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Here at Moldwel, we are proud to offer expert support when it comes to developing your product including:
● 3D Printing
● Advice on materials
● Tooling Insert systems
● Mould tool solutions
The development process
During this process, we cover a wide range of aspects that can be individually tailored to meet your own specific requirements. Our 3D printing allows you to get an accurate representation of your product in an ABS material. You can then use this full size or scaled-down representation to assess the interests of various target consumers.
This test product also assists internally by helping the tool-building team to gain a wider understanding of the major functions that will need to be accommodated for. The print will help the moulding technicians too, helping them to optimise the injection moulding process and determine the strengths and weaknesses at the trial stage.
If you’ve got a component design in mind, but are still not sure on your material, we’re happy to offer advice on the suitable thermoplastics that we recommend using. During this process, it’s important that you relay to us any specific requirements or properties that you need your product to have – so that we can bear these in mind when considering materials and other variables.
Modular Insert Tooling solutions are also available here at Moldwel. Our modular inserts and full mould tools can produce either the full component or part of the component – allowing the team to be able to check vital features or finer detailed areas during the development stage.
To enhance the product development stage even further, we can also create full mould tooling solutions. These can prove more beneficial due to the fact they have a dedicated temperature control, enhanced feed point options, and the option of full side movement.
Here at Molwel, we see many different projects that still need finalising – many of these components will need further development to enhance the product and its features and we can provide these services too.
When it comes to investing in mould tooling, it is vital to ensure that your product is fit for purpose sooner rather than later. Oversights can lead to costly amendments if things need to be put right further down the line.
Our wide range of additional services offers comprehensive support to your and your project, so you can be sure that every aspect of your product’s development is covered and encompassed.
Trialing the tools and products
Trialing is vital in project development in order to ensure that the component created is exactly what you were looking for. In the trialling stage, you’ll have a finished component in the exact materials that you have specified. This can often prove to be better than 3D printing as you are able to view samples that will be equivalent representations of the final production components.
The trialing products will be completed using your exact choice of tooling solution – carried out by our team of expert moulding technicians. During this stage, we’ll also look for any alterations that can be made in order to optimise and enhance the product even further.
Our in-sourced and out-sourced services here at Moldwel can help to enhance the development process even further. We are proud to go the extra mile to understand your specific requirements, and use the services to identify the best possible solution for you and your project.
Our 3D printing service quickly transforms CAD files into 3D products without the need to invest in expensive mould tooling. Instead, durable and usable products made through layers of ABS are used. During the concept and design stage, 3D printing can help showcase the finished component, exemplify a specific design, and test the effectiveness of specific parts.
The CAD data is converted into an STL file before being loaded into our own advanced software that creates a program to produce prototypes. It uses a mixture of support materials to make sure that the features remain sturdy during the build, however the base material is made from ABS.
Once completed and removed from the build tray, the component is washed in a specially designed solution that dissolves away the support material. The result of this is a quality prototype that can be used to assist various aspects of the process – from toolmaking to quality checking.
3D printing is a revolutionary process that is continually growing. On a smaller scale, it is used to build quick prototypes of a product, but on a larger scale, the process is used to create products for some of the world’s leading industries, including the medical, aerospace and marine sectors.
We also work with a chain of trusted manufacturing partners who support us in providing 3D prints in a range of different processes. We can deliver high quality prototypes through SLA, SLS and Vacuum Casting in short lead times – allowing you to be able to test the market as soon as possible before proceeding with the full mould tooling. Additive manufacturing is executed using highly advanced technology – and we’ll ensure only the most experienced and expert manufacturing partners will work with your project.
Here at Moldwel, our tooling solutions allow components to be developed and manufactured in the required grade or thermoplastic that is most suitable for the part.
By manufacturing a mould tool, you’ll be provided with a component made from the material of your choice and with your chosen surface finish. This makes it much easier to evaluate the product and determine whether or not it is fit for purpose.
A modular insert system is often produced to begin with, and this will be inserted into one of our universal dies sets. We then manufacture the cavity and core details that help to form the part of the component that has its own ejector system. This manufacturing process means that we can also incorporate loose inserts and side action movement to create undercut features. Arguably, this is one of the most cost effective solutions for tooling if you’re looking to create a component that exceeds constraints that rapid prototyping can have.
