User's Guide to Plastic

User's Guide to Plastic
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Ulf Bruder
User's Guide to Plastic
Book ISBN: 978-1-56990-573-9
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Ulf Bruder
User’s Guide to Plastic
Ulf Bruder
User’s Guide to Plastic
A handbook for everyone
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The Author:
Ulf Bruder, Bruder Consulting AB, Barkassgatan 9, SE-371 32 Karlskrona, Sweden
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ISBN 978-1-56990-572-2
E-Book ISBN 978-1-56990-573-9
Table of Contents
Foreword ......................................................................................................................... 4
1. Polymers and Plastics ..................................................................................................... 5
2. Commodities ................................................................................................................... 9
3. Engineering Polymers .................................................................................................. 19
4. Thermoplastic Elastomers ............................................................................................ 27
5. High-Performance Polymers ........................................................................................ 33
6. Bioplastics and Biocomposites ..................................................................................... 41
7. Plastic and the Environment ......................................................................................... 47
8. Modification of Polymers .............................................................................................. 51
9. Material Data and Measurements ................................................................................. 59
10. Material Databases on the Internet ............................................................................... 65
11. Test Methods for Plastic Raw Materials and Moldings .................................................. 67
12. Injection-Molding Methods............................................................................................ 73
13. Post-molding Operations .............................................................................................. 77
14. Different Types of Molds............................................................................................... 81
15. Structure of Molds ...................................................................................................... 87
16. Mold Design and Product Quality ................................................................................. 93
17. Prototype Molds and Mold Filling Analysis.................................................................... 97
18. Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing ............................................................ 103
19. Cost Calculations for Moldings .................................................................................... 111
20. Alternative Processing Methods for Thermoplastics .................................................... 117
21. Material Selection Process .......................................................................................... 127
22. Requirements and Specification for Plastic Products ................................................... 131
23. Design Rules for Thermoplastic Moldings.................................................................... 145
24. Assembly Methods for Thermoplastics ........................................................................ 159
25. The Injection-Molding Process .................................................................................... 165
26. Injection Molding Process Parameters ........................................................................ 183
27. Problem Solving and Quality Management .................................................................. 185
28. Troubleshooting – Causes and Effects ........................................................................ 195
29. Statistical Process Control (SPC) ................................................................................ 215
30. Internet Links and Index .............................................................................................. 223
Foreword
For many years, I have had the idea of writing a book about injection molding, as I have
spent over 45 years of my working life on this subject.
When I retired in 2009 I was given great support by my friends Katarina Elner-Haglund and
Peter Schulz of the Swedish plastics magazine Plastforum, who asked me to write a series of
articles about thermoplastics and their processing for the magazine.
I was also hired at this time to work with educational programs at the Lund University of
Technology, the Royal University of Technology in Stockholm, and a number of industrial
companies in Sweden—as a result of which this book was developed.
My aim has been to write in such a way that this book can be understood by everyone,
regardless of prior knowledge about plastics. The book has a practical approach with lots of
pictures and is intended to be used both in secondary schools, universities, industrial
training, and self-study. In some of the chapters there are references to worksheets in Excel
that can be downloaded free from my website: www.brucon.se.
In addition to the above-mentioned persons, I would like to extend a warm thanks to my wife
Ingelöv, who has been very patient when I've been totally absent in the "wonderful world of
plastics" and then proofread the book; my brother Hans-Peter, who has spent countless
hours on adjustments of all the images etc.; and my son-in-law Stefan Bruder, who has
checked the contents of the book and contributed with many valuable comments.
I would also like to thank my previous employer, DuPont Performance Polymers and
especially my friends and former managers Björn Hedlund and Stewart Daykin, who
encouraged the development of my career as a trainer until I reached my ultimate goal and
dream job of "global technical training manager." They have also contributed with a lot of
information and many valuable images in this book.
