THE TOOLMAKING PROCESS
Following a successful design process, it's now time to make the tool that will make the moulding.
Plastic Injection Mould Tools are typically constructed from pre-hardened steel, hardened steel or aluminium. Of these materials, hardened steel moulds are the most expensive to make, but offer the user a long lifespan, which offsets the cost per part by spreading it over a larger quantity. For low volumes or large components, pre-hardened steel moulds provide a less wear-resistant and less expensive option. The most economical moulds are produced from aluminium. Mould tools are designed and built using CNC machines: these moulds can economically produce tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of parts.
The core & cavity design of the plastic injection mould tool is what gives the final product its shape, but there are several other functions of the tool that are crucial for the correct formation of the end product. Some tools use ‘Sliders’ ‘Up and aways’ or Screwing mechanisms.
The tool plays a large role in the correct cooling rate of the moulded plastic part. If a plastic material sets at the wrong speed, distortion and stress may occur. The material of the tool should be chosen with the cooling rate in mind. Some plastic materials may need to be moulded in a water cooled tool or a heated tool. Depending on the plastic type your tool will be made to suit that material.
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