Designing a part for moldability and manufacturability is a complex process with many factors to consider to obtain a finished, quality product. Designing for manufacturing, or DFM, is a common term used by many industrial engineers. Although, in the plastic injection molding industry, DFM can mean designing for moldability. While these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, understanding the difference between moldability and manufacturability will have a significant impact on your injection molded part design and production.
Designing for Moldability
Moldability refers to how well the molten plastic injected into your mold will conform to your part design. Many factors will affect moldability, such as the material selected, the type and complexity of the mold, and the molding environment. Initial part design must dive deep into all of these areas to factor in the moldability of a part beyond the specific features.
The type of material selected will impact the molding process, as all materials have various melting points and levels of viscosity. This is important when filling in thin walls or molding complex features. The type of plastic resin chosen will also affect the mold construction design and costs. For example, if a glass filled nylon is required, this puts extra wear and tear on tooling, which requires additional tool maintenance during high volume production runs.
Additional considerations are the cooling system, the ejection system and the molding environment, which includes the type and tonnage of the press. Considering all of these factors during the configuration and part design stage will help to prevent problems like warp, flash and knit lines. Most of all, designing for moldability will help to avoid designing a part not feasible to mold to your specifications and level of production requirements.
Designing for Manufacturability
Manufacturability in injection molding refers to the feasibility of constructing a mold to meet part design specifications. Complex geometrical features – undercut holes, threading, insert or overmolding, thin walls and tight tolerances – require skilled and experienced mold design engineers. Skill and knowledge of advanced technology, such as computer aided design tools, is mandatory for the injection mold designer today, although the experienced mold maker is the one with the ideas on how to construct the mold in the first place.
Knowing how and when to include cam action, sliding cams, intricate ejection systems and more takes a combination of skill, innovation and experience. All tooling requirements must be determined and included in any manufacturing evaluation. Ideally, moldability and manufacturability are both thoroughly evaluated at the part design stage.
QT Manufacturing Offers Moldability and Manufacturability
QT Manufacturing is certified to both ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100 rev D and offers the unique advantage of combining injection molding with mold design and construction, all under one roof. CNC production machining and prototype solutions are also available to meet various product requirements.
By combining these services with open communication between all departments, we are able to provide added value with a tighter supply chain and a faster “go-to-market strategy” for our OEM customers rolling out new products.
QT Manufacturing is a valuable supplier to the aerospace, fiber optics, medical, telecommunications and Photonics industries with quality product delivered on time. This combination and competency of all departments improves efficiency and reduces or eliminates production downtime. Contact us at (972) 221-0537 for assistance with part and mold design for optimum moldability and manufacturability.