I also want to say a big thanks to my friends and business partners in all educational
programs in recent years, who have supported me and contributed with many valuable
comments, information, and images for this book. The whole list would be very long but I
would like to highlight some of them (in company order):
Kenny Johansson, Acron Formservice AB, Anders Sjögren, AD Manus Materialteknik AB,
Michael Jonsson, AD-Plast AB, Johan Orrenius, Arla Plast AB, Kristian Östlund, Arta Plast
AB, Eric Anderzon, Bergo Flooring AB, Anders Sjöberg, Digital Mechanics AB, Kristina
Ekberg, Elasto Sweden AB, Frans van Lokhorst, Engel Sverige AB, Carl-Dan Friberg, Erteco
Rubber & Plastics AB, Bim Brandell, Ferbe Tools AB, Niclas Forsström, Fristad Plast AB,
Mattias Rydén, Hordagruppen AB, Lena Lundberg, IKEM, Magnus Lundh, K.D. Feddersen
AB, Heidi Andersen and Lars Klees, Klees Consulting, Prof. Carl Michael Johannesson,
KTH, Prof. Robert Bjärnemo, LTH, Oliver Schmidt, Materialbiblioteket, Joacim Ejeson, Nordic
Polymers AB, Michael Nielsen, Nielsen Consulting, Marcus Johansson, Plastinject AB, Patrik
Axrup, Polykemi AB, Edvald Ottosson, Protech AB, Thomas Bräck, Re8 Bioplastic, Thomas
Andersson, Resinex Nordic AB, Martin Hammarberg, Sematron AB, Joachim Henningsson,
Spring Slope, Nils Stenberg, Stebro Plast AB, Ronny Corneliusson and Tommy Isaksson,
Talent Plastics AB and Jan-Olof Wilhemsson, Tojos Plast AB.
The Internet links to these companies and to some other companies who have also
contributed information and images can be found on page 223 in the book.
Finally, I want to say a very big thanks to Vicki Derbyshire and Desiree von Tell, who helped
translate this book, and to my friend Stewart Daykin who made the final check of both the
language and the factual content.
Karlskrona, Sweden
4
Ulf Bruder
Chapter 1 – Polymers and Plastics
Sometimes you get the question: What is the difference between polymer and plastic? The
answer is simple: there is no difference, it's the same thing. The word "polymer" comes from
the Greek "poly,” which means many, and "more" or "meros," which means unity.
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org) states the following: "Polymers are
chemical compounds that consist of very long chains composed of small repeating units,
monomers. Polymer chains are different from other chain molecules in organic chemistry
because they are much longer than, for example, chains of alcohols or organic acids. The
reaction that occurs when the monomers become a polymer is called polymerization.
Polymers in the form of engineering materials are known in daily speech as plastics.
By plastic, we mean that the engineering material is based on polymers, generally with
various additives to give the material the desired properties, such as colors or softeners.
Polymeric materials are usually divided into rubber materials (elastomers), thermosets and
thermoplastics."
Fig 1. Polymers are large macromolecules where
monomer molecules bind to each other in long
chains. There may be several thousand
monomer molecules in a single polymer chain.
Most polymers are synthetically produced, but
there are also natural polymers such as natural
rubber and amber that have been used by
mankind for thousands of years.
Other natural polymers include proteins,
nucleic acids, and DNA. Cellulose, which is the Fig 2. Amber is a natural polymer. The mosquito
major component in wood and paper, is also a in this stone got stuck in the resin of a conifer
more than 50 million years ago—something to
natural polymer.
think about when considering the decomposition
In other words, plastic is a synthetically of certain polymers in nature.
manufactured material composed of monomer
molecules that bind to each other in long chains.
If the polymer chain is made up solely of one monomer it is called polymer homopolymer.
If there are several kinds of monomers in the chain, the polymer is called copolymer.
An example of a plastic that can occur both as homopolymer and copolymer is acetal.
Acetal is labeled POM (polyoxymethylene) and is mostly up-built of a monomer known as
formaldehyde. The building blocks (atoms) in formaldehyde are composed of carbon,
hydrogen, and oxygen.
