate work. as well as enlarges drilled or thermoformed holes. and Use a forced-air stream for cooling. Some rules of thumb for drilling thermoplastics include: • Use carbide-tipped drills. . Reaming creates smooth finishes and precise hole dimensions.Feed Rate Table 5-2 For smoothly drilled holes. For accurate work and to minimize drill breakage. Avoid cutting oils and cooling liquids. remove most of the plastic with a roughing drill. as an alternative method.  Page 94 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. • • Two-Step Drill Drilling Jig Figure 5-2 The first step removes most of the material. Then finish and size the hole with a second drill. Figure 5-1 Consider a water spray mist or watersoluble coolant when a forced-air stream cannot provide sufficient cooling. making it ideal for determining final tolerances in prototype parts. because they may create chemical compatibility problems and will have to be removed after drilling. use a drilling jig with a hardened drill bushing.

tend to work better in plastics because they provide greater thread depth relative to the overall diameter. about 50 feet per minute. can cut contoured or irregular shapes in addition to straight lines. This improves the thread strength. Use buttress or skip-tooth blades for wall sections greater than /8 inch. Cool the cut junction area with air or a water mist. Low spindle speeds. such as National Coarse (NC). The tap flutes should be finish ground and highly polished to reduce friction and heat. Some fabricated prototype parts or molded designs using extruded sheet components may also need to be sawed. The amount of recovery will depend on the size of the tap and the properties of the material. This helps to prevent breakage and peeling of the threads. All rigid LANXESS plastics can be tapped. LANXESS plastics are best cut on band saws or circular saws. use a tapered tap before a bottom tap or employ the three-tap system as used with metals. The reciprocating action of a jigsaw makes it difficult to control cooling. Coarse threads. and Use saw guides whenever possible. The hole size for tapped plastic threads should yield about 75% of the full thread. For a given tap size. and pressure. Coarse threads also make chip removal easier because there are fewer threads per inch.Chapter 5 MACHINING AND FINISHING TAPPING Tapping adds screw threads to drilled or molded holes in plastic parts. Choose blades with generous set to minimize friction. tapping is not recommended for Lustran SAN. If you must use a jig saw. feeding. keep the feed rate slow and the pressure light with the part held firmly. • • • • Page 95 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. For blind holes. Choose band-saw blades with a generous set to reduce friction and heat buildup. the hole size needs to be slightly larger for plastics than for metals. Band sawing. The cutting flutes might need to be somewhat oversized to compensate for plastic recovery and subsequent reduction in the diameter of the tapped hole.  . but because of its brittle nature. Control the feed speed carefully to prevent binding or gumming. the preferred method for plastics. SAWING While molded parts seldom require sawing. Most LANXESS plastics have been successfully cut with standard jig saw blades operating at 875 cycles per minute. and use of a coolant will minimize frictional heating and thread distortion. thermoformed plastic parts are sawed regularly to trim edges and form openings. As rules of thumb: • • Use precision or standard blades for thin parts.

 Page 96 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Plastic resins which are polycarbonate blends exhibit high levels of toughness and should only be considered for these processes in thin sections such as gates. or blank thermoplastics.000 peripheral feet per minute for polycarbonate to about double that rate for most other LANXESS thermoplastics. Circular saw blades for plastics should be hollow ground with slots provided for blade expansion and cooling. Circular sawing is usually used only for straight cuts. . blanking. “clicker” or dinking machine. if your part has varying hole positions that require many different mold configurations. • • • Punching. The dies are mounted on either a kick press. A four-inch blade for thin sheet should have eight to ten teeth per inch for most plastics. and clicker. As a general rule.005 inch for most applications. or blanking parts made of filled materials. The types of dies used with plastics include punch. films. or a punch press. Cutting speeds can vary from about 5. The required blade pitch depends on the diameter of the blade. Steel-rule dies trim lighter-gauge parts. die cut. Blanking dies are used on occasion to trim parting lines and remove flash from parts. Larger blade size and greater plastic thickness reduce the optimum pitch value. Centrex ASA. and trimming lengths to custom sizes. AND DIE CUTTING Although common in thermoforming for edge trimming and hole forming. punching and die cutting are used rarely on finished molded parts. punching may be an economical alternative. and Avoid punching. Additionally. consider the following: • For best results. use the highest pitch value that gives the desired results. consider warming the plastic part to soften it when using any of these techniques. Durethan PA6 resins cut well with 5% more teeth per inch and cutting speeds about 50% faster than listed. System selection will depend on the thickness and quality of the cut desired and on the type of process: continuous or intermittent. For a clean cut. steel-rule. The pitch can increase to about six to eight teeth per inch for eight to ten inch blades used on sheet thicker than /4 inch. die cutting. When planning to punch. or thin sheet. and Triax PA/ABS. BLANKING. maintain a clearance between the punch and die of about 0. Avoid sharp radii in the corners of non-circular cut-outs.Table 5- lists suggested band saw speeds and configurations for most LANXESS plastics including Lustran and Novodur ABS. these techniques should not be used with Lustran SAN. and die cutting work best on ductile materials with limited toughness. Because of its lack of ductility. Dies usually have a backup surface made of end-grain wood or hard rubber. Band Saw Conditions Table 5-3 PUNCHING. Clicker dies perform heavier gauge cuts and continuous cuts in sheet. Maintain sharp cutting edges for clean cut and to avoid notches and scratches that could act as stress concentrators. Possible applications for molded parts include removing ring or diaphragm gates.

glue joints. milling finds applications in prototype fabrication or as a secondary operation for trimming parting lines. causing later problems. inch of part thickness. Do this by heating the supported work to 60 – 70°F for / hour for each 0. Additionally. Use them on all but the very shortest of milling operations. Special cutters designed specifically for plastics produce the smoothest finishes at the fastest feed rates. Additionally. molders often use end mills to trim sprue gates. • • Milling Conditions Table 5-4 Page 97 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Mounted in a drill press. Water mists help to remove heat and prevent buildup. and Improper milling can induce high stress levels. which can stress crack and craze long after milling. Table 5-4 lists a generic range of conditions when using a steel tool to mill most other types of LANXESS plastics.Chapter 5 MACHINING AND FINISHING MILLING Used to remove large volumes of plastic with relatively high accuracy and precision. Carbide cutters generally provide smoother finishes and higher feed rates for all types of rigid plastics. or poor surface quality. Proper milling techniques are particularly important for parts made of polycarbonate. or gate excess. Always keep mills extremely sharp and well polished to reduce friction. Insufficient feed rates can generate too much heat and cause part melting. smooth final trims of fixtured parts. distortion. an end mill can plunge repeatedly to a preset depth to produce flush. High-speed end mills with four cutting flutes and a 5° rake angle give good results for most plastics. Consider annealing milled polycarbonate parts to relieve the machining stresses. parts can follow guides to side mills or reamers for accurate trimming of thick edge gates or tab gates. Check with your cutter supplier for the latest designs for plastics. Consider the following when milling plastics: • • Excessive feed rates can cause rough surfaces. especially glass-filled materials.  .

Use air. Front clearance angle of 0 to 5 degrees to prevent contact of the part and tool heel.TURNING AND BORING Turning is often used to manufacture round shapes from bar stock. Side clearance angle of 0 to 5 degrees to reduce friction. Table 5-5 shows the standard turning conditions for a variety of LANXESS resins.  Page 98 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. and Nose radius of /6 – /6 inch. set the cutting edge  to  degrees above the center of the work rather than in the direct center. or watersoluble coolants to remove heat and prevent vibration and crazing. Turning Conditions Table 5-5 • • To minimize the tendency of the work to climb. consider the following: • Support the material rigidly either by chucking closely on short parts or by using supporting tools for longer parts. low-stress turning removes material in a continuous ribbon. Cutting Tool for Plastics Figure 5-3 • • Proper. Exercise care when turning thermoplastics to prevent vibration or chatter. To achieve this the cutting tool should have the following: • • 0 to 5 degree positive rake angle to reduce friction. . and Keep the cutting edge sharp to prevent friction and overheating. water mist. When turning plastics.

00 inch to 0. the process produces holes and cuts that are essentially free of the notches and residual stresses associated with most machining methods. The high intensity beam. Use single-hatched files that resist clogging under high pressure for parts made of polycarbonate. Dwell time and beam intensity determine the depth of penetration into the hole.050 inch diameter. FILING A relatively quick and controllable method for removing significant amounts of unwanted plastic. In addition. and Do not file parts made of unfilled nylon. In this process. either pulsed or continuous. address the following: • Use files with relatively coarse teeth and a suitable rake for efficient chip removal on parts made of ABS and other mediumhard plastics. Holes formed this way are clean but with a slight taper along the edge. a laser — usually a carbon dioxide type operating in the infrared region — directs a finely focused. Because the focused laser beam is slightly cone-shaped. Laser machining can cut or drill areas that are inaccessible by traditional methods. Larger holes are “cut” by moving the part in a circular pattern through a continuous beam. trim gate excess. high energy beam at the plastic surface. or sealing most thermoplastics. quickly vaporizes the plastic leaving a smooth cut with little heat buildup in the adjacent surfaces. Pulsed beams can quickly bore holes from 0. cutting.  . and remove flash. filing is used frequently to smooth edges on thermoformed parts. If your part design calls for filing. typically about  degrees. The cutting rate depends on the thickness and type of material.Chapter 5 MACHINING AND FINISHING LASER MACHINING The laser machining process provides a non-contact method for drilling. • • Page 99 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. lasers tend to produce cone-shaped holes unless corrective lenses are used. Cut features can also have a slight bead along the edge.

Cut-down buffing. the primary source of difficulties when sanding thermoplastics.500 to . Buffing can involve different types of finishing operations including: • • • • Satin Finishing — for a satin or brushed finish. mirror-like finish. Cut-and-Color Buffing — for a lustrous finish. A cutting or polishing step. depending upon the requirements. reducing the chance of gumming. Wheels for cut-and-color buffing often consist of unbleached cotton discs laid alternately with two layers of 5 inch discs and two layers of  inch discs. removes major irregularities on the surface and leaves a satin finish. the process usually starts with unbleached cotton buffing discs for cleaning and preparation. Satin finishing. can melt plastic surfaces and clog sanding media. Although wet sanding can produce very smooth surfaces. mold marks. . Cut-and-color buffing produces a high-gloss finish in most LANXESS materials. or ashing. and gate marks. with a cotton or muslin wheel and buffing compound. flash. Heat dissipates slowly in most plastics. brings the luster to an intermediate. scratches.SANDING Use a conventional belt or disc sander to remove gate excess. After buffing with an appropriate polishing compound — such as rouge or greasy tripoli — the part receives a final polishing on a clean finishing wheel made of a soft material. you can use a wider range of grit sizes. Final wheels have two layers of  inch and four layers of 5 inch unbleached cotton discs laid alternately. Cut-Down Buffing — for a smooth finish. so dry sanding must usually be done at slow speeds with coarse-grit paper. sanding marks. In wet sanding. or felt. from coarse to very fine. Light application pressure and cooling liquids help prevent heat buildup and resulting surface damage. smooth finish ready for final color buffing. you can sand parts for cross-sectional views. such as muslin. as well as to remove surface imperfections. increases gloss. followed by a wiping or coloring step. although sanding will destroy the part or assembly. Frictional heating. The buffing wheels mount to conventional buffing equipment and spin at . and requires provisions for dust collection and/or removal. To inspect internal features and assemblies. When wet sanding. Buffing to a high gloss requires a sequence of steps that may vary from material to material. Final Color Buffing — for a high gloss. POLISHING AND BUFFING Use polishing and buffing to create uniform high-gloss or satin finishes. For ABS. 00 Page 00 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.000 rpm. Dry sanding produces quick results and rough finishes. plastic parts will generally need an additional buffing step to achieve a glossy finish. and imperfections in most parts made of rigid plastics. flannel. a liquid — usually water — alleviates frictional heat and removes sanding debris.

These techniques and equipment are discussed in this section.and pneumatically operated nippers. In one new and novel approach. Vapor honing uses a chemical vapor to dissolve the surface. & FLASH REMOVAL In addition to the machining and finishing methods discussed earlier in this chapter. The hot-air method uses a heat stream from a hot-air gun to remelt and smooth the area. Commonly used to remove flash from rigid thermosets. Part geometry. gate marks and flash on some parts must be totally removed. knife-edged scrapers that remove flash as a continuous filament without digging into the part. Many times. and scrapers. Page 0 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. tumbling usually does not work well with LANXESS plastic materials. tumbling. cutters.Chapter 5 MACHINING AND FINISHING TRIMMING. 0 . scraping or trimming uses specially designed. as well as some remelting and honing techniques to remove gate excess and flash. resulting in a similar effect. molders have a wide variety of hand. Please refer to the mold design chapter in this manual for information on gate size and placement. this method may prove economical. A variety of scraper shapes and sizes are available commercially. and processing requirements dictate appropriate gate size. Most of the machining and finishing methods described in this chapter are used to remove flash from molded plastic parts. Another more common method. if your part has difficult-to-remove flash. molding resin. Because both of these processes add to your overall costs. removes flash by tumbling parts together in a special rotating drum with a mild abrasive media such as crushed cocoa bean shells. For aesthetic reasons. Two common techniques to remove these blemishes are hot-air remelting and vapor honing. repairing the mold could result in long-term cost savings. Always compare the cost of reworking the mold to the cost of secondary flash removal operations. Another method. try to position gates so they are not visible in the final assembly or choose a less-noticeable gate. such as a valve gate. Tumbling in these materials tends to bend or flatten flash rather than remove it by breaking or abrasion. FINISHING. without damaging the part. parts placed in a specially designed chamber are exposed to a flash detonation that instantaneously melts flash. Do not rely on unrealistically small gates to hide or lessen the appearance of the gate mark. While expensive.

0 Page 0 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. .

Paints and coatings can hide some molding defects. and other substances encountered in-use or during manufacture. Epoxies typically produce hard. Some specific instances where painting or plating may be needed include: protecting final assemblies from harsh chemicals or UV degradation. In addition. thermoplastic resins can be produced in a rainbow of colors.Chapter 6 PRINTING. acrylic. glossy finishes. Vinyls tend to produce soft. such as electrically conductive paints for EMI/RFI shielding. second. shielding electronic devices from EMI radiation. PAINTING The most common reason for painting or coating thermoplastic parts is to enhance aesthetics and provide uniform color and texture to assemblies made of different materials or by different processes. most do not for two reasons: first. and are compatible with most plastics. For instance. Types of Paints Paints are generally made up of four components: a polymeric resin or resin components that form the coating. Paints and coatings can also protect the plastic substrate from chemicals. Coatings can also prevent attack from cleaning solvents. including many chemically sensitive. Commercial scratchresistant coatings commonly provide abrasion resistance for lenses. • • • Page 0 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. They also offer colors or surface effects that resins cannot. tough. and/or decorating for aesthetic or functional concerns. plating. and vinyl. and decorating. abrasion. rubbery finishes. Acrylic paints give brittle. the injectionmolding process accommodates a diversity of high-quality surface finishes and textures. are discussed in this chapter. A variety of paints have been developed based on different chemistries and polymer types. alkyd. pigments or dyes for color. adhesion. paint prevents many colored plastics from fading and becoming brittle when exposed to the elements and/or UV radiation from sunlight or artificial lighting. such as gate blush or foam swirl. amorphous plastics. durable finish. and appearance. such as ABS and polycarbonate blends. some paints perform a function. The common types of paints used on plastics include polyurethane. Painting. 0 . cure without heat. and additives to enhance or modify application. epoxy. lubricants. plating. scratch resistant finishes that resist most common oils. such as certain metallic or stippled effects. Contact your sales representative for the latest information on scratch coatings and treatments for LANXESS plastic resins. a solvent or carrier for thinning. as well as their design considerations. • Polyurethane paints provide a flexible. or adding graphics or labeling in contrasting colors. delivery. and uniform coverage. or environmental attack. PLATING AND DECORATING While some plastic parts require painting.

