Development Tooling Solutions
We offer various tooling solutions to allow a component to be fully developed and manufactured in a range of thermoplastics or a specific grade if identified.
The manufacture of a Mould Tool offers greater scope of development than Rapid Prototyping as you will have a component with the required surface finish in a material of your choice to evaluate. It is also possible to only create part of a product for example a latch profile or fixing area to evaluate whether it is fit for function.
The first stage is often to produce a Modular Insert System that will be inserted into one of our range of universal dies sets. This is a part owned solution where we will manufacture dedicated core and cavity detail to produce the form of the part with its own unique ejector system that is slotted or loaded into the outer casing we provide. This method of manufacture will allow us to create simple undercut features by incorporating loose inserts or side action movement.The system does have some limitations with regard to features and temperature control but every effort is put into the design to optimise these areas. This can be the most cost effective method of tooling to develop a part which can exceed the constraints of rapid prototyping.
We can also manufacture bespoke development Mould Tooling that is fully owned and can produce finished products to production standard. This can allow for dimensional and functional adjustments to the form of the part to assist the development process and is often utilised for single impression development before a customer commits to multi-cavity tooling. Bespoke tooling can offer improved temperature control over the Modular Systems and the ability to produce more complex forms.
- Sample in a range of thermoplastics
- Apply surface finishes
- Modular Insert Tooling Systems
- Bespoke production quality Mould Tooling
- Produce complex forms
What is an Injection Mould Tool?
A mould tool in the world of plastic injection moulding is the casing unit used to aid the delivery of the molten thermoplastic from the injection moulding machine into an open void that forms the final shape of the component. The tool is clamped into a moulding machine and the material is injected through a sprue bush.The bush has a tapered hole that carries the material through to the middle of the tool. The material is then moved to the correct part of the tool to fill the void left to create the part by a runner system that carries the material to the gate. The gate is the area that reduces in size to feed the material into the part and creates a weak point that can be easily broken or cut to create a smooth edge.
The mould tool is generally split into two halves one which is known as the fixed half (attached to a fixed platen of the moulding machine) and the moving half which moves within the machine and carries the ejection system. These two halves will open and close to allow the product to be removed from the mould tool.
When the tool is closed the area known as the cavity (open space) is filled with air and therefore when the plastic is injected this air has to escape (be vented) whilst not allowing the plastic to leak (flash) from the cavity. If this is not done effectively then the moulded component could have voids (air bubbles), exhibit burn marks and show a poor surface finish.
Another key element of the mould tool is the temperature control system which is needed to solidify the plastic at the correct rate to produce a structurally sound component. The wrong cooling rate can create stress and distortion to the product. The temperature can be controlled by means of water (most common), oil or electrically depending on the specific requirements of the material to be moulded. Once the component is set within the mould it is ready to open and the part is then ejected off of the form it is sitting on (the core). This can be done by means of pins, sleeves, stripping plates or air in some instances.
A mould tool is not limited to produce one component per shot as you can manufacture multi-cavity tools (2, 4 or 6 parts for example each time it opens) or family mould tools where more than one type of product can be produced in one shot. If the tool is to be a family mould then it is important that all of the parts are made from the same base material and colour otherwise a turnaround runner system would be required to run the parts individually.
The mould tool is a vital element in the manufacture process to produce a quality component.