The trend toward insert molding and overmolding is growing as manufacturers are looking for higher quality with more automation. It makes perfect sense, if you can mold around an insert and obtain a better part at a reduced overall cost, why not?
Automotive clutch parts are a great example of insert molding. It does require a higher level of moldmaking in order to accomplish this, but the finished product is much better. Many automotive parts are made using insert molding. Rotary presses, shuttle molds, stack molds and hand loaded inserts are just some of the methods used.
From cars to medical devices to consumer products, insert molding is a growing field worth investigating. Take a look around at the various plastic parts near you, insert molding is everywhere.
Medical insert molding solutions
The medical market presents a great opportunity for insert molding. Every year more and more devices are designed to be manufactured as a one-piece unit. It produces a superior product and provides a cleaner part.
Some molders are misinformed by thinking that all medical parts require a “white room.” This is just not the case, as there are many parts that do not require anything more than a “clean room.” The cost difference is enormous, which offers a great point of entry into the market.
Thermoplastic insert molding
Electrical switches and connectors of all kind are made using insert molding. The connectors and plugs are molded as one piece with the thermoset plastic and are nearly unbreakable. Special injection presses are required, or at least extensive modifications must be made to existing molding machines, in order to injection mold thermoset plastics.
Cell manufacturing and insert molding are a perfect fit. The set up costs and level of expertise can be significant, so can the profits.
Many companies have found that the only way to win contracts is by offering a complete program of insert molding, inspection and shipping. This can require a substantial investment that might include special presses, “A” or “B” side mold halves, optical scanners, label making equipment, and packaging equipment.
One stategy is to build the molds in house, set up a manufacturing cell and test run everything extensively. Once everything has been approved, it can be move entirely to a less costly area. This helps eliminate the problems associated with unskilled help or a lack of communication. Once the program is up and running it should be a matter of maintenance and upkeep.
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