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Plastic Part Prototyping Shortens Turnaround Time

The 28-ton, water-cooled Arburg (German built) injection molding machine has been proven invaluable for short runs of small parts. It is a production-quality machine that can be used to mold thermoplastics, engineering plastics, and consumer plastics.

 

Injection Molding machine can cut
weeks from a development schedule
.

 

Because Omnica has this production machine and the required mold-making equipment in-house, we can often cut weeks from a development schedule. Normally, after a mold, or “tool” is built, it is sent to an injection molding company which can produce, or shoot, the first article parts. When the company receives the tooling, there is typically a 4 week waiting period before the parts are actually made. After the first articles are molded, they are sent back to the engineering department for measuring and evaluation. If any changes are required, two more weeks could be added to this initial process.

 

When we design and build the tooling for small projects (up to about 1.3 ounces, approximately the size of your fist) we have the capability to mold the first articles. If any changes are required, it is sometimes possible for us to modify the mold and re-shoot the parts that same day.

 

Liquid Injection Molding with the thermal press offers sizable gains in prototype turnaround time.

 

From padlock seals to components for liquid oxygen containers, silicone rubber components are integral to many of the products we design. We often have the need to produce working prototypes of these materials, but in a fast-track project a real limitation is a relatively long cure time. RTV and addition-cure silicones will typically require 8 to 24 hours to cure before the part can be extracted from the mold for use.
 


 

Turn around time for production-type LIM (liquid injection molded) silicones and fast thermal cure materials can be accelerated with the application of heat. Since Omnica is known for having access to the best and most applicable resources, we upgraded our plastics molding capabilities by acquiring a production-quality thermal press (see picture). With the PHI Thermal Press, we are no longer limited to one or two cycles per day for the pre-production testing of experimental silicone parts and tooling.

 

The dual-range press can be used to mold production-type silicones, epoxies, urethanes, and thermally-cured materials much faster than was possible in the past. Using an aluminum mold (which we can build in-house), we are able to produce fully cured parts in 5 to 10 minutes instead of 4 hours. It accepts molds up to 8" x 8" and uses temperature controlled plates (for heating and cooling), that can maintain pressures up to 40,000 p.s.i.

 

This versatile machine allows us to offer high pressure laminating, compression molding, simulate liquid injection molding. It can complete many other processes used in industry for the production of plastic parts.