Injection mould — from mould design to batch production
Posted on : Sep 19, 2022 By GREFEE
Mould design is an important step of the large scale product R & D process. As the design of products and moulds are co-related, it is necessary for the product design engineers and mold design engineers to know the development process of plastic parts, mold design process and the role of mold manufacturing process.
Stages of the typical R&D of products include product definition, product design, experience and product development, capacity improvement and market launch.
Even the process of the R&D is complicated, but most of them have the following key attributes:
Establishing systemic development to ensure the comprehensiveness of design and manufacturing.
Through the key sections of project, the cost assessment can be effectively evaluated to establish the checkpoint process to avoid risks.
The research and development process is divided into multiple stages through the approve of cost requirement. The next stage will evaluate the previous stage.
1.Definition of products
The research and development of products originates from the analysis of markets, how much do you know the products of your competitors, definition of products and the evaluation of the potential profit. Once a new product is approved by the management, a research and development team will be created for the early conceptual design and business development. In the first stage, estimating the approximate size, properties and cost of the product. At the same time, conceptual sketches, physical prototypes and prototypes may be discussed and evaluate the feasibility.
Regarding to the profit, the market analyst should try to predict the potential sales status of different prices in the early stage of research and development of products. In the meantime, the budget of labor cost and project cost required for product development and product marketing will be established.
Through the consistent evaluation of the feasibility of products development to obtain the management’s evaluation on the conceptual design, anchor sales expectation and budget. The proposed product development project may be rejected, shelved or modified accordingly.
2. Designing of products
If the project has been approved and allocated with the budget, the research and development of products will be continual. It is usually being further analyzed and designed after obtaining the extra budget. In the second stage, each component in the product will be designed in detail.
The design of components plastic casting includes the consideration of aesthetic values, structure, heating, manufacturing, etc. The design of manufacturing methods will be used for confirming the problem of effective manufacturing of components. The design of assembly methods can be used to reduce the number of components to decide the tolerance of key dimensions to ensure the assembly cost effectiveness of products.
The mould design result contained in the initial stage of products design (through the second management proposal) is a detailed and verified product design.
The detailed design refers to each component will have the specify material, geometry, surface roughness, tolerance, supplier and cost. If requires the customized plastic parts, then it is necessary to quote these parts at this stage. To obtain the approvement, handing in the manfacuting cost and detailed designing scheme to the management.
If the design and cost of products can be accepted, the required budget can be allocated. The R&D of products mainly focuses on the manufacturing.
3. Development of the business and production
If the design and manufacturing of mold are the keys of the plastic industry, the content is all involved into the mold manufacturing. In the meantime, carrying out important business development and establish production plan.
To be specific, the development of business completely relies on the supply chain and the establishment of the initial orders to support the release of products. To layout of assembly lines, determination of human resource requirements and establishment of manufacturing technology facilities, a production scheme is required for each of them.
After the competition of molds, the “ α” (initial) product production, testing and assembly will be carries out. After that, the initial product goes through a series of tests to verify its performance level, implementation standards and user satisfaction. If the initial products do not meet the requirements, the manufacturing progress, related tools and the detailed design of components should be adjusted. In the meantime, a detailed plans will be made for quality control by the operation staff and training of personnel.
4. Scale up and production
The management review method is used to verify whether the design and production plan of the developed products are satisfactory. If the products meet the requirements with satisfied effect, products with medium weight can be manufactured in the sample production process according to the manufacturing standards.
The produced “ β” product will be supplied to the marketing department, sales and major customers to obtain the acceptibility. Same as before, the designed and manufactured products may be adjusted to address the key problems.
When all stakeholders (marketing, sales, manufacturing, key suppliers and important customers) are ready, producing products at the base of the sample production process and establish the early storage, and then release the products to the market.
5.Function of mold design
The mold quotation, mold design and mold manufacturing support the huge product development process. When the quotation for the cost of molds and / or parts are required, the conceptual design stage or the detailed design stage will begin.
At this moment, if the mold engineer or mold manufacturer gives a fully detailed design, it is unreasonable, for a lot of work in the early mold design is carried out at the same time as the imperfect product design.
The mold design may require a subtotal adjustment based on the consideration of the manufacturing process or product performance.
During the R&D of molds, due to a lack of the details in the initial designing, unqualified products may be produced if adopted the initial design directly. The initial mold designing required key designing information include the size, wall thickness and predicted production volume of parts.
The mold designer can develop the initial mold layout, give the cost evaluation, and give the improvement of the product design with these information. To speed up the R&D of products, the mold design and mold parts procurement and customization can be start at the same time.
When the R&D of products is almost completed, the manufacturing and testing stages will begin, due to which the mold manufacturers and suppliers bear high pressure to provide high-quality molds as soon as possible. It is challenging because there might be potential errors exiting in the designing process of products.
Hence, the designer may be required to re-design and correct parts of the molds and discuss with mold manufacturers to ensure the molds are qualified. The new projects may involved multiple modifications to achieve the goals.
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