Rapid Prototyping and Plastic Injection Molding


Developing high quality protomold processes with efficiency and flow mechanisms built in comes as important as the materials making the product. Somehow in all the meetings when implementing new technology or improving present processes this becomes forgotten. In a competitive global market keeping the bottom line as low as possible means creating efficient rapid prototyping with plastic injection molding process simply because time does equal money.

Front End It

Begin at the beginning. Rapid prototyping with its use of layered computer generated 3-D protomold modeling lends itself to becoming paired with a Socratic thinking process. Not into Socratic thinking then try Hannel. Whatever thinking approach chosen make it an inquiry that forms discussions between individuals. Rapid prototyping normally is defined as taking a description of need and then factor in user experience with best practices. The problem has been constraints, and aberrations in the materials with the key functionality rule.

Protomold prototypes need to not only show best practices but also what problems can develop over time or over materials. In most cases the reality of a successful product is one that finds the best balance between highest quality materials, constraints, budgeting and normal wear and tear. Develop protomold prototypes that address constraints (often money), address the best balance, and address best practices. What often happens is the research team builds a protomold prototype with the best practices and materials, but budget demands when transforming it into a product line making a decisions based on finances and not long term usage. Once in consumer hands unexpected problems crop up. By building a constrained prototype then decisions can be made based on what components absolutely have to have the best highest quality parts or additional protection.

Application to Plastic Injection Molding

Plastic injection molding has been the dominant technique for some time. To work most efficiently optimal process parameters need determining as well. Taguchi’s trial and error has been the solution for parameter discovery but studies in 2008, 2009, and 2011 for engineering universities presented at IEEE conferences show Six Sigma techniques may solve the issues more rapidly and increase profits for all entities involved for plastic injection molding. It had the additional benefit of creating the best product for the lowest pricing not by changing the materials but the process in handling it. Improve the process improves the product which in turn increases profits.

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