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DESIGNING FOR

PERFORMANCE AND VALUE


W I T H E N G I N E E R I N G
T H E R M O P L A S T I C S

P L A S T I C S
E N G I N E E R I N G
D S M
Our Mission is to
satisfy customers
with engineering resins
and specialty compounds
supported by leading-edge
technologies and
services resulting in
cost-effective solutions.
Click on a topic in the table of contents to link directly to that page

DSM DSM Engineering Plastics Contents

Founded in 1902, DSM is a highly With a global organization of over Introduction 2


integrated international chemicals 1,000 dedicated employees DSM
and materials company. With annual has a strong position in the Nature of thermoplastic
sales of more than $7 billion and a Engineering Plastics field. materials 3
work force in excess of 23,000 peo- Dimensional stability 5
ple the company operates more than The company operates in all three
200 sites around the world. DSM’s major regions of the world: The
General design guidelines 9
activities are grouped into three clus- Americas, Europe, and Asia. In
ters: performance materials, poly- Engineering Plastics, DSM is one of
Assembly techniques 15
mers and industrial chemicals, and the fastest growing competitors with
Snap-fits 16
life sciences. The company’s princi- a strong emphasis on providing cost
effective solutions for complex needs. Welding 18
pal products are plastics, synthetic
Adhesive bonding 21
rubbers, fiber intermediates, and fine
The focus of DSM Engineering Mechanical fastening 24
chemicals for pharmaceuticals.
Plastics is on the production and
Mold design 28

P L A S T I C S
DSM has a strong technological base compounding of:
- Nylons (6, 6/6, 4/6) Mold construction 28
and good market positions. For sev-
eral products, including caprolactam, - Polyesters (PBT, PET) Runners 32
melamine, EPDM Rubber, and anti- - Polyester Elastomer (TPE-E) Gate design 33
infectives, DSM is a global market - Polycarbonate. Ejection systems 35
leader. The company has an estab- Mold cooling 36
In addition, we also produce a wide Tool steel 38

E N G I N E E R I N G
lished and growing position in perfor-
mance materials and life sciences. assortment of compounds and Surface finish 39
blends, including: Hotrunners 42
DSM continuously develops new - Conductive Thermoplastics
products and processes through a - Lubricated Thermoplastics DSM thermoplastics
research and development activity - Reinforced Polypropylenes. product range 44
focused on innovation and cost effec-
tive solutions. We have developed DSM Engineering Plastics is taking a DSM product portfolio 45
and patented numerous breakthrough long and distinguished history in the

D S M
materials for use in industry including compounding market and enhancing Contact information back cover
Stanyl® 46 nylon, the first high tem- it with an integrated position as a
perature nylon, and Dyneema®, the polymer producer. This results in a
world’s strongest fiber. fast, flexible, and customer focused
business which provides the market
With its products and services DSM with a portfolio of materials that are
makes a meaningful contribution to well suited to meet the needs of a
society providing directly and indi- wide variety of industries.
rectly for human needs such as food,
clothing, housing, health care, trans- Commitment to the development of
portation, and recreation. new applications for Engineering
Plastics drives our research and
development efforts. The company
is a leader in the use of CAE
(Computer Aided Engineering) to
model and analyze potential oppor-
tunities. Ongoing assistance from
the Customer Service department
and the QS 9000 recognized manu-
facturing organization insures cus-
tomer satisfaction.

1
Introduction

Designing in thermoplastics requires DSM is able to add value for our cus- The last section discusses mold
a good understanding of the behav- tomers by assisting in design and design. Again, the emphasis is on
ior of materials processing, mold processing. Our experience with our the interaction between mold design
design and assembly techniques. products can eliminate problems that and thermoplastic, general principles
could otherwise slow the product about mold design and issues like
DSM is a supplier of a broad range development process, and add hotrunners and tool-steel.
of thermoplastics with a portfolio that insight to help accomplish design
includes: and performance objectives. For further assistance please contact
our technical support help desk at
- Akulon® nylons The first section of this brochure 800-333-4237, extension 7785, or
- Stanyl® 46 nylon addresses general design guide- your local sales engineer.
- Arnitel® copolyester elastomers lines; an explanation about the char-
acteristics of thermoplastics and the
- Xantar® polycarbonate
impact of the material properties on
- Arnite® thermoplastic polyester
the part design. The second section
- Electrafil® conductive thermoplastics
is concerned with assembly tech-
- Plaslube® lubricated thermoplastics
niques; what techniques are avail-
- Nylatron® lubricated thermoplastics able and what is the effect of the
- Fiberfil® reinforced & filled technique on the design.
thermoplastics

Figure 1.1 Design considerations.

Material
Properties Mold
Tolerances
Construction

Aesthetic PRODUCT DESIGN Functional


Requirements Requirements

Economic
Processing
Factors

Table of Contents
2
Nature of thermoplastic materials

The process of developing thermo- Table 1.1 Different properties due to different molecular structures.
plastic parts requires a full under-
amorphous thermoplastics
standing of typical material proper-
ties under various conditions. This dimensional stability + notch sensitive –
chapter will discuss material charac- creep resistance + chemical resistance –
teristics in relation to their physical low shrinkage +
structure. transparency +
semi-crystalline thermoplastics
Thermoplastics can be categorized
by their molecular structure as either chemical resistance + warpage –
amorphous or semi-crystalline plas- fatigue resistance + –
tics. Amorphous polymers have a wear resistance +

P L A S T I C S
structure that shows no regularity. flow properties +
Semi-crystalline plastics, in their corrosion resistance +
solid state, show local regular crys-
talline structures dispersed in an
Figure 1.2 Semi-crystalline and amorphous polymer structures.
amorphous phase.

E N G I N E E R I N G
These crystalline structures are
formed when semi-crystalline plas-
tics cool down from melt to solid
state. The polymer chains are partly
able to create a compacted structure
with a relatively high density.

The degree of crystallization depends


on the length of the polymer chains,

D S M
the viscosity, the melt temperature
and the mold temperature.

Examples of DSM semi-crystalline


materials are Akulon PA6 and PA66,
Stanyl PA46, Arnite PBT, and Fiberfil
polypropylene. Examples of DSM
amorphous polymers include Xantar
PC and Stapron® C PC/ABS blends.

Table of Contents
3
Molecular structure may cause Figure 1.3 Different loss of elasticity.
remarkable differences in properties.
The shear modulus curve illustrates
the temperature limits of a thermo-
plastic.

Typical properties are reviewed in


Table 1.1. Various properties are time
or temperature dependent. The
shear modulus, for instance,
decreases at elevated temperatures.
Figure 1.3 shows that the shape of
the curve is different for amorphous
and semi-crystalline thermoplastics.
Glass transition temperature (Tg) and
melt temperature (Tm) are indicated.

Figure 1.4 shows time dependent


creep moduli. Resistance against
creep is often higher for amorphous
polymers.

Due to higher densification of semi-


Figure 1.4 Differences in creep modulus.
crystalline plastics, a considerably
higher shrinkage should be allowed
(see Figure 1.2).

4 Table of Contents
Thermal expansion. An important Figure 1.6 Relation between the shrink-
Dimensional stability age of glass fiber reinforced plastics
condition for the dimensions of a part and the orientation of the glass fibers
Shrinkage. During injection mold- is the use of temperature. Thermo- (in thickness direction).

ing the polymer melt is injected into plastics show a relatively high thermal
the mold. Once the mold is complete- expansion (10-4/ °C) compared to met-
ly filled the dimensions of the molding als (10-5/ °C). Thermal expansion can-
are the same as the dimensions of the not be ignored for large parts which
mold cavity at its service temperature are used at elevated temperatures
(see Figure 1.5-B). While cooling (see Figure 1.5-F).
down the polymer starts to shrink (see
Figure 1.5-C). During the holding Isotropic versus anisotropic
stage of the injection molding cycle, shrinkage. Both unfilled and miner-

P L A S T I C S
shrinkage is compensated by post-fill- al-reinforced thermoplastics are large-
ing/packing. Both the design of the ly isotropic with respect to shrinkage;
part as well as the runner/gate should shrinkage in flow direction is about
allow for sufficient filling and packing. equal to the shrinkage across flow.
The glass fiber reinforced grades, on
The process of shrinkage continues the other hand, show anisotropic

E N G I N E E R I N G
even after the part has been ejected. properties. Due to fiber orientation in
Shrinkage should be measured long the direction of the melt flow, shrink-
enough after injection molding to age values in flow direction often are
take into account post-shrinkage substantially smaller than across flow
(see Figure 1.5-D). direction (Figure 1.6).

Figure 1.5 Dimensional stability through time.

Part dimensions Sum of Dimensional Deviations

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A
Mold dimension at 23°C

B
Thermal expansions of metal
due to mold temperature

C
Part mold shrinkage

D
Post shrinkage through volume relaxation

E
Water absorption (polyamide)

F
Thermal expansion due to use temperature

Table of Contents
5
Moisture absorption in Figure 1.7 Effect of time and humidity on moisture absorption.
polyamides. Akulon and Stanyl
parts, like all polyamide moldings,
show dimensional changes (increase)
after molding due to moisture absorp-
tion (see Figure 1.7). Moisture absorp-
tion is a time dependent, reversible
process which continues until an equi-
librium is reached. This equilibrium
depends on temperature, relative
humidity of the environment and the
wall thickness of the molding.

