Plastic injection molding and plastic extrusion are both popular manufacturing processes used to create plastic parts, but they differ significantly in their methods and applications. While they both produce high quality flurorpolymer parts, plastic injection molding produces three-dimensional shapes vs. plastic extrusion produces linear, two-dimensional shapes.

 

 

 

Process:

  • Injection Molding:  This process involves injecting molten plastic material into a mold cavity, where it cools and solidifies to form the desired shape. The mold typically consists of two halves and the material is injected under high pressure.
  • Extrusion:  In extrusion, plastic material is melted and forced through a die tocreate a continuous profile. The die gives the plastic its desired shape,and the material is cooled and solidified as it exits the die.

Equipment:

  •  Injection Molding:  Injection molding machines consist of a hopper where the plastic pelletsare fed into a heated barrel. Inside the barrel, the pellets melt and are injected into the mold cavity.
  •  Extrusion:  Extrusion machinery includes an extruder, which is essentially a long barrel with a screw conveyor inside. The plastic pellets are fed into one end of the extruder, where they are heated, melted, and forced through a die at the other end.

Applications:

  • Injection Molding:  This process is commonly used for producing intricate and complex parts with high precision and repeatability. It’s used in industries such as aerospace/defense, industrial, electronics, and medical devices.
  • Extrusion:  Extrusion is often used to create continuous lengths of plastic profiles or sheets with a consistent cross-section. It’s employed in applications such as pipes, tubing, window frames, and traffic control items.

Complexity and Cost:

  •  Injection Molding:  Tooling costs for injection molding can be higher due to the need for precision molds, especially for complex parts. However, once the mold is made, the cost per part can be relatively low.
  • Extrusion:  Extrusion tooling costs are generally lower compared to injection molding, especially for simple profiles. However, the process may not be as suitable for highly complex shapes.

Material Variation:

  • Injection Molding:  A wide range of thermoplastics such as FEP, PFA, Torlon, etc., can be used in injection molding, allowing for flexibility in material selection.
  • Extrusion:  While extrusion also supports various fluoropolymer materials, the process is particularly suited for thermoplastics that can be melted and reshaped repeatedly.

In summary, while both plastic injection molding and plastic extrusion are versatile manufacturing processes used in the plastics industry, they each have applications suited to different types of products and applications.

Plastic injection molding is best applied to three-dimensional shapes, while plastic extrusion is best suited for two-dimensional shapes.

For more information on the best molding application for your project, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President – Custom, at [email protected] or visit our website at www.performanceplastics.com.

Precision and purity are vital to semiconductor production.  Plastics assist in maintaining the standards necessary in production, ensuring that less time and resources are spent and that the items function properly.

Unlike traditional materials like metal or ceramic, plastics such as FEP, PEEK, and PTFE are more impermeable to corrosive acids, which are key to the production of microchips.

High-performance plastics such as Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP), Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK), and Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), are characterized by their exceptional properties in different areas. High-performance plastics are largely used where the highest demands are placed on thermal or chemical resistance or product mechanics.

Microchips are primarily made from semiconducting materials such as silicon, not plastics. Silicon wafers undergo a complex series of processes including photolithography, etching, doping, and layering to create the intricate circuitry that forms the basis of microchips.

However, plastics do play a role in certain aspects of microchip manufacturing, and Performance Plastics, A Pexco Company, produces many of the necessary components.

  1. Components: Resins are used in various components used to manufacture microchips. This includes components of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, such as chambers, tubing, and fittings, which often utilize specialized plastic materials resistant to high temperatures and chemicals.
  2. Cleanroom Materials: In semiconductor fabrication facilities or cleanrooms, where microchips are produced, stringent cleanliness standards must be maintained to prevent contamination of the delicate semiconductor materials. Plastics are used extensively in cleanroom construction and furnishings due to their ease of cleaning, resistance to chemicals, and ability to meet cleanliness requirements.
  3. Chemical Handling: During the fabrication process, various chemicals are used for etching, doping, and cleaning semiconductor wafers. Plastics are often used for the storage, transport, and handling of these chemicals due to their chemical inertness and resistance to corrosion.
  4. Consumables: Plastics are used in the production of consumable items such as gloves, face masks, and packaging materials used in the handling and transportation of microchips and semiconductor wafers within the fabrication facility.

