low volume Injection molding,Prototype Molds from China

Your idea is in pieces. We make it in one! With our low volume injection molding manufacturing services, you can create your plastic parts in an efficient and cost-conscious manner. Give us a call today to get started on the future of your product!

The low volume injection molding or Rapid Manufacturing method applies to all industries that make plastic parts by injection molding. The technology can be used to minimize the molding time for your products, to produce pre-mass quantities with real material, or to produce small quantities of finished products. Molding costs of low volume production are significantly lower than those of conventional methods.

Topworks’ low volume injection molding capabilities

We offer injection molding low-volume manufacturing services, providing our clients with the ability to manufacture hundreds of plastic parts so that their products can be brought to market.

Perhaps our prototyping services would be of benefit to you if you only need a few parts or prototypes. Throughout the prototyping and production process, we at Topworks are by your side.

We encourage you to contact our team once you are ready to begin your next project and upload your 3D CAD files for a free quote.

The Topworks team analyzes the product design for manufacturing feasibility and offers recommendations on how to develop a product that can be produced in low-volume injection molding. Material selection also plays a crucial role in the development process. Topworks can provide resin material model and type options that describe the physical properties of the different options if the customer does not know what resin type to use for the product. Topworks will need to know the product function and the range of uses of the product, along with other specifications such as UV proofing or flame class requirements. This will enable them to make an appropriate recommendation.

We chooses the most feasible and economically advantageous tool steel and structure based on the customer’s design or sample. A manufacturing method that Topworks finds suitable to meet the needs of its customers is also chosen.

Customers can choose between 3D printing or CNC machining for the creation of prototypes. To avoid later tool modification and higher costs, this is done before any injection tools are built.

Topworks  customers benefit from flexible communication between departments as well as flexible production schedules. Two to three production shifts are available to meet the mold requirements of our customers. We have 14 sets of injection machines ranging from 80 to 1,000 tons in capacity.

In addition, there is a 2000 square meter warehouse where the production molds are kept on solid shelves. Tooling maintenance is conducted regularly to keep production running smoothly.

injection molding machine

Low Volume Injection Molding : What Is It?

Depending on the manufacturing method, low-volume injection molded products can be production-quality parts in smaller quantities, usually less than 1,000 unique pieces.

It’s a popular approach for many products, since it enables a rapid product development cycle, offers a fast route from early prototypes to mass production, as well as reducing tooling and material investment.

Why low volume injection molding Better

What are the ways that low-volume manufacturing can benefit your business? To name a few:

  1. Build a link between prototyping and mass production
  2. Low minimums to reduce costs
  3. Connect emerging markets quickly
  4. Shorten product lifecycles quickly
  5. Streamline the design process
  6. Prevent many hidden problems 

Prototype Molds for low volume injection molding

In order to evaluate the aesthetics and function of a newly designed product, prototype molds are needed to make samples of the new product. Tests on molded samples are more accurate than those on hand-made (machined or assembled) samples.

Furthermore, it may produce a more accurate result (and be less expensive) than a computer simulation. Taking shortcuts everywhere is possible, as long as the material used to construct the mold is sufficiently strong and can withstand the heat and pressure of the plastic injection. This applies to mold materials such as mild steel, aluminum, even plastic (epoxy, etc.).

It is usually unnecessary to maintain close tolerances. Surface appearance (polishing, engraving, even flashing) won’t be an issue in general. As long as the plastic has cooled enough, the molded sample can be removed from the mold without cooling channels.

Additionally, ejector mechanisms are not always necessary. There may be no need for more sophisticated ejector pins than one or two air jets directed at the edge of the product at the parting line. For example, loose inserts in the mold can be used to produce threads in the product, which are then ejected with the finished product and unscrewed by hand.

Also, loose inserts can be used in areas that would otherwise require side cores, such as on the sides of a product.

Once the molded piece is cool, it can be machined with rounds or simple openings. This is merely a sample of the mold features that can be eliminated to simplify stacks and to lower the cost of prototype molds.

It is also possible to mount prototypes in a mold shoe, saving even more money if prototypes are frequently needed. An edge gate might consist of sprue and a short runner or a simple sprue gate directly into the product. A manual cut will then be performed on the gate.