A change in moisture content will


result in different product dimensions.
The designer should anticipate varying
humidity conditions during use of the
product (see Figure 1.5-E). The mois-
ture absorption of reinforced grades
differs from those of the unfilled
grades.

The moisture content not only affects


Figure 1.8 Dimensional effect of moisture absorption.
the dimensions but also various impor-
tant properties. Yield stress, modulus Akulon® PA6
of elasticity and hardness decrease
PA6 + 30% GF
with increasing moisture absorption,
while toughness shows a considerable PA66
increase. PA66 + 30% GF

Stanyl® PA46
Although polyamide moldings are
already comparatively tough in the PA46 + 30% GF
dry state, the high toughness, which
Arnite® PET + 35% GF
is characteristic of Akulon and Stanyl,
PBT
is not reached until the material has
absorbed 0.5-1 moisture. Unreinforced PBT + 20% GF
Stanyl already shows a dry as mold-
Xantar® PC
ed impact resistance twice as high
as other polyamides, so conditioning PC + 20% GF

is less critical. Stapron® C ABS/PC

Fiberfil® PP UF & GF
Shrinkage values. Many factors
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0
may influence shrinkage. It is not pos- Both Directions
Shrinkage of DSM Polymers (%)
sible to predict exact shrinkage values In Flow Direction
for a specific polymer grade. Therefore, Across Flow Direction
the maximum and minimum values for
the various DSM thermoplastics are
given in Figure 1.8.

6 Table of Contents
Example of dimensional stabil- Figure 1.9 Dimensional stability of Akulon PA6/PA66/ Stanyl PA4/6.
ity. Examples of the dimensional sta-
Akulon PA6
bility of unfilled and reinforced Akulon

% Dimensional Increase
and Stanyl are shown in Figure 1.9. 2

For polyamide grades in general, the


swelling of the thickness is substan- 1
tial, especially when compared to the A

swelling in the two other directions.


0
This should be taken into account
C
when designing parts with thick walls.

% Shrinkage
-1
Dimensional deviations/toler- B

P L A S T I C S
ances. All factors discussed influ-
ence the final dimensions of the part. -2

The maximum dimensional deviation


of the part is the sum of the individual
Akulon PA66
contributing factors (see Figure 1.5). 2
% Dimensional Increase

E N G I N E E R I N G
Tolerances and product costs. 1
Establishing the correct tolerances
A
with respect to the product function is
0
of economic importance. The design-
er should be aware that dimensions C
with tight tolerances have a big influ-
% Shrinkage

-1
ence on the costs of both product
and mold. B

-2

D S M
Stanyl PA46
2
% Dimensional Increase

A
1

A % swelling at equilibrium moisture content at 23°C


(73°F) and 50% RH 0
C
B % shrinkage (dry)
C % shrinkage - % dimensional increase (Important
value for the calculation of mold cavity dimensions) -1
% Shrinkage

B
mineral reinforced (PA6 30%, PA66 40%)
glass fiber reinforced (PA6 30%, PA66 35% & PA46 30%) -2

unreinforced

1) wall thickness in this example 4 mm (0.16 in)


direction perpendicular to wall thickness 1)
of flow direction of flow

Table of Contents 7
Even slightly over specifying toler- - normal; price index 100 Mold design, mold cavity dimensions,
ances may adversely influence tool - accurate; technical injection mold- product shape, injection-molding con-
costs, injection molding conditions ing; price index 170 ditions and material properties deter-
and cycle time. It is recommended to - precise; precision injection mold- mine the tolerances that can be
indicate only critical dimensions with ing; price index 300. obtained.
tolerances on a drawing.
The most important characteristics of Table 1.3 gives a summary of the fac-
Depending on the application, a divi- the tolerance classes are given in tors that play a major role in establish-
sion into three tolerance classes can Table 1.2. ing dimensional accuracy.
be made:

Table 1.2 Characteristics of the tolerance classes.

Normal Accurate Precise


Standard tool making techniques Accurately dimensions mold cavities High-precision molds

Multiple cavity molds Multiple cavity molds occasionally Only single-cavity molds

Conditions adapted for Molding conditions more critical Molding conditions carefully
low-cost manufacturing controlled

Scrap can be reused Reuse of injection-molding scrap Processing scrap not allowed
possible to a limited extent

Random inspection Statistical quality control Statistical process control

Table 1.3 Factors affecting parts tolerance.

Part Design Material Properties Processing Mold Design


Product use Shrinkage (isotropic or anisotropic) Machine capacity Mold cavity tolerances

Wall thickness(es) Dimensional stability Injection pressure/speed Number of cavities

Draft Viscosity Holding pressure/time Runner system

Symmetry Reinforcements Melt and mold temperature Ejector system

Surface finish Clamping force Cooling system

Dimensions; length Reproducibility Design/Layout

Table of Contents
8
General design guidelines

The characteristic behavior of different Wall thickness should be minimized to Corners. An important principle is
polymers has to be taken into account. shorten the molding cycle, obtain low to avoid sharp internal corners. Due to
A number of general design principles part weight and optimize material the difference in area/volume-ratio of
will be discussed in this chapter. usage. The minimum wall thickness the polymer at the outside and the
that can be used in injection molding inside of the corner, the cooling at the
Wall thickness. The shrinkage depends on size and geometry of the outside is better than the cooling at
behavior of thermoplastics depends molding and on the flow behavior of the inside. As a result the material at
on cooling of the thermoplastic from the material. Where varying wall thick- the inside shows more shrinkage and
processing temperatures to ambient nesses are unavoidable for reasons of so the corner tends to deflect (see
temperature. It is important to achieve design, there should be a gradual Figure 2.2). In addition, a sharp inter-
proper cooling, and thus predictable transition as indicated in Figure 2.1. nal corner introduces stress concen-
shrinkage, over the part. tration.

P L A S T I C S
Generally, the maximum wall thick- A rounded corner has:
While observing functional require- ness used should not exceed 4 mm
ments, keep wall thicknesses as thin (0.16 in). Thicker walls increase mate- - uniform cooling
and uniform as possible. In this way rial consumption, lengthen cycle time - little warpage
even filling of the mold and anticipat- considerably, and cause high internal - less flow resistance
ed shrinkage throughout the molding stresses, sink marks and voids (see - easier filling
can be obtained in the best way. Figure 2.3a and b). - lower stress concentration

E N G I N E E R I N G
Internal stresses can be reduced. - less notch sensitivity.

Figure 2.1 Wall thickness transition.

D S M
Figure 2.2 Sharp corners.

Table of Contents
9
Ribs and profiled structures. Ribs and box sections (Figure 2.4 and The use of ribs substantially reduces
If the load on a structural part requires 2.5) increase stiffness, thus improving internal stresses that normally occur
sections exceeding 4 mm (0.16 in) the load bearing capability of the during shrinkage in thick sections.
thickness, reinforcement by means of molding. These reinforcing methods From an economical point of view, the
ribs or box sections is advisable in permit a decrease in wall thickness use of ribs results in savings of mater-
order to obtain the required strength but impart the same strength to the ial and shorter molding cycles.
at an acceptable wall thickness. section as a greater wall thickness.

Figure 2.3a Sink marks due to large


wall thickness. Figure 2.4 Example of wall thickness reduction.

Figure 2.3b Voids due to large wall


thickness. Figure 2.5 Example of a profile structure.

10 Table of Contents
Ribs are preferably designed parallel thick ribs may act as flow leaders Examples of how to avoid large wall
to the melt flow and should be thin- causing preferential flows during thicknesses at the rib connections
ner than the wall to be reinforced. injection. This results in weld lines are shown in Figure 2.7.
The thickness of a rib must not and air entrapment as shown in
exceed half the thickness of the wall Figure 2.8.
as indicated in Figure 2.6.
Due to the same phenomena the ori-
Ribs with a thickness larger than half entation of glass fibers will be affect-
Figure 2.9 Influence of gating on glass
the wall thickness will cause clearly ed. The flow patterns are clearly visi- fiber orientation and shrinkage of the
product.
visible sink marks on the surface of ble and spoil the appearance of the
the wall opposite the ribs. In addition, molding.

P L A S T I C S
E N G I N E E R I N G
Figure 2.6 Example of rib structure. Figure 2.7 Rib structures.

D S M
Figure 2.8 Influence of rib design on flow behavior of the melt.

Table of Contents 11
Glass fiber reinforced thermo- Figure 2.11 Warpage due to unfavorable gate location.
plastics. The degree of glass fiber
orientation depends on several fac-
tors such as:

- the wall thickness of the molding


- the position and type of gating
- the gate size
- the injection speed.

In general, there will be a higher glass


fiber orientation in thinner wall sec-
tions, e.g. less than 2 mm (0.08 in)
and as injection speed increases. A
high injection speed is required to
obtain a smooth surface.