Overall, while plastics may not be directly visible in the final product of a microchip, they are indispensable in various stages of the microchip manufacturing process, contributing to its efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.

For more information on high-performance plastics such as FEP, PEEK, and/or PTFE, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at [email protected], or visit our website at www.performance plastics.com

Fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) and perfluoroalkoxy (PFA) are fluoropolymer materials that are often used in the construction of certain components in batteries, particularly as insulating materials. While they may not directly store energy in batteries, they play a crucial role in enhancing the safety, efficiency, and performance of battery systems. Here’s why FEP/PFA plastics are important for the energy storage function of batteries:

 

  1. Chemical Resistance: FEP and PFA plastics are highly chemically resistant, which is crucial in battery applications. They can withstand exposure to various corrosive electrolytes and chemicals found within batteries without degrading or reacting. This resistance helps ensure the long-term stability and integrity of the battery components, leading to improved battery durability and lifespan.
  2. Thermal Stability: FEP and PFA materials have excellent thermal stability and can withstand a wide range of temperatures, from extremely cold to very hot conditions. This property is essential for batteries, as they can operate in environments with varying temperature conditions. Maintaining thermal stability helps to prevent short circuits, leakage, and overall performance issues.
  3. Dielectric Properties: Both FEP and PFA injection molded parts are excellent electrical insulators. They have a low dielectric constant and low dissipation factor, meaning they have the ability to insulate and isolate electrical components in batteries effectively. This is vital for preventing short circuits and ensuring the safe operation of the battery.
  4. Low Permeability: FEP and PFA plastics have low gas and liquid permeability, which is essential for battery separators. The separators in batteries are critical for preventing direct contact between the positive and negative electrodes, while still allowing the passage of ions. Low permeability materials help maintain this separation, preventing electrolyte leakage and maintaining the battery’s overall performance.
  5. Mechanical Strength: FEP and PFA injection molded materials are durable and mechanically robust. They can withstand mechanical stresses and pressure changes that batteries may experience during manufacturing, assembly, and use. This strength is particularly important for maintaining the integrity of battery components and preventing damage.
  6. Non-reactive Nature: FEP and PFA are non-reactive with most substances, which is essential for ensuring the purity of the battery components. They do not react with the electrolyte or other battery materials, helping to maintain the chemical stability of the battery system.

While injection molded FEP and PFA plastics do not store energy in batteries themselves, they are crucial components for ensuring the safe and efficient operation of battery systems. Their chemical resistance, thermal stability, dielectric properties, low permeability, mechanical strength, and non-reactive nature all contribute to the overall performance, safety, and longevity of energy storage systems, making them indispensable for the function of batteries in various applications. For more information on FEP and PFA plastics for batteries, please call Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at 440-785-7122.

 

 

Fluoropolymers are indeed an excellent choice for parts that must perform in challenging environments. These polymers, which include materials like PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene), and PFA (perfluoroalkoxy), offer a range of unique properties that make them ideal for such applications:

  1. Chemical Resistance: Fluoropolymers are highly resistant to a wide range of corrosive chemicals, acids, and bases. This makes them suitable for use in environments where other materials would quickly deteriorate or corrode.
  2. Temperature Resistance: These polymers can withstand extreme temperatures, both high and low. PTFE, for example, can handle temperatures as low as -200°C and as high as 260°C, making it ideal for applications in harsh temperature conditions.
  3. Non-Stick Properties: Fluoropolymers have excellent non-stick properties, which means they do not easily adhere to other materials. This is why they are often used in cookware coatings, but it’s also valuable in industrial applications where materials need to slide or not adhere to surfaces.
  4. Electrical Insulation: They have good electrical insulation properties, which is important in applications where electrical conductivity could cause problems.
  5. UV Resistance: Many fluoropolymers are highly resistant to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, making them suitable for outdoor applications.
  6. Low Friction Coefficient: These materials have a low coefficient of friction, which means they can reduce wear and tear in moving parts and machinery.
  7. Biocompatibility: Some fluoropolymers are biocompatible, making them suitable for use in medical and pharmaceutical applications.

