Better Parts and Products: How Molders Are Leveraging New Technology for Enhanced Quality of Plastic Injection Molding

Imagine improving productivity while reducing costs and producing higher quality products. All three are possible for plastic injection molders when they enhance their production lines with the iMFLUX Low Constant Pressure Molding Platform.

Enterprise Equipment Solutions

iMFLUX designed its innovative platform to enhance product quality through better injection molding controls. Its proprietary software adds sophisticated technology to the otherwise fixed injection molding system, facilitating better fills, ongoing, concurrent packing, and higher product quality. The system also reduces time loss by ensuring consistent and reliable fills every time.

A Simple Add-On Makes the Difference

The platform itself is remarkably simple. It is grounded by iMFLUX’s proprietary software and intuitive user interface that provide precise control from it’s single nozzle pressure sensor. Precision programming capacities control the pressure and velocity of the material shot while also generating a constant data stream to ensure process accuracy and reliability. The platform is compatible with virtually any injection molding machine, including electric, hydraulic, and hybrid devices, so it maximizes existing asset investment values. And its technology offers the most advanced injection molding controls in the industry today.

Product Improvements

Low-pressure Enhances Product Quality

The software converts existing injection molding systems from high-pressure to low-pressure systems, improving overall product quality. Most high-pressure injection molding systems use blunt force to push melted resins into and through mold cavities, regardless of size or shape. Problems1 occur because injection speed doesn’t change when the cavity shape changes:

  • If a cavity becomes smaller from one end to the other, the unrelenting pressure becomes more significant on the narrower end, potentially forcing the material through the mold’s seams, causing flashes or cracking the mold altogether.
  • If a cavity gets bigger, the pressure may drop as it fills, resulting in gaps or voids in the final fill.
  • High-pressure flow in molds with several cavities poses a particularly difficult challenge:
  • Packing density may be compromised across the fill.
  • Smaller cavities may develop flashes, while larger cavities may have voids.
  • Cooling temperatures may vary across the product, which could cause sink marks and compromise its overall quality.

Product quality often suffers when existing high-pressure injection molding machines can’t moderate flow pressure to accommodate variations in either the mold or the resin.

Velocity Variability Enhances Product Quality

The iMFLUX system also facilitates varying velocities for material flow and automatically adjusts speed to maintain a consistent pressure regardless of the mold shape or the consistency of the resin. A built-in sensor determines the flow rate and calculates the flow front progression to accommodate the exact geometry of the mold. The result is a consistent, uniform shot that produces the highest quality product that meets full specifications and has no flashes or voids.

System Improvements

Extended Lifespans

In addition to improving and enhancing overall product quality, the iMFLUX platform can extend the life of both injection molds and molding machines.

The Plastics Industry Association2 (PIA) provides standards for lifespan expectations3 for injection molding equipment. For molds, the PIA categorizes mold design and materials into five classes depending on the mold’s intended use and life expectancy. Mold Class 105 encompasses molds used for prototyping products, so they provide fewer production cycles and are the least expensive molds. Molds in Mold Class 101, on the other hand, are designed for high production volumes and 1,000,000+ production runs.

For injection molding machines, the anticipated lifespan of each device depends on the materials with which they are manufactured, their usage volume, and the conditions in which they operate4. More expensive machines are expected to last longer since their construction materials are usually more durable. They, too, are expected to achieve a set number of production runs within their typical lifespan.

Note also that these mold and injection molding machinery standards are based on the performance of high-pressure injection molding machinery, so they have built-in tolerances to accommodate the effect of that pressure on the machine or mold over time. High Pressure in particular can negatively affect the performance of both molds and machines.

High Pressure — Molds constantly subjected to high-pressure and unrelenting stress are more likely to erode and fail faster than those that are not. In addition, machines running high cycle times can experience more wear and tear than those running longer, slower cycles. Injection mold production runs can encompass thousands of pieces per cycle. Constant, high-pressure usage over a production run or years of production runs will erode system and machine parts. Those erosions will negatively impact the resulting products, including flashes, voids, and other flaws.

The negative effects of high pressure are significantly reduced when using the iMFLUX platform. iMFLUX extends the life of both mold and machines by eliminating the wear and tear caused by the high-pressure capacity.

Flexible Futures

The iMFLUX platform also gives plastics molders more opportunities to satisfy their customer’s needs. Leveraging the advanced software to meet new product specifications ensures that, as customer capacities evolve, so can their product design and quality. And because much of the platform is automated, it also reduces labor costs so companies can save on their payroll accounts.

With groundbreaking technology that’s changing the face of plastics manufacturing, molders can extend the lifespan of their machinery while reaping the benefits of improved product quality. Interested in the difference constant low-pressure injection molding can make in your business? The experts at iMFLUX are available to answer your questions now; contact us to learn more.

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