The direction of orientation is influ-


enced by gate type and location and,
of course, by the shape of the prod-
uct (see Figure 2.9).

Warpage. An incorrectly dimen-


sioned or located gate may also
result in undesirable flow patterns in
the mold cavity. This can lead to
moldings with visible weld line (see
Figure 2.10) or deformation by warp-
ing or bending (see Figure 2.11).

Figure 2.10 Influence of gate location on flow behavior of the melt.

12 Table of Contents
Another factor related to the gate Figure 2.12 Design of a timing belt pulley.
location is the pressure build-up in
the cavity. If the pressure build-up is
not uniform, partial over-packing may
cause warpage. Uniform mold cool-
ing is especially important. A differ-
ence in temperature between mold
halves or inadequate temperature
control will give uneven cooling and
thus warpage.

In order to avoid or minimize warpage

P L A S T I C S
the following guidelines should be
considered:

Product
- design for structural integrity
- use adequate radii

E N G I N E E R I N G
- design with uniform wall thicknesses
- allow for sufficient draft angle.
See also Figures 2.12, 2.13, and 2.14.

Mold
- optimize gate location
- select the best gating system
- ensure that gate and runners are

D S M
adequately dimensioned
- design effective cooling lay out
- use sufficient ejection surface.

Figure 2.13 Example of a design study of a multiconnector.

Table of Contents 13
Figure 2.14 Alternative B may result in mold construction cost savings of 60 %
compared with design A.

Figure 2.15 Example of a design study for an electric motor shield based on
polyester to replace on aluminum shield.

14 Table of Contents
Assembly techniques

Molded or machined components of Figure 3.1 Assembly techniques for Akulon and Arnite.

DSM thermoplastics can be assem-


bled using various joining techniques. Permanent assembles Detachable assembles
Reliable and efficient joints in engi-
neering applications need to be Snap fits Snap fits
specifically designed on a case by Welding Screwing
case basis. Note that joints always _ vibration welding _ self-tapping screws
create weaker spots in a product _ ultrasonic welding _ inserts: molded-in inserts or
therefore, it is best to design a joint in _ hot plate inserts installed by
a non-critical area.
Adhesive bonding ultrasonic insertion

Optimal joints can be obtained when

P L A S T I C S
some quantitative criteria have been
defined, e.g. mechanical strength.
Relevant tests should be developed.
Process optimization and control is of
primary importance for application
engineering. Standard solutions do

E N G I N E E R I N G
not exist.

The choice of a technique depends


on the following considerations:

- functional requirements of
assembly
- material of the components
(thermoplastic, thermoset, metal)

D S M
- dimensions of components
- disassembly/recycling
- production volume
- costs.

For disassembly during product


service life, detachable joints are
advised like snap fits and screws.
Note that screwing may be time
consuming and a variety of screw
threads and heads exist.

For recycling purposes it may be


inconvenient to remove incompatible
parts like metal inserts and screws.
Pre-determined breaking points might
be incorporated in areas that experi-
ence low stress levels under service
load. Figure 3.1 gives a summary of
conventional assembly techniques.

Table of Contents 15
Figure 3.2 Snap-fit cantilever beam type.
Snap-fits

The snap-fit method is an assembly


technique that fully utilizes the
mechanical properties of plastics.
Thermoplastic parts can be fitted
rapidly and economically to other
components made of metal, glass,
plastics, etc. A snap-fit offers two
advantages in disassembly. If the
assembly is accessible it can be easi-
ly disassembled. If it is not accessi-
ble, it acts as a pre-determined break-
ing point.

Snap-fits can be found in a wide vari- Figure 3.3 Snap-fit cylindrical type.
ety of shapes. Two examples of typi-
cal snap-fit geometries are the can-
tilever beam type (see Figure 3.2) and
the cylindrical type (see Figure 3.3).

Designing a snap-fit is rather complex


due to a combination of factors:

- the functional requirements


of the product
- the requirements for the assembly
- the mechanical properties of the
thermoplastic
- the design of the mold and
notably part ejection.

Figure 3.4 Factors for calculating the cantilever beam for a snap-fit.

16 Table of Contents
Example: the cantilever beam. A common factor causing failure of a and the friction between the snap-fit
A simple type of snap-fit, the cantilever snap-fit is the inside radius (r) or lack and the mating material are relevant
beam, is demonstrated in Figure 3.4 thereof. An inside radius which is too properties.
which shows the major geometrical small will induce stress-concentra-
parameters of this type of snap-fit. tions. These sections with high stress- In most cases the number of snap-fits
es are often weak because the deflec- can be changed. Bending loads on
If a snap-fit fails during assembly, the tion limit is reached sooner. the cantilever beam after assembly
maximum deflection of the cantilever should be avoided due to possible
beam most likely exceeded the deflec- The mating force required to assem- creep. The designer should be aware
tion limit of the thermoplastic used. The ble and the separation force required that both the possibility of breakage
equation in Figure 3.5 gives the relation to disassemble the snap-fit is deter- and the required force to (dis)assem-
between the cantilever beam geometry mined by a different set of parame- ble can be handled more or less inde-

P L A S T I C S
and the deflection limit. ters. In addition to the previously pendently.
discussed parameters, the support
The four parameters that can be angle (θ1) and the guide angle (θ2)
changed by the designer are: as well as the stiffness of the material

- the height of the snap-fit lip (h) is

E N G I N E E R I N G
Figure 3.5 Permissible deflection for snap-fits.
directly related to the performance
of the lip. Changing the height
might reduce the ability of the
snap-fit to ensure a proper con-
nection. GF

- the thickness of the beam (t) is


uniform over the length of the GF

beam in this example. A more GF

D S M
effective method is to use a
tapered beam. The deflection of GF
the beam will reduce and the
stresses are more evenly spread GF
over the length of the beam.
- increasing the length of beam (L)
is the best way to reduce strain as
it (L) is represented squared in the
equation.
- deflection limits (ε) of DSM ther-
moplastics are indicated in Figure
3.5. Since the snap-fit is only a
small part of a product, it is better
to design snap-fit dimensions
based on a thermoplastic chosen
than to choose the thermoplastic
to make a specific snap-fit work.

Table of Contents 17
The calculations used in the example ature, pressure and time to achieve general products larger than 200 mm
are a simplification. In general, the good mechanical bond. In addition, (8 in) are joined with this technique.
stiffness of the part the snap-fit is this helps to clean the weld surfaces. During welding a special mold is
connected to is important. The formu- There exist a variety of welding tech- required for fixturing the components.
las mentioned only roughly describe niques. Most popular are vibration/
the behavior of both the part geome- spin, ultrasonic and hot plate welding. Spin welding is a similar process, but
try and the material. On the other it is restricted to cylindrical parts with
hand, the approach can be used as a Vibration/spin welding. Vibration a maximum diameter of 250 mm
first indication if a snap-fit design and welding is a resonant process at (10 in). Surface friction at rotational
material choice are feasible. Examples 100-400 Hz and a linear amplitude of speeds of 30,000-60,000 rpm is used
of the cantilever beam are shown in 0.5-2.5 mm (0.02-0.10 in). The weld to create the weld.
Figure 3.6. surface is heated by solid coulombic
surface friction. After melting, viscous To prevent part deformations during
forces take over and the melted welding it is common practice to
Welding region starts to flow. When vibration design a flange at the weld surface.
stops, the welds cools down and Proper welds will always show flash.
Welding of thermoplastic parts is solidifies. Typical cycle time is 10 sec- For aesthetic purposes the part can
based on interdiffusion of molecular onds; weld pressure 0.5-5 MPa (73- be designed to hide the weld. Due to
chains. This requires elevated temper- 725 psi). Product size is not limited; in the weld a loss in the overall length of
0.2-0.4 mm (0.01-0.02 in) should be
taken into account. Correct alignment
Figure 3.6 Example of proper snap-fit design. of the components is important.
Alternative B results in mold construction cost savings compared with design A.
Figure 3.7 shows some typical weld
designs, which are self-centering. The
stiffness of the tapered sections
should be high enough to avoid defor-
mation during welding.

18 Table of Contents
Figure 3.7 Typical weld designs for spin welding.

.
.

P L A S T I C S
E N G I N E E R I N G
Figure 3.8 Typical weld designs for ultrasonic welding.

D S M
. .

. .

.
.
.
.