Fluoropolymers find applications in various industries, including chemical processing, electronics, aerospace, and automotive, where they are exposed to aggressive chemicals, extreme temperatures, and other challenging conditions. Their durability, resistance, and performance characteristics make them an excellent choice for parts and components in these demanding environments.

For more information on how Performance Plastics can help you with your material choice in challenging environments, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at [email protected]

 

 

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is a crucial aspect of the plastic injection molding process. It involves optimizing the design of a plastic part to ensure that it can be easily and cost-effectively manufactured using injection molding techniques. Here are some key considerations and guidelines for DFM in plastic injection molding:

Part Geometry and Complexity:

  • Keep the part geometry simple and avoid intricate features that could complicate the molding process or require complex tooling.
  • Minimize the use of undercuts, sharp corners, and thin walls to prevent molding defects and challenges in ejection.

Draft Angle:

  • Incorporate draft angles (tapered surfaces) on vertical walls to facilitate easy ejection of the part from the mold.
  • A typical draft angle is around 1-2 degrees per side, but this may vary based on the material and part design.

Wall Thickness:

  • Maintain uniform wall thickness throughout the part to ensure proper flow of molten plastic and reduce the risk of sink marks, warping, or voids.
  • Avoid sudden transitions between thick and thin sections, as this can lead to molding defects.

Ribs and Bosses:

  • Use ribs to reinforce thin sections of the part and add structural integrity.
  • Design bosses (protruding features) with appropriate wall thickness and draft angles to ensure good mold filling and easy part ejection.

Corners and Fillets:

  • Incorporate rounded corners and generous fillet radii to distribute stress and prevent stress concentrations that could lead to part failure.

Material Selection:

  • Choose a suitable plastic material for the intended application, considering factors such as mechanical properties, chemical resistance, temperature stability, and more.

Gating and Venting:

  • Position the gate (entry point for molten plastic) in a location that minimizes aesthetic defects and ensures uniform filling.
  • Provide adequate venting to allow air and gases to escape during injection, preventing voids and trapped air.

Texture and Surface Finish:

  • Consider the desired texture or surface finish early in the design process, as this may impact mold design and material flow.
  • Textures can help hide imperfections and improve aesthetics.

Tolerances:

  • Specify realistic tolerances that are achievable through the injection molding process.
  • Avoid tight tolerances that could increase manufacturing costs and lead to rejects.

Moldability Analysis:

  • Conduct mold flow analysis using simulation software to identify potential issues and optimize the part design before production.
  • Address potential concerns such as weld lines, air traps, and flow imbalances.

Tooling Considerations:

  • Collaborate closely with the tooling manufacturer to ensure the mold design aligns with the part design and material properties.
  • Optimize the number and complexity of mold cavities based on production volume requirements.

Assembly and Post-Processing:

  • Design parts for easy assembly by incorporating features like snap fits, self-locating tabs, and mating surfaces.
  • Minimize the need for secondary operations or post-processing steps.

By following these design principles and collaborating with experienced injection molding professionals like Performance Plastics, you can create plastic parts that are well-suited for efficient and cost-effective manufacturing through the injection molding process.

For more information on Design for Manufacturing and its use, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at [email protected], or visit our website at www.performanceplastics.c

A Mold flow analysis is a software simulation that can show how resin will fill the mold during the injection molding process. By understanding material fill, injection mold designers can better position gates, anticipate where knit lines will appear, and locate difficult-to-fill spots in the mold.

The predictive process of mold flow analysis can uncover design issues, save resources, allow for preemptive correction, speed up overall cycle time, and present your business with an abundance of benefits. Mold flow analysis is essential to ensure that a mold can produce the strongest and most consistent parts.

Here are our top six reasons why you should always perform a mold flow analysis:

  1. Optimization of Design

Without the investment of tooling or molding, all the what-if questions can be addressed ahead of time. Mold flow analysis can point out many concerns or production factors, including:

  • Material selection issues
  • Thickness/thinness problems
  • Structural concerns
  • Residual or structural stress issues
  • Filling concerns
  1. Quick & Immediate Decisions

With mold flow analyses, you can make immediate, informed decisions. These decisions can impact multiple areas of the process including:

  • Product design
  • Material and process selection
  • Tooling
  1. Optimization of Injection Molds and Tooling

You will have all the information upfront to make the most optimal choices in injection molds and tooling to create the perfect product. Mold flow analysis can show you everything you need:

  • The optimal gate locations
  • Balanced filling and packing
  • Cavity layout
  • The best cooling layouts
  • Structural and thermal analyses for tool life
  1. Trying Different Materials

You’re able to test out different materials and designs without building any prototype parts or tools. You can get virtual parts with a simulation as well, so you can have a full process simulation with minimal upfront investment.

