Injection molds are one of the most significant investments a manufacturer can make.  The lifespan of the injection mold depends on several factors; the design and construction of the mold, the type of material being molded, the operating conditions, and the maintenance practices employed.  Generally, high-quality molds are built to be durable and last for a significant period.  Below are some factors that affect the longevity of injection molds:

  • Operating Conditions – The conditions in which your injection mold operates have a corresponding effect on the lifespan of your mold. Will the mold be used in dirty or harsh environmental conditions?  Or is it run in a clean, sanitary environment? Dirt can take a toll on your mold.
  • Time between production runs – In general, the less time between runs the shorter the lifespan of your mold will be. The result of less time between runs is that molds may be less likely to get full mold maintenance between each cycle.
  • Cycle times – Longer, slower cycle times can be less taxing on your molds, which in turn may help them last longer. The length of your cycle time is largely dependent on elements of your design, including wall thickness, as well as design complexity.
  • Injection mold material – The materials used to create your mold will also play a role in its longevity. Aluminum molds, for instance, won’t last as long as their steel counterparts. The materials being molded also play a role in longevity, as some materials will be harder on molds than others.

It’s important to mention that the lifespan of an injection mold is not solely determined by the number of cycles but also by the overall condition and functionality of the mold.  Factors such as wear, damage, and changes in the molding material or production requirements can necessitate repairs.

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 mold and provide the best ROI on your mold investment.

 

Torlon is a high-performance polymer that is often used in precision industrial applications due to its exceptional mechanical and thermal properties. It is a brand name for polyamide-imide (PAI), a thermoplastic material that exhibits excellent strength, stiffness, and dimensional stability.

Here are some key characteristics and advantages of Torlon in precision industrial applications:

  1. High Strength and Stiffness: Torlon has a high strength-to-weight ratio and exceptional rigidity, making it suitable for applications that require structural integrity and resistance to deformation under heavy loads.
  2. Dimensional Stability: Torlon maintains its dimensional stability even under elevated temperatures, which is crucial in precision applications where tight tolerances and accurate fit are required. It has a low coefficient of thermal expansion, reducing the risk of dimensional changes due to temperature fluctuations.
  3. Chemical Resistance: Torlon is highly resistant to a wide range of chemicals, including acids, solvents, fuels, and oils. This chemical resistance makes it suitable for applications in chemical processing, oil and gas, and other industries where exposure to corrosive substances is a concern.
  4. High-Temperature Resistance: Torlon retains its mechanical properties at elevated temperatures, with a glass transition temperature (Tg) of approximately 280°C (536°F) and a melting point of around 310°C (590°F). This thermal stability allows it to perform reliably in high-temperature environments.
  5. Low Friction and Wear Resistance: Torlon exhibits excellent tribological properties, including low friction and wear resistance. This makes it suitable for applications that involve sliding or rotating components, such as bearings, bushings, and wear pads.
  6. Electrical Insulation: Torlon is an excellent electrical insulator, offering high dielectric strength and low electrical conductivity. It is often used in electrical and electronic components where insulation and electrical performance are critical.
  7. Machinability: Torlon is known for its machinability, allowing it to produce complex shapes and precise components. It can be easily machined using conventional machining techniques, including milling, turning, drilling, and grinding.

Due to its exceptional properties, Torlon is commonly found in industries such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, oil and gas, chemical processing, and various other high-performance applications that demand precision, reliability, and durability.

For more information on Torlon or how a high-performance polymers can benefit your application, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and 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]

 

Plastics can be considered high-performance for a variety of reasons.  The specific application and the performance criteria are the most important.  Here are some characteristics that can contribute to a resin being classified as a high-performance plastic.