Table of Contents 19
Ultrasonic welding. Ultrasonic however the actual strength is very weld can be hidden either on the
welding is a fast and effective welding much dependent on the specific inside or on the outside corner to
technique for parts with a weld joint geometry and materials being welded. improve appearance. The efficiency of
smaller than 200 mm (8 in) in length. energy transfer to the weld surface
The welding equipment consists of an Drying before welding is not always depends largely on the type of ther-
ultrasonic generator running at a fre- necessary to obtain high quality. DSM moplastic. Stiff parts with low mechan-
quency of 20-40 kHz and an amplitude drying guidelines for injection molding ical damping properties can be easily
of 10-50 mm, a booster for amplifica- can be followed. If the effect of mois- welded. The distance between horn
tion and a horn to transfer energy to ture is unclear, it is advisable to test its and weld surface may be larger than
the component. influence on welding strength. 6 mm (0.24 in) (distant welding).
Components may be conditioned for Polyolefins should always be welded
The combination of the booster and testing by submerging overnight in under near field conditions (less than
horn is unique for each design. Specific water in advance of welding. 6 mm (0.24 in)), because of their
attention of the supplier is required. semi-crystalline structure and their rel-
When using glass fiber reinforced ther- Melting takes place at the weakest atively low elastic modulus.
moplastics the horn needs a special spot of the part. Therefore, it is often
surface treatment to prevent abrasion. advised to use a line contact at the Internal sharp corners cause stress
welding surface. Two standard shapes concentrations. The use of fillet radii
The weld zone is melted instanta- depicted in Figure 3.8A, 3.8B and 3.8C is strongly advised when using ultra-
neously by internal friction. Typical are used frequently for amorphous sonic assembly. Proper welds always
cycle time is 1 second; welding pres- thermoplastics: the energy director give flash.
sure 1-10 MPa (145-1450 psi). The principle and the shear joint. In gener-
mechanical strength of an ultrasonic al, a shear joint is advised for semi- Hot plate welding. Hot plate weld-
weld may reach a value of 70 to 80% crystalline thermoplastics because of ing uses thermal energy to melt the
of the original strength of the material, their short melting range. Note that the welding zone through heat conduction.
It is a time consuming process; typical
Figure 3.9 Indication of hot-plate temperature for DSM materials. cycle time 60 seconds.

Welding pressure is relatively low, 0.1-


˚C ˚F
0.5 MPa (15-73 psi). Part size is unlim-
ited. The recommended plate tempera-
ture depends largely on the specific
thermoplastic. Amorphous plastics
require a temperature of 80-160°C
(175-320°F) above the glass transition
temperature (Tg). Semi-crystalline
materials are best welded at 40-100°C
(100-210°F) above melting temperature
(Tm). A PTFE coating is used to pre-
vent parts from sticking.

Recommended hot-plate temperatures


for DSM polymers are listed in the
table found in Figure 3.9. The plate
direction should be between 60° and
90°. Proper welds will give flash. To
improve appearance the flash may be
trapped as indicated in Figure 3.9. A
loss in the overall length should be
accounted for, due to the weld.

20 Table of Contents
Figure 3.10 Impression of different adhesive mechanisms.
Adhesive bonding

The significant criteria for adhesive


bonding are surface wetting and cur-
ing of the adhesive to join compo-
nents of various materials, e.g. ther-
moplastics and metals. Important vari-
ables for the application of adhesive
and distribution on a substrate are
surface contact angle, adhesive vis-
cosity and chemical resistance of
substrate to adhesive.

P L A S T I C S
In general, adhesion is based on vari-
ous mechanisms as shown in Figure
3.10. Interdiffusion is limited by crys- Adhesives. A wide variety of adhe- With some plastics, pretreatment can
tallites, therefore, it tends to be more sives are commercially available. The give considerable improvements. The
complicated to accomplish good performance on some DSM thermo- adhesion of epoxies is susceptible to

E N G I N E E R I N G
adhesion on semi-crystalline com- plastics and the influence of pretreat- oils and grease.
pared to amorphous thermoplastics. ment is shown in Table 3.1. The val-
Adhesion on nonpolar thermoplastics, ues indicated are based on lap shear Polyurethane. Polyurethane adhe-
e.g. polyolefins, will improve consider- strength (in MPa). sives are relatively inexpensive and
ably when the surface is pretreated show good adhesion. Varieties exist
using corona, UV-plasma or flame. Epoxy. Various epoxy adhesives are from elastomeric to rigid. According to
available with different characteristics the curing mechanism several types
Poor adhesion takes place when the and properties. Based on curing are distinguished:
adhesive layer does not stick properly mechanism a division can be made

D S M
to the substrate. Pretreatment, e.g. as follows: - 1 component thermosetting
sanding, may be helpful. - 2 component catallized
- 2 component hot or cold curing - reactive hot melts.
Specific advantages of adhesives are: - 1 component hot curing
- application on various substrates - UV-curing. Polyurethane adhesives are tough and
like thermoplastics, thermosets, show a high peel strength. They can
elastomers and metals Standard epoxy adhesives are brittle be used at temperatures between
- homogeneous distribution of and show a low peel strength. To -80 and 100°C (-110-210°F).
mechanical loads improve toughness modified epoxy
- differences in thermal expansion adhesives have been developed. The Adhesion on engineering plastics is
of components may be compen- use temperature varies between - 40 good. Degreasing is often sufficient to
sated in thick adhesive layers and 80°C (-40-180°F) for cold curing obtain the required bonding strength.
- good aesthetics - no special systems. Hot curing epoxies can nor- Polyurethanes are not suitable for use
requirements to hide the bond. mally be used up to 150°C (300°F). with polyolefins.

Potential limitations are: In general, large deviations in lap


- long term behavior shear bonding strength show up
- reproducibility/process control depending on the particular combina-
- curing time tion of adhesive and material.
- disassembly.

Table of Contents 21
Acrylic. Acrylics are flexible and Good adhesion is obtained on amor- A very high lap shear bonding
tough. Fast curing takes place at phous thermoplastics. Pretreatment strength can be obtained with most
room temperature. Care should be may improve the lap shear bonding engineering thermoplastics. Unfilled
taken joining amorphous thermoplas- strength considerably. polyesters and polyolefins show mod-
tics as environmental stress cracking erate results. Effective primers are
may occur. Several systems are Cyanoacrylic. Cyanoacrylics are available to improve the bonding
available: fast curing systems but rather brittle, strength of polyolefins.
which results in low peel strength and
- 1 component UV-curing used for impact properties in the joint area of
transparent plastics the component. Rubber modified
- 2 component premix cyanoacrylics have been developed
- 2 component no-mix. to improve toughness.

Use temperature is between -55 and


120°C (-70-250°F). Acrylics show
excellent peel strength and are tough.

Table 3.1 Performance of DSM thermoplastics and the influence of pretreatment.

Epoxy Polyurethane Acrylic Cyanoacrylic

2 comp 1 comp

Akulon
PA 6 uf/gf 3/10 6 7 10* 10*
PA 66 uf 4 8 3 10 5
gf 4 8 4 - 10

Arnite
PBT uf 1 6 3 - 1
gf 2 9 4 - 5
PET uf 2/6 /10 5/7 /8 2\
gf 4/10 /10 7/10* 1/10* 8*

FIberfil
PP gf 1/7 /2 1/6 4 /5

Xantar
PC uf/gf 10* - 7* 5 7

* depending on specific combination plastic/adhesive indication value of lap shear strength in MPa; 10 indicates > 10 MPa.

22 Table of Contents
Design for adhesive bonding. General design guidelines are: - avoid stress concentrations at
The load on the assembly can be - design for lap shear loads thick-thin sections
applied in several ways as indicated - maximize the bonding surface - take care of sufficient venting on
in Figure 3.11. Thin layers are advised for instance, use a scarfed or a substrate.
in case of lap shear. Peel and split dovetail joint
loads are best taken up by a thick Recommended joint designs are
layer of adhesive. given in Figure 3.12. Hermetic seals
required for containers and bottles are
Figure 3.11 Lapshear, peel, split, tension and compression.
accomplished with the designs shown
in Figure 3.12A and B. Joint C is more
universal.

P L A S T I C S
E N G I N E E R I N G
Figure 3.12 Joint designs for adhesive-bonded assemblies.

D S M
.

Table of Contents 23
To ensure successful joining with ences in thermal expansion, stresses Inserts as shown in Figure 3.13, espe-
adhesives it is important to know the could be built up at the metal/plastic cially developed for ultrasonic inser-
functional requirements of the assem- interface. It is also essential that the tion, are commercially available in var-
bly and possibilities/limitations of the inserts be clean and free of any ious types and sizes.
adhesive in combination with the sub- process lubricants.
strate. The following checklist might Recommendations about hole diame-
prove useful: Ultrasonic insertion. The insert is ters (see Figure 3.13 A1 and B1) and
pressed in a hole in the plastic. The insertion conditions are available from
- product: design joints specific for ultrasonic energy melts the plastic manufacturers of inserts and ultrason-
adhesives around the insert. Once the insert is ic equipment.
- mechanical load: lap shear, peel, pressed in the plastic freezes off
split or tensile evenly around the insert. Molded-in
- life of joint: use temperature, inserts may cause failures because
environment, relative humidity the metal part might induce sink-
- thermoplastic substrate: mechani- marks, internal stresses and warpage.
cal properties, wetting, moisture
absorption
- adhesive: temperature and chemi-
cal resistance
- pretreatment: cleaning, etching,
sanding, oxidation, primer
Figure 3.13 Inserts for ultrasonic insertion.
- safety: MSDS (Material Safety
Data Sheet) chart.

