The goal of every plastic injection moulding company is to run their machines at maximum capacity 24/7 to produce as many parts as possible in a short time while maintaining the highest levels of quality.
Although this approach clearly benefits the supplier, there are also spin-off benefits for each customer. In particular, by minimising cycle times, the injection moulding company is able to reduce lead times for each call-off order and, if they have an optimised production facility, with the latest injection moulding, automation and supporting systems, then they will be able to offer the most competitive prices.
Improving cycle times can depend on many variables some of which are:
- Selecting the right machinery: The capability and performance of each plastic injection moulding machine and ensuring that it is correctly set up and optimised.
- Choosing the right materials: The correct choice of materials for each application; different plastics for injection moulding have different melt temperatures, higher fill-pressure rates and flow characteristics. These will all affect the rate at which each part is formed.
- Considering the design of the mould: The design and construction of the injection mould tool. The construction of the mould tool will be determined by the design of the part. Factors such as wall thickness will affect the volume of molten plastic that needs to be injected during each cycle; over time, incremental savings of just a few milliseconds will add up, saving time and, with less material being required, cost.
It should be considered that the design of the part may affect the cooling characteristics of the mould tool. This, in turn, will determine the rate at which moulded parts can be injected from the injection mould tool.
It is observed that the cooling time is proportional to the square wall of thickness. The cooling time can increase in a non-linear fashion with an increased part wall thickness. For example, the cooling time for a semi-crystalline like Polybutylene Terephthalate will always be higher than an amorphous material like a blend of Polycarbonate and ABS. Therefore, plastic injection mould tooling for parts with thin walls or complex curved surfaces can be difficult using traditional engineering techniques to machine or drill straight cooling channels.
By comparison, our conformal cooling solution, using 3D metal additive printing, allows us to engineer mould tool inserts with cooling channels that follow the exact geometry of the mould tool surface. As the cooling time can take up to 50% of the cycle time, we understand that this is a crucial part to the overall process. You can read more about conformal cooling here.
As a leading plastic injection moulder, we understand that the cycle time is a key factor in determining the cost and time efficiency of creating a plastic component. Therefore, with our combined expertise and innovative technology, we partner with our customers to achieve quick and efficient cycle times. Speak to one of our experts today!