ClampingInjection molds are closed with tremendous force before the plastic is injected into them, preventing any opening during injection and ensuring that the mold does not open when the plastic is injected.
InjectionGenerally, raw plastic materials are placed in the feed zone of a reciprocating screw in the form of small pellets when they are fed into an injection molding machine. When the screw conveys the plastic pellets through heated areas of the barrel, the plastic pellets become heated by both temperature and compression. Injection of plastic into the screw's front is done using a tightly controlled dosage since that will be what becomes the final part. The machine injects melted plastic into the mold after the proper dosage reaches the screw and the mold is fully clamped, pushing the molten plastic into the cavity under high pressure.
CoolingThe molten plastic begins to cool directly upon contact with the mold surfaces. After the plastic part has been molded and cooled, it solidifies into its final shape and rigidity. Plastic molded parts require different cooling times based on the material's thermodynamic properties, the wall thickness, and the part's dimensions.
EjectionThe screw will prepare a new injection of plastic after the part has been cooled inside the mold and the clamp is removed to open the plastic injection mold. The machine is equipped with a mechanical mechanism to eject the plastic injection mold part. The molded part is removed from the mold, and the mold can be used again for the next part after the new part is fully ejected.

Injection molding simplifies the process of creating high volumes of identical parts with consistent characteristics and quality. The part is ejected quickly from the mold after cooling. The press closes after the component is ejected, repeating the process. Plastic injection molding is used to manufacture everyday products. Since injection-molded parts are expensive to manufacture, they were traditionally made in large quantities. Over time, hardened steel molds recoup investment and lower cost-per-part as they are durable and can be tool for weeks or months. As markets change, manufacturers are adapting their operations so they can exploit new, more efficient methods as markets evolve – as evidenced by the shift toward custom and small batch products. This is where low-volume injection molding comes into play. 

Those benefits of low volume injection molding

For low-volume injection molding, softer aluminum inserts are preferable to hardened steel molds, since they are usually easier to make and cheaper. Hardened steel molds are obviously more durable, but when producing low volume parts, these molds do not need to be. Tooling costs can be reduced and production schedules shortened by strategic use of soft molds. Injection molding for low-volume parts involves less than 100,000 pieces. To the layperson, that number seems a bit high, but compared with high-volume production, it is still relatively low. There is no official cutoff for aluminum molds, but 100,000 acts as general benchmark for when they become less cost-effective than hardened steel molds. While traditional molds require hardened steel, the initial investment is significant. Aluminum and lower-grade steel molds can be produced more quickly and for less cost. They make it possible to develop prototypes and produce viable parts without committing to large minimum orders while improving part design and manufacturing as needed. By starting production soon, manufacturers can accelerate their time-to-market significantly, thereby reducing their time to see a return on investment.

Design tips for low-volume application

In designing parts for manufacturability at low volumes, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as general part complexity, draft, wall thickness, and surface finish. When working with aluminum, you do not want to build in lifters or side actions common to complex builds. When such operations wear down the tool – soft aluminum cannot withstand such pressure – low-hardness steels like P20 are the best replacement material. A draft is a design feature that makes ejection from the mold easier. A rectangular pan would make removing a cake difficult if it were truly rectangular. Cakes can easily be removed from the pan due to its rounded edges and tapered sides. Similarly, injection-molded parts can be removed from their molds. A vertical face should have at least 0.5 degrees of draft, although two or three degrees is better if possible. In some cases, 5 degrees of draft may be necessary. When working with thermoplastic materials, thicker walls don’t necessarily make a component stronger or more effective. Walls should remain between 0.040 and 0.140 inches (1 to 3.5 millimeters) thick across the part’s entirety to reduce the likelihood of warping or sinking of the part during cooling. Forgoing unnecessary surface finishes on molds can also reduce tooling costs and lead time. If you don’t need a very smooth surface on the part, then there’s no need to hand-polish the mold cavity with diamond buffs. Lowering production costs and improving production times can be achieved using the most cost-efficient finish for a given part. 

How to use low-volume injection molding

Manufacturing large numbers of identical parts with injection molding is extremely useful. Hardened metal molds cost a lot to tool, so it is necessary to produce large quantities to make the project cost-effective. Today, rapid injection molded parts can be created in smaller quantities by using advanced manufacturing processes and technologies, as well as efficient bridge tooling solutions. Topworks strives to be more efficient in everything we do. From design and prototyping to post-production and fulfillment, we are committed to working directly with our customers to deliver high-quality, affordable parts in a timely manner. Let us help you make your dream a reality.