The moisture content of polyamides


does not show a remarkable influence
on the bonding strength. It is advis-
able to do some bonding tests with
conditioned parts prior to production.

Mechanical fastening

Inserts. Insertion is a way to create


a connection that can be assembled
and disassembled repeatedly without
problems. A metal part is inserted in
the thermoplastic. The most common-
ly used insertion techniques, molded-
in and ultrasonic, will be discussed in
more detail.

Molded-in inserts. The insert is put


into the mold (cavity) during the injec-
tion molding cycle. It is important to
heat the inserts to near the mold tem-
perature before molding. Due to differ-

24 Table of Contents
Ultrasonic insertion gives a shorter Figure 3.14 Molded-in inserts undercut with grooves and knurls.
molding cycle than molded-in inser-
tion. However, it also represents an
additional manufacturing process.
Care should always be taken to
ensure the insert is solidly embedded
in the substrate.

Recommendations:

- design simple inserts with under-


cuts for pull-out retention and

P L A S T I C S
grooves or knurls for torque reten-
tion (see Figure 3.14)
- avoid sharp corners
- use brass, stainless steel or plat-
ed steel inserts; raw steel inserts
may rust

E N G I N E E R I N G
- use clean inserts to safeguard
optimal interfacing between the
metal and the thermoplastic (free
from oil, grease, etc.)
- ensure that adjacent walls
have sufficient thickness to
prevent the insert from being
pulled out during assembly

D S M
- keep knurls away from part
edges for notch sensitivity.

Table of Contents 25
Screw assembly. Self tapping Figure 3.15 Thread design system PT Figure 3.16 Thread design system for
for plastics up to 40% GF. plastics up to 40% GF.
screws for the assembly of plastic
parts can be distinguished into thread
cutting screws and thread forming
screws.

Thread cutting screws cut the thread


during assembly. That means that
every time the screw is assembled
some material will be cut away. For
that reason this type of screw is not
recommended for repeated assembly
and disassembly. In general, self tap-
ping screws are used for thermosets
with a low elongation at break and low
plastic deformation.

Thread forming screws do not cut but Figure 3.18 Example of boss designs
Figure 3.17 Boss design. (provided adequate fillet radius).
deform the thermoplastic. Close to the
screw the stresses can be high. If this
Boss Ø
type of screw matches the screw
dc
geometry as described in this chap-
ter, they can be used for the range of
(0.3 ÷ 0.5) x d

DSM thermoplastics. Thread forming


screws can be used for repeated 2/3 S (REF)

assembly and disassembly. Figures di Hole Ø

3.15 and 3.16 give an example of


such screws.
S

With regards to screw geometry the d = Nominal Ø of screw


dc = d + 0.2 mm
following requirements should be
observed:

- thread flank angle: as small as


possible (30°) in order to obtain
small radial tensions in the boss
- thread core design: possibly pro-
filed in order to allow a trouble-
free material flow during the
thread-forming process
- thread pitch: possibly below 8°
in order to obtain dynamically
secure joints.

26 Table of Contents
In special cases the usefulness A cylindrical lead-in counterbore, This allows for automatic assembly
should be established by means of according to Figure 3.17, should be without damaging the screw or the
component tests. For the optimum considered in the design in order to thermoplastic part.
construction the recommendations in reduce edge stress.
Table 3.2 apply. In order to find out During the assembly process a maxi-
the recommended hole-boss diameter When using screw assembly, a distinct mum speed of about 500 rpm should
of insertion depth, the given factors difference can be noticed between be observed. Higher speed and the
should be multiplied with the normal the torque required to assemble and resulting friction may melt the material.
diameter of the corresponding screw. that required to overturn the screw.

P L A S T I C S
Table 3.2 Recommended boss design (source Ejot).

Material PT Screw System Insertion Depth


Hole Ø Boss Ø di

Akulon PA 6 and PA 66 0.75 x d* 1.85 x d 1.70 x d

E N G I N E E R I N G
PA 6 + 30% gf 0.80 x d 2.00 x d 1.90 x d
PA 66 + 30% gf 0.82 x d 2.00 x d 1.80 x d

Stanyl PA 46 0.73 x d 1.85 x d 1.80 x d


PA 46 + 30% gf 0.78 x d 1.85 x d 1.80 x d

Arnite PET & PBT 0.75 x d 1.85 x d 1.70 x d


PET & PBT + 30% gf 0.80 x d 1.80 x d 1.70 x d

D S M
Xantar PC 0.85 x d 2.50 x d 2.20 x d
PC + 30% gf 0.85 x d 2.20 x d 2.00 x d

Fiberfil PP 0.70 x d 2.00 x d 2.00 x d


PC + 30% gf 0.72 x d 2.00 x d 2.00 x d

*d = nominal screw diameter

Table of Contents 27
Mold design

Mold design and construction Table 4.1 Mold mounting dimensions.


requires special attention for optimal Molding Machine Mold
product quality and reliable molding.
A detailed specification is required in minimum/maximum mold height mold closed height
advance: opening stroke ejection stroke
- product shape and tolerances tie bars spacing mounting plate dimensions
- mold in relation to molding mounting holes or grooves knockout pattern
equipment knockout pattern locating ring diameter
- parting lines; venting nozzle alignment length of sprue bushing
- number of cavities insertion depth of nozzle sprue bushing radius
- runner lay-out and gating system nozzle radius sprue orifice diameter
- ejection system nozzle orifice
- cooling system lay-out
- type of tool steel
amount of plastic that can be injected or ejection side. Both sides together
- surface finish.
per shot. The weight of the molding enclose one or more cavities. Relevant
should not exceed 80% of the maxi- details are shown in Figure 4.1. High
Mold-machine combination.
mum shot weight. quality molds are expensive because
The mold should be tuned to the
labor and numerous high- precision
injection molding equipment with
machining operations are time-con-
respect to mold mounting, injection
Mold construction suming. Product development and
unit and clamping force. Relevant
manufacturing costs often can be sig-
molding machine data can be found
A standard injection mold is made of nificantly reduced if sufficient attention
in Table 4.1. The maximum shot
a stationary or injection side contain- is paid to product and mold design.
weight of the injection unit is the
ing one or more cavities and a moving

Figure 4.1 Impression of a standard injection mold.

28 Table of Contents
The minimum plasticizing capacity Figure 4.2 Cammed mold for part with undercut cams move in vertical direction
depends on the relationship between when mold is opened.

shot weight and cooling time. For


example, molding 300 g (0.66 lbs) in
30 seconds requires a minimum plasti-
cating capacity of 36 kg/hr (79 lbs/hr).

The required clamping force of a


molding machine is determined by the
cavity pressure during the injection/
holding stage and the projected area
of the part in the clamp direction.

P L A S T I C S
Various factors affect the molding
pressure, e.g. length over thickness
ratio of the molded part, injection
speed and melt viscosity. Typical Figure 4.3 Three-plate mold with two stripper plates for ejection.
injection pressures are 40-50 N/mm2
(5000-8000 psi), resulting in a
required clamp force of 0.4-0.5

E N G I N E E R I N G
tons/cm2 (3-4 tons/square inch).

The way in which the mold is con-


structed is determined by:

- shape of the part


- number of cavities
- position and system of gating

D S M
- material viscosity
- mold venting.

A simple mold with a single parting


The method of construction is deter- The opening stroke is limited by
line is shown in Figure 4.1. More
mined not only by the part shape and adjusting bolts, which also operate
complex molds for parts with under-
material properties (flexibility, rigidity, stripper plate A.
cuts or side cores may use several
shrinkage) but also by the part
parting lines or sliding cores.These
requirements. Cams, and rotating Runners are stripped from slightly
cores may be operated manually,
cores for example, may be used for undercut cores at the injection side.
mechanically, hydraulically, pneumati-
external screw threads, but consider- Then, the mold is opened at the main
cally or electro-mechanically.
able increase in costs will result. parting line. Stripper plate B ejects
the parts.
Figure 4.2 shows an example of a
Three-plate molds, as shown in Figure
sliding cam. The cam pins which
4.3, have two parting lines that are
operate the cams are mounted under
used in multi-cavity molds or multiple
a maximum angle of 20° - 25° in the
gated parts. During the first opening
injection side. The angle is limited
stage automatic degating takes place
because of the enormous force which
when the parts are pulled away from
is exerted on these pins during mold
the runners.
opening and closing.