  1. Optimize Overall Cycle Time

Mold flow analyses can optimize your overall cycle time by up to 10-30%. That reduction percentage on just one part can cancel out the cost of a complete flow analysis of multiple molded parts!

  1. Specification

Plastic parts can be optimized for exact machine specification, cycle time, cooling, DOE, and more, without reducing production time or putting any tools on molding machines; this can help improve your bottom-line profit.

The predictive process of mold flow analysis can uncover design issues, save resources, provide for preemptive correction, speed up overall cycle time, and present your business with an abundance of benefits.

Performance Plastics provides mold flow analysis to help your business improve manufacturing processes by saving time and money. For more information on how mold flow analysis can provide simplicity and quality to products, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at [email protected], or visit our website at www.performanceplastics.com.

 

Family_Mold

A family mold is a mold that produces different parts using the same base.  There can be multiple cavities for different part numbers.  Family molds often have a building cost advantage over molds dedicated to a single part number.

A common usage is to combine two halves of housing into a family mold. Halves are purchased in sets which makes running them together a good option.  They don’t have to be run together, so a shut-off runner must be included which allows one or more cavities to be turned off during production.

Family molds are often more practical than dedicated molds with moderate production volumes, whereas dedicated multiple cavities would be more expensive.  But family mold layout design is demanding and requires experience when dealing with advanced materials.

There are big differences between the properties, processing methods, and applications of various advanced materials.  Engineers need to understand the properties of the materials when using a family mold.  All advanced materials have benefits and deficiencies, so this understanding is key to the success of a project.

The conditions encountered when forcing molten plastic through a mold’s sprues, runners, and gate change as the mold becomes larger, and more complex, which impacts the molding process and material quality.  Thermal variations within a family mold become more of a concern, increasing the risk of partially filled cavities as well as part deformation.

Performance Plastics are experts in precision injection molding.  We have developed proprietary tooling, unique metallurgy equipment, and processes that produce custom-molded plastics such as fluoropolymers, Ultem®, PEEK, and Torlon®.  We leverage our high-performance polymer expertise and technology to develop thermoplastic compounds and techniques to maximize your family mold and provide the best quality on your mold investment.

For more information on family molds and how they can benefit your application, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at [email protected] or visit our website at www.performanceplastics.com.

 

Gaskets, seals, and poppets are key components of industrial applications used to seal joints, limit vibration, and prevent leaks.  They serve critical functions, so it is essential to choose the correct material for the application.  Performance Plastics has a thorough understanding of high-performance thermoplastics including PEEK, PFA, FEP, Torlon, and Ultem to create reliable, better sealing, longer wearing, and more cost-efficient components.

When choosing a material, there are several factors to keep in mind to ensure the material is correct for the application.

  • Temperature – material must withstand the entire design temperature range.
  • Pressure – material must withstand the entire pressure range.
  • Corrosion Resistance – material should not corrode when it encounters fluids or by environmental exposure.
  • Product Standards
  • Industry Standards

The materials need to have good flexibility, low density, and high tensile strength.  It also needs to have resistance to chemicals, internal pressure, durability, and adhesion with itself and the surfaces they touch.

It is important to understand the requirements of the particular application before making a material selection.  Our CT scanning metrology service allows us to offer the best in advanced measurement science.  Gaskets, seals, and poppets must be measured to deliver and maintain their seals for an acceptable period against all the operational forces present.

Performance Plastics’ team of experienced engineers possess the expertise to design and manufacture technically challenging projects and offer complex solutions within any industry. With the ability to hold tight tolerances (+/- .001”) in injection molding operations, we are exceptionally well-equipped to serve the Oil & Gas, Fluid Management, and HVAC industries.