  1. Strength and durability: Many plastics are engineered (fiber reinforced) to be extremely strong and durable, with high tensile strength and resistance to wear, tear, and impact. This can make them well-suited for applications where mechanical stress is a concern. Examples include Torlon PAI and PEEK.
  2. Temperature resistance: Certain plastics are highly resistant to chemical corrosion or degradation, which can make them ideal for use in harsh environments or with corrosive substances. Examples include fluoropolymers such as PFA with a melting point of 581 degrees F.
  3. Electrical properties: Some plastics have excellent electrical insulation properties, making them ideal for use in electronics or other electrical applications. Examples include fluoropolymers such as FEP.
  4. Lightweight: Many plastics are lightweight, which can make them ideal for applications where weight is a concern, such as the aerospace, medical, or industrial markets.
  5. Versatility: Plastics can be easily injection molded into a wide variety of complex shapes and sizes, which can make them versatile and useful in a wide range of applications.

Overall, high-performance plastics can be custom designed to meet specific performance criteria and offer a wide range of benefits depending on the application.

For more information on high-performance plastics or other Performance Plastics services, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at [email protected] or call 440-785-7122.

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].

When it comes to extremely high-temperature applications, engineered fluoropolymers are an optimal choice for reliability and performance. While there are several engineered resins available on the market, for the most demanding applications, project leaders often request Vespel® or Torlon®. Understanding the differences between these two resins, the production methods involved and the labor costs associated with the materials will help you determine which one is correct for your project.

Vespel® vs. Torlon®

Vespel® is a polyimide plastic that is often used in high-heat environments that cause thermoplastic materials to lose their mechanical properties. It is one of the most dynamic engineering resins available and can be found in hostile and extreme environments, such as oil & gas, semiconductors, and aerospace applications.

With the ability to perform at temperatures of 500ºF and to endure temperatures up to 900ºF for limited periods, Vespel® has superior thermal stability. This material is also known for excellent friction and wear characteristics, being extremely creep resistant, and having a high resistance to chemicals. Vespel® is a lightweight alternative to metal, offering high tensile (8,750 psi) and flexural (16,000 psi) strength at one-half the weight of metal.

Characteristics of Vespel® include:

• High impact resistance
• Extremely high purity
• Minimal electrical and thermal conductivity
• Low water absorption
• Radiation resistance

Torlon® is a high-performance engineered thermoplastic that is difficult to injection mold, can readily hold tight tolerances, and is easy to machine. This polyamide-imide plastic offers exceptional toughness, even when operating in continuous temperatures of 500ºF. It excels in chemically harsh environments and is stronger at 400°F than most engineering resins at room temperature. Torlon® parts are commonly used in aerospace, chemical processing, and bearings.

Torlon® features:

• High dimensional stability
• Low creep
• High thermal endurance
• Tensile strength of 27,847 psi
• Flexural strength of 35,390 psi

Injection Molding is Our Specialty

Whether your application needs extreme thermal resistance, purity, thermal conductivity or exceptional toughness, our expert staff can assist in the material selection that will hold tight tolerances and meet all your production specifications.
We have developed proprietary molding and tooling processes enabling the injection molding of otherwise complex parts. Our expertise in fluoropolymers and injection molding can assist you in selecting the correct material for your application.

For more information on Vespel® or Torlon® please contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected].

A cleanroom is a controlled environment where products are manufactured and assembled in a dust-free, temperature-controlled environment. They are designed specifically to reduce the risk of contamination and minimize the potential for product defects. Cleanrooms are becoming increasingly important in the manufacturing industry as they are used in the production of a wide range of products, from microelectronics to medical devices.

Performance Plastics utilizes robotics in its clean room to offer customers the best of both technologies. Automation offers solutions to the four Ds in manufacturing, dirt, danger, dullness, and difficulty.
The primary objective of a cleanroom is to maintain a dust-free environment with minimal airborne particulate matter. To do this, cleanrooms are equipped with special filters and air-handling systems that remove and trap dust particles.

The primary objective of robotics is to maintain quality and consistency during the production of a product. Robots produce more accurate and high-quality work. Robots rarely make a mistake and are more precise. They can produce larger quantities in the same amount of time. They work at a consistent, sustainable speed.

In addition to controlling the environment, cleanrooms are also equipped with advanced temperature control systems. This ensures that the temperature and humidity levels remain consistent, which is important for the proper functioning of the products being manufactured.