Table of Contents 29
To vent the air in the mold cavity it Inadequate venting may result in vari- Figure 4.4 Construction of a venting
channel.
must be able to escape during mold ous molding failures:
filling. If there are insufficient vents
cavity
compression of air may take place. - burnt spot
The pressure and local temperature - weak and visible weld lines
rise quickly, potentially causing
.
- poor surface finish
incomplete filling or even burning of - poor mechanical properties
the thermoplastic. - incomplete filling, especially vent
in thin sections relief
Venting should be taken into account - irregular dimensions .
in the design stage and positioned at - local corrosion of the mold
the last points to fill. cavity surface. all dimensions mm

If the air is trapped with no way out to Multi-cavity molds. The number of
the mold parting line, it is advisable to cavities and mold construction
place a venting pin/ejector pin to per- depend both on economical and tech- The gating system and gate location
mit the air escape through the clear- nical factors. Important is the number can limit the design freedom for multi-
ance between pin and hole. of parts to be molded, the required cavity molds. Dimensional accuracy
Dimensions of venting channels can time, and price in relation to mold and quality requirements should be
be read from Figure 4.4; the dimen- manufacturing costs. Figure 4.5 accounted for.
sions are chosen in such a way that shows the relation between the total
air can escape without flash. part costs and the number of cavities. The runner lay-out of multiple-cavity
molds should be designed for simul-
taneous and even cavity filling.
Unbalanced runner systems lead to
unequal filling, post-filling and cool-
Figure 4.5 Total part costs in relation to number of cavities. ing of individual cavities which may
cause failures like:

- incomplete filling
- differences in product properties
- shrinkage differences/warpage
- sink marks
- flash
- poor mold release
- inconsistency.

30 Table of Contents
Examples of unbalanced runners are 30 cm3 (1.83 in3), shot weight 36 g Figure 4.7 Naturally balanced runner
systems.
shown in Figure 4.6. With computer (1.3 oz) and a projected area of 20
aided flow simulation it is possible to cm2 (3.1 in2) including runners
adjust primary and secondary runner requires about 5 kN/cm2 (36 tons)
dimensions to obtain equal filling pat- clamping force.
terns. Adjusting runner dimensions to
achieve equal filling may not be suffi- The maximum number of cavities
cient in critical parts to prevent based on the clamping force would
potential failures. Special attention is be 12. It is advisable to use only
required for: 80% of the barrel capacity, thus the
number of cavities in this example is
limited to 6.

P L A S T I C S
- very small components
- parts with thin sections
- parts that permit no sink marks When very short cycle times are
- parts with a primary runner length expected the total number of cavities
may be further reduced. A 6-cavity
much larger than secondary
mold in this example requires a shot
runner length.
weight of 216 g (8 oz). The cooling

E N G I N E E R I N G
time must be at least 8.7 seconds.
It is preferred to design naturally bal-
anced runners as shown in Figure 4.7. Figure 4.6 Unbalanced runner systems.

When high quality and tight toler-


ances are required the cavities must
be uniform. Family molds are not
considered suitable. Nevertheless, it
might be necessary for economical

D S M
reasons to mold different parts in one
mold. The cavity with the largest
component should be placed nearest
to the sprue.

The maximum number of cavities in a


mold depends on the total cavity vol-
ume including runners in relation to
the maximum barrel capacity and
clamping force of the injection mold-
ing machine.

Number of cavities. A given


molding machine has a maximum
barrel capacity of 254 cm3 (7 in3), a
plasticizing capacity of 25 g/s
(1 oz/second), 45 mm screw
(1.77 in screw) and a clamping force
of 1300 kN (150 tons). A PC part of

Table of Contents 31
The flow resistance can be decreased Full trapezoidal channels in one of the
Runners
by rounding off all corners in the run- two mold halves provide a cheaper
ner system. alternative (see Figure 4.8).
The runner system is a manifold for
distribution of thermoplastic melt from
Runners with circular cross-section The rounded off trapezoidal cross
the machine nozzle to the cavities. The
affect favorable melt flow and cooling section combines ease of machining
sprue bushing and runners should be
for their optimal surface area to vol- in one mold half with a cross section
as short as possible to ensure limited
ume ratio (see Figure 4.8). However, it that approaches the desired circular
pressure losses in the mold.
takes more effort to build circular run- shape. The height of a trapezoidal
ners because one half must be runner must be at least 80% of the
The sprue is provided with a cold slug
machined in the fixed mold part and largest width.
well with a reversed taper and will be
the other half in the moving mold part.
extracted from the cavity side when the
The diameter of a runner highly
mold opens. Runners should be pro-
This option is expensive as the two depends on its length but must never
vided with cold slug wells at the end of
halves must match each other with be smaller than the largest wall thick-
primary and secondary runners.
high accuracy. Semi-circular runners ness of the product. Recommended
are not recommended because of runner dimensions can be taken from
Streamlining of runners prevents irreg-
large heat losses. Table 4.2.
ular melt flow with air entrapments as
a potential consequence.

Figure 4.8 Cross sectional area of various runner profiles.

D x 1.192 D x 1.192

10˚ 10˚

D D

D x 0.839

D Full Round Trapezoid Modified Trapezoid

(in) (mm) (in2) (mm2) (in2) (mm2) (in2) (mm2)


1/8 3.2 0.012 8.0 0.016 10.4 0.015 9.7
3/16 4.8 0.028 18.1 0.036 23.4 0.033 21.8
1/4 6.4 0.049 32.2 0.063 41.6 0.059 38.7
5/16 7.9 0.077 49.0 0.099 63.4 0.092 59.0
3/8 9.5 0.110 70.9 0.143 91.6 0.133 85.3
7/16 11.1 0.150 96.8 0.194 125.1 0.181 116.4
1/2 12.7 0.196 126.7 0.254 163.8 0.236 152.4
5/8 15.9 0.307 198.6 0.397 256.7 0.369 238.9

32 Table of Contents
Sprue gate. Direct gating with the (0.03-0.25 in). Smaller gates may
Gate design
sprue provides simplicity for symmet- induce high shear and thus thermal
ric, center gated single cavity molds. degradation. Reinforced thermoplas-
The location of gates is of great
tics require slightly larger gates ∆ 1
importance for the properties and
This type of gating is particularly suit- mm (0.04 in). The maximal land length
appearance of the finished part. The
able for thick moldings because hold- should be 1 mm. Advised gate dimen-
melt should fill the entire cavity quickly
ing pressure is more effective. A short sions can be found in Table 4.3.
and evenly. For gate design the fol-
sprue is favored, enabling rapid mold
lowing points should be considered:
filling and low pressure losses. A special version of pin point for cylin-
drical parts is the multiple point gate.
- locate the gate at the thickest section
In general, the diameter at the begin- Three plate molds and multiple point
- note gate marks for aesthetic reasons
ning of the sprue should be approxi- gates are often employed in the mold-

P L A S T I C S
- avoid jetting by modifying gate
mately 0.5 mm (0.02 in) larger than ing of critical tolerance parts such as
dimensions or position
the orifice of the nozzle. A minimum gears.
- balance flow paths to ensure
total taper of 3° is required. The junc-
uniform filling and packing tion of sprue and part should be Tabs can be regarded as unrestricted
- prevent weld lines or direct radiused to prevent stress cracking. gates. Tabs offer an alternative for pin
to less critical sections After demolding, the sprue is mechan- point side gating to eliminate jetting
- minimize entrapped air to

E N G I N E E R I N G
ically removed from the part. and reduce local strains.
eliminate burn marks
- avoid areas subject to impact or Pin points. Pin points are popular for
mechanical stress aesthetics reasons and ease of degat-
- place for ease of degating. ing. They offer an inexpensive solution
in standard two plate multiple cavity
A distinction can be made between Gate diameters for unreinforced ther-
center and edge gating of a part. moplastics range from 0.8 up to 6 mm
Center gated parts show a radial flow

D S M
of the melt. This type of gate is particu- Table 4.2 Maximum runner lengths for specific diameters.

larly good for symmetrical parts, such Runner Diameter Maximum Runner Length
as cup shaped products or gears,
because the cavity can fill evenly and Low Viscosity High Viscosity
give very predictable results. On the (in) (mm) (in) (mm) (in) (mm)
other hand, linear flow and cross flow
properties often differ. In flat parts, this 1/8 3 4 100 2 50
can induce additional stress and result 1/4 6 8 200 4 100
in warpage or uneven shrinkage. 3/8 9 11 280 6 150
1/2 13 13 330 7 175
Because of their simplicity and ease of
manufacture, edge gates are the most
Table 4.3 Dimensions of gates.
commonly used. These work well for a
wide variety of parts which are injec- Wall Thickness mm (in) Gate Diameter / Length mm (in)

tion molded. Long narrow parts typi- 0.7 - 1.2 mm (0.02 - 0.05) 0.7 - 1.0 / 0.8 - 1 (0.02 - 0.04 / 0.03 - 0.04)
cally use edge gates at or near one 1.2 - 3.0 mm (0.05 - 0.12) 0.8 - 2.0 / 0.8 - 1 (0.03 - 0.08 / 0.03 - 0.04)
end in order to reduce warpage. But it
3.0 - 5.0 mm (0.12 - 0.20) 1.5 - 3.5 / 0.9 - 1 (0.06 - 0.14 / 0.04 - 0.04)
is very difficult to mold round parts
using this type gate as they tend to > 5.0* mm (0.20) 3.5 - 6.0 / 0.8 - 1 (0.14 - 0.24 / 0.03 - 0.04)
warp into an oval shape.
* wall thickness larger than 5 mm (0.20 in) should be avoided

Table of Contents 33
Figure 4.9 Gate designs.

. .

. .

