Posted on: Aug 17, 2018, | By Candy, WayKen Marketing Manager
Low volume production is the perfect procedure for those who need small quantity parts. Those who need prototypes or parts in quantities as low as hundreds or thousands can opt for the different types of low volume manufacturing procedures. Low volume manufacturing is a functional service that offers the complete production of parts in small quantities.
It is increasingly becoming a popular option for many product varieties, giving room for a more defined investment in manufacturing and materials while allowing fast reach to markets, quick response to limited product lifespan and as a link between original prototypes and high-volume production.
Plastic is one material that can be used in this type of production. You can produce low volume plastic parts using the different manufacturing procedures available. Short run injection molding can be used in the production of real injection molded pieces depending on your specified amount of elements that can only be used as an earlier runoff.
Plastic Injection Molding
Also referred to as low volume plastic molding, it involves the production of parts that or of high quality and accuracy very fast. It is the most preferred method of producing high volumes of finished plastic parts for both industrial and commercial use. Melted resin is added under high pressure inside the chamber of a metal die where it is cooled instantly to form a solid shape. A single procedure to make a complete part may take something like about some seconds to minutes depending on the complex nature of that particular piece and its size.
Plastic Injection Molding Process
You should first have all the necessary tools for this procedure before kick starting the whole process. All the steps must be followed to ensure you get an accurate finished product. In the first step, the plastic resin which comes in the form of raw granules are desiccated until they have the right levels of moisture in them, and then if fundamental they can be mixed with color shades or master batch colors. In the next step, the dried granules are poured into the bowl of the casting machine.
An alternating screw found inside the container of the machine will move these granules towards the direction of the mold. The third step involves mixing and heating the solid particles found inside the barrel to a point where they melt entirely to form a liquid resin. The mold, which is now heated closes spontaneously and the resin, which is under immense pressure, is infused through an opening and into the mold chamber. Cooling is later on done on the mold to harden the inside part after which it opens, and the piece is removed to start off a new series.
Short Run Injection Molding
Also referred to as prototype injection molding, it is used in the production of injection molded pieces depending on the amount you need that can only be used as a one-time run off. This project is ideal for operational prototypes, bridge tooling, and short runs. Short run plastic molding can also be used in the production of plastic parts in small quantities. Different companies use this procedure to produce parts depending on your quantity needs.
The short-run injection molding process first requires one to load their 3D computer-aided design file to get a quick mold. Molding and processing take place after loading your design. Evaluation of the models can be conducted by engineers to ensure you get one that suits your specifications. Once engineers have approved your design, the building of an injection mold commences. You will be given time to examine your sample and give a go ahead. Part production begins after all these procedures.
The three other alternative technologies that can be used in the production of low volume plastic parts include pressure forming, structural foam, and reaction injection molding.
Commonly referred to as vacuum forming or thermoforming, it involves covering a hot layer of plastic material over a hollow or elongated tool. The material is first stretched, a vacuum is passed through the specific apparatus, after which pressure is enforced to the back of the layer to fill the chamber in the required shape. After creating, excess materials of the already formed parts are trimmed using a CNC cutting machine.
Reaction Injection Molding
This type of molding involves the infusion of a liquid thermoset material which is later mixed at minimal pressures. The material structure is stiff and dense, and various kinds of reaction injection molding materials have been created for particular use. Reaction injection molding usually involves the use of epoxy aluminum complex manufacturing, which is less expensive and can stay for up to a high number of shots. The underlying substance can be colored in the right order, but cosmetic pieces will need painting and sanding. Reaction injection molding is the best for substantial plastic parts with sophisticated detail.
This is a molding method that starts with a short infusion of plastic resin, and later on, uses a natural or synthetic blowing force to make the material bigger inside the mold. The end part does have an enclosed-cell build on the inside area but a hard outer skin. When the mold is being filled, burst bubbles on the outer surface form a coiled look outside. Sanding and painting are some excellent ways you can rectify this effect. You can also conduct other tooling upgrades. Structural foaming is less costly, and you will have a smooth time when molding compared to other procedures.
Benefits of Low Volume Manufacturing
There are a couple of benefits you get to enjoy with low volume manufacturing. First of all, it less costly compared to large-scale production. This is because there are minimum orders which makes the tooling costs less expensive. You also get to enjoy quick turnaround times for your mold to be produced. Getting your products to the market will be faster. It provides fast access to emerging markets. Your designs can also be rectified more quickly compared to large-scale production. You should try out low volume manufacturing and enjoy the benefits.