Benefits of Short-Run Injection Molding
Short-run plastic injection molding, also known as low-volume injection molding, is a quick and inexpensive molding process used to manufacture simple plastic components and parts. The process is used to create molds out of high-grade aluminum and lower grade steels, which are less durable than high production molds.
As a limited volume process, short-run injection molding is ideal for the production of fewer than 10,000 parts. The use of aluminum tooling allows for quicker turnaround times and saves money over more expensive steel tooling. The process is considered a niche market segment which serves highly specialized needs, such as:
- Small marketing production
- Custom components for specialty automotive applications
- Custom components for high-end appliances
Advantages of Short-Run Injection Molding
Short-run injection molding offers a number of benefits to suit a variety of customer needs. State of the art automation enhances:
Working Models and Prototypes
With its quick turnaround and low-cost production, short-run injection molding offers an ideal option to bridge the gap between the development of a working prototype component and full production. The short-run production option gives engineers a working first generation model wherein the design can still be affordably adjusted.
Short-run injection molding offers quick production at a low cost to get finished components back to the customer and on the market a short period. This allows customers to reduce their in-house inventory while still meeting lead-time demands.
Low Production Cost
The cost of production for short-run injection molding is quite low due to highly developed automation and the use of less expensive high-quality materials. Aluminum and low-grade steel are the perfect low-cost materials for short-run molding to provide superior parts and components at competitive prices.
Economical and Efficient
When you use short-run injection molding, the parts are ejected from the mold with a finished look, so very little post-production work is required to finish the product. The quick turnaround and low cost of production ensures the frequent delivery of economically priced, small-lot quantities on an as-needed basis. The enables the customer to reasonably stock items in-house, thereby easing cash flow.
The short-run injection molding process is uncomplicated and typically used in the production of simple parts. Small plastic pellets are gravity fed through a hopper into a heated screw and barrel, where the pellets are melted into a liquid plastic. The liquid plastic is injected into the mold under high pressure, to ensure that the plastic fills every corner and cavity of the mold.
Plastic is then left to cool into the shape of the desired part. Once the plastic has cooled, ejector pins are used to remove the finished part from the mold, and the part is directed down a chute to be inspected, packed, and shipped to the customer. The entire process is automated, which allows for highly efficient and cost-effective production.
Short-run injection molding is used for a variety of applications across numerous industries.
Low-Volume Production Runs
For applications that require injection molding for fewer than 10,000 parts, such as medical devices, exotic car components, and high-end household tools and appliances, low-volume injection molding is an effective and affordable production option.
Short-run injection molding is an excellent production method for new product development, including evaluation of product fit and function and life-cycle testing. Since the process is fast and inexpensive, it is ideal for quick production of prototypes to conduct critical tests before design finalization. It also allows for inexpensive adjustments to be made before the parts or components are produced on a larger scale, which saves time and reduces material wastage.
Market Testing and Bridge Tooling
Low volume injection is a useful way to bridge the gap between prototyping or market testing and full production. Once the design is finalized, you can continue production through short-run injection until your full production line is up and running, thereby avoiding any costly lapses in production. This also helps to get products onto the market faster for a faster profit return.
Consult a Professional
For more than 30 years, Darter Plastics has been pleased to provide well-crafted, high-quality plastic parts and components to a variety of industries. Our professional and knowledgeable staff are happy to help you find the best plastic injection services for your needs.
For more information on short-run and low-volume injection molding, contact us today, or request a quote.