What is Micro molding?
It is plastic and non plastic molding technique with plastic parts have a weight less than 0.1 gram or have structural dimensions less than 1mm. It relates to a part that is measured in microns and is not bigger than 0.5 cubic inches. They can be a very small feature of a normal sized part. Micro features include very thin walls, micro fluid channels or holes. Both micro parts and micro features require very small tolerances. They also have typically complex geometrics. Micro molding is not all about micro size and machines, only, it is capable of producing millions even billions of tiny parts with precision. The combination of innovation, processing and expert tool building make up the main elements of micro molding.
These parts can be found in cell phones, microelectronics, telecommunications, surgical tools, hearing aids, medical aids, antennas, connectors and more.
- Tooling is less expensive. A micro molding machine running 2 to 4 cavities can compete with a standard molding machine having 16 cavities. Fewer cavities mean lower tooling costs and higher quality.
- Parts are more accurate with more dimensional variability. As the process is designed for smaller parts and lesser number of cavities is used, this is more reliable and accurate than the process of conventional molding. Accuracy and reliability means higher quality molded parts with lesser problems and quality issues.
- Cycles are very fast which means very low cost of production. Most cycles run for 6 seconds and some even for 3to 4 seconds.
- The process is tailored for miniature parts. Micro injection molding machines have very small capacities of about 3-6 gram barrels and clamps of about 2-5 tons. The plastic has very short heat history and therefore less chance of degrading in the barrel which is a common problem with conventional molding machines.
- Radical part geometries are possible. Very thin walls with filled engineering materials are possible and new applications occur constantly.