Paint Curing Several factors determine the type of paint systems you choose. leaving the resin to polymerize on the part surface. Polycarbonate parts can usually withstand paint bake temperatures of about 0°C (50°F). because these regulations vary. . Check the current and near-future regulations in your area. Amorphous plastics. including the specific plastic substrate. polypropylene. Two-component paint systems use a chemical reaction to drive the curing process. Heat-curing systems bake parts for rapid and complete curing. Acetal. available painting facilities. Organic solvents penetrate the plastic substrate to form strong chemical bonds for superior adhesion. such as ABS. To some degree. which have waxy surfaces. because they are less chemically resistant. The curing temperature for these paints may limit your choice of plastics on which these paints can be used. Paint-Selection Considerations Semi-crystalline plastics. finished part to determine its suitability. To achieve the optimum match of substrate and paint system. and polyethylene. Generally. waterborne coatings and high-solid polyurethane systems comply with most government regulations. Damage and chemical attack tend to be worse in areas of high molding or assembly stresses. and safety issues associated with organic-solvent systems. consult both your resin and paint suppliers before making your final selection. Paint systems also differ in the types of solvent system used. Parts must withstand the required curing temperature. An increasingly important advantage. such as nylons. There are a variety of methods to cure paints: • Air-curing paints solidify as the solvent evaporates. especially OSHA and EPA. and the cost of complying with environmental protection regulations. Solvent systems generally fall into two types: organic solvent systems or water-based systems. Excessively aggressive solvents may damage the substrate. health.based paint systems and application systems cannot meet current emission limits without elaborate and expensive environmental-protection equipment. The cost of the paint is usually insignificant compared to the labor and overhead costs. • • • 0 Page 04 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Be sure to consider the cost of the entire process when making your selection. Look for a system that is not too chemically aggressive: especially for polycarbonate blends. Water-based systems are generally less aggressive to plastic parts but tend to form slightly weaker bonds. but it should not damage the plastic substrate. These systems generally give off very few volatiles. achieve good adhesion with many more paint systems. tend to be chemically resistant to most solvent systems and often require special pre-treatments or primers. the paint system should chemically react with the plastic surface for good adhesion. but have a short pot life after mixing: often only minutes. Government regulatory agencies. Many organic-solvent. the type of finish required. limit the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. are chemically resistant to most solvent systems as well. water-based systems avoid most of the environmental. Other paints rely upon exposure to oxygen or UV radiation to completely cure. Always test your solvent system on an actual. and local regulatory restrictions.

Crazing and paint soak. the parts must be designed and processed to minimize surface stresses. the most common painting method for plastics. paint is forced through a spray nozzle at high velocity.008 inch deep grooves in the mold steel on the back surface. An aggressive solvent can cause small cracks in these areas that can lead to dullness known as crazing. and proper gate design and placement also tend to reduce surface stresses and paint soak problems. Orient the grooves perpendicular to the advancing flow front in the problem areas. and The particular paint solvent system used in the formulation. Hot. Electrostatic Spraying Figure 6-1 • • Electrostatic spraying improves coverage and reduces overspray by attracting paint droplets to the part surface. 0 . electrostatic. and in areas of nonuniform wall thickness. the solvent and paint formula may need to be adjusted to compensate for daily variations in weather. Changes in temperature or humidity can change the volatility of the paint system and affect the time for leveling. large areas of the surface can become rough and appear as if the paint has soaked into the plastic. In electrostatic systems. The composition and morphology of the polymer. In addition.Chapter 6 PRINTING. are both affected by: • • • High molded-in surface stresses on the molded part. This condition is called paint soak. PLATING AND DECORATING Spray Painting Spraying. The groove-to-groove (or ridgeto-ridge in the part) spacing should be no greater than the part wall thickness. airless. or in some instances. Electrostatic systems improve coverage and reduce over-spray (see figure 6-). at knit lines. good venting. can be conventional. Page 05 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. In airless systems. opposite electrical charges applied to the paint and part attract paint droplets to the part surface. For leveling to occur properly. two painting defects unique to molded plastic parts. leading to a defect known as dry spray. • In conventional spray painting. High mold and melt temperatures. The spraying process breaks the paint or coating into tiny droplets that must coalesce on the surface of the part and blend together to form a smooth surface in an action called leveling. dry days tend to cause the solvent to evaporate before the paint can adequately level. consider adding 0. High surface stresses tend to occur near gates. To reduce the high degree of surface orientation at gates and abrupt geometry changes that can lead to paint soak. Robotics can automate the spraying process and improve painting consistency. paint manufacturers can tailor solvents and paint systems for a given polymer to reduce the surface attack problem. To minimize these problems. In severe cases. compressed air atomizes and delivers tiny droplets of paint onto the part surface.

The paint viscosity must be high enough to prevent running. After a period of time. a roller applies a film of paint to a transfer plate. Dipping. and then move the parts through subsequent stages for dripping. and drying. try to have several masks for each masking job. and areas that can receive over-spray. Pad painting uses a patterned resilient pad to transfer paint to the plastic substrate much like a rubber ink stamp applies ink to paper. A transfer roller is commonly used in production to maintain a uniform film thickness on the paint roller. uses a conveying system to first submerse parts in a tank of paint and thinner. high viscosity paint is first applied to coat the inlay features and surrounding area. The masks and stencils must also be held to tight tolerances. The patterned pad with raised figures is first pressed onto the film of paint and then onto the plastic part being decorated. pad painting. the excess paint is wiped from the surrounding areas with a solvent impregnated rag or brush. The roller transfers paint to the raised features on the molded part. Avoid vaguely defined transitions between masked and painted features such as fillet radii and rounded or irregular surfaces. areas which must be free from paints. leaving paint in the inlays. Roller Painting Wiping applies paint to molded inlays such as dial numerals and indented letters. In this method. Dipping is commonly used to apply base coats to parts prior to vacuum metallizing or sputtering. In an automated process. dipping is used less often than spraying.Other Painting Methods In addition to spraying. a simple and inexpensive painting method. the mask and stencils must fit tightly against the molded part. draining. wiping. Paint-free areas will probably require masking: a procedure often more complicated and laborintensive than the actual painting. • • • • Figure 6-2 To prevent leakage between the stencil or mask and the plastic part. Because few applications require complete paint coverage on all surfaces. 0 Page 06 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Buildup on the masks and stencils must be periodically cleaned to maintain a good fit. and dipping. Rolling applies paint to raised surfaces on a plastic part by means of a rubber or felt roller (see figure 6-). rolling. Each has advantages in specific kinds of applications. For this to happen. the parts must be molded to tolerance without shot-to-shot variations in size or shape. Avoid thin or intricate masking. Allow at least /8 inch between masked areas and the part edge. To avoid interrupting production to clean masks. Masking Part drawings should clearly specify areas to receive paint. Programmable machines manipulate the brush position and vary the application pressure to adjust the stripe pattern and width. . Brushing is most commonly used in automated stripe-painting applications. usually ten to thirty minutes. and Work closely with your painting and masking experts to avoid unnecessary work and expense. Some considerations to address with masking include: • Take steps in the part design stage to avoid masking or at least simplify the masking process. other common methods of paint application include brushing.

Flexible paint systems. it is vulnerable to abrasion. This process has been used with many LANXESS resin types including ABS and SAN. Sharp corners can be difficult to coat sufficiently and may chip or wear through. works within a short nozzleto-part distance range. Wrinkles and indexing problems can arise on large parts or in parts with complex or deeply contoured geometries. spray painting. a line-of-sight process. Part design can have a direct impact on the ease and cost of painting. can lower your decorating costs. chemical attack. It also can generate considerable housekeeping problems at the molding press. PLATING AND DECORATING Other Design Considerations for Painting In all application methods. parts should be clean and free of surface contamination for good paint adhesion. so they can be ejected without using external mold release sprays. the decoration transfers from the film to the molded part. Brittle coatings and paints can greatly reduce the impact performance of painted plastic parts. Consider painting transparent parts on the back surface (or second surface) to protect the paint from scratches and abrasion. Also. Some methods also offer options not feasible in conventional painting. Page 07 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Consider designing designated handling areas or features to reduce contamination in critical painting areas. heat-curing restrictions. this process does add cost and complexity to automate the painting process at the mold. The decorated film is placed into the mold either as a separate sheet held by electrostatic charge or as part of an indexed roll that positions the graphics over the cavity surface. and painting line costs. narrow recesses. In-mold transfer decoration offers multiple colors in a single operation as well as greater design freedom than most traditional decorating methods. which may not coat completely. To achieve uniform coverage. because the decoration is on the part outer surface (first surface). IN-MOLD DECORATING Applying decorations during molding. Because painting takes place in the mold. design parts to release from the mold easily. typically polyester film. In-mold decorating methods tend to reduce or eliminate VOC emissions. In the powdered-paint method. When possible. such as applying multi-color graphics and patterns. However. Oils from hands can also contaminate the part surface. The process has several notable limitations. For these reasons. Exercise extra care in the design and paint selection for painted parts subjected to impact loads. and UV degradation. there is no need for an expensive paint line. Manufacturers can also quickly change designs by simply switching the printed films. The paint then melts and bonds to the plastic-part surface as the part solidifies. Under the heat and pressure of molding. avoid undercuts and deep. 0 . instead of as a secondary post-mold process. In-mold transfer decoration involves transferring graphics from a preprinted carrier. powder is sprayed onto the mold surface before the thermoplastic resin is injected. This section discusses two common in-mold decorating methods. to the plastic surface during molding. The transfer film is then removed and discarded.Chapter 6 PRINTING. such as twopart urethanes. Cracks in the paint or coating act as stress concentrators to initiate fracture in the plastic substrate. and eliminate many of the problems associated with other decorating methods such as solvent/substrate compatibility problems. in-mold transfer decoration may not be suitable for many applications. For instance. tend to perform better in impact applications.

The formed film is then cut and placed into the mold. In first-surface film decorating. printed film. Figures 6- and 6-4 show a decorated film in place in the mold in preparation for molding and the final mold part. into the exact shape required to fit tightly into the mold. Film-Insert Molding Figure 6-4 This film-insert-molded control panel has a decorative matte finish with backlit figures and symbols.FILM-INSERT MOLDING Film-insert molding differs from conventional in-mold decoration in that the decorated film. the print design is printed on the outer surface. The decorated. formed film is positioned in the mold and then backfilled with transparent resin 0 Page 08 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. This places the film substrate between the printing and the part. plastic injects behind the film forming a molded part with an integral film layer. Film-Insert Molding Figure 6-3 The process incorporates a variety of film options. During molding. becomes an integral part of the molded product during the molding process. Typically the process begins by forming a pre-heated. by means of vacuum or high-pressure forming. . and protects the printed graphic from the direct contact with the molten plastic. Protective graphic hard coats provide various levels of protection against chemicals and wear. either flat or formed.

Film insert decorating advantages include: • Design freedom to decorate compound curves and complex geometries. electroless plating. lightweight alternatives to metals in applications such as automotive grilles and trim hardware (see figure 6-5). lightweight alternatives to metal. The processes for applying metallic coatings include electroplating. a second film can be bonded to the printed surface using a heat-activated adhesive. Functional coatings can provide electromagnetic shielding. METALLIC COATINGS Metallic coatings are applied to plastic parts for decoration or for a variety of functional reasons. Decorative metallic coatings enable plastic parts to function as economical. Decorative metallic coatings enable plastic parts to function as economical. vacuum metallizing. Page 09 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. circuit paths. Options for both opaque and transparent graphics. 0 . Metallic Coatings Figure 6-5 • • • • Contact your LANXESS sales representative for more information and assistance regarding potential film insert molding applications.Chapter 6 PRINTING. To protect the graphics. Electroplating Electroplating can provide a durable. These are discussed in the following sections. Long-lasting finishes. or reflective surfaces for lighting applications. second-surface film decorating places the printed graphic on the inner surface of a transparent film substrate. This can lead to distortion of the printed graphic at hot spots such as the gate area. Special plating grades of Lustran ABS meet the performance requirements of many tough automotive and appliance applications. PLATING AND DECORATING Single-layer. This process works particularly well with backlit parts. high-quality finish for a variety of applications. and sputter coating. This configuration protects the graphic from the environment but places it toward the molten plastic during molding. Although many polymers can be electroplated. Multi-color graphics in a single step. Certain Triax blends containing ABS also plate well and can provide reasonably tough finishes. only a few polymer families obtain the adhesion and appearance required by high-performance applications. and Reduced decorating costs.

such as copper. Your part must be stiff enough to resist flexure and distortion when clamped onto the rack. molded parts mounted on specially designed plating racks pass on conveyors through the various baths and rinses. • Electroless Plating Figure 6-6 Electroless Plating Figure 6-6 Electroless plating provides EMI shielding for electrical housings. Design clamping points that secure the part on the rack without flexing it. the thinplated layer could crack as the parts are removed and handled. and outside corners can lead to excessive plating buildup (see figure 6-7). During plating. high current density at edges. Page 0 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. a metallic film layer. .00 inch to all plated edges. A common plating combination is nickel over copper. Avoid extreme recesses that could lead to inadequate plating thickness. is chemically deposited on the part. aqueous baths and rinses to clean. The points where the rack clamps contact the part will not plate. Otherwise. Consider edge-stiffening and surface-crowning to reduce flexure and cracking (see figures 6-8 and 6-9). 0 Round corners and edges to prevent excessive plating buildup. Plan for these contact points and work with your plater to find suitable clamp locations. notches. or hinder rinsing afterwards. The electroless process usually involves immersing the parts in a series of specially formulated. Many electrical-shielding applications skip the electroless step and apply only an electroless plating layer to the inside surface of the housing or device (see figure 6-6). Recessed areas plate at lower current densities and tend to plate much thinner than other areas. etch. After this treatment. Because electric current density distribution over the part surfaces determines plating thickness.Design Considerations for Electroplating Prior to electroplating. Include a /6 inch minimum radius on all outside corners. Then. more conventional metalplating methods apply additional metal layers to the now conductive surface. The electroplating process places special requirements on the plastic part design. Other design considerations include: • Avoid features that may trap air during immersion in the baths. These racks both secure and orient the parts for total immersion and complete draining at each step. To minimize these problems consider the following: • • • Add a radius of at least 0. and activate the part surface. the nonconductive plastic surface of most plastics must first undergo an electroless chemical process to deposit a conductive metallic film layer.

