Injection Molding

Injection molding is the most widely used polymeric fabrication process. It evolved from metal die casting, however, unlike molten metals, polymer melts have a high viscosity and can not simply be poured into a mold. Instead a large force must be used to inject the polymer into the hollow mold cavity. More melt must also be packed into the mold during solidification to avoid shrinkage in the mold. Identical parts are produced through a cyclic process involving the melting of a pellet or powder resin followed by the injection of the polymer melt into the hollow mold cavity under high pressure.

Injection molding can be used to form a wide variety of products. Complexity is virtually unlimited, sizes may range from very small to very large, and excellent control of tolerances is also possible. Most polymers may be injection molded, including thermoplastics, fiber reinforces thermoplastics, thermosetting plastics, and elastomers. Structural injection molding is also possible in which a core and skin may be made of different polymers. Reaction injection molding and liquid injection molding, which differ in the manner of mixing ingredients, involve the injection of liquid polyurethane systems that polymerize within the mold.

injection molding machine

Types of Injection Molding

  • Reaction injection molding
    Process for molding polyurethane, epoxy, and other liquid chemical systems. A mixture of two to four components in the proper chemical ratio is accomplished by a high-pressure impingement-type mixing head, from which the mixed material is delivered into the mold at low pressure, where it reacts (cures).
  • Liquid injection molding
    Process that involves an integrated system for proportioning, mixing, and dispensing dual-component liquid resin formulations and directly injecting the resultant mix into a mold which is clamped under pressure. See Injection molding.
  • Gas assist injection molding
    Plastic molding process in which a high-pressure gas is co-injected along with the plastic part to produce discrete internal hollow sections. It differs from blow molding in that one large hollow product is not created; rather, a solid piece with hollow sections is produced.
  • Co-injection molding
    This is a process that creates a skin and core material arrangement in a molded part. The skin material is injected first into the mold cavity, and is immediately followed by a core material. As the skin material flows into the cavity, the material next to the cavity walls freezes and material flows down a center channel. When the core material enters it displaces the skin material in the center of the channel by pushing the skin ahead. As it flows ahead it continues to freeze on the walls producing the skin layer
  • 2-Shot Injection Molding
    This technology produces a part with two different raw materials or colors in a single operation. The machine has two injection units: one vertical and one horizontal. By using a rotating mold, the machine automatically produces a substrate of one resin or color and overmolds the part with the second resin or color.