HOW TO SUCCEED AT INJECTION MOULD DESIGN
Working in injection mould design is a challenging job with many opportunities. While it is true that a lot of mold design has become a task that is frequently outsourced to low paying countries, for the qualified individual there are still great possibilities.
Plastic injection mould design and mold making companies are nearly always on the look-out for a skilled mold designer. Plus, with the universal availability of sophisticated CAD design software programs, some mold engineers choose to work from home.
Simple plastic molds are commonly designed by workers in places such as China and India, but more complicated, proprietary plastic molded parts are handled internally. One reason is intellectual property rights and another is the simple fact that companies need to quickly make changes to the design and must work with the plastic mold maker closely. This becomes quite complicated when language and time zones enter the equation.
Tips for successful injection mould design
- Continuing education is essential for a job such as injection mould design. Technology advances rapidly and the global competition is fierce. Understanding every aspect of the plastic molding process is not easy and takes time, but this knowledge gives the designer an edge.
- Be willing to expand your knowledge base. What worked in the past may now be out-of-date. A good example is the use of slides. Now it is possible and quite common to buy off-the-shelf slide components and use a more modular approach than in the past.
- Keep things simple in the injection mould design, as much as possible. This is especially true for the mold maker and molder. If the mold design is so complex that it takes a rocket scientist to build and operate it, chances are there will be problems. This also reduces manufacturing costs and maintenance expenses.
- Listen to the mold maker and molder. Both of these people can offer sound suggestions that the designer might overlook. A good example is when very similar core and cavity blocks have dis-similar dimensions. Why not make them the same size and thus reduce the milling and grinding time?
- Visualize how the injection mold maker is going to manufacture the tool. It is always reassuring when the designer has a mold making background because the tool is easier to build. On the other hand, it is always a dreaded fact that the injection mould design made by somebody with no machining experience tends to be difficult to manufacture.
- Make sure the CAD files are up-to-date and logical. Some injection mould design companies have an organized approach in which every mold design uses the same labeling method for every type of component. The B side blocks might be a 5000 series and the A side blocks all a 3000 series, for example. The problem arises, however, when, for whatever reason, the designer does not follow the protocol and error occur because the new file was hidden in some obscure folder.
The work of an injection mould designer is an essential part of the plastic molding process and the men and women who can visualize and conceptualize how to make an injection mold around a plastic molded part are worthy of the highest regard.