High molded-in stresses on the part surface can reduce adhesion and lead to cracking. Other molding considerations include: • • Assuring that molded part surfaces are free of oils and contaminates. PLATING AND DECORATING Molding Considerations for Electroplating The molding process directly affects plating adhesion and end-use performance. Proper drying also prevents moisture-related surface defects that could appear worse after plating. Positioning gates out-of-sight and trimming gates cleanly.  . blistering.Chapter 6 PRINTING. and warping in the plated part. Designing and maintaining mold and parting lines carefully to prevent sharp or ragged edges that could be exaggerated by the plating process. Using self-lubricating ejector pins to prevent oil contamination. especially silicone. • • Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Designing parts and molds to facilitate part ejection without mold-release agents. Edge Stiffening Figure 6-8 Stiffen edges to prevent damage to plating during racking and handling. Surface Crowning Figure 6-9 • • Surface crowning stiffens the surface and promotes uniform plating thickness. molding resins for plating are normally processed at high mold and melt temperatures and slow filling speeds. To minimize surface stresses. and Applying a light satin-finish to the mold cavity surfaces to enhance plating adhesion on the molded part.

uses mechanical displacement. Tungsten filaments or electron beams typically provide the energy to vaporize the source metal through direct sublimation from a solid to a vapor. can often skip the topcoat step (see figure 6-0). After metallization.5 microns) onto plastic parts in a vacuum chamber. Areas “shadowed” by other elements of the part geometry. Sputter deposition offers thicker metallic layers. Common metals and alloys include chromium. Typically. Deposition takes place by vaporizing the metal. the coated parts move to special racks that rotate within the vacuum chamber to provide the uniform coverage during the line-of-sight deposition process. The process usually begins with the application of a specially formulated base coat to smooth out surface irregularities and improve metal adhesion. and then condensing it onto the part surface. An inert gas plasma impacts the metal to provide the energy for phase transition. deep recesses and undercuts will not coat. despite being rotated. Metallized surfaces in protected environments. Sputtering also tends to provide better adhesion and abrasion performance than conventional vacuum metallization. and an additional pass through the metallization process. tungsten. copper. and more metal choices than traditional vacuum metallization. After curing. A related process. . decorative parts usually receive a clear topcoat to protect the thin metal film from abrasion. sputter deposition. to vaporize the coating metal. Vacuum metallizing is much less sensitive to processing and part design than electroplating. Vacuum Metallization Figure 6-10 Vacuum metallization applies the reflective coating in many lighting applications. usually aluminum. Complete front-and-back coverage may require a second racking step to reorient the parts. and brass. the part must rotate for full coverage of surfaces and standing features. rather than heat. Adherence to standard plastic part design guidelines and good molding practices is usually sufficient to obtain satisfactory results. Design Considerations for Vacuum Metallization Because vacuum metallization processes deposit metal films in a line-of-sight pattern.  Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Vacuum metallization works best on parts with relatively simple shapes that require coating on just one side. The process is often limited to sizes that will fit in standard vacuum chambers. will also not coat. stainless steel. gold.Vacuum Metallization The vacuum metallizing process deposits an extremely thin metallic film (typically . such as reflectors in sealed lighting applications.

The finger spacing determines the slot length and the minimum frequency that can escape. masking requirements. PLATING AND DECORATING EMI/RFI Shielding With the proliferation of electronic devices such as cell phones and portable computers. Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Consult your shielding experts for help in calculating the correct spacing for your application. could release a wide range of frequencies. Contact your LANXESS representative for guidance on your specific application. For proper shielding. More often. can allow electromagnetic radiation to escape. EMI and RFI problems occur when electromagnetic energy escapes an electrical device and reaches an unintended device. UL test QMSS evaluates conductive coating and substrate combinations for acceptable levels of adhesion after elevated temperature.Chapter 6 PRINTING. manufacturers use metallic coating. Vendors that apply conductive coatings to plastic parts used in devices requiring UL 746 C recognition must meet the requirements of QMRX. One design employs contact fingers with a slight interference fit to create a low-impedance connection and reduced gap size. causing a malfunction or interference. Long gaps. whether they be intentional — holes and cooling vents — or unintentional — gaps along mating edges. A number of factors determine the best process for your application. Any openings in the enclosure assembly. production levels. Design Considerations for EMI/RFI Shielding Enclosure design usually affects shielding performance more than the coating process chosen. Part designers and shielding experts need to work together early in the design process to assure a good combination of performance and manufacturability. do not place “noisy” circuit boards close to cooling vents and other possible weak links in the shield. including coatings. and vacuum metallization — find use in EMI/RFI shielding. Contact your LANXESS representative for information on UL-recognized vendor/ coating combinations for EMI/RFI shielding. electroplating. adhesive foils.  . A variety of shielding methods exist. sheet-metal shrouds. and environmental cycling conditions. Untreated plastic parts generally appear “transparent” to electromagnetic energy. Each of the metallic-coating processes covered in this chapter thus far — painting (conductive coatings). requiring a secondary shielding process or method when used in electronic enclosures needing EMI/RFI shielding. such as part geometry and size. Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) become increasingly important design considerations. humidity. and required shielding performance. The length of the opening determines the frequency of radiation that can escape. All electronic devices with metallized parts submitted for recognition under standard UL 746 C must undergo testing of the adhesion between the shielding material and the substrate. and special conductive fillers in the molding resin. electroless plating. Generally. such as between mating halves. these interfaces require a generous overlap and snug fit.

In another process. . The sublimation ink transfer process. Pad printing involves pressing ink onto the part from a custom-designed soft ink pad.PRINTING Printing is often used to apply designs. The most common printing processes used on plastic parts are discussed in this section. an inexpensive technique used to decorate flat or cylindrical plastic parts (see figure 6-). In this process. The screening process requires careful control of the ink viscosity and ambient conditions to avoid fluctuations in temperature and humidity that could cause the screen to stretch or shrink. leaving ink in the etched recesses of the pattern. and markings to parts made from LANXESS plastics. Screen Printing Figure 6-11 Laser Printing Figure 6-12 The screen-printing process can apply designs and markings to flat and cylindrical parts. or stainless steel. relies on deep ink penetration to produce abrasionresistant printed symbols. commonly made of silk. Irregular shapes cause distortions in the printed pattern that must be compensated by adjustments in the ink pad pattern. the ink vapors can penetrate 0. Screens also require periodic cleaning to remove dried ink that could clog screen. In one process. polyester. characters. Screening. Laser printing can produce light or dark markings on plastic parts. commonly used on computer and calculator keys. often made using a photoetching process. the patterned ink pad picks up a film layer deposited onto a transfer plate by a roller. are then placed on the screen where ink transfer is not desired. begins with an open-weave fabric or screen. Stencils. a smooth pad picks up a pattern of ink from an etched plate that was flooded with ink and then wiped with a blade. the loaded ink pad then stamps the pattern onto the plastic part. The soft pad can accommodate textures and many irregular shapes. heat and pressure vaporize inks printed on special transfer papers that rest against the part surface.  Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.008 inch into the part surface. which has been stretched in a frame. Depending on the material and ink system. In both processes. A rubber squeegee forces ink through the screen and onto the part surface.

PLATING AND DECORATING Laser printing produces designs and symbols in plastic parts either by direct marking of the plastic or by selective evaporation of a coating applied to the plastic. Always pretest printing processes on actual. a heated stamp presses against a color foil positioned on the part surface. The force and heat simultaneously melt a recess and transfer ink from the foil (see figure 6-). Your ink and printing-equipment suppliers can offer assistance in selecting the correct process for your part. a pattern on the heated die transfers color from the foil to the plastic part. Some dark-colored plastics have been developed that produce light-colored symbols during laser printing. This process usually does not produce suitable results for back lighting. prints on top of raised features or patterns in the molded part (see figure 6-4). The pigmented. Hot stamping provides a quick and easy method for creating colored indentations for numbers. In direct laser printing. Hot Stamping Figure 6-13 Dome Printing Figure 6-14 In standard hot stamping. Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. back-lit symbols can be produced on a dark background by first coating white plastic with an opaque dark paint. white plastic reflects the laser beam without marking. White. and demarcations. production assemblies. a variation of the hotstamping process. Dome printing. a heated silicone rubber pad transfers color to the raised features on the molded part. and exposes the white plastic substrate. Their early involvement can prevent problems later in the design and production process. The reinforced silicone rubber pad used in this process compensates for minor deviations in the part surface.  . The laser then vaporizes the paint in the shape of the symbol.Chapter 6 PRINTING. the laser usually burns dark symbols into light colored parts (see figure 6-). In dome printing. In this process. letters.

Available in transparent. Instead of relying upon a self-adhering backing. Opaque labels are particularly helpful for hiding trimmed sprue gates. leather.LABELS AND DECALS Self-adhering printed labels and decals provide an easy means for applying items such as logos. Mold surface finishing is discussed in more detail in Chapter 7 (Mold Design) of this manual. Glass-bead blasting and light sandblasting of the mold surface can produce uniform matte finishes of varying degrees. TEXTURE Texture affects the look and feel of a molded part. Glossy finishes are sensitive to mold and processing imperfections. as well as our perception of its quality.  Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Achieving high levels of gloss requires the correct resin. Textures can reduce glare. expensive mold polishing. For ease of cleaning. and decorative graphics. and may readily show scratches. and fabric — to disguise plastic parts. metallic. thermoplastic resins can duplicate the surface appearance of many natural materials — such as wood. avoid placing decals and labels on irregular surfaces. many food-contact and health care products require glossy finishes. The thermoplastic molding process also accommodates surfaces ranging from high-gloss to deep texture. Because of their ease of molding. Mold finishing with somewhat coarser abrasive media can produce a brushed finish that doesn’t show scratches and imperfections as easily. and meticulous mold care. or embossed materials. they offer an unlimited choice of shapes and colors. and improve scratch resistance. Also. . careful mold-steel selection. Labels and decals occasionally have problems with adhesion. Carefully pretest and evaluate any proposed adhesive system on actual production parts. heat-transfer labeling uses a heated platen to release the print from a carrier and attach it to the plastic part. as they will lift more easily. opaque. hide molding imperfections. model identification.

Chapter 6 PRINTING. • • • See the mold and part design chapters in this manual for more information on mold textures and draft.00 inch of texture depth. Photoetched mold finishes can be blasted with glass beads to reduce sharp edges and enhance scratch resistance when molding low-viscosity resins. Likewise. Use spark-eroded textures to hide weld lines and other molding imperfections. PLATING AND DECORATING Electric discharge machine (spark erosion) and photoetching processes offer greater control over the mold texture. as do low-viscosity resins such as nylon. Spark-eroded mold-surface textures tend to be smoother and more rounded than the sharp-edged textures produced by photoetching. and Add extra draft when designing parts with textured surfaces to aid in part ejection: typically one degree of additional draft for every 0. the molding resin and processing conditions can lead to quite different part textures from photoetched cavities. especially with sharp-etched textures. parts from molds with similar textures may look different because one used photoetching and another spark erosion. Consider profile textures. Consider the following when designing parts with texture: • Avoid abrupt changes in wall thickness. tend not to reproduce the sharp edges and porous micro finishes of photoetched cavities.  . Consequently. as they can cause noticeable differences in the texture appearance. The inherently smooth and rounded textures produced by spark erosion tend to exhibit better scratch resistance than sharp textures. Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. They also make possible patterned textures such as leather and wood grains. such as rows of lines or fine checkered patterns to hide read-through from linear features such as ribs. such as ABS. High-viscosity materials.

. Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

or it can be stepped or angled to accommodate irregular part features. or indirectly through a runner system that delivers the material to the desired locations along the parting line. Two-Plate Mold Figure 7-1 A conventional two-plate mold with two cavities. TYPES OF MOLDS The two-plate mold. so that the part can be removed. This mold separation occurs along the interface known as the parting line. Material can enter the mold cavity directly via a sprue gate. the core and cavity separate as the mold opens.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Key to the injection-molding process. • Choose the parting-line location to minimize undercuts that would hinder or prevent easy part removal. MOLD BASICS At the most basic level. In facilitating mold-cavity filling and cooling. and improved part quality. and determines the dimensions of the finished molded article. the mold also influences the molding cycle and efficiency as well as the internal stress levels and end-use performance of the molded part. the most common mold configuration. The parting line can lie in one plane corresponding to a major geometric feature such as the part top. consists of two mold halves that open along one parting line (see figure 7-). Page 9 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. An injection mold is a precision instrument yet must be rugged enough to withstand hundreds of thousands of high-pressure molding cycles.  . The added expense for a well-engineered and constructed mold can be repaid many times over in molding efficiency. The movable mold half usually contains a part-ejection mechanism linked to a hydraulic cylinder operated from the main press controller. The success of any molding job depends heavily on the skills employed in the design and construction of the mold. Typically. reduced down time and scrap. provides the surface texture. The cavity forms the major external surfaces. Undercuts that cannot be avoided via reasonable adjustments in the parting line require mechanisms in the mold to disengage the undercut prior to ejection. the injection mold forms the molten plastic into the desired shape. The core forms the main internal surfaces of the part. bottom or center-line. molds consist of two main parts: the cavity and core.

0 Page 0 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Disadvantages include added mold complexity and large runners that can generate excessive regrind. Finally. the small pinpoint gates required for clean automatic de-gating can generate high shear and lead to material degradation. Unlike conventional two-plate molds. Also. a plate strips the runner from the retaining pins. and parts and runner eject from the mold. three-plate mold with cutaway view showing first stage of opening. Typically. a linkage system between the three major mold plates controls the mold-opening sequence. the mold separates at the runner plate to facilitate removal of the runner system. gate blemish. The three-plate mold configuration opens at two major locations instead of one.Three-Plate Mold Figure 7-2A Schematic of a two-cavity. three-plate molds can gate directly into inner surface areas away from the outer edge of parts: an advantage for center-gated parts such as cups or for large parts that require multiple gates across a surface. Because of the high shear rates generated in the tapered runner drops and pinpoint gates. threeplate molds are not recommended for shear-sensitive materials such as Cadon SMA and materials with shear-sensitive colorants or flame retardants. . and packing problems. The mold first opens at the primary parting line breaking the pinpoint gates and separating the parts from the cavity side of the mold. Figures 7-A through 7-C show the mold-opening sequence for a typical three-plate mold. Next.

In stack molds. Schematic of a two-cavity. reduces the clamp force required by multi-cavity molds. Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Typically. three-plate mold with cutaway view showing final opening phase and stripper plate in forward position.  . The injection forces exerted on the plate separating parting lines cancel. multiple cavities are oriented on a single parting line and the required clamp force is the sum of the clamp needed by each cavity plus the runner system. Three-Plate Mold Figure 7-2C Another configuration. the stack mold.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Three-Plate Mold Figure 7-2B Schematic of a two-cavity. Stack molds produce more parts per cycle than would otherwise be possible in a given size molding press. so the resulting clamp force is the same as for just one parting line. cavities lie on two or more stacked parting lines. three-plate mold with cutaway view showing second stage of opening.

here meaning core and cavity sets. The physical properties of standard mold base steels may be inadequate for heavy-wear areas or critical steel-to-steel contact points. Standard off-the-shelf mold bases are available for most molding needs. the return pins retract the ejector plate (if not retracted already) in preparation for the next cycle. MOLD BASES AND CAVITIES The mold base comprises the majority of the bulk of an injection mold. . can be incorporated in the mold three ways: they can be cut directly into the mold plates.Mold Components Figure 7-3 Components of a standard two-plate mold base with two cavities. Typical mold bases are outfitted with a locating ring (see figure 7-) and provisions for a sprue bushing in the stationary or “A” half of the mold and an ejector assembly in the moving “B” half. Mold cavities. As the mold closes. Leader pins projecting from corners of the “A” half align the mold halves. The “B” half has holes to accommodate bars that connect the press ejection mechanism to the ejector plate in the mold.  Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. select the mold base steel carefully. inserted in pieces into the mold base. Return pins connected to the ejector plate corners project from the mold face when the ejection mechanism is in the forward (eject) position. Both halves come with clamp slots to affix the mold in the press. Cutting cavities directly into the mold base can be the most economical approach for large parts and/or parts with simple geometries. Use inserts made of appropriate materials in these areas. or inserted as complete cavity units. When doing so.

worn or damaged cavities are easily replaced. lifter rails. redesign the part to avoid undercuts. especially if you maintain spare mold pieces for vulnerable components.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN MOLDING UNDERCUTS Assembling the cavity in the mold base lets you select different metals for the various cavity components. Whenever feasible. jiggler pins. tend to increase mold complexity and lead to higher mold construction and maintenance costs. see the section on undercuts in Chapter  of this manual. simple modifications enable the mold to form a hole in the sidewall with bypass steel rather than with a side-action mechanism. less-efficient mold cooling.  . optimizing the mold’s durability and performance. Undercut Alternatives Figure 7-4 Simple/complex part design for undercuts. Because many cavity units are face-mounted in the mold base for quick removal. part features that prevent straight ejection at the parting line. Additionally. adding throughholes can give access to the underside of features that would otherwise be undercuts (see figure 7-4). Minor part design changes can often eliminate problematic undercuts in the mold. For example. Undercuts. These cavity units typically have independent cooling circuits and ejector mechanisms that automatically connect to the mold-base ejector system. Likewise. assembling the cavities from pieces can simplify component fabrication. Cavity units offer many of the same advantages found in mold-base cavity assemblies. Some of the drawbacks of mold-base cavity assemblies include high initial mold cost. It also simplifies and speeds repairs for worn or damaged cavity components. Some mold bases are designed to accept standard cavity-insert units for rapid part change while the mold is still in the molding press. Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. For more information on design alternatives to avoid undercuts. Undercut features that cannot be avoided through redesign require mechanisms in the mold to facilitate ejection. collapsible cores and unscrewing mechanisms. The remainder of this section discusses these options. and potential tolerance accumulation problems with the cavity components. These types of mechanisms include side-action slides.

