Using the Studio System by Desktop Metal, Innovative Plastics created mold cavities and cores in far less time – and at significantly less cost – than traditional methods. In addition, the company was able to incorporate features like internal channels into the molds, reducing molding cycle time and increasing their productivity.
The most common manufacturing method for plastic parts, injection molding works by forcing melted plastic into a mold under pressure. Within seconds, the plastic cools, allowing the mold to open and eject the solidified part, and the cycle starts again. Today, the injection molding process is used to produce a huge variety of parts and products, everything from children’s toys to automotive parts to surgical tools. For companies, like Innovative Plastics, that specialize in the process, many of the challenges they face come down to one key issue – speed.
With constant iteration in product design and the demand for tens of millions of plastic parts per year, injection molding companies must be able to create new molds and retool manufacturing lines quickly to minimize downtime.
In addition to quickly creating molds for new products, molding companies also seek to shorten the cycle time – the time it takes to inject plastic, cool it, eject a part and reclose – in an effort to increase production. When factored over 24 hours of continuous production, improvement in cycle time – even of just a few seconds – can translate to production increases of 25 percent or more. To meet those challenges, Innovative Plastics is investing in next-generation manufacturing technology, including metal 3D printing.
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