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Ordering Custom Injection Molding Parts

Aug 17, 2007
When you can't find the plastic part you need for your design idea or invention, you'll need to find a manufacturing engineer to build a custom injection molding part. You can either go about this by designing the part yourself and having a shop manufacture it, or contracting a shop of specialized manufacturing engineers to design and build the custom injection molding piece to your specifications.

If you're area of expertise is in something other than engineering and custom injection molding, you'll probably want to choose the later to ensure you get a part that works precisely. If you need to create a unique part, it's necessary to find someone with the design and engineering expertise to take your concept and turn it into a finished part. Here you'll find some points to consider when ordering custom injection molding parts to ensure that your part works exactly as you imagined and stands the test of time.

Understanding custom injection molding
Injection molding is the most common method of producing plastic parts. A engineer first builds a mold of the part in relief, which becomes the template for every successive manufactured part. The material is then poured into the mold, yielding a perfect part from the first piece to the 1,000,000th piece. With custom injection molding, once the mold is designed and crafted, the cost of producing subsequent parts is reduced dramatically.

How will the part be used?
In order to determine what type of material will be best suited for your custom part, the machine manufacturer will want to understand how the part will be used. Today there are more than 40,000 grades of resin available from which to make a custom injection molding part. The more information and documentation you can provide the machine engineer with the better. Prepare a document detailing the part's functionality and provide a diagram of how it interacts with other pieces. Written documentation versus a verbal conversation leaves less room for interpretation.

Design concept
One of the greatest benefits of working with a manufacturing engineer is gaining access to years of design experience. The best way to communicate a design idea to an engineer is in terms of use cases, or how the end product will be used. This is a good exercise for you also, as it helps you to work through all the possible scenarios in which the piece may be used in order to shave off years of trial and error.

Considering "implied" uses
There are often numerous ways that a piece will be "used" other than its base purpose which will impact the design. Using a 2 liter soda container as an example, its main purpose is to store a carbonated beverage. However, because of its function, it's likely to be dropped on kitchen floor so must be durable and built with a cap that won't explode with increase pressure. It may also be taken to picnics so must be designed to handle exposure in hot sun or in melting ice without affecting the contents. The containers also must be shipped on large trucks so need to be able to remain stable in containers during shipping.

The right custom injection molding company should ask you lots of questions about your product so that they can truly bring the concept in your mind into reality. Providing the custom injection molding engineer with use cases, as well as some other visual influences, can help you achieve a superbly designed piece that exceeds your original expectations.
About the Author
Author is a writer for NWPA Source which specializes in custom plastic molding and die cutting tools. For additional information you can visit www.NWPASource.com
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