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Which Injection Molding Machine is Best for Your Project?

Jun. 21, 2022

Since the type and characteristics of the injection molding machine can affect the outcome of your project, you may think it is best to select the equipment by the injection molding machine.

 

There is no doubt that input from the mold maker is key to aligning the project with the injection molding machine. However, familiarity with machine basics will help you make better design choices, more accurately predict project costs and production times, and even guide you to the injection molding partner that best meets your needs.

 

Types of Injection Molding Machines

Injection molding machines have two main components, the injection unit and the closing unit, but the way each component works varies by machine type.

 

Energy source

Hydraulic - Most common in injection molding machines, they are run by hydraulic pumps and fixed speed motors.

 

Electrical - Functions are digitally controlled and powered by electric servo motors.

 

Hybrid - Also known as servo-hydraulic machines, they have hydraulic power and an on-demand electric motor.

 

Which Injection Molding Machine is Best for Your Project?

 

Compare injection molding machine features

 

Specific product and material choices will influence your machine selection, but some of the more general characteristics to evaluate include:

 

Quality

The product design will determine the tolerances required to produce the item, so your injection molding machine should be able to repeatedly mold the product within these tolerances. Hybrid and electric machines offer the highest accuracy, while hydraulic machines tend to offer the lowest accuracy. Motors typically provide the greatest repeatability.

 

Clamping force

Hybrid machines provide the greatest clamping force, but purely hydraulic machines are also well suited for producing larger sizes.

 

Speed

Part production speed may influence machine selection. Electric injection molding machines tend to offer the fastest production.

 

Material Options

Material options may limit your choice of machine. Hydraulic machines typically require higher molding temperatures, so not all resins are suitable for use with them.

 

Mold Size and Design

Ensure that the injection molding machine is adequately sized to accommodate the desired mold. Hybrid and electric machines offer the most flexible design options.

 

Hydraulic Accumulators

Accumulators help provide consistency and stability during injection where thin-walled projects are particularly desirable.

 

Screw Types

Generic screws may be suitable for most plastics, although they may slow down production and reduce the quality of some materials. Other materials may require specialized screws for specific injection pressures.

 

Special Applications

Fluid leakage from hydraulic systems can make these machines unusable for cleanroom parts production.

 

Weighing tonnage

 

Sizes can range from less than 5 tons to more than 4,000 tons. Considering such a wide range of possibilities, tonnage calculation is a necessary and critical step. Finding the right tonnage range requires consideration of the part area, the type and viscosity of the plastic, and the "clamping factor". Some molders do this by using commonly accepted industry estimating equations. Too little tonnage can lead to quality problems and delays; too much and tooling costs can rise quickly due to premature damage.

 

Not sure about choosing the right machine for your project? We have the machines, the expertise and the decades of experience, so contact us today to find out how we can help.

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