Cam-pin-driven slides retract as the mold opens (see figure 7-5). then return it to the molding position as the ejector system retracts. has angled surfaces to guide the pin away from the undercut during ejection. the “jiggler” pin (see figure 7-7). As the mold closes. an advantage in applications requiring the slides to actuate prior to mold opening or closing.Side-Action Slide Figure 7-5 The cam pin retracts the slide during mold opening. Slides driven by hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders can activate at any time during the molding cycle. A variation on this idea. Shallow undercuts can often be formed by spring-loaded lifters (see figure 76) or lifter rails attached to the ejector system. . Typical spring-loaded lifter mechanism. the cam pins return the slides to their original position for the next injection cycle.  Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. These lifters move with the part on an angle during mold opening or ejection until the lifter clears the undercut in the part. Lifter Figure 7-6 Side-action slides use cam pins or hydraulic (or pneumatic) cylinders to retract portions of the mold prior to ejection.

dimples. or motor-driven gear and chain mechanisms. Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. these specialty cores are typically modified to produce the desired undercut shape. Collapsible cores are rarely used for inside diameters less than 0.65 inch. Jiggler Pin Figure 7-7 Angled surfaces slide the jiggler pin to clear the undercut during ejection.  . or hydraulic cylinders. Collapsible Core Figure 7-8 Standard-style collapsible core pin in expanded and contracted position. The mold design should include provisions to lubricate the various moving parts of the unscrewing mechanism. Slides. slots. collapsible cores.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Features such as internal threads. Available in a variety of standard sizes from various moldcomponent suppliers. cams. or grooves on the inside of holes or caps may require collapsible cores. A variety of devices can drive the rotation of the threaded cores. Clever part design can often eliminate troublesome undercuts. as well as the mold maintenance cost. motors. These complex cores are made in segments that collapse toward the center as they retract during mold opening (see figure 7-8). particularly if they can be automated or performed within the cycle at the press. Investigate options that avoid complex mold mechanisms. Unscrewing mechanisms are commonly used to produce internal threads. and unscrewing mechanisms add to the cost and complexity of the mold. including rackand-pinion devices actuated by mold opening. The number and complexity of individual core components limit the minimum size of collapsible cores. Some undercuts are most economically produced as secondary operations.

 Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. molds have ejector systems built into the moving “B” half.005 inch oversized pins available for standard diameters. such as knockout (KO) pins. round knockout pin provides a simple and economical method for part ejection. Ejector Sleeves Figure 7-10 Cylindrical ejector sleeves provide maximum ejection contact area along the edge of circular parts. project from the mold ejector plate to the part surface where they push the part out of the mold (see figures 7-9 through 7-). operate much the same as standard round pins. KO pins with a rectangular cross section. The mold maker selects the desired diameter and shank length from the vast array of standard sizes and machines it to fit. and length of the ejection stroke. off-the-shelf items resist wear and breakage. . these inexpensive. The common. The fit of the ejector pin into the round ejector hole must be held to a tight tolerance to avoid flash. Typically. Worn ejector holes can be refitted with 0. Ejector Pins and Blades Figure 7-9 Ejector pins and ejector blades push the part off of the core as the ejector plate moves forward. The ejection unit of the molding press activates these systems. speed. they are used on the edges of ribs or walls that are too thin for standard round pins. Specialized ejection components. Rods linking the press-ejector mechanism to an ejector plate in the mold enable the press controller to control the timing. These topics are discussed in this section. but can be more difficult to fit and maintain. Reverse injection molds eject parts from the stationary side of the mold via independent ejection mechanisms operated by springs or hydraulic cylinders. Ejector blades.PART EJECTION Typically. Manufactured with high surface hardness and a tough core. The added complexity of reverse-injection molds adds to the mold cost. KO sleeves. or stripper plates. This configuration facilitates direct injection onto the inside or back surface of cosmetic parts.

so that only a portion of the pin contacts the molded part (see figure 7-9). material-release characteristics. KO pins leave witness marks. If KO pins push on angled surfaces. This avoids using small-diameter KO pins that are more difficult to maintain and can deflect or bend. and part temperature at the time of ejection. To prevent damage during ejection. Many factors determine the amount of ejector area needed.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Stripper Plate Figure 7-11 Angled Ejector Pin Figure 7-12 In molds with stripper-plate ejection. consider adding grooves to the part design to prevent pin deflection (see figure 7-). Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.  . small indentations or rings where the pin contacts the part. mold finish. that could be objectionable on cosmetic surfaces. or if the ejector area is too small. thin-walled parts generally require larger ejectors and greater ejector area than comparable parts with thicker walls. Additionally. KO pins extending to narrow walls and edges can be stepped or positioned. Ejector pins on angled surface must be keyed to prevent rotation and often require grooves to prevent sideways deflection of the ejector pin. they can read-through to the opposite surface if the part is difficult to eject. KO pins usually extend to the surfaces lying parallel to the mold face. the face plate which forms the edge of the parts moves forward stripping the parts from the core. including the part geometry.

it quickly displaces air in the tightly sealed mold. Air-poppet valves relieve the vacuum and deliver pressurized air between the part and mold surface during ejection. most molds need strategically placed vents for rapid and complete air removal. can lengthen the molding cycle and lead to cosmetic problems. hindering ejection. Draft refers to the slight angle or taper added to part features to ease part ejection. Materials with internal mold release can reduce the required ejection force and alleviate some ejection problems. Ejection difficulties can arise if a vacuum forms between the part and mold during ejection.Air-Poppet Valve Figure 7-13 MOLD VENTING As molten plastic enters the mold. closed-bottom parts. Typically. Lustran SAN resins require at least two degrees of draft. Spray mold releases. This section discusses vent design and placement. Most LANXESS materials require at least one degree of draft for easy ejection. place vents along the mold parting line. To prevent this problem. adding a generous amount of mold draft helps ejection. If planning to use a spray mold release. See the section on draft in Chapter  for additional information. Typically easy to cut and keep clear of material. Draw polishing the mold steel in the direction of ejection generally helps ejection. Air valve at the top of a core to relieve vacuum. Core shift and mold flexure can pinch part surfaces. add support to the mold or core. check it for chemical compatibility with your resin.  Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. or change the filling pattern to balance the injection forces. . Off-the-shelf mold components such as air-poppet valves (see figure 7-) can alleviate the problems. vents in the parting line provide a direct pathway for air escaping the mold. though often effective as a short-term fix. Also. Although some air escapes through the parting line or loose-fitting ejectors or slides. this difficulty develops in deeply cored. Parting-Line Vents As a first choice.

typically less than 0. Vent Placement Vents should be placed at various locations along the runner system and part perimeter. Over-venting can prevent the flow front from generating the required pressure. When the last area to fill is not vented.  . Carefully review LANXESS’s Product Information Bulletin for specific venting recommendations. The ranges given in figure 7-4 apply to typical molding conditions. air may become trapped in the mold. These resins rely on pressurized air in front of the flow front to hold volatiles in the material. Your resin selection and processing conditions determine the vent’s maximum depth. Extra vents were directed to corners opposite the gate that fills last.50 inch to 0. do not increase vent depth beyond the guidelines. Add vents sparingly in molds for these materials.00 inch of vent length must be small.000 inch for amorphous resins and less than 0. Add more vents or widen existing ones to increase venting. For the vast majority of resins and part geometries. preventing complete filling of the cavity and causing a gas burn on the part. Typically these areas are located on the parting line and lie farthest from the gate. The exceptions are resins with components — usually flame retardants or other additives — that can boil to the surface at the flow front and deposit on the mold surface and vents. the depth of the first 0. To prevent material from flowing into the vent during filling. Other rules of thumb for venting: • The amount of venting needed increases with part volume and filling speed.005 inch for semi-crystalline resins. • • Vent Depth Figure 7-14 Vent Placement Figure 7-15 Parting-line vents were positioned along the perimeter of this cavity insert. Page 9 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. more vents are better. The trapped air is super heated during compression and in severe cases can pit or erode the mold steel. but they are especially needed at the last areas of the mold to fill (see figure 7-5).Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Figure 7-4 shows standard partingline vent guidelines for LANXESS plastic resins. and To avoid flash. particularly for flame-retarded materials.

Ejector-Pin Vent Figure 7-16 Overflow Well Figure 7-17 Overflow wells can improve the strength and appearance of weld lines. Overflow wells are modified vent features that provide an extra-deep vent channel. This type of vent usually requires periodic disassembly for cleaning. The overflow well is ejected with the part and clipped off after molding.00 inch clearance. You can often improve the strength and appearance of these weld lines by installing overflow wells (see figure 7-7). Other venting issues you should address: • Direct mold filling along the length of the rib so gasses can escape at the ends. usually the tip or end. consider using ejector pins modified with flats for venting (see figure 7-6). Cool material at the leading edge of the advancing flow fronts merges and enters the overflow well leaving hotter material to mix and fuse at the weld line. Air-trap areas not accessible by ejector-pin vents may require vents placed along mold inserts or splits in the mold.When feasible. • Air trapped in unvented pockets or recesses in the mold can exit these areas behind the flow front and lead to splay or teardrop-shaped surface defects. require venting at the last area to fill. such as posts and bosses. Overflow wells can also provide ejector-pin locations for parts such as clock faces or instrument lenses that cannot tolerate ejector-pin marks on the part surface. Severe weld lines often form where flow streams meet head on. especially at the end of fill. Bosses can usually vent along the core insert forming the inside diameter of the boss. that empties into a cylindrical well. . Ejector-pin vents usually self clean with each ejection stroke. Venting air escapes the well around a shortened ejector pin fitted with a 0. usually about one-third the part thickness. Part features produced by blind holes in the mold. Posts usually require ejector-pin vents at the tip of the post. 0 Page 0 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. If air-trap areas persist. Ejector pin in forward position showing flats added to provide venting. Porous metal inserts can also provide venting for difficult air-trap areas but may require periodic cleaning. move gates or vary part thickness to change the filling pattern and direct air to parting-line vents. and Round or angle the ends of standing ribs to prevent air entrapment (see figure - in Chapter ).

This eases removal of the molded sprue. Sprue Brushing Figure 7-18 Sprue bushings convey the melt from the press nozzle tip to the mold parting line. as well as the flow properties of the specific resin.  . The volumetric flow rate used during filling largely determines the correct sprue orifice size. In many molds. The head end of the sprue bushing comes pre-machined with a spherical recess — typically 0. These components of the material delivery system are discussed in this section.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN SPRUES. Sprues The sprue. runners. The sprue orifice size. delivers resin to the desired depth into the mold. A material delivery system — usually consisting of a sprue. Though they can be cut directly into the mold. AND GATES Standard horizontal clamp presses deliver molten resin to the mold through a hole in the center of the stationary press platen.or 0. The problem can be worse in the press nozzle tip because the tip orifice must be slightly smaller than the sprue orifice to avoid forming an undercut.75 inch radius — to receive and seal off against the rounded tip of the press injection nozzle. An excessively small sprue orifice can generate large amounts of material shear and lead to material degradation. the diameter at the small end. and gates — then leads the resin through the mold and into the cavity. The sprue bushing flow-channel diameter typically tapers larger toward the parting line at a rate of 0.5.5 inch per foot. govern the required flow rate. oriented parallel to the press injection unit. Shot size and filling speed. Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. These areas see the highest volumetric flow rate of the entire system. Sprue design can affect molding efficiency and ease of processing. sprue bushings are usually purchased as off-the-shelf items and inserted into the mold (see figure 7-8). the greatest restriction to material flow occurs at the press nozzle tip and sprue orifice. usually the parting line. cosmetic problems. RUNNERS. and elevated filling pressure. comes standard in odd /s from 5/ to / inch.

Lustran and Novodur ABS. Centrex ASA resins require larger sprues and runners than semi-crystalline resins such as Durethan PA 6 and Pocan PBT. leads to large base diameters in long sprues. As a general rule. . • Large parts and/or parts needing fast filling speeds require large sprue orifice diameters to avoid problems associated with excessive flow shear. Other geometries may require slower filling speeds to prevent problems such as cosmetic defects or excessive clamp tonnage requirements.Figure 7-19 Sprue-size (small end diameter) recommendations as a function of shot volume and fill time.  Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. For example. Additionally. Standard sprue taper. Hot sprue bushings provide one solution to this problem. Part geometry influences filling time to some extent. Because the maximum shear rate in a sprue occurs at the orifice and the majority of shear heating and pressure loss takes place in the first two inches.5 inch diameter at the base. Hot sprue bushings have a heated flow channel that transports material along its length in molten form. • Figure 7-9 shows typical sprue sizes for LANXESS amorphous resins as a function of shot size and filling time. typically one-half inch per foot. For example. parts with a mix of thick and thin features may need a fast filling speed to prevent premature cooling of the thin features. eliminating or shortening the molded cold sprue. The diameter at the base of the sprue increases with increasing sprue length. This large base diameter lengthens cooling and cycle times and also leads to regrind problems. some molds rely on extension press nozzles that reach deep into the mold to reduce sprue length. a 6 inch sprue with a 7/ inch orifice diameter will have nearly a 0. amorphous resins and blends such as Lustran SAN. these guidelines should apply to sprues of various lengths.

and runner volume. • • Page  of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. make runners at least as thick as the part nominal wall thickness. part thickness. Round runners require machining in both halves of the mold. packing. runners typically transport material through channels machined into the parting line. • For sufficient packing.  . this design is nearly as efficient as the full-round design.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Runner Cross Sections Figure 7-20 Full round runners provide the most efficient flow. which deliver material depth-wise through the center of the mold plates. Runner thickness has a direct effect on filling pressure. the “round-bottomed” trapezoid. requires machining in just one mold half. mold design feasibility. and runner volume. Round cross-section runners minimize contact with the mold surface and generate the smallest percentage of frozen layer cross-sectional area. As runner designs deviate from round. Material passing through the runner during mold filling forms a frozen wall layer as the mold steel draws heat from the melt. cycle time. and material viscosity. The optimum runner diameter depends on a variety of factors including part volume. A good alternative. Conversely. Amorphous resins typically require larger runners than semicrystalline resins. The runner system often accounts for more than 40% of the pressure required to fill the mold. This layer restricts the flow channel and increases the pressure drop through the runner. The optimum runner design requires a balance between ease of filling. Increase runner thickness for long runners and runners subjected to high volumetric flow rates. they become less efficient (see figure 7-0). Runners Unlike sprues. Runner design influences part quality and molding efficiency. replace cornered paths with diagonals or reorient the cavity to shorten the runner. runner length. increasing the potential for mismatch and flow restriction. optimize the route to each gate to minimize runner length. thin runners can cause excessive filling pressures and related processing problems. Because much of this pressure drop can be attributed to runner length. filling speed and pressure. For example. Overly thick runners can lengthen cycle time needlessly and increase costs associated with regrind. Essentially a round cross section with sides tapered by five degrees for ejection.

