Low Volume Injection Molding – What It Does and When to Use It
Injection molding allows you to produce identical parts with consistent characteristics and quality and in high volumes. However, it’s a versatile method for prototyping and low-volume end-use production. Low volume injection molding continues to be popular with businesses looking to produce up to 100,000 high-quality parts from production resins at a more reasonable cost. With this process, you could significantly reduce the costs and lead times associated with full-production tooling. Read more to learn about it and how it applies to your project.
The shift to low-volume manufacturing
Injection-molded parts used to be made in large quantities to offset the expensive startup costs. Hardened steel molds can cost a lot and take weeks or months to create. However, over time, their durability enables manufacturers to get the most from their investment while reducing the cost per part.
As markets evolve continuously, manufacturers are looking into custom and small production runs, resulting in low volume injection molding. They are taking advantage of more efficient and newer technologies to create custom products quickly and cost-effectively.
How does it work?
A pressurized nozzle injects molten plastic into a metal mold with a pressurized nozzle. When the plastic cools, it’s ejected from the mold, and the process can repeat for another plastic part. Many plastic items used daily, such as car parts, bottle caps, gears, and combs, are produced using injection molding.
The custom plastic molding tools are made from aluminum or steel. While both options are good, steel molds are more practical for low volume injection molding because they deliver more than double the parts compared to aluminum molds.
When should you use it?
Low volume injection molding has shorter lead times, making it ideal for small product design teams on a tight budget. It allows you to create parts with low minimum orders without compromising profit. It helps reduce excess as it manufactures parts only in the required quantities. You can also rely on it for bridge tooling, which lets you start tooling steel molds while using aluminum molds in the meantime to produce parts.