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For those who don’t know, micro molding is the process of creating a micro-sized product. The end-product is usually very light and tiny. People use it in critical applications and niche industries.
The weight of a micro molded product typically runs around the range of a fraction of milligrams.
Keep in mind that micro molding is an extremely specialized process. The purpose of the process is to achieve high-precision and extremely tiny thermoplastic components and parts with micron tolerances.
Here are all you need to know about micro overmolding:
Benefits of Utilizing Micro-Molded Products
For those who don’t know, products that are made using a micro-molding process need to be utilized in critical applications.
It makes a lot of sense to utilize these products where there’s a crucial need for these specific features. This is particularly true since the cost to build or cost of manufacturing these products is very high.
Here are some of the most common benefits of using micro overmolding:
- Most machines utilized for micro-molding consume less time and energy to generate the same number of components.
That is why these machines can help save utility expenses if properly used. Companies can expect to gain increased profits with a reduction in manufacturing time.
- Micro-molded products are very tiny in size. People should only use them in particular applications where the part size plays a vital role in the operation and efficiency of the application.
- The products are very light. If weight is extremely crucial in the application, you can easily benefit from micro-molded products.
For instance, the weight of each part in the medical and aerospace industries can make a huge difference to the performance of the application.
During these processes, the manufacturer needs to use complete automation to guarantee that the product is made with tight tolerances.
In addition to that, manufacturers also take extreme care of the material utilized to guarantee that the product fits the application’s needs.
The chemical and physical properties of the material play a vital part in the product’s reliability. Because of this, working with a reliable micro overmolding company will enable you to get the most out of your money.
Best Materials for Micro Molding
Since there are tons of different applications around the world, micro-molding materials come in virtually any form.
However, you should keep in mind that parts used in critical applications often need highly engineered or exotic compounds. This is particularly true in the micro molding industry.
Some of the common materials manufacturers use include glass-filled nylons, carbon-filled LCP, PEI, or PEEK. Some manufacturers also use elastomeric and soft durometer resins.
How Can Manufacturers Guarantee Quality?
When it comes to micro molding operations, quality assurance is vital. The capability of proving that components are made to specifications is where manufacturers often struggle.
Quality assurance comes in a lot of different methods.
However, quality usually starts at the beginning of every project. Manufacturers need to review the design for manufacturability to guarantee the project starts on the right foot.
Measurement, inspection, the robustness of the process, and quality need to occur as early as possible in the process.
Manufacturers also have to work with a circuit breaker supplier to guarantee a steady supply of power to the machine.
Next, manufacturers develop control plans that tackle FMEA results, vital features, and other quality needs.
Manufacturers use low-tech and high-tech measurements using cutting-edge techniques. This depends on what is suitable. If necessary, they might also use high-resolution in-line vision systems and precision gauge pins.
Most of the time, verification of finished part dimensions and tool dimensions needs high magnification microscopic measurements.
Another thing to consider is product handling. Manufacturers need to keep surface contamination at a minimum.
Also, delicate features require proper processes in place to guarantee the product arrives at the client without any damages. They might also need cleanroom molding and automation.
Packaging and Automation
Handling of parts and packaging might appear like a second thought. However, it is virtually as crucial as the manufacturing process on a lot of occasions.
It’s one thing to mold a tiny component. Molding it and properly packaging it can be a challenge all on its own. This is particularly true if the client requires a specific method of packaging.
In-house custom packaging and modern automation come in a lot of forms. This can include in-line inspection, lead frame singulation and die-forming, light subassemblies, reel-to-reel packaging, and more.
These additional services complete the overall micro-molding service and often can be the difference between project failure and a successful project.
Control of the design of the mold and build process is vital to the success of any micro-molding project.
It’s always a huge advantage to have in-house maintenance, build, and tool design resources. This is especially true when dealing with the complexities and very tight tolerances of the components.
The team needs to plan and perform a lot of complex production processes while keeping strict project timelines. It’s vital to have ongoing communications during the entire project.
Furthermore, in-house resources also play a vital part in regular maintenance, repairs that might be needed, or running product changes.
You cannot always guarantee success. However, chances greatly improve if timeline, production planning, project planning, and execution responsibility all lie within the control of a single manufacturer.
The truth is that micro molding manufacturers might even have to work with bucket manufacturers to ensure the quality of products.
Micro-molding might appear novel and new. But the truth is that there are a lot of companies out there that have been in the industry for more than 20 years. Today, there are billions of micro-molded products that show how businesses and technology have vastly improved over the years.