Consider computerized mold-filling analysis to achieve a higher level of optimization.5 ÷ )/ and dsec= 0. the secondary runner diameter becomes /6 inch. rsec = (0. and figure 7- for semi-crystalline LANXESS resins. For example. with an anticipated filling time of  seconds. . would have a volumetric flow rate of  in/sec. Use figure 7- for amorphous LANXESS resins.5 inch primary runner.  Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Runner-diameter guidelines based on volumetric flow rate and runner length. first solve for a runner diameter with half the cross-sectional area of the 0. to calculate diameters for two secondary runners branching from a 0. The methods outlined above for calculating runner diameters usually generate reasonable. and then round up to the nearest standard cutter size. As an approximation. calculate secondary-runner diameters so that the total cross-sectional area of the secondary runners equals the crosssectional area of the primary runner.5 inch primary runner: Rounding up.Figures 7- and 7- provide a means for estimating primary-runner diameters based on volumetric flow rate and runner length.77 where r = radius and d = diameter rsec = (rprim÷ )/ so Amorphous-Runner Diameters Figure 7-21 Semi-crystalline Runner Diameters Figure 7-22 Runner-diameter guidelines based on volumetric flow rate and runner length. For example a primary runner section feeding half of a 6 in part. but not necessarily optimum. Calculate the flow rate by dividing the part volume of material passing through the runner segment by the anticipated filling time. runner sizes.

Naturally balanced runners provide an equal flow distance from the press nozzle to the gate on each cavity.  . However they become less efficient as cavity spacing increases because of cavity number or size. leading to less shrinkage variation and fewer part-quality problems. This reduces overpacking and/or flash formation in the cavities that fill first. The same computer techniques balance flow within multigated parts. Runners for family molds. Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Spoked-runner designs (see figure 7-4) work well for tight clusters of small cavities. Consider computerized mold-filling analysis to adjust gate locations and/or runner section lengths and diameters to achieve balanced flow to each cavity (see figure 7-). should be designed so that all parts finish filling at the same time. Spoked Runners Figure 7-24 The spoked runner on the right provides a cold slug well at the end of each primary runner branch.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Runners for Multi-cavity Molds Family Mold Figure 7-23 Runners for multi-cavity molds require special attention. The runner diameter feeding the smaller part was reduced to balance filling. molds producing different parts of an assembly in the same shot. Molds producing multiples of the same part should also provide balanced flow to the ends of each cavity.

etc. To be naturally balanced. Rows of cavities generally have branched runners consisting of a primary main feed channel and a network of secondary or tertiary runners to feed each cavity.  Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. the runner diameter decreases after each split in response to the decreased number of cavities sharing that runner segment. 8. . it makes more sense to orient cavities in rows rather than circles. the flow path to each cavity must be of equal length and make the same number and type of turns and splits. This generally limits cavity number to an integer power of two — . Generally. . Naturally balanced runners for cavities in two rows. 4. The molding press flow-rate performance may limit the number of cavities that can be simultaneously molded if the press cannot maintain an adequate flow-front velocity. the flow-front velocity in the cavity halves after each split. Assuming a constant flow rate feeding the mold. 6.Naturally Balanced Runners Figure 7-25 Often. — as shown in figure 7-5.

secondary runner length should be no less than /5 the flow distance from the inboard secondary/primary runner junction to the gates on the outboard cavities. Tapered drops typically project from the main runner to pinpoint gates on the part surface.5 inch per foot. Artificially balanced designs usually adjust runner-segment diameters to compensate for differences in runner flow length. these drops taper smaller toward the gate at a rate of about 0. These designs require enough secondary runner length to flow balance using reasonable runner diameters. Runners for three-plate molds (see figures 7-A through 7-C) initially convey material along the runner-split parting line and then burrow perpendicularly through the middle plate to the cavity parting line. To ease removal from the mold. Three-plate runners usually require sucker pins or some other feature to hold the runner on the stripper plate until the drops clear the center plate during mold opening. the most common artificially balanced runner design. Avoid long drops because the taper can lead to excessive thickness at the runner junction or flow restriction at the thin end. • As a general rule. a primary runner feeds two rows of cavities through equal-length secondary runners.  . Page 7 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. The artificially balanced runner achieves flow balance by adjusting runner diameters instead of by maintaining uniform runner length. For instance. See figure 7-7 for three-plate runner and gate-design guidelines. The diameters of these secondary runners are made progressively smaller for the cavities with shortest runner flow distance (see figure 7-6).Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Artificially balanced runners provide balanced filling and can greatly reduce runner volume. Be sure these features do not restrict flow. Three-Plate Runner Runner Balancing Figure 7-26 Figure 7-27 Three-plate runner system guidelines. in ladder runners.

gates connect the runner to the part. . Applied pressure from the press injection unit can stop earlier in the cycle. Fan gates and chisel gates can provide better cosmetics in some applications. These tab gates allow quick removal of the gate without concern about gate appearance.  Page 8 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. The common edge gate (see figure 7-8) typically projects from the end of the runner and feeds the part via a rectangular gate opening. gates provide a reduced thickness area for easier separation of the part from the runner system. limit the land length. Gates Except for special cases. Fan gates and chisel gates. Edge gates can also extend to tabs (see figure 7-0) that are removed after molding or hidden in assembly. both of which require the thickness to be less than the runner and part wall. to no more than 0. such as sprue-gated systems which have no runner sections.060 inch at the narrowest point. highly cosmetic applications. before the part or runner system solidifies. the land length for fan gates should not exceed 0. and large-volume parts. flare wider from the runner (see figure 7-9) to increase the gate width. Chisel gates taper from the runner to the part edge with little or no straight land area. Gates perform two major functions. Like the standard edge gate. gates freeze-off and prevent pressurized material in the cavity from backing through the gate after the packing and holding phases of injection.Common Edge Gate Figure 7-28 Variations of the Edge Gate Figure 7-29 Common edge-gate guidelines. First. saving energy and press wear-and-tear. variations of the edge gate. A variety of gate designs feed directly into the parting line. high-viscosity materials. Chisel gates can provide better packing and cosmetics than standard edge gates on some thick-walled parts. They are therefore preferred for shear-sensitive materials. Secondly. Edge gates generate less flow shear and consume less pressure than most self-degating designs.060 inch for LANXESS plastics. the distance from the end or edge of the runner to the part edge. When designing edge gates.

To hide the large gate vestige left by large edge gates. “Z” Runner Figure 7-31 Edge gates may also extend from the side of a runner oriented parallel to the part edge (see figure 7-). tends to reduce gate blush by providing uniform flow along the width of the gate and a cold-slug well at the end of the runner. This gate can be trimmed without leaving a gate mark on the cosmetic part surface. This design. coupled with a “Z”-style runner. the gate can extend under the edge as shown in figure 7-.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Tab Gate Figure 7-30 Gate Under the Edge Figure 7-32 The gate tab can be hidden in the assembly or trimmed off after molding.  . Page 9 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Edge gate from the side of a “Z” runner.

. Depending upon their design. The gate may break or lock in the mold if the runner is too stiff or if the ejector pin is too close to the gate. they degate during ejection or mold opening (see figures 7- and 7-4).Knockout-Pin Gate Figure 7-33 Stationary-Side Tunnel Gate Figure 7-34 Tunnel gates that extend below the parting line on the ejector side of the mold degate during ejection. Tunnel gates that degate during mold opening often require a sucker pin or a feature 0 similar to a sprue puller to hold the runner on the ejector half of the mold. the ejector pin should be at least two runner diameters away from the base of the gate. tunnel gates can reach surfaces or features that are not located on the parting line. The runner must flex for the gate to clear the undercut in the mold steel. Normally. The gates typically feed surfaces oriented perpendicular to the mold face. Page 40 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Tunnel gates into non-ejector side of the mold degate and separate from the part during mold opening. Because they extend under the mold parting surfaces.

generally require drop angles and conical angles at the high side of the range shown in the figure. make the gate of hardened or specially treated mold steel to reduce wear. Stiff materials. the curved. Curved-Tunnel Gate Figure 7-37 Curved-tunnel gates can reach past the finished edge to the underside of surfaces oriented parallel to the parting plane. Curved-tunnel gates permit gating into the underside of surfaces that are oriented parallel to the parting plane (see figure 7-7). Also. . Unlike mold fabrication for conventional tunnel gates. consider fabricating the gate on an insert for easy replacement. The orifice edge closest to the parting line must remain sharp to shear the gate cleanly.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Tunnel-Gate Configuration Figure 7-35 Modified Tunnel-Gate Configuration Figure 7-36 Standard tunnel-gate guidelines. undercut shape of this design must be machined or EDM burned on the surface of a split gate insert. The curved gate must uncurl as the runner advances on guided posts during ejection. The drop angle and conical angle must be large enough to facilitate easy ejection (see figure 7-5).  Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. The modified-tunnel gate design (see figure 7-6) maintains a large flow diameter up to the gate shear-off point to reduce pressure loss and excessive shear heating. When molding abrasive materials such as those filled with glass or mineral. glass-filled grades for example. Modified tunnel-gate guidelines.

. Avoid this gate for filled materials. See figures 7-8 and 7-9 for curved-tunnel gate design guidelines. Other Gate Designs Curved-Tunnel-Gate Guidelines Figure 7-38 Pinpoint gates feed directly into part surfaces lying parallel to the mold parting plane. brittle materials. multiple pinpoint gates can help reduce flow length on large parts and allow gating into areas that are inaccessible from the part perimeter. or materials with very high stiffness. For clean de-gating. Because gate size must also be kept small.  Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. the gate design must provide a positive breakoff point (see figure 7-40) to minimize gate vestige. typically less than a 0. On the ends of threeplate runner drops. Curved-Tunnel-Gate Design Guidelines Figure 7-39 The curved tunnel gate needs a well-defined break-off point for clean de-gating. pinpoint gates may not provide sufficient packing for parts with thick wall sections.This gate design works well for unfilled materials that remain somewhat flexible at ejection temperature such as Lustran ABS and amorphous blends.080 inch diameter. Set in recesses or hidden under labels. properly designed and maintained pinpoint gates seldom require trimming.

. which extends from the center disk to the inside of the cylinder. Page 4 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Another design variation. the gate extends directly from a sprue and feeds the cavity through a continuous gate into the edge of the hole (see figure 7-4). Typically. feeds the inside edge of the hole from a circumferential edge gate extending from a center disk (see figure 7-4). must be removed in a secondary step. Typical filter-bowl gate avoids knit-lines and provides even flow around the core. pinpoint gates should be placed in recessed gate wells to accommodate gate vestige. gears.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Pinpoint Gate Figure 7-40 Filter-Bowl Gate Figure 7-41 Both of these pinpoint gate designs provide a well-defined break-off point for clean de-gating. De-gating usually involves punching or drilling through the hole. and fans often use the “filter-bowl” gate design to provide symmetrical filling without knit-lines.  . the diaphragm gate. De-gating involves trimming away the sprue and conical gate section flush with the outer surface. Figure 7-42 The diaphragm gate. Diaphragm Gate Parts with holes in the center such as filter bowls. Design permitting.

For rectangular gates. For parts with multiple gates. and Increase the quantity of gates if the calculated gate size is too large to degate cleanly. divide the volume passing through the gate by the estimated time to fill the cavity. Volumetric flow rate and gate size control shear rate in the gate. Page 44 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.Gate Optimization Factors affecting optimum gate size include part thickness. A less accurate but simpler method is to calculate bulk shear rate using an estimated. material properties. In general: • Unfilled materials require gates that are at least half as thick as the part.and/or mineral-filled nylons may pack sufficiently with gates as small as one-third the wall thickness. Use gates that are two-thirds the part thickness for highly cosmetic parts or parts that could exhibit read through from features such as ribs and bosses. uniform volumetric flow rate in the appropriate shear-rate formula: shear rate = 4Q/πr for round gates shear rate = 6Q/wt for rectangular gates Materials differ in the maximum shear rate they can tolerate before problems occur. doubling the width or increasing the thickness by about 40% reduces the shear rate by half. Ideally these gates should feed into thickened wells that ease flow from the gate into the part wall sections. this will mean assigning a portion of the part volume to each gate. Note that the rectangular gate formula becomes more accurate when the gate width is much greater than the gate thickness.5 mm — often require disproportionately large gates to accommodate the very high filling speeds needed for filling. Shear-related problems seldom occur below these limits. Hotrunner valve gates are often required to achieve the required gate size without excessive gate vestige. The effect of gate size on bulk shear rate depends on the gate geometry. Reducing the filling speed or flow rate by half reduces the shear rate by about half. Bulk Shear-Rate Limits Table 7-1 Where: Q = flow rate (in/sec) r = gate radius (in) w = gate width (in) t = gate thickness (in) Note: See figure 7-8 for edge gate nomenclature. Computer flow analysis can take into account the best filling-speed and injection-velocity profile for a given system when calculating the maximum shear rate encountered in the gate. For proper packing. • • • • The volumetric flow rate through the gate may dictate gate sizes larger than needed for packing alone. For example. such as tunnel gates and pinpoint gates. Adjust the diameter of round gates. High flow rates in gates can generate excessive shear rates and shear heating. damaging the material and leading to a variety of molding problems. and number of gates. Bulk shear rate in the gate is roughly proportional to the volumetric flow rate. part volume. Gate thickness controls packing ability. filling speed. Gate diameters that are greater than 80% of the wall thickness are often required to prevent excessive gate shear. Glass. To calculate flow rate. To minimize packing and gate shear problems: • Set edge-gate thickness according to the packing rules and adjust the width to achieve an acceptable gate shear rate. gates must remain open and free from freeze-off long enough to inject additional material during packing to compensate for shrinkage. Table 7- lists the suggested shear-rate limits for a variety of LANXESS resins. Thin-walled parts — those with nominal wall thicknesses less than .  . increasing the diameter of a round gate by 5% cuts the shear rate to half. based upon the packing rules or on the size needed to stay within the shear-rate limits of the material: whichever is larger.