Cleanrooms also help to reduce the risk of contamination. Products are kept in a sterile environment and are subject to rigorous cleaning protocols. This helps to ensure that the products are free from any potential contaminants.
For more information as to how Performance Plastics can provide you with a manufactured clean room solution, please visit our website at www.performanceplastics or contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at [email protected].

A fluoropolymer is one of the growing numbers fluorocarbon-based polymers. They are widely used in healthcare applications due to their biocompatibility, lubricity, sterilizability, chemical inertness, thermal stability, barrier properties, and high purity. However, when compared with other resins, they are significantly more expensive and require special techniques to injection mold due to their shear sensitivity, high melt temperatures, and fluorine outgassing when melted.

Although the best-known fluoropolymer, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE or Teflon®), has been on the market since the 1940s, newer resins have been developed to address specific injection molding niches. Perfluoroalkoxy polymer (PFA) and fluorinated ethylene-propylene (FEP plastic) are among the most recent additions to the list of fluoropolymer options.

PFA was developed in order to create a true melt-processable fluoropolymer. It provides the smoothest and least wettable finish of all of the fluoropolymers. Its optical transparency, chemical inertness, and overall flexibility have made it popular for use in lab equipment. It also has superior electrical properties, with dielectric strength that’s three to four times greater than PTFE can offer.

Like PFA, FEP is melt-processable and injection moldable. Its melting point of 260 °C (500 °F) is about 40 degrees lower than PFA’s.  It offers low friction and chemical inertness properties comparable to PTFE’s. However, it is completely transparent. Because FEP is highly resistant to sunlight, it is especially useful for molding parts that are subjected to weathering.

However, not all injection molders are equipped to work with fluoropolymers like PFA and FEP. Performance Plastics LTD. has developed a variety of tools and procedures to address the challenges involved in molding these materials. For example, our solution includes a hot runner system and mold designed to minimize the shear forces inherent in the injection molding process. We use proprietary metallurgy that’s highly resistant to fluorine gas corrosion, which helps extend the working life of the hot runner system, tooling and other components that make contact with the melted resin. We’ve also developed a direct-gating, multi-runner approach to tool design that eliminates the sprue and runner used in traditional injection molding. By eliminating the wasted material associated with the sprue and runner, Performance Plastics has been able to pass along material cost savings of from 20% to 40% by using these expensive resins more economically.

To learn more about how we can cut your resin costs while helping you take advantage of the unique properties PFA and FEP offer, visit our contact page or contact Rich Reed, our vice president of sales and marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected].

At Performance Plastics, we combine design expertise with automation to ensure tight tolerance part quality and consistency.  Automation allows us to efficiently inspect 100 percent of the parts we produce.

Automation is used on all our orders – high and low volume.  While automation is critical on high-volume orders, we utilize the technology on our lower volume for technically challenging, mission-critical applications to ensure quality.

Some of our mission-critical applications include:

  • We make parts that seal off chemicals in order to prevent dangerous leaks in the aerospace industry.
  • We manufacture parts used in plasma cutters that ensure two different types of gases are mixed correctly right at the nozzle for diversified industrial applications.
  • We produce parts that are used to test tissue samples for the medical industry.

At Performance Plastics, we use a combination of automation across all our applications.  We incorporate automation where cylinders, vacuums, and other actuators are moving products from place to place around the production facility – always testing our tolerances throughout the product cycle.

However, automation does make maintaining tight tolerances a bit simpler. An example is in our over-molding process.  Many parts we manufacture include battery contacts that run internally, a metal base, or features made from something other than plastics.  Automation can be used to feed these parts into the process without an operator.  Less human interaction reduces the possibility of human error and/or injury. Automation places the part in the mold to be over-molded, pulls the completed part out, and then re-inserts the next part quickly and reliably.

Where automation really produces an advantage is at the bottom line – cost savings. For example, cycle times can be greatly improved because automation allows us to do multiple things at once, such as vision checks and leak checks at the same time.

When our reliability increases, our customers’ risk is greatly reduced. Higher reliability and repeatability result in a lower risk of non-compliance.

To learn more about Performance Plastics’ uses of automation, 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].