34 Table of Contents
Tunnel gates. Tunnel or sub-surface the part on the mold cores. Large shape and wall thickness. Larger
gates enable automatic degating after ejection areas uniformly distributed moldings require a draft of 2° or 3°.
ejection. The tunnel can be located over the molding are advised to avoid Sometimes a draft angle is not
either in the moving mold half or in the deformations. allowed, then the injection molding
fixed half. A sub-gate is often located conditions will have to be adapted to
into the side of an ejector pin on the Mold release is largely simplified ensure removal of the product.
non-visible side of the part when when the part is sufficiently tapered in
appearance is important. To degate, the mold opening direction. The Figure 4.10 shows the draft in mm for
the tunnel requires a good taper and required draft depends on: various draft angles as a function of
must be free to bend. height of the molding.
- height of the molding
Line/edge gates. Line gates are - rigidity of thermoplastic during Several ejector systems can be used:

P L A S T I C S
used for distribution of melt along ejection - ejector pin or sleeve
edges of parts. A land length of - shrinkage - air valve
0.5-1 mm (0.02-0.04 in) is required. - material flexibility - stripper plate.
Degating takes place in a post-mold- - complexity of shape
ing operation. - ejection system When no special ejection problems
- surface texture. are expected, the standard ejector pin
A flash gate is used for long flat thin

E N G I N E E R I N G
will perform well. In case of cylindrical
walled parts and provides even filling. In general, rigid thermoplastics need
Shrinkage will be more uniform which parts like bosses a sleeve ejector is
less draft. Side walls with a rough sur-
is important especially for fiber rein- used to provide uniform ejection
face generally require more draft than
forced thermoplastics. around the core pin.
smooth walls. It is recommended to
apply a draft of approximately 1° per
A fan gate uniformly spreads the flow side. For small moldings a draft of
from the sprue or runner to the part 0°30’ may be sufficient depending on
edge. This type is often used for thick
sectioned moldings and enables slow

D S M
injection without freeze-off, which is Figure 4.10 Draft (A) in mm for various draft angles (B) as
favored for low stress moldings. a function of molding depth (C).

Cylindrical parts requiring good con-


centricity and strength can be molded
in single cavity molds using a
diaphragm gate or internal ring.
Uniform radial mold filling is achieved
without weld lines. External rings are
applied for multi-cavity concentric
moldings where diaphragms can not
be used.

Ejection systems

The method of ejection has to be


adapted to the shape of the molding
to prevent damage. In general, mold
release is hindered by shrinkage of

Table of Contents 35
A central valve ejector is frequently between cavity wall and the molding. often operated by means of a draw
used in combination with air ejection Release can be improved by break- bar or chain.
on cup or bucket shaped parts ing the vacuum with an ejection
where vacuum might exist. mechanism.
Mold cooling
A high-gloss surface can have an A stripper plate or ring is used when
adverse effect on mold release ejector pins or valves would not oper- Mold cooling serves to dissipate the
because a vacuum may arise ate effectively. The stripper plate is heat of the molding quickly and uni-
formly. Fast cooling is necessary to
obtain economical production and
Figure 4.11 Basic principle of cooling channels.
uniform cooling is required for product
“w” “d” “a” “b” quality. Adequate mold temperature
control is essential for consistent
wall thickness of diameter of the center distance center distances molding. The lay-out of the cooling
the product cooling channels with respect to between cooling circuit warrants close attention.
mm (in) mm (in) mold cavity channels

2 (0.08) 8 - 10 (0.31 - 0.40)


Optimal properties of engineering
plastics can be achieved only when
2 - 4 (0.08 - 0.16) 10 - 12 (0.40 - 0.47) 1.5 - 2 d 2-3d
the right mold temperature is set and
4 - 6 (0.16 - 0.24) 12 - 14 ( 0.47 - 0.55) maintained during processing. The
mold temperature has a substantial
effect on:

- mechanical properties
- shrinkage behavior
- warpage
- surface quality
- cycle time.

In particular semi-crystalline thermo-


plastics need to cool down at optimal
crystallization rate. Parts with widely
varying wall thicknesses are likely to
deform because of local differences in
Figure 4.12 Position of cooling channels. the degree of crystallization.

In general, the cooling system will be


roughly drilled or milled. Rough inner
surfaces enhance turbulent flow of
coolant, thus providing better heat
exchange. Cooling channels should
be placed close to the mold cavity
surface with equal center distances in
between (see Figures 4.11 and 4.12).
The mechanical strength of the mold
steel should be considered when
designing the cooling system.

36 Table of Contents
Some thermoplastics, like Arnite (Figure 4.13). Seals or O-rings should ferred over serial cooling as
and Xantar, may require mold be resistant to elevated temperatures shown in Figure 4.16
temperatures of 100°C (210°F) or and oils. - avoid dead spots and/or air bub-
higher for optimal processing and bles in cooling circuits
properties. Effective mold insulation Guidelines for optimal mold tempera- - heat exchange between mold and
is advised to minimize heat loss ture control: machine should be minimized
between the mold and the machine - differences in flow resistance of
mounting platens. Insulation boards - independent symmetrical cooling cooling channels, caused by
with low thermal conductivity and circuits around the mold cavities diameter changes, should be
relatively high compressive strength - cores need effective cooling avoided.
are commercially available. (see Figure 4.14 and 4.15)
- short cooling channels to ensure

P L A S T I C S
Care is required in the correct plac- temperature differences between
ing of seals; they may be damaged in- and outlet do not exceed 5°C
by the sharp edges of the pocket (10°F). Parallel circuits are pre-
when the mold insert is mounted

E N G I N E E R I N G
Figure 4.13 Sealing and cooling channel lay-out.

D S M
Figure 4.14 Examples of core cooling.

Table of Contents 37
Mold parts that are excessively heat- Beryllium copper inserts may be used Figure 4.15 Examples of separate cool-
ing of core top.
ed, like sprue bushings and areas for improved cooling near hot spots.
near the gates, must be cooled inten- High heat conductivity is also required
sively. Rapid and even cooling is for gate drops in hotrunner molds.
enhanced by the use of highly con-
ductive metals, such as beryllium- Standardization of mold parts is grow-
copper. These metals are used to full ing, not only for ejector pins, leader
advantage in places where it is pins and bushings, but also for mold
impossible to place sufficient cooling plates and even complete mold
channels. bases. These standard mold bases
require only machining of the cores,
cavities and cooling channels and fit-
Tool steel ting of an ejection system.
Advantages are:
For injection molds there are several
steel types available. For long produc- - cost savings (30-50%)
tion runs a durable mold is required. - short delivery times
The cost of tool steel is often not more - interchangeability
than 10% of total mold cost. Important - easy and rapid repair.
steel properties are:

Figure 4.16 Cooling of the mold.


- ease of machining
- dimensional stability after
heat treatment
- wear resistance
- surface finish
- corrosion resistance.

Use of specific alloying elements like


carbon may increase single proper-
ties, however, often at the cost of
other properties. Table 4.5 shows
some popular grades of mold tool
steel.

Corrosion resistant hardened steels


should be selected when conventional
flame retardants are used. In the case
of halogen free flame retardant DSM
thermoplastics, standard steel types
can be selected.

38 Table of Contents
Table 4.4 Price index for various surface finishing classes.
Surface finish

A high-gloss surface finish may be


Roughness Description Price
achieved with proper molding condi- µm Index

surface finish requirements


surface finish requirements
tions and polished mold cavities.
≤0.05 N0-N2 high gloss, no visible
High-gloss polished cavities require scratches or flow lines 1000
careful handling and protection during
0.1 N3 glossy, small, visible 500
processing. Mold maintenance needs scratches acceptable
more frequent attention.
0.2 N4 “technical” finish 200

Great care should be exercised when 0.8 N5 no aesthetical


requirements 100

P L A S T I C S
removing high-gloss parts from the
mold to avoid scratches.

Table 4.4 gives an indication of the


price index for the commonly used When high quality of textures are
surface finish classes according ISO expected use a low alloy tool steel
1302. with a limited carbon content

E N G I N E E R I N G
(< 0.45%). If nitriding is necessary,
For low gloss, semi-matt or matt sur- it should be preceded by texturing.
face finishes, the tool cavity needs
treatment to obtain fine to very fine tex- After long periods of use the mold
tured structures. A matt surface is surface deteriorates due to wear. Use
obtained by vapor blasting techniques. of glass fibers will increase abrasion.
Basic steel roughness should be N3 or Frequent checks of the surface condi-
better ra < 0.1 mm (0.004 in). tion are recommended.

D S M
Textured part surfaces have a special Semi-crystalline thermoplastics are
visual and haptic appearance, e.g. often less scratch resistant when very
soft touch. Compared to other surface fine textures are used. Because of
treatments, textures are relatively their good flow properties, the mold
cheap. reproduction is better than that of
amorphous thermoplastics. Micro-
Their popularity is based on: scopic ridges at the part surface may
be easily damaged with a finger nail.
- appearance (wood grain or
leather)
- functionality, e.g. anti-slip
- masking of molding defects.

