The world of plastic injection moulding is advancing all the time. Recent innovations include the adoption of additive manufacturing technology, especially for the production of conformal cooled mould tool inserts, the development of processes that reduce time to market and the use of highly automated robotic systems to improve efficiency and productivity.
As injection mould manufacturing processes have evolved, so too has the development of specialised technical engineering materials. These allow us to design unique characteristics or functionality into each injection moulded part; for example, incorporating anti-microbial or RFI/EMC properties.
Technical engineering plastics
Although there have been many recent developments in the field of engineering plastics for injection moulding, there is a wide range of materials such as PEEK and PPSU that have been available for some time but which many injection moulders choose not to use due to the technical challenges of moulding them successfully.
This is an area in which OGM excels. Over the years we’ve built up a wealth of knowledge and experience in the selection, handling and injection moulding of specialised materials, to meet the often unique demands of customer projects.
Here is a brief look at just three of the different technical engineering plastics that we regularly injection mould. If you’d like to know more then please get in touch with our technical team.
What is PEEK?
Polyetheretherketone, or PEEK for short, is a semi-crystalline engineering thermoplastic. It is compatible with a wide range of chemicals, has a high melting point at around 340°C and can withstand prolonged use at temperatures of up to 260°C without affecting its mechanical properties.
This combination of high temperature resistance and mechanical strength – especially flexural and tensile – make PEEK ideal for use in demanding applications, from aerospace to systems where hot water, steam and even radiation are involved.
What is PPSU?
PPSU, or PPSF as it’s sometimes called, stands for polyphenylsulfone. This is an amorphous, heat-resistant and transparent high-performance thermoplastic, which offers high levels of toughness, flexural and tensile strength, with excellent hydrolytic stability and resistance to chemicals and heat.
PPSU is available as an unreinforced, flame retardant, high viscosity injection moulding plastic, making it ideal for use firefighting and other high temperature applications, while its ability to withstand a range of aggressive chemicals mean that it is often used in pipe fittings, medical devices and sterilisation systems.
Biodegradable plastics for injection moulding
Biodegradable plastics have been developed to decompose naturally in the environment under normal conditions of temperature and humidity. The range of technical engineering materials available is growing steadily, with many being manufactured by fermenting canola oil or sugar. Their applications can range from disposable packaging for food or cosmetics, to drug delivery systems and even medical implants.
The most common types of biodegradable plastic resins used in plastic injection moulding include:
- Polybutylene Succinate (PBS)
- Polycaprolactone (PCL)
- Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
- Polylactic Acid (PLA)
- Thermoplastic Starch-based Plastics (TPS)
If you’d like to find out more about the wide range of specialised technical engineering materials that we can injection mould, please get in touch.