We are also able to manufacture bespoke mould tooling for development. This solution is fully owned and allows us to produce products that are completely finished and meet production standards. Dimensional and functional amendments can also be made to support the development process. Bespoke mould tooling is often used for the development of individual impressions. These impressions can be shown to potential customers who haven’t yet decided to go ahead with multi-cavity tooling.
In comparison to modular insert systems, bespoke tooling can offer much better temperature control and can create more complex forms.
Injection mould tools – What are they?
An injection mould tool is what is used to hold the molten thermoplastic. The plastic is poured into the open void and once the plastic has hardened, will form the final shape of the product. The tool is usually split into two, with one piece being known as fixed, and the other as moving. The two halves of the tool open and close to allow the component to be ejected from the mould tool. It is important that the air can escape from the mould – if it can’t, the component could end up with voids, burn marks, and a poor surface finish.
Another important factor to bear in mind is the temperature controls. Plastics will have specific rates in which they solidify to produce a quality and durable component. Getting the cooling rate wrong can result in a distorted and unreliable product. The temperature is usually controlled by water, oil or electricity – depending on the material requirements.
Once set inside the mould, the component is then ready to be ejected from the form (core). Ejection is usually done through pins, sleeves, stripping plates or air.
Injection moulding is very economical and one of the reasons why is because the mould tool is not necessarily limited to producing just one component per shot. Multi-cavity tools can be manufactured which can produce multiple different parts each time they open. Family moulds can also be produced – these are moulds that can produce more than one type of product per shot. Here at Moldwel, we’ll go through all of the most suitable mould tools that we can produce, before determining the most cost-effective solution to create your component with.
Selecting your materials
Choosing your material is a key element when it comes to bringing your ideas and designs to life. There’s plenty of different materials and grades to choose from, all of which are developed to meet specific requirements. Materials will generally have different properties that affect the overall properties of the finished product. These factors will also determine the parameters used when working with the materials, such as the melting temperature, filling speed, fill pressure and the temperature of the mould.
What are thermoplastics?
Thermoplastics are plastic materials – often known as polymers – that become pliable when heated and then solidify upon cooling. With this in mind, they are great for manufacturing components with as they can be reshaped and remoulded when in their liquid form. In their raw form, thermoplastics are small pellets that can be mixed together with dyes and additives to change their colours and enhance their properties. Typically, thermoplastics are the go-to material to use when it comes to producing parts through the plastic injection moulding process.
Here are some of the many thermoplastics that we work with here at Moldwel:
- Polypropylene – A low cost lightweight thermoplastic with a high chemical resistance. It is a tough, stiff, and scratch resistant material with a waxy appearance. It is often used for covers, handles, caps, trips, crates and housings
- Polyethylene (LDPE) – A lightweight material with a waxy appearance. The material is durable and flexible with great chemical resistance. Its is often used for covers, containers and kitchenware.
- Polyethylene (HDPE) – A tough and stiff chemically resistant thermoplastic. It is low costing and has a natural waxy appearance. It is often used for housings, chair seats, and containers.
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) – A strong and flexible thermoplastic with low mould shrinkage levels. The naturally opaque material is chemically resistant with electroplating capabilities. It is often used for housings, inhalers, end caps, and boxes.
- Polycarbonate (PC) – A transparent material with great temperature resistance. It is also incredibly tough and boasts dimensional stability. It is often used for housings, light covers, safety headgear, shields, and reflectors.
- Acetal (POM) – A thermoplastic with excellent creep, fatigue and chemical resistance. It is strong, rigid, and is naturally opaque. The thermoplastic is often used for handles, plumbing parts, rotors, valves, cams, and bearings.
- Nylon (PA) – A strong material with great resistance to chemicals and fatigue. It has low friction, low creep and a medium to high cost. It is often used for gears, wheels, bushings and bearings.
- Polyphenylene Sulphide (PPS) – A very strong and heat resistant material that is usually brown. It is often used for fuel system components, switches, shields, covers and bearings.
- Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) – A rigid thermoplastic with a resistance to heat and chemicals. It is commonly used for automotive fillers, handles and pumps, as well as bearings, cams, electrical parts, housings, valves, and switches.
- Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) – A strong and chemically resistant material with thermal stability and low moisture absorption. It is often used for aircraft parts, pump impellers, seals, and electrical connectors.
- Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) – A tough and flexible material. It is often used for bushings, washers, and electrical parts.