against the published spiral flow data for the material. and cost. Often these best gate locations for filling are unacceptable for other reasons.filled plastics can often withstand more than twice the level of applied stress in the flow direction as in the cross-flow direction.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Gate Position Gate position can have a direct impact on part moldability. snap arms or attachment points. When feasible: • Position gates to direct filling in the direction of applied stress and strain. When gating must feed a thinner wall. or increase mold construction costs. The Applications Engineering Group at LANXESS Corporation has the experience and resources to assist you in choosing the optimum gate locations. usually the shortest distance from the gate to the last area to fill. The location of the gate determines the filling pattern and maximum material flow length. The pressure imbalance from uneven flow around long. Often. In parts with varying thickness. The flow length resulting from the chosen gate locations must not exceed the flow capabilities of the material. enabling the thin sections to fill. Such parts require symmetric gating around the core or wall-thickness adjustments to balance flow around the core.  . Flow orientation has a large effect on fiber-filled plastics. unsupported cores can bend or shift the cores within the mold. consider adding a thickened channel or flow leader from the gate to the thicker wall sections to facilitate packing and minimize shrinkage variations. Flow leaders. which typically exhibit two or three times as much shrinkage in the cross-flow direction. Page 45 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Shrinkage in unfilled plastics. Check the calculated flow length. For these reasons: • Avoid gating into or near areas that will be subject to high levels of applied stress such as screw bosses. Keep this in mind when choosing gate locations for parts subjected to mechanical loads. typically near the center of the part or at strategic intervals for multi-gated parts. In severe cases. • Avoid thin-to-thick filling scenarios. Glass fiber. thickened areas extending from the gate toward the last areas to fill. gate removal often leaves scratches or notches that can act as stress concentrators that weaken the area. part performance and appearance. is only slightly affected by flow orientation. This is particularly helpful in thin-walled parts which are prone to flow-hesitation problems. Consider computerized mold-filling analysis if the flow length is marginal or if the wall thickness varies or is outside the range of published spiral flow data. which tend to shrink just a little more in the flow direction than in the cross-flow direction. position the gates to provide uniform flow orientation along the part length. For example. Ideally the gate would be positioned to balance filling and minimize flow length. As general rules: • To minimize warpage and dimensional problems in glassfilled plastics. can aid filling without thickening the entire part. performance. Cavity layout restrictions and mechanisms in the mold such as slides or lifters may also restrict gating to less-than-ideal locations. and mold design feasibility. Also. this can lead to non-fill opposite the gate and/or mold opening or ejection problems as the core springs back after filling and pinches the thicker wall. This core shift increases the wall thickness on the side nearest the gate and reduces the wall thickness opposite the gate. they might result in unsightly gate marks or weld lines in cosmetic areas. See Chapter  for more information on flow leaders. This flow hesitation can lead to freeze-off and incomplete filling of the thin-wall section. The best gate position is often a compromise between molding ease and efficiency. appearance. always try to gate into the thickest sections to avoid packing problems and sink. Gate position determines the filling pattern and resulting flow orientation. positioning the gate so that the thinnest walls are near the end of fill reduces the hesitation time. Flow orientation also affects part shrinkage in the mold. Plastics typically exhibit greater strength in the flow direction. Gates typically generate elevated levels of molded-in stress in the part area near the gate. The advancing flow front in parts with thick and thin wall section will often hesitate in the thin walls until the thicker walls have filled.

brown streaks. Over time. embedded. Internally heated designs typically maintain melt temperature by way of torpedo heaters or heated probes placed inside the flow channel. internally heated designs have an inherent disadvantage in some applications. Zones of electrical-resistant heaters maintain uniform melt temperature throughout the system via separate temperature controllers and strategically placed thermocouples. internally heated hotrunner systems form a cool layer of stagnant material along the outer surface of the flow channel. Internally vs. this material can degrade and produce black specks. hot-runner systems range from simple. Pinched thermocouple wires can cause erroneous temperature measurements and lead to excessive heater temperatures and degraded material. In addition to resistance heaters. a manifold to distribute flow parallel to the mold face. or when surface cosmetics are critical. .HOT-RUNNER SYSTEMS Hot-runner systems use heated or insulated channels to transport molten resin through the mold. Externally Heated Hot Runners Figure 7-43 Although both types of hot runners have been used successfully with LANXESS engineering thermoplastics. The same problems can occur in all types of hot-runner systems if the flow channels are not streamlined to prevent material hang-up at trouble spots such as corner plugs and the transitions between components. some designs use high-conductivity metals and/or heat pipes to distribute heat. Properly designed hot runners efficiently distribute flow to widely dispersed gates with little pressure loss or melt temperature change. These systems rely on heaters or thermal conductors attached to the outside of the hot-runner components or encapsulated. Used to eliminate or reduce cold-runner size and runner regrind. Internally heated flow channels tend to form a stagnant layer of material on the cooler outer surface of the flow channels. The many wires feeding the heaters and thermocouples are usually guided through channels or conduits in the mold to prevent shorting or pinching of the wires between mold plates. hot runners add to mold construction and maintenance costs.  Page 46 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. They also facilitate gating in areas inaccessible from parting line runners and gates. sequential-filling designs costing tens of thousands of dollars. and other cosmetic problems in molded parts. Most hot runners consist of a center drop that receives melt from the press nozzle. Hot-runner systems are available in both externally and internally heated configurations (see figure 7-4). and can complicate processing and mold startup procedures. or inserted under the metal surface. • Unlike externally heated systems. hot sprue bushings costing a few hundred dollars to large. Streamline flow channels to eliminate areas in the hot runner where material could hang-up and degrade. and drops that move material perpendicularly through the mold plate to the mold cavity or cold runner. This section discusses hot-runner design issues. valve-gated. • Avoid internally heated designs when molding transparent or heat-sensitive materials. delivering it directly into the mold cavity or to a cold-runner system. Hot-Runner Designs Commercially available in a wide array of standard designs. Externally heated designs maintain the temperature through heat supplied from outside the molten flow channel.

it may leave blemishes on the next molded part. Free-Flow Gates Figure 7-45 Free-flowing gate designs provide the large orifice sizes and low shear rates required by many high-viscosity amorphous resins. Because they isolate the heated portion of the drop further from the mold surface. Because the insulating layer can degrade in time and release burnt material into the melt stream. and cycle time. Conversely. Mini-sprue gates form a short sprue on the runner or part.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Hot-Runner Gates Molten materials exit the hot-runner system through gates at the ends of the heated drops. including the molding material. the tip orifice size and shape. minisprue gates usually do not develop the heat build up and dull gate blemish problems associated with some designs. if it solidifies too much and forms a large cold slug. In conventional hot-runner gates.  . To achieve the optimum balance. Mini-sprue gates (see figure 7-45) are one of the most popular designs for high-viscosity. the proximity of cooling channels. you must control heat transfer into and out of the area where the hot-drop tips contact the mold. In some designs. Hot-runner gates come in a variety of styles. the first material shot through the hot-runner system fills a gap at the tip of the drop and forms an insulating layer of plastic (see figure 7-44). This plastic layer remains in place until the tip is removed for service. the material in the hot-drop tip must solidify just enough to prevent material leakage or drool through the gate between injection cycles. Page 47 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Many factors determine the rate of heat transfer. one of the most challenging aspects of hot-runner design. Contact your hot-runner manufacturer for guidance in selecting the best tip design for your material and application. These designs are not suitable for all applications. amorphous engineering plastics. Many designs minimize the drop-to-mold contact area or insulate the tip to reduce heat loss to the mold. Insulated Tips Figure 7-44 Some hot-tip gate designs rely on an insulating layer of the molding material to control heat transfer at the tip. melt temperature. avoid this design for transparent parts and any part that cannot tolerate occasional streaks or black specks.

These valves provide positive gate shutoff. • Amorphous engineering resins — including PC blends. Additionally. offer freedom from drool. Rather than relying on delicate control of temperature and heat transfer to seal the gate between injection cycles.Valve Gates Standard free-flowing gates typically leave a short gate vestige. Valves designed to shutoff flush with the mold surface produce no gate vestige and leave only a ring witness mark similar to an ejector-pin mark. • • Reduced-Vestige Gate Figure 7-46 A stationary probe in the reduced-vestige gate helps the gate break cleanly. Some hot-runner designs feature mechanical shutoffs to prevent leakage or drool. and increased mold complexity.  Page 48 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. frequent maintenance. . the valve pin in the valve gate leaves a ring similar to an ejector-pin mark. and SAN — tend to experience fewer problems with free-flowing gate types. reduced vestige gate designs. both on the gate side and side opposite the gate. PA 66 and PBT — are generally more tolerant of restrictive. In the closed position. to prevent heat buildup and variations in gloss on the part surface. and accommodate very large gates. Direct mold cooling to the gate area. Drawbacks of valve-gated systems include higher cost. valve-gated hot runners use hydraulically or pneumatically driven valves to close the gate orifice mechanically. mechanical shutoff designs offer the option to open gates sequentially to maintain a continuous flow front over long distances without knit-lines. ABS. Some anti-vestige designs rely on annular flow around unheated probes in the tip to promote cleaner gate separation with less vestige (see figure 7-46). Crystalline resins — including PA 6. which may require trimming. but require careful temperature control to prevent freeze-off or drooling.

you must address both thermal expansion and thermal isolation within the mold. When feasible. Hot-runner manufacturers calculate the expansion and make expansion provisions based on the hot-runner configuration and anticipated operating temperatures.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN THERMAL EXPANSION AND ISOLATION Because of the high operating temperatures of hot-runner systems. minimize metal-to-metal contact between the heated hot-runner components and the mold. Designs with long drops may simply allow the drops to flex. some designs surround the heated components with insulating material and/or infrared reflectors. The length of the hot drops also grows significantly during startup. Hot-Runner-Channel Pressure Gradients Figure 7-47 Use this graph to calculate the pressure drop per inch of heated hot-runner channel. Some designs only create a positive seal at the tip of the drop when at the intended operating temperature. To avoid excessive heat loss to the mold. Systems with short drops often have a sliding fit between the drop and the manifold to allow for expansion. Page 49 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. In addition to an insulating air gap around the hot-runner system. hot runners are fixed at the manifold centering ring and at the end of each hot drop. creating a messy problem.  . The design must accommodate the substantial growth of the system between these fixed points as the components heat and expand during startup. typically between 400 and 600°F for LANXESS resins. Usually. Plastic injected before the drop reaches this temperature could flow into the gap between the hot-runner drop and the mold plate. use materials with low thermal conductivity at the contact points.

With regrind or runner waste not a concern. The pressuregradient range for a given flow rate and channel diameter correlates to the range of material viscosities. Dead spaces can also occur at gaps between poorly fitting components and at unblended transitions in the flow channel. smaller diameters are assigned to the channels or hot drops feeding the shorter flow path. Figure 7-47 shows the approximate correlation between pressure gradient and flow rate at various diameters for a range of LANXESS engineering resins. in cubic inches. Page 50 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.Stagnant Flow Figure 7-48 Improper flow-channel design and construction can result in stagnant-flow areas where material can degrade. and material discoloration. Use the lower pressure gradient values for lowviscosity materials such as Durethan PA 6 and higher values for high-viscosity grades. The choice of channel diameters is often limited to the standard sizes offered by the hot-runner manufacturer. Typically. flow channels and gates require proper sizing for optimum performance. As the hot-runner channels branch off to form secondary or tertiary channels. To estimate the pressure drop through a given hot-runner channel section. fed by that section by the number of seconds required to fill the mold. If not. flow-channel diameters to balance flow. Then read from the graph 0 the pressure gradient corresponding to the flow rate and channel size. Most hot-runner manufacturers will calculate the required diameters for you. hot-runner channels can be considerably larger than cold runners and consequently consume less pressure. Flow Channel Size As in cold-runner systems. Unbalanced configurations — for example a row of drops fed from a common manifold channel — need careful adjustment of the hot-drop. multiply the channel length in inches by the pressure gradient. Plug and streamline the flow in these areas to prevent black specks. . burnt streaks. first calculate the flow rate in that section by dividing the volume of material. To estimate the pressure drop in psi. consider computer flow simulation. Most hot-runner systems are naturally balanced and provide an equal flow distance to each hot-runner gate. Generally hot-runner gate sizes should follow the size guidelines for cold-runner gates outlined in the gate-optimization section of this chapter. the channel diameters can become smaller to accommodate the corresponding drop in material throughput. The process of drilling flow channels can produce dead spaces where material can stagnate and degrade (see figure 7-48).

Of the three. mold mechanism. the cooling rate affects the degree of crystallization and shrinkage. the mold performs three basic functions: forming molten material into the product shape. provides uniform cooling. heat removal usually takes the longest time and has the greatest direct effect on cycle time. Consequently. higher mold-surface temperatures encourage formation of a resin-rich surface skin. Uneven cooling causes variations in mold-surface temperature that can lead to non-uniform partsurface appearance. Mold-surface temperature can affect the surface appearance of many parts. Mold-Cooling Considerations Good mold-cooling design maintains the required mold temperature. Optimizing mold cooling promotes improved part quality and cost savings. This skin covers the fibers. distortion. Differences in cooling rate cause areas to shrink and solidify at different rates and by different amounts. many cooling designs must accommodate available space and machining convenience rather than the thermodynamic needs of the product and mold. Wall Thickness Figure 7-49 Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. and ejection system designs are already designed. and dimensional problems. Cooling Time vs. after the feed system. This can lead to reduced gloss at higher mold-surface temperatures.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN MOLD COOLING In thermoplastic molding.rate variations throughout the part. removing heat for solidification.  . mold cooling-channel design often occurs as an afterthought in the mold-design process. In glass-fiber-reinforced materials. This section discusses mold cooling. and ejecting the solid part. reducing their silvery appearance on the part surface. In parts made of semi-crystalline resins such as PA 6 or PBT. Hotter mold-surface temperatures lower the viscosity of the outer resin layer and enhance replication of the fine micro-texture on the molding surface. and achieves short molding cycles. Improper cooling can introduce elevated levels of thermal and shrinkage stresses resulting from cooling. Despite this. Variations in shrinkage within the part can lead to warpage. a topic to consider early in the mold-design process.

Once at the cavity wall. Thermal Conductivity of Various Mold Materials at 68°F Figure 7-47 Figure 7-49 plots cooling time (to freeze) versus wall thickness for a variety of LANXESS plastics assuming typical mold-cooling conditions. Table 7- shows thermal conductivity for a variety of mold materials. • Avoid low-conductivity mold materials. it must first conduct through the layers of plastic thickness to reach the mold surface. such as stainless steel. Generally good thermal insulators. The thermal conductivity of the mold material and the spacing of the cooling channels determine heat transfer in this area. heat must travel through the mold material to the surface of the cooling channels. plastics conduct heat much more slowly than typical mold materials. . Cooling time increases as a function of part thickness squared.  Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. • Core out thick sections or provide extra cooling in thick areas to minimize the effect on cycle time. doubling wall thickness quadruples cooling time. Material thermal conductivity and part wall thickness determine the rate of heat transfer. when fast cycles and efficient cooling are important.Before heat from the melt can be removed from the mold.

5 cooling-channel diameters away from the mold cavity surface. coolant flow may stagnate at the ends of the hole. and Consider using spiral channels cut into inserts for large cores (see figure 7-5). it pulls disproportionately on the inside corner. Corners place a higher thermal load on this mold area than on the mold area in contact with the outside corner (see figure 7-5). separating from the cavity wall. coolant flows up through a tube and then cascades down the outside of the tube. flow can become restricted. Coolant flows up one side of the blade and then down the other side. • Consider using baffles (see figure 7-0) and bubblers (see figure 7-5) to remove heat from deep cores.  . If they are too far away. cooling becomes more uniform but less efficient. Bubbler Cooling-Line Spacing Figure 7-50 Figure 7-51 When designing cooling channels. • As a general rule of thumb. • Place cooling-channel center lines approximately . Baffles perform a similar function by splitting the channel with a blade. pay special attention to the sections of the mold forming inside corners in the part design to prevent possible part distortion problems. Because of size and/or machining constraints. • • IN T OU Cooling-line spacing guidelines. standard round cooling channels may not be feasible for some deeply-cored part geometries. As the shifted molten core shrinks and solidifies. Adjust the bubbler tube or baffle length for optimum cooling. This separation transfers more heat to the core. Positioning the channels too close to the cavity surface can cause cold spots and uneven cooling. If they are too long. The resulting heat buildup slows cooling and shifts the molten core toward the inside. use center-to-center spacing of no more than three cooling-channel diameters (see figure 7-50). This phenomenon causes the classic hourglass distortion in box shaped The spacing between adjacent cooling channels also affects cooling uniformity.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN Cooling-Channel Placement Cooling-channel placement determines cooling efficiency and uniformity. Parts tend to shrink tightly onto deep cores. Page 5 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. In bubblers. If too short. leading to corner warpage and a reduction in corner angle.