Main texturing techniques are:


- photochemical etching
- EDM
- engraving
- brushing
- laser engraving.

Table of Contents 39
Table 4.5 Steel types for injection molds.

Rockwell C Hardness

Corrosion Resistance
Abrasion Resistance
Chromium Content

Polishing Ability

Machinability

Weldability
Designation Type Usage

P-20 Prehardened 30-36 1.4% F F VG G F High grade mold base plates, hot runner
manifolds, large cavities & cores, gibs

420 Prehardened 30-35 13.6% F G E F F Best grade base plates (no plating
required); large cores, cavities, & inserts

420 Stainless 50-52 13.6% G VG E VG G Best all-around cavity, core, and


insert steel; best polishability

440C Stainless 56-58 17.5% VG VG E VG G Small to medium size cavities, cores


inserts, and stripper rings

H-13 Air Hardening 50-52 5.3% G F VG E G Cavities, cores, inserts, ejector pins,
and sleeves (nitrided)

S-7 Air Hardening 54-56 3.25% E F G E G Cavities, cores, inserts, & stripper rings

D-2 Air Hardening 56-58 12.0% E F G F P Cavities, cores, & runner gate
inserts for abrasive plastics

P = Poor F = Fair G = Good VG = Very Good E = Excellent

40 Table of Contents
Figure 4.17 Examples of textured structures.

P L A S T I C S
E N G I N E E R I N G
D S M

Table of Contents 41
Figure 4.18 Cross-section of a basic hotrunner section.
Hotrunners

Historically, hotrunners were mainly


used in molds for thermally stable
plastics such as PP, PE and ABS.
Today these systems are becoming
more important when processing
amorphous and semi-crystalline engi-
neering plastics like PC, PA and PBT.

Figure 4.18 shows a schematic


cross-section of a hotrunner system.
It is often cost effective to produce
large volumes with hotrunner molds,
in spite of high investments. These
systems are used for a wide range of
applications.
Table 4.6 Advantages and disadvantages of hotrunner systems.

The electrical/electronic industry uses Advantages Disadvantages


small components, like connectors production increase (cycle) higher investments
and bobbins, that are molded in multi- material saving critical molding conditions
cavity molds. On the other hand, large quality improvement critical temperature control
multi-gated parts are used in the auto- less scrap start-up problems
motive industry, e.g. bumpers and automatic degating color change problems
dashboards. Yet both can benefit from energy savings abrasion (reinforced plastics)
the cost and technical advantages of flexible gating position
hot runners.

Cycle time reduction is possible when Table 4.7 Factors influencing selection of hotrunner systems.
cooling of a cold runner would deter-
Economy Process
mine the cycle time. Table 4.6 shows
typical advantages and disadvan- _ investments _ start-up
tages of hotrunner systems. _ number of parts _ total flow-path
_ cycle time _ pressure-distribution
_ material waste _ color-change
In selecting a hotrunner system, sev- _ energy _ melt homogeneity
eral factors have to be taken into _ regrind _ residence time
account (see Table 4.7).
Product Material
Taking all these factors into considera- _ dimensions _ flow-behavior
tion, there is still a choice between _ shot-weight _ melting temperature/range
many types and variations of hotrun- _ gate/sink marks _ process window
_ reproducibility _ thermal stability
ner manifolds and nozzles. General
_ required tolerances/warpage _ reinforcement
recommendations can not be given.
_ fiber-orientation _ additives
The best option depends on the ther-
moplastic and the requirements of the
specific application.

42 Table of Contents
The following guidelines - optimal mold temperature control With respect to externally and internal-
should be respected: - no dead spots and flow restric- ly heated manifolds the same conclu-
- natural runner balancing tions in manifold and nozzles; sions are applicable as for nozzles.
- minimal pressure-losses - limited residence time of melt in
- sufficient heating capacity for the hotrunner A relatively cheap and robust alter-
manifold and each single nozzle - adequate sealing of runners. native for hotrunners is the hotrun-
- accurate, separate temperature ner/ cold sprue. The hotrunner mani-
controls for manifold and nozzle Figure 4.19 shows various basic types fold is followed by a short cold sprue
- effective insulation between of nozzle configurations with their typi- that eliminates the use of expensive
manifold and mold cal advantages and disadvantages. nozzles.

P L A S T I C S
Figure 4.19 Advantages and disadvantages of basic nozzle configuration.

E N G I N E E R I N G
D S M
Internally heated Externally heated Externally heated nozzle
nozzle/manifold. nozzle/manifold. with needle valve.

Advantage Advantage Advantage


_ simple and cheap _ homogeneous melt temperature _ homogeneous melt temperature
_ solid construction _ small melt-volume _ small melt-volume
_ lower energy costs _ applicable for broad range of materials _ large gate diameter possible
_ no leakage _ low pressure-loss _ applicable for high viscosity and
thermally instable materials
_ easy colour change
_ process control

Disadvantage Disadvantage Disadvantage


_ temperature homogeneity _ high energy input _ high energy input
_ mainly for polyolefines _ possible leakage _ insulation from cold mold necessary
_ higher pressure losses _ insulation from cold mold parts _ costs
_ difficult color changes necessary _ high maintenance
_ high shear _ costs _ high shear

Table of Contents 43
DSM thermoplastics product range

DSM Engineering Plastics has devel- variety of resins, each with a unique ingly demanding requirements in new
oped a wide product portfolio in a profile of properties that meet increas- applications.

Type Properties Processing


Polyolefins

Fiberfil® reinforced homopolymer excellent resistance to chemicals; high notched impact injection molding
and copolymer strength copolymer PP; high flow, available in mineral
polypropylenes filled or glass reinforced grades for increased strength
and stiffness
Amorphous Thermoplastics

Xantar® polycarbonate (PC) high impact strength, ductile down to -80°C (-112°F); injection molding
temperature resistance, dimensional stability; self extin- and extrusion
guishing; transparent or opaque; available in unrein-
forced clear grades and glass fiber reinforced grades
for improved stiffness and dimensional stability

Electrafil® carbon black or EMI shielding; ESD protection injection molding


carbon fiber reinforced
polycarbonate

Semi Crystalline Engineering Plastics

Akulon® nylon 6 and 66 impact resistance; very high rigidity (GF) 5-12 GPa injection molding
(725,00-1,740,000 psi); good thermal stability; excel- and extrusion
lent flow; high arc tracking resistance; good resistance
to chemicals and aging; available either in unrein-
forced or reinforced with glass fibers or mineral fillers

nylon 4/6 continuous use temperature 150-170°C (302-338°F); injection molding


Stanyl®
good property retention at high temperatures; high stiff- and extrusion
ness (GF) 5-12 GPa (725,000-1,7440,000 psi); creep,
wear and fatigue resistance; compatible with most sol-
dering processes; available in unreinforced, glass fiber
or mineral reinforced grades

Arnitel® thermoplastic copolyester high temperature resistance; notched impact strength injection molding
elastomers down to -40˚C (-40˚F); excellent flexural fatigue: good and extrusion
resistance to chemicals and weathering; hardness
range from Shore D 40 to 75

Arnite® thermoplastic polyester high gloss surface finish; good dielectric properties; injection molding
based on polyethylene reinforced: very high stiffness 7-19 GPa (1,000,000 and extrusion
terephthalate(PET) or - 2,755,000 psi); high resistance to wear; low/con-
polybutylene stant friction; resistant to chemicals; unreinforced;
terephthalate (PBT) impact strength; low creep; superior resistance to
long term wear

44 Table of Contents
DSM product portfolio

Akulon® Nylon 6 and 6/6 in both unreinforced and reinforced


nylons grades, including flame retardant products.

Stanyl® High temperature nylon which bridges the price-performance gap


46 nylon between traditional nylons and high-performance materials.

Arnitel® High performance elastomers based on polyester.


copolyester elastomers

P L A S T I C S
Xantar® Unreinforced, reinforced, and flame retardant grades with outstanding
polycarbonate impact resistance, dimensional stability, and high heat deflection
temperature.

E N G I N E E R I N G
Arnite® Unreinforced, reinforced, and flame retardant grades offering
thermoplastic polyester dimensional stability and low moisture absorption with good
chemical resistance.

Electrafil® Electrically conductive thermoplastic materials providing ESD and

D S M
conductive thermoplastics EMI shielding.

Plaslube® Internally lubricated nylons to enhance wear and friction properties.


lubricated thermoplastics

Nylatron® Internally lubricated nylons to enhance wear and friction properties.


lubricated thermoplastics

Fiberfil® Reinforced and filled polypropylenes.


reinforced & filled thermoplastics

Table of Contents
North American
Headquarters
DSM Engineering Plastics
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Evansville, IN 47732-3333
Tel. 812 435 7500
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www.dsmep.com

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Fax 65 294 3808

1-800-333-4237
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© 2000 DSM Engineering Plastics Printed in the USA DBD•020052 04/00 2500

Stanyl®, Akulon®, Arnitel®, Arnite®, Xantar®, Electrafil®, Plaslube®, Nylatron® and Fiberfil® are registered trademarks of DSM Engineering Plastics.