A key component in manufacturing many types of consumer electronic devices, insert molding is a process that merges multiple parts into a single product through an injection mold. It involves encapsulating a non-plastic material such as metal into the molten plastic of an injection mold and then allowing it to cure, resulting in the creation of a new product that has both a plastic covering and a mechanically bonded metal element. It’s one of the most popular manufacturing processes for combining metal and plastic because it eliminates post-molding assembly and separate part installation, making it more efficient and cost-effective than other manufacturing techniques.
To create an insert molded part, a custom mold is created that is able to accommodate a pre-formed metal component or piece. Once the molding process has completed, a retaining tool is removed and the inserted component or material is revealed inside of the mold. The injected molten plastic then covers the metal entirely, creating a solid and fully-encapsulated finished product.
Insert molding has many benefits and can be used for a wide variety of products and industries. It’s especially useful for combining metal and plastic in high-quality applications that require strong and durable connections. It allows designers to build a stronger part by eliminating the need for connectors and fasteners, which can be weak points in the design, and can deliver an optimal product that’s more durable than metal components alone.
In addition to improving the strength of a product, insert molding also reduces size and weight. As a result, the product can stay smaller and lighter than it would be without the metal component because it is encased in thermoplastic resin that can be much thinner and more lightweight than brass or steel. It also helps the product withstand more vibration and shock because the metal and plastic materials have an exceptional bond that minimizes looseness, misalignment, and other failures.
The process can be utilized in a variety of ways to improve the performance of different types of products. It can be used to make a plastic handle for a metal screwdriver, add a layer of insulation to pipes or wires, embed electronics into plastics and more. Insert molding is particularly helpful for manufacturing medical equipment because it enables manufacturers to incorporate threaded metal pieces into plastic devices such as handles, knobs and other attachments.
Choosing the right insert for your product requires consideration of its size, shape and functionality. If your product has an undercut, it’s important to consider how the insert will fit into a standard injection mold to ensure that the molding process can create an adequate bond without causing any cracks or uneven wall thickness. In addition to considering material compatibility, the insertion method is important because insert molding relies on a mechanical bond rather than chemical interaction between the overmolded materials. If you are interested in learning more about insert molding and how it can help your company’s products, contact RapidDirect today.