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46.

2 INJECTION MOLDING

Basic process - Heat a thermoplastic material until it melts. Force it into a hollow
(cooled) cavity under pressure to fill the mold. When cool remove the finished part.

Typical materials are,
. - nylon
!. - styrene
". - ethylene

# typical in$ection mouldin% machine is seen &elow with the covers removed. 'lastic
pellets are poured in the hopper, and finished parts emer%e from the dies.


(n$ection system,
. - a material hopper acts as an input &uffer
!. - a heated cham&er melts the material
". - an in$ector forces the now viscous fluid into the mold

'revious mechanisms used an in$ection plun%er.

)urrent mechanisms use a reciprocatin% screw,
. - &asically the screw e*tends from the hopper to the in$ection
cham&er.
!. - alon% the len%th of the screw cham&er, heater &ands are used to
melt the plastic.
". - as the screw turns, it moves raw solid plastic from the hopper, to
the in$ection cham&er. The &uildup of pressure in the in$ection
cham&er forces the screw &ac+ until enou%h for a shot has
accumulated.
,. - the screw is forced forward to in$ect the plastic into the mold.
-.
. - there is a contri&ution to meltin% &y pressure that allows the
temperature of the heatin% &ands to &e lower.
!. - the purpose of the screw is to %enerate a homo%enous melt with
little orientation in flow direction.

Typical .ones can &e identified on the screw,
. - feed - a screw with lar%e cavities to carry more material.
!. - compression - the depths of the screw thread reduce, leadin% to
elevated pressures, and pressure induced meltin%.
". - meterin% - small and uniform threads to provide controlled
/uantities. This also serves as a final mi*in% sta%e.

0crews are often low1medium1hi%h compression ratio as a result of the chan%e of screw
volume from the feed to the meterin% sta%es - screw selection will vary &etween
materials, &ut a low compression ration screw will ensure %ood meltin% in most cases.

0crews are nitride treated to improve tool life. 0crews mi%ht also &e made sli%htly
smaller to compensate for thermal e*pansion when heated.

0crews are often driven &y electric or hydraulic motors.

The heat capacity and meltin% point temperatures of various materials determine the
ener%y re/uired to melt the plastic and the ener%y to &e removed for solidification (and
for e$ection).

The volume of the in$ection cham&er determines the ma*imum mold cavity si.e. The
volume provided is often for polystyrene. When usin% other materials the volume can
&e corrected usin% the followin% formula. For e*ample a 2 o.. shot,


The mold is held closed with a certain clamp tonna%e.

#s cycle times decrease, the plastic melt &ecomes less consistent.

3ach heatin% .one uses electrical heatin% &ands with thermocouples, or pyrometers to
control the temperature.

When in$ectin%, the mold is moved then clamped shut. The mold halves are
mounted1clamped1screwed on two platens, one fi*ed, one movin%. The stationary
platen has a locatin% rin% to allow positionin% on the mold half over the in$ection
no..le. The movin% half has e$ector pins to +noc+ out the finished part. 4ar%er plates
are found on lar%er in$ection moldin% machines.

(n$ection moldin% machines pressure is calculated as in$ection pressure over an area in
the mold. )onsider the case where a mold with a 2 s/uare inch mold is &ein% filled in
a !22 ton machine.


The platens are actuated &y hydraulic driven mechanisms. These are slow, &ut can e*ert
%reat forces. (n li%hter presses other mechanisms can &e used.




46.2.1 Hydraulic Pumps/ys!"ms

# %eared hydraulic pump is pictured &elow. 5ther types use vanes and pistons.


Hydraulic systems use pumps to cause fluid flow. 6esistance to that flow will allow
pressure to &uild up. This fluid is directed throu%h a systems with,
. - oil filters to clean
!. - heat e*chan%ers to cool oil
". - %a%es to monitor pressure
,. - relief valves to release fluid when a ma*imum pressure is passed
-. - a reservoir to collect uncompressed fluid
7. - chec+ and flow valves

The hydraulic system drives pistons and other hydraulic actuators.
46.2.2 M#lds

(n$ection molds are mainly made of steels and alloys steels. # simple mold is shown
&elow.