For more information on how Performance Plastics can assist in your material selection challenges, please contact Rich Reed, VP of Sales & Marketing at 513.321.8404 or [email protected]

 

Nylon® is a synthetic thermoplastic polyamide that is known for its strength, temperature resilience, and chemical compatibility. It has been proven to be a lightweight, heavy-duty industrial engineering plastic replacement for metals that are resistant to both heat and corrosive chemicals.

Nylon® is a great material for parts that undergo flexure and bending.  With wear resistance far greater than many metals and other thermoplastics and a low coefficient of friction, Nylon® is ideally suited for use in slides, bearings, and other parts that need to stand up to high levels of motion and wear. Performance Plastics offers expertise in developing Nylon® resin formulations and combinations with other polymers such as glass, carbon, and mineral-reinforced versions.  For example, Minlon®, a mineral-reinforced Nylon® provides greater dimensional stability and creep resistance than unreinforced Nylon®, and lower warpage than glass-reinforced Nylon®. As a result, it is popular for use in compressor valves and big industrial parts, as well as in demanding aerospace applications.

Performance Plastics has seen Nylon®’s applications grow to include a range of applications to move water, acids, lubricants, solvents, chemicals, and fuels in automotive, military, and aerospace environments.  Although pump makers traditionally used various metals for pump housings, shaft guides, impellers, seals, bushings, and other elements, the desire to reduce pump weight, material, and processing costs have led many to opt for various Nylon® formulations instead. Performance Plastics can use Nylon® to offer a combination of physical strength, wear resistance, self-lubrication, and high cost-effectiveness.

Choosing the optimal Nylon® resin for an application depends on several factors, including the levels of pressure, temperature, and speed involved. In addition, the abrasiveness of the liquids or slurries involved, the degree of contamination that can be tolerated, and projected uses for the part must also be considered.

Nylon®’s toughness and elongation properties make it suitable for designs that involve snap-fits or press-fits. Injection-molded Nylon® parts from Performance Plastics are well-suited to secondary machining processes such as turning, drilling, tapping, and grinding, as well as ultrasonic insertion, ultrasonic welding, pad printing, and assembly.

To discover how Performance Plastics is partnering with world-class polymer scientists and industry-leading material suppliers to deliver nylon solutions, visit our website at https://performanceplastics.com or contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected].

How to choose the best technology for your project.

 

Plastic injection molding and 3D printing are both viable technologies. 3D printing is an additive printing process that creates objects by building up layers of material, while injection molding uses a mold that is filled with molten materials that cool and harden to produce parts.

The use of 3D printing in innovative and experimental scenarios is a viable technology for its ability to create custom plastic part designs quickly.  However, the 3D process limits your material choices, as all materials are not a fit or even available in a form suitable for 3D printing.

3D printing is best used for:

  • Quick turnaround times
  • Low volume, slower production speeds
  • Parts in the design phase with frequent changes – prototyping, lower product quality
  • Smaller part sizes

Once a design has been finalized, plastic injection molding becomes the optimal process.  Most of today’s plastic parts are manufactured using plastic injection molding – it’s best for producing large quantities quickly and reliably in high-volume runs. You have greater material options with plastic injection molding, and you can control material weight, cost, and flexibility with endless combinations of materials.  It helps organizations control the cost and integrity of designs with complexities and tight tolerances.

Plastic Injection molding is best used for:

  • High volume
  • Finalized part design
  • Enhanced strength and durability
  • Complex, precision, detailed parts

At Performance Plastics we have optimized many projects that were once manufactured using 3D printing, only to discover that injection molding was the more efficient technology.  As experts in FEP, PFA, PAI (Torlon), PEEK, and Ultem resins we frequently work with mission-critical, time-sensitive applications.  3D printing is an essential component of the design process, but If you have a project that requires high volume (5,000+ parts per year), high-temperature resins, and tight tolerances with complex geometries, plastic injection molding is your solution.

Performance Plastics’ team of experienced engineers possesses the expertise to design and manufacture technically challenging projects and offer complex solutions within harsh application industries.

For more information on how Performance Plastics can assist in your material selection challenges, please contact Rich Reed, VP of Sales & Marketing at 513.321.8404 or [email protected].