. Heat Buildup in Corner Figure 7-53 Improved Corner Cooling Figure 7-54 Illustration of heat distribution through the cross section of a corner showing heat buildup in the corner of the core.Spiral Cooling Channels Figure 7-52 IN T OU OUT IN Round core and cavity cooled via spiral cooling channels.  Page 54 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Illustration of heat distribution through a corner cross section showing improved cooling with cooling line moved closer to the inside corner.

Ejector pins in corners act as thermal insulators that can aggravate heat buildup and corner warpage. Using high-conductivity metal inserts or heat pipes to remove excess heat and reduce corner distortion. Rounding the corner or using corner coring to remove material from the corner and lessen heat buildup (see figure 7-55). and Placing ejector pins away from the inside corners. Ejectors in Corners Figure 7-56 • • • • Corner Cooling Figure 7-55 Rounding the corner or removing material from the corner lessens the heat buildup in the corner steel. Page 55 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Directing cooling into corners with bubblers or baffles (see figure 7-56). It is better to direct cooling to the corners and provide ejection via ejector sleeves or rails. The air-gap clearance surrounding ejector pins in corners acts as an insulator and hinders heat flow out of the corner.  . There are several possible ways to correct heat buildup on inside corners including: • Moving a cooling line closer to the hot corner area (see figure 7-54) to more effectively remove heat.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN parts.

Cooling Circuits

Figure 7-57

Cooling-Line Configuration Cooling lines can be arranged in series or parallel configurations (see figure 7-57). Cooling lines in parallel circuits share the coolant delivered by the mold temperature controller. Assuming equal pressure drop per line, the coolant flow rate- per-line approximately equals the total flow rate delivered by the temperature controller divided by the number of parallel lines connected to it. For example, a 0 gallon-per-minute control unit would deliver about .5 gallons per minute to each of eight equal parallel cooling lines. Slight differences in pressure drop between parallel lines can cause large differences in coolant flow rate and potential cooling problems. Series circuits avoid this problem by maintaining a uniform coolant flow rate throughout the circuit. On the other hand, a large rise in coolant temperature in long series circuits can lead to less efficient cooling at the ends of the circuits. As a compromise, consider splitting large cooling circuits into multiple smaller series circuits of equal pressure drop. Use flow-control meters to balance flow through circuits with unequal lengths and/or restrictions. In series circuits, direct cooling to areas requiring the most cooling first: typically, thick sections, hot cores, or the mold center.

Ejector pins in corners act as thermal insulators that can aggravate heat buildup and corner warpage. It is better to direct cooling to the corners and provide ejection via ejector sleeves or rails. 

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Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN
Coolant Flow Rate For efficient heat transfer from the mold to the coolant, design the cooling system to achieve turbulent flow, that is, a Reynolds number significantly higher than the turbulence onset value of about ,500. At a Reynolds number of 0,000, the normal design target value, water coolant transfers heat an order of magnitude faster than laminar flow (see figure 7-58). You can estimate Reynolds number using the following formula. ,60Q Dη Reynolds Number Figure 7-58 Do not underestimate the cooling requirements of thin-walled parts. Decreasing wall thickness by half reduces minimum cooling time to one fourth. To realize the full cycle-timereduction potential, the cooling system must remove heat at four times the rate. Other cooling considerations to address: • Avoid flow restricting, quick disconnects, and other obstructions that increase pressure drop and reduce coolant flow rate; Use flow-control meters to check for obstructions and to adjust the coolant flow rate through the cooling circuits; and Provide enough coolant flow to limit the coolant temperature rise in the circuits to no more than 4°F.

Re =

Q = gallons per minute D = flow channel diameter η = kinematic viscosity (centistokes) η water = . @ 50°F = 0.7 @ 00°F = 0.4 @ 50°F = 0. @ 00°F Solving for Q assuming 50°F water, the formula shows that a standard 7/6- inch-diameter, cooling channel requires 0.5 gallons per minute to achieve a Reynolds number of 0,000.

Q=

DηR 0.48 • 0.4 • 0,000 = ,60 ,60

= 0.5 gal/min

Multiply this value by the number of parallel circuits to estimate the flow-rate requirement for the moldtemperature control unit. Flow rate has a greater influence on cooling efficiency than mold temperature. Be sure the cooling system and moldtemperature control unit can deliver the cooling rate needed.

Coefficient of heat transfer as a function of Reynolds number for water.

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MOLD SHRINKAGE Typically, thermoplastics shrink significantly as they cool and solidify during the molding process. Mold designers make the mold cavity larger than the desired final part size to compensate for shrinkage. Mold shrinkage data published by the resin supplier for the specific material can be used to estimate the amount of compensation needed. Published mold shrinkage data, based on simple part geometries and standard molding conditions, is calculated using the following formula: (mold dimension – part size) shrinkage= mold dimension Mold shrinkage, listed as lengthper-unit- length values or as percentages, assumes room-temperature measurements. Many processing and design factors determine the amount of shrinkage for a given application. Use published shrinkage information with caution as it is tested under laboratory conditions that may not reflect your specific part geometry or processing environment. Consider the following when addressing shrinkage: • Cooling rate and mold temperature can affect the level of crystallinity and shrinkage in semi-crystalline resins; Thick-wall sections cool more slowly and tend to shrink more than thin wall sections (see figure 7-59); Fiber-filled materials typically exhibit much less shrinkage in the flow direction; Mixed orientation typically leads to shrinkage ranging between published flow and cross-flow shrinkage values (see figure 7-60); and Shrinkage varies with the level of

Shrinkage vs. Wall Thickness

Figure 7-59

Examples of shrinkage as a function of wall thickness.

Shrinkage

Figure 7-60

• 

Shrinkage ranges for various resins at a 2 mm wall thickness.
Page 58 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.

Long cycle times constrain the part in the mold longer and reduce initial shrinkage. Gate size. particularly in distant thickwall sections. and processing should be similar to that expected for the new mold. Consider designing critical features and dimensions “steel safe” to simplify modifications to correct for errors in shrinkage prediction. mold cooling. You can usually obtain the most accurate shrinkage values for new molds by calculating the actual shrinkage in existing molds producing similar parts sampled in the same material. and gate position can limit the level of packing that can be achieved through processing adjustments.00 inch. The mold constrains the part and prevents significant dimensional change until after part ejection. but may not replicate production conditions. Tend toward the lower end of the range for parts thinner than 0. the shrinkage percentage between holes in a molded plate will tend to be less than between the unconstrained edges of the plate. Prototype molds can also be a good source of shrinkage values. As explained above. flow orientation. Page 59 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Large gate thickness and high mold temperature delay gate freeze-off and promote higher levels of packing. but can induce stresses that lead to additional shrinkage over time as the stresses relax.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN packing. Packing typically decreases and shrinkage increases further from the gate. many factors can affect the level of shrinkage. lowering shrinkage. and for highly constrained features such as the distance between holes. The type and duration of this constraint can affect net shrinkage between part features. Published shrinkage data represents the typical range of shrinkage based on laboratory conditions.  . For example. the gating. Computerized shrinkage analysis takes some of the guesswork out of shrinkage prediction and is worth considering if the resin has undergone the required testing. part thickness. Anticipate flow orientation in glass-filled parts and apply the flow and cross-flow shrinkage values appropriately. Areas of random orientation will tend to shrink at a level midway between the flow and cross-flow values. Applying this data to a specific part and mold requires a combination of engineering judgment and educated guess. Packing forces additional material into the mold to compensate for volume reduction. Ideally.

A-. Aluminum offers easier machining and faster cycle times than conventional mold steels at the expense of wear resistance and mold durability. but also on the experience and comfort level of the mold design and construction shop. particularly if the crosssectional thickness is not consistent. The less expensive or more easily replaced component should have the lower hardness. and the abrasive or corrosive nature of the molding resin. such as QC-7. and sufficient durability for some production molds. mechanical needs. Aluminum. Air hardened steels. Specifications for high-quality molds. Most high production injection molds designed for engineering plastics are fabricated from high-quality tool steel. The heat-treating process used to achieve the high hardness values of some of the mold steels. Hard coatings can raise the surface hardness of aluminum molds to more than 50 Rockwell C (HRC) for improved wear resistance. can result in cracks in large cores. Pre-hardened 40 stainless (0-5 HRC) can also be used when corrosion resistance is needed. Steel inserts and mechanical components are usually used in high wear areas within the aluminum mold to extend mold life. Metals are chosen based not only on the cost. should differ by at least  HRC to reduce galling and damage to both components. To protect the soft metals from abrasion and deformation. many medical molders select 40 stainless hardened to 50-5 HRC for their molds running unfilled resin grades. machine more easily than pre-hardened steels and can be hardened to 54 HRC for use with most abrasive glass or mineral-filled resins. prototype molds to the porous metal used in vent inserts. and A-0. mold size. Inserts made of BeCU or highconductivity alloys can reduce heat buildup in difficult-to-cool areas of the mold. For longer mold life and increased durability. they are often inserted into harder steel cores or components. Air hardened S-7 sees similar applications as H-. This highly polishable stainless steel resists corrosion and staining but provides less efficient cooling than most other mold steels. . and durability. The metals with the best thermal conductivity tend to be the softest. Cavity and cores steels vary based on the production requirements. As a general rule. Improved aluminum alloys. exhibit greater strength and hardness than standard aircraft-grade aluminum.MOLD METALS Mold designers consider a variety of factors when selecting the mold metal including. Mold bases are usually made of P-0 pre-hardened to 0 – 5 HRC and are often plated to resist corrosion. machining ease. Most abrasive glass or mineral-filled resins require mold steels with hardness ratings of at least 54 HRC. hardness. is gaining acceptance in moderate-run production molds. manufacturing. weldability. machining complexity. low-melt-temperature alloys used in inexpensive. and performance requirements of the mold or component. but can be hardened to 54-56 HRC for higher-wear areas. P-0 steel (0-6 HRC) provides a good mix of properties for most molds running non-abrasive materials such as unfilled PC or ABS. such as bypass cores. Metals can range from the soft. long a popular choice for prototype molds. corrosion resistance. abrasion resistance. especially for medical parts. Steel manufacturers also offer a variety of specialty grades with properties tailored to mold making. often specify 40 stainless steel to eliminate corrosion concerns. Table 7- lists some of the common steels used in mold making. the Rockwell hardness of mold components that slide against each other. O-6. Air hardened D- (54-56 HRC) provides superior abrasion and is often used in high wear areas such as runner and gate inserts for abrasive materials. cast-metal. Consider pre-hardened mold steels for these applications. such as H-. Mold Steels able 7-3 0 Page 60 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Small inserts and components that see steel-to-steel wear can be manufactured from steels that can achieve hardness levels greater than 56 HRC such as O-.

In general. Texture uniformity and gloss level can be adjusted to some extent through multiple etching steps or by blasting the surface with glass beads. or vapor honed to an SPI D (formerly SPI #5) finish. Flash chrome and thin deposits of electroless nickel less than 0. plastics replicate the finish and texture of the molding surface. make sure that the molding surfaces for matching textured parts are manufactured from the same mold steel and have undergone the same heat treatment process. The surface is then polished and buffed with increasingly finer diamond pastes ending with a -micron paste. coarser textures resist scratching better than fine textures. Molding-surface treatments can produce a variety of surface finishes and textures in the molded part. High-gloss finishes typically require a sequence of polishing steps using progressively finer silicon carbide stones ranging from 0 to 900 grit. Different molding resins and processing conditions can change the surface appearance of parts molded from the same mold surface texture. Photoetching uses an acid etching process to create a wide array of surfaces ranging from leather finishes to wood grain. Polish moldingsurface roughness in the direction of ejection to ease part release and remove surface defects. Polishing with 40 – 0 grit paper can produce a uniform brushed finish. The process creates detailed textures by photographically applying an acid-resistant masking material to the mold surface and then etching the exposed areas with acid. To avoid variations in texture. usually more than 0. The molded surface appears duller than that produced by higher-viscosity plastics such as Lustran ABS which tends to round off the micro-texture. Textures can enhance the overall part aesthetics and hide surface blemishes such as minor sink and gate blush. Hard chrome and electroless nickel plating can also build thickness to correct dimensional problems or refurbish worn areas.  . A surface hardness of at least 0 HRC is usually required for moderately fine gloss finishes. The steel type and quality. Textures produced this way tend to have rounded peaks that resist scratching and marring better than comparable photoetched textures. Mold release coatings such as PTFE modified hard chrome or electroless nickel have performed well in molds with ejection problems such as medical parts with insufficient draft. Mold components are coated or plated for a variety of reasons. The spark-erosion process for manufacturing mold cavities in an EDM machine can also produce textured surfaces ranging from very fine to coarse. heat treatment. Thermoplastic urethane resins. and polishing technique all affect the attainable gloss level. Thicker deposits of hard chrome. prolong the life of molds running glass-filled or mineral-filled resins. Most thermoplastics eject more easily from polished mold surfaces. Relatively flat surfaces can be blasted with sand or glass beads to produce a low-luster matte finish. High gloss finishes typically require hardness in excess of 50 HRC. exceptions to this rule. Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. release more easily from mold surfaces that have been blasted with sand or glass beads.Chapter 7 MOLD DESIGN SURFACE TREATMENTS To varying degrees. Fine scratches and roughness on the molding surface will tend to create a non-glossy part surface and potential part-ejection problems. The level of gloss attainable on the molding surface generally increases with greater steel hardness. Higher melt temperatures and pressures increase the matte level by enhancing the ability of the resin to replicate the fine features of the mold texture.00 inch thick.00 inch thick offer protection against rust and corrosion. Lowviscosity resins such as Durethan PA 6 and Pocan PBT can replicate the fine micro-texture and sharp edges of photoetched textures.

the least-expensive mold option seldom produces the most economical. Spare parts reduce costly down time. Also consult processing. Hardened mold interlocks and alignment features ensure proper mold alignment and prevent wear or damage due to misalignment. Extra engineering and expense up front can improve molding efficiency and increase the number of good parts the mold can produce. Money spent on enhanced mold cooling can pay back many times over in reduced cycle time and improved part quality. highquality parts.  Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. • Hardened steel molds last longer and require less maintenance and rework than soft steel molds. consider the following. When developing the mold specifications. but also moldmaintenance costs and the mold-related costs associated with scrap. it is usually more economical to adjust the mold steel to produce parts in the middle of the tolerance range at optimum processing conditions than to adjust dimensions by processing within a narrow processing window at less-than-optimum conditions. • In the long run. part quality problems. and press down time. Spare parts for items prone to wear or breakage are usually cheaper to manufacture during mold construction than after the mold is in production. . make sure that every mold maker works from the specific set of mold specifications. mold-maintenance. • • • When obtaining quotations for new mold construction.MOLD COST AND QUALITY The true cost of a mold includes not only the costs of design and construction. cycle time. In the long run. and inspection personnel at the molding facility for mold-design input based on experience with similar molds.