. 4ocatin% rin% - %uides the in$ection no..le into the mold.
!. 0prue Bushin% - where the in$ected material enters the mold
cavities.
". )lamp front plate - 0ecures the front cavity, locatin% rin%, and
other components to the stationary platen.
,. Front cavity - holds half of the ne%ative of the shape to &e molded.
8uide pin holes are put in this plate.
-. 6ear cavity - the matin% half for the front cavity that completes the
ne%ative of the final part. 8uide pins are mounted on this to ensure
correctly ali%ned cavities.
7. 0pacer Bloc+s16ails - used to separate the rear cavity from the rear
clamp plate.
9. 3$ector housin% - contains the e$ector pins to +noc+ the parts out of
the mold and forces the cavity &ac+ when the mold is closed.
:. 6ear )lamp 'late - 0upports the rear half of the mold on the
movin% platen, and provides ri%idity under moldin% pressures.

)omponents to consider in mold desi%n,
. - part desi%n
!. - material
". - machine used

Factors that are often altered in the desi%n are,
. - %atin%
!. - runners
". - mold coolin%
,. - e$ection

8atin% can &e done a num&er of ways


6unners carry the plastic to the in$ection %ates and are often considered disposa&le or
reusa&le. Typical runner systems are,
. - cold runner
!. - hot runner
". - insulated runner

)oolin% systems allow rapid uniform coolin% to increase cycle times, and reduce scrap.
Typical techni/ues are,
. - water lines
!. - &affles
". - fountains
,. - thermal pins

3$ection systems will push the part out of the mold when it is opened.
. - +noc+out pins
!. - &lades
". - stripper rin%s
,. - air
-. - hard strippin%
46.2.$ Ma!"rials

;aterials often come as raw &eads. These can &e mi*ed, colored, have other materials
added, or reused.

<uite often scrap parts are %round up, mi*ed with new materials and reused. But,
caution is re/uired to reduce contamination.

)ommon materials are,

46.2.4 Gl#ssary

Barrel - the cylinder the in$ection screw sits in.
)avity1(mpression - The two or more hollow metal parts that contain the ne%ative of the
part.
)old Flow - material that is too cool when in$ected will %et a dull surface finish.
)ore - a protrudin% (or male) mold component.
)ra.in% - a fine mesh of crac+s.
=e%atin% - separate parts from runners
=elamination - the surface peels off in layers
=owels18uidepins - used to mate mold cavities
=istortion - a warped moldin%
=well - a delay time after fillin% the mold
3$ector 'ins - push the part out of the mold as it is opened
Feed - the volume of plastic in$ected into the mold as it is advanced
Flash - a thin flat section that has >s/uirted> out of the mold
8assin% - trapped %as mar+s and &urns the mold
8ates - the entry port &etween the runners and the parts
8ranules - the pellet form that raw plastic is delivered in.
8ranulation18rinder - will reduce parts to %ranules for reuse
(nserts - parts placed in the mold &efore closure and in$ection. These &ecome an
em&edded part of the final product
?o..le - the plastic is e$ected throu%h the no..le to the mold.
'olymers - The chemical cate%ory of plastics
'owder - a finely %round material
'reheatin% - plastic may &e heated &efore use to remove moisture contaminants
'ur%in% - a few pur%in% shots are made when chan%in% the material
6am - opens and closes the platens
6e%rind - reclaimed plastic %ranules
6elease #%ent10pray - # spray, such as silicone, can &e sprayed into ti%ht molds to ease
part removal.
6unners - connect the %ate to the sprue
0afety %ate - the %ate must close and shut the operator out for the press to close.
0hot - one in$ection of plastic
0hort shot - insufficient plastic is in$ected
0hrin+a%e - reduction in si.e as mold cools
0in+in% - 0urface deformation on parts.
0prue - e*cess plastic &etween the in$ector no..le and the mold
@ent - # small %ap that allows air to escape as it is displaced &y molten plastic
Warped - )oolin% stresses cause a part to twist, or warp, to a new shape.