8.  ejector blades. 4. 98 fillet radius. 57 cooling time.INDEX A Acme threads. 4 bending. 5 amorphous plastics. 85 bosses. 94 drilling. 80 bonding.  externally heated. 46 extrusion. 97 apparent modulus. 0 balanced flow. 47. 4 cooling channel placement. 00 bulk shear rate. 9 dipping. 50 E edge gate. 08 “filter-bowl” gate.  clicker dies. 45 cores. 70 creep properties. 60 American National (Unified) thread. 94 cyclic loading.  design formulas. 5 band sawing. 87 agency approvals.  ejector-pin vents. 50 flow-control meters. 6 flexural modulus. 5 balance filling. 96 dimensional tolerances. 4 finger tabs. 7 crowns. 54 fatigue data. 55 electric discharge machine. 00 automated assembly. 46 brushing. 75 fiber orientation. 48 G gas-assist molding. 5. 7 ashing. 79 cam pins. . 96 blind holes. 56.  end mills. 6 ejector plate. 75 fatigue curves.  bolts. 0 equivalent thickness. 45 flow orientation. 06 bubblers. 49 brown streaks. 57 flow hesitation. 88 alignment fingers. 55. 5 extension press nozzles. 9 edge-stiffening. 5 buffing. 75 film-insert molding. 8. 7 electrical performance. 45 flow restrictors. 86 engineering strain. 97 energy directors. 8 air-poppet valves. 8 fasteners. 09 electrostatic systems. 96. 8 electroless nickel. 0 draw polishing. 8. 0 adhesive bonding. 4 cutting oils. 80 fatigue. 74 D decals. 46. 5 creep modulus. 5 critical thickness. . 0 annealing.  cavities. 64 crystallinity. 50 blanking. 64 crazing. 55 flow channels. 5 core pulls. 0 elastic limit. 04 air entrapment. 49 EMI/RFI shielding. 00 dry spray. 58 black specks. 5. 66  Page 6 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. 5 cooling rate. 60 bearings. 56 cooling-vent design. . 0 blow molding. 67 external threads. 84 B baffles. 6 depth-to-diameter ratio. 7 diaphragm gates. 5 acrylic paints. 94 drops. 88 alignment features. 45 flow leaders. . 4. 49 dry sanding. 5 curved-tunnel gates. 96 coefficient of friction. . 94 drills.  core shift. 0 electroplating. 6 electroless process. 8 alignment. 0 ejector assembly. 5 corners. 5 coefficients of linear thermal expansion (CLTE). 9 corrugations. 0 break point. 79 coolant flow rate. 5. 5 draft. 0 free-flowing gates.  C cable-guide hardware. 75 fatigue endurance. 06 distortion. 54 filing.  F fan gates. 56. 46. 50 buttress threads. 45 flow length. 9 air-curing paints. 8 corner warpage. 70 creep and recovery data. 4 cams. 87 adhesives. 95 beam bending. 58 bending moment. 4 die cutting. 67 equivalent-thickness factor (ETF). 5 appearance. 84 first-surface film decorating. 8 circular sawing. . 90 collapsible cores. 9 corner radius.  extrusion blow molding. 58 crystallization. 8 chisel gates. 8 artificially balanced runners.  cavity units. 0 flash chrome. 54. 89 aluminum. 8 drilled holes. 96 clamp slots. 50 compressive stress. 56 epoxies. 55 design process.  cavity. 88 chemical exposure. 0. 05 creep.  chamfers.  bypass steel. 7 cavity assemblies. 57 consolidation. 5.  compressive properties. 44. 04 dynamic friction. 49 elastic modulus. 05 elongation at yield. 44 burnt streaks. 08 flash.

. 50 primary-runner diameters. 9 gate marks. 08 hardware. 6 hard coats. 7 plating adhesion. 8 life expectancy. 8. 79. 67 lost-core process. 4 Q quick disconnects. 56 part design checklist. 9 mold-filling analysis. 6 rework. 80 leader pins. 6 parting line. 46 isochronous stress-strain curve. 7 rivets. 6 laser. 7 in-mold decorating. 6 glue. 44 gate position. 80 molded-in stress. 00. 7. 0 Poisson’s ratio. 0 hot-plate welding. 5 long-term loads. 80. 8 mold interlocks. 47 hot runner systems. 7. 6 gloss differences. 6 hot-air remelting. 58 multi-shell process. 80 high-gloss finishes. 9 sanding. 4.  injection molding. 69 part ejection. 45 molded-in threads. 55. 7 impact performance. 8. 4 geometric tolerancing. 90 overflow wells. 00 satin finishing. 4. 96 PV factor. 4. 06 rotomolding. 59 punching. 5 J “jiggler” pin.gas burn. 04 paint soak.  reverse-injection molds. 0 powdered paint.  hot stamping. 07 press nozzle tip. 54 photoetching. 4 Luer tubing connectors. 57 R radiation. 6 polyurethane paints. 00. 97 reaming. 4 rib size. 6 mechanical fasteners. 4 PV limit. 46 hot-runner gates. 4 plate deflection. 8 gears. 56 sandblasting. 97 mini-sprue gates.  runners. 5 mold-release coatings. 05 manifold. 6 molded-in hinges. 60 mold release. 49 prototype testing.  plating racks.  modified-tunnel gate. 80. 6 KO sleeves. 5 moment of inertia. 04 paints. 57 rib design. 6 Reynolds number. 0 retention features. 46 hot sprue bushings. 0. 87 gussets. 5 markings. 89 internal runners. 50 gate vestige. 9 recycling. 09 milling. 89 heat-curing systems. 06 pad printing. 0 gate optimization.  ribs. 88 return pins. 5. 4. 49 material discoloration.  runner system. 8 H hard chrome.  lettering. 45 gate size. 99 laser printing. 0 parallel circuits.  runner thickness. 00 Page 64 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. 86 hot runner designs. 44. 66 louvers. 85. 48 gates.  locating ring.  “round-bottomed” trapezoid. 5 latches. 6 L labels. 96 manufacturing costs. 4. 4 internally heated. 54 safety factors. 4. 66 N naturally balanced runners. 80 O orientation. 4 paint curing. 9  lifter rails. 5 polishing.  K knockout pins. 6 mold metals. 6.  mold cooling. 04 heat pipes.  logos.  pressure gradient.  rib thickness.  rib location.  S S-N curves. 60 rolling. 99 laser machining. 8 radius-to-thickness ratio. 88 repair. 0 P packing. 80 Rockwell hardness. 5 mold draft. 88. 9 glossy finishes. 47 mismatch. 5 masking. 6 M machining stresses. . 0 porous metal. 55 hex holes. 0 internal threads. 89 matte finish. 6 pinpoint gates. 5 nesting features. 0 interlocking edge. 4 proportional limit. 4 mold base. 80 mechanical loading. 07 in-mold transfer decoration. 85. 00 sanding marks. 58 pad painting. 0. 5 I impact. 8 permissible strain. 6 prototype molds. 8 reamers. 8 mold flexure. 9 parting-line vent. 9 glass-bead blasting. 50 mating edges. 07 injection blow molding.  lifters. 8 metallic coatings.

5 skip-tooth blades. 49 texture. 58 shrinkage analysis. 59 side-action slides. 56 stress relaxation. 49 thermal load. 49 ultrasonic welding. 9 thin-wall molding. 49. 59 stencil. 95 slides. 6. 80 semi-crystalline plastics. 6 spin welding. 8 thin-walled parts. 5 thread profiles. 96 steel safe. 6 tapered threads. 6 tapping. 55 second-surface film decorating. 87 spark erosion.  use of moduli. . 98 two-component paint systems. 8. 45. 44 volatile organic compounds. 90. 49 tapered drops. 95 temperature. 49 thermal isolation. 7. 8 tangent modulus. 9. 7. 49 tensile stress. 40 surface appearance. 45. 49 Young’s modulus. 05 spraying. 56 steel-rule dies. 5 washers. 90. 07 surface-crowning.  tolerances. 0 slotted holes. 04 two-plate mold. 4 sucker pins. 87 spiral channels. 7.  sprue bushing.  sprue taper.  split cores. 54 welding. 40 turbulent flow. 80 threads. 04 weather resistance. 8 vibration welding. 44 shear stress. 06 stiffness. 0 scraping.  side mills. 87 V vacuum metallizing. 56 shape. 7. 9 vents. 95 three-plate mold. 00 wiping.  sublimation ink transfer. 8. 5. 44 voids. 55 UV-cured adhesives.  stainless steel. . 86 undercuts.INDEX saw guides. 95 scrap. 5 spiral flow data. 54 stress concentration. 46. 0 viscoelasticity. 95 sawing. 60 static friction. 0 surface treatments. 85 wet sanding. 57 thread pitch. 7 stress-strain behavior. 64 strain limits. 46 Page 65 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.  spoked runners. . . 9 U ultimate strength. 0 scratches. 46. 04 W wall thickness. 0 tunnel gates. 6 trapped air. 4 self-tapping screws. 60 torsion. 6 thermal conductivity. 44. 45. 45. 6 symmetry. 5 thermoforming. 64 sharp corners. 0 split cavities. 8. 8 weld lines. 05 spring-clip fasteners. 4 sprue. 0 vent channel. 04 series circuits. 0. 90 tool steel. 80 spring-loaded lifters. 57 tensile stress at break.  sputter deposition.  thickness transitions. 5 surface contamination. 00 screening. 5 threaded inserts. 0. 5. 76. 5. 74 stress-concentration factor. 77. 67 warpage. 45. 6 scrapers. 45 splay. 7 tight-tolerance holes. 7.  unscrewing cores. 9 tumbling. 5 spray painting. 6 stripping undercuts. 8 shear modulus. 90 T tab gates. 48 vapor honing. 80 waterborne coatings. 0 vent designs. 57 turning. 8 solvent bonding. 7 three-plate runners. 97 sink. 0. 9 snap-fit joints.  valve-gated hot runners. 7 Y yield point. 09 secondary-runner diameters. 4 vent placement. 55 tensile properties.  sprue orifice. 9 Voight-Maxwell model. 6 shear rate limits. 56 stress limits. 06 witness marks. 8 tensile modulus. 49 tensile stress at yield. 50. 5 unscrewing mechanisms. 7 tapered pipe threads.  stack mold.  . 49 thermal expansion. 4 screws. 5 shrinkage. 80 secant modulus. 46 stripper plates. 86 vinyls.

and Pipe Threads � Energy Director � Shear Joint Interference � Shear vs. . Ontario M9W 1G6 • 1-416-248-0771 • Fax: 1-416-248-6762 Quebec: 7600 Trans Canada Highway. USA Sales Offices: Michigan: 2401 Walton Blvd.PART DESIGN CHECKLIST For Injection-Molded Engineering Thermoplastics Material Selection Requirements Loads Environment Special Part Details Review Radii Wall Thickness Material Flow Uniformity Ribs Bosses Weld Lines Draft Tolerances � Strength � Flow Length � Picture Framing � Thick Areas � Radii � Base Thickness � Radii � Base Thickness � Proximity to Load � Draw Polish � Part Geometry � Electrical � Too Thin � Orientation � Thin Areas � Draft � Draft � Length/Diameter � Strength vs. Load � Texture Depth � Material � Flammability � Avoid Thin to Thick � Abrupt Changes � Height � Spacing � Sharp Corners � Ribs � Bosses � Lettering � Magnitude � Temperature � Lubricants � Transparency � Flammability � Duration � Chemicals � UV Light � Paintability � Cost � Impact � Humidity � Plateability � Agency Approval � Fatigue � Cleaning Agents � Warpage/Shrinkage � Wear � Inside Diameter/Outside Diameter � Visual Area � 1/2 Degree (Minimum) � Tool Design (Across Parting Line. Addyston. Quebec H9R 1C8 • 1-514-697-5550 • Fax: 1-514-697-5334  Page 66 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety. Butt Joint Compatibility � Trapped Vapors � Stack Tolerances � Thermal Expansion � Assembly Tolerances � Component Compatibility � Care with Rivets and Molded-In Inserts LANXESS CORPORATION • 111 RIDC Park West Drive • Pittsburgh. Etobicoke. Forming � Avoid Countersinks (Tapered Screw Heads) � Avoid Feather Edges. contact a field market development representative at a regional office near you. Suite A . Pointe Claire. Sharp Corners. OH 45001 • 1-513-467-2479 • Fax: 1-513-467-2137 Canadian Affiliate: Ontario: 77 Belfield Road. PA 15275-1112 • Phone: 800-LANXESS For further design assistance in using LANXESS’s engineering thermoplastics.. Slides) Assembly Considerations Press Fits Snap Fits Screws Molded Threads Ultrasonics Adhesive and Solvent Bonds General Mold Concerns Warpage Gates Runners General � Cooling (Corners) � Type � Size and Shape � Cold-Slug Well � Draft � Ejector Placement � Size � Sprue Size � Sharp Corners � Part Ejection � Location � Balanced Flow � Avoid Thin/Long Cores � Tolerances � Allowable Strain � Hoop Stress � Assembly Force � Long-Term Retention � Tapered Beam � Multiple Assembly � Thread-Cutting vs. Auburn Hills. MI 48326-1957 • 1-248-475-7790 • Fax: 1-248-475-7791 Ohio: 356 Three Rivers Parkway.

Material Shallow Lead-In Taper Screws Avoid Thread Forming (Avoid for PC Blends) Prefer Thread Cutting Prefer 1/32 in Lead-In Molded-In Threads Avoid Picture Framing Avoid Ejector Pins Warpage Avoid Prefer Mold Cooling Prefer Page 67 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.Radii Avoid Sharp Wall Uniformity Avoid R .015 in min. Prefer Prefer Ribs Avoid Too Thick Too Close Too Tall Thin Bosses Avoid Sharp Thick Gussets Snap-Fit Avoid Too Tall w 2 w Prefer 2w R Screw Lead-In 3w Prefer Draft No Draft Avoid 1/2° min. Prefer Prefer Draw Polish R Undercut vs. Length vs.  .

safety. All information and technical assistance is given without warranty or guarantee and is subject to change without notice. PA 15275-1112 • 800-LANXESS http://techcenter. Addyston.US. technical assistance. Ontario M9W 1G6 1-416-248-0771 • Fax: 1-416-248-6762 Quebec: LANXESS Inc. LANXESS Corporation 111 RIDC Park West Drive • Pittsburgh. Quebec H9R 1C8 1-514-697-5550 • Fax: 1-514-697-5334 Note: The information contained in this bulletin is current as of September 2007.LANXESS Corporation • 111 RIDC Park West Drive • Pittsburgh. LANXESS Corporation Printed in U. all products are sold strictly pursuant to the terms of our standard conditions of sale. including any suggested formulations and recommendations are beyond our control. Pointe Claire. Therefore. incurred in connection with the use of our products. Suite A.com Sales Offices: Michigan: 2401 Walton Boulevard. Please contact LANXESS Corporation to determine whether this publication has been revised. written or by way of production evaluations). technical assistance and information (whether verbal. .S. it is imperative that you test our products. 570 (25M) 04/00  Page 68 of 68: This document contains important information and must be read in its entirety.com The manner in which you use and the purpose to which you put and utilize our products. It is expressly understood and agreed that you assume and hereby expressly release us from all liability. Such testing has not necessarily been done by us. 7600 Trans Canada Highway. Unless we otherwise agree in writing. Printed on recycled paper KU-GE028 Copyright © 2007. technical assistance and information to determine to your own satisfaction whether they are suitable for your intended uses and applications. MI 48325-1957 1-248-475-7790 • Fax: 1-248-475-7791 Ohio: 356 Three Rivers Parkway. OH 45001 1-513-467-2479 • Fax: 1-513-467-2137 Canadian Affiliate: Ontario: LANXESS Inc. in tort. Etobicoke.A. This application-specific analysis must at least include testing to determine suitability from a technical as well as health. contract or otherwise. 77 Belfield Road. PA 15275 • Phone: 1-800-LANXESS • www. and information. No license is implied or in fact granted under the claims of any patent. Auburn Hills. Any statement or recommendation not contained herein is unauthorized and shall not bind us. and environmental standpoint. Nothing herein shall be construed as a recommendation to use any product in conflict with patents covering any material or its use.LANXESS.lanxess.

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