Most plastic materials are composed of organic monomers but may in some cases also be
composed of inorganic acids. One example of an inorganic polymer is a silicone resin
consisting of polysiloxanes, where the chain is built up of silicon and oxygen atoms.
Carbon and hydrogen are the other dominant elements in plastics. In addition to the
aforementioned elements carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and silicon (Si), plastics
typically consist of another five elements: nitrogen (N), fluorine (F), phosphorus (P), sulfur
(S), and chlorine (Cl).
5
Chapter 2 – Commodities
Polyethylene (PE)
Polyethylene or polyethene is a semi-crystalline commodity, denoted as PE. It is the most
common plastic, and more than 60 million tons are manufactured each year worldwide. “Lowdensity” polyethylene (LDPE) was launched on the market by the British chemicals group ICI
in 1939.
Chemical facts:
Polyethylene has a very simple structure and
consists only of carbon and hydrogen. It belongs
to a class of plastics called olefins. These are
characterized by their monomers having a
double bond, and they are very reactive. The
chemical symbol for ethylene, the monomer in
PE, is C2H4 or CH2 = CH2, where the
“=” sign symbolizes the double bond.
Polyethylene can be graphically described as:
Fig 13. One reason that PE has become the main
commodity is its extensive usage as a packaging
material. Plastic bags are made of LDPE.
Classification
Polyethylene can be classified into different
groups depending on its density and the lateral
branches on the polymer chains:
UHMWPE – Ultrahigh molecular weight
HDPE
– High density
MDPE
– Medium density
LLDPE – Linear low density
LDPE
– Low density
PEX
– Cross-linked
Fig 14. When polymerizing ethylene to polyethylene, there are various processes resulting in more or
less lateral branches on the molecular chains. A smaller number of lateral branches give a higher
crystallinity, molecular weight, and density, since the chains can thus be packed more densely.
HDPE has few or no lateral branches and is also called linear polyethylene.
Properties of Polyethylene:
+ Low material price and density
+ Excellent chemical resistance
+ Negligible moisture absorption
+ Food-approved grades are available
+ High elasticity down to < – 50°C
+ Excellent wear resistance (UHMWPE)
+ Easy to color
- Stiffness and tensile strength
- Cannot handle temperatures above 80°C
- Difficult to paint
The mechanical properties depend largely on the presence of lateral branches, crystallinity,
and density, i.e. the type of polyethylene.
9
Chapter 3 – Engineering Polymers
Polyamide or Nylon
Polyamide is a semi-crystalline engineering plastic, denoted by PA. There are several
different types of polyamide, of which PA6 and PA66 are the most common. Polyamide was
the first engineering polymer launched on the market. It is also the largest in volume since it
is widely used in the automotive industry.
Polyamide was invented by DuPont in the United States in 1934 and was first launched as a
fiber in parachutes and women’s stockings under the trade name Nylon.
A few years later, the injection-molding grades were launched. Nylon became a general
term; DuPont lost the trademark and currently markets its polyamides under the trade name
Zytel. Ultramid from BASF, Durethan from Lanxess, and Akulon from DSM are some of the
other famous trade names on the market.
Classification
The development of polyamide has focused on improving the high-temperature properties
and reducing water absorption. This has led to a number of variants where in addition to PA6
and PA66 the following types should be mentioned: PA666, PA46, PA11, PA12, and PA612.
About a decade ago, aromatic "high performance" polyamides were introduced, usually
known as PPA, which stands for polyphthalamide. The latest trend is "bio-polyamides" made
from long-chain monomers, e.g. PA410, PA610, PA1010, PA10, PA11, and PA612.
Chemical facts:
Polyamide is available in a number of variations,
labeled alphanumerically, e.g. PA66, indicating the
number of carbon atoms in the molecules that make
up the monomer. PA6 is the most common type of
polyamide and has the simplest structure:
PA66 has a monomer that consists of two different
molecules wherein each molecule has six carbon
atoms, as illustrated below:
Amide group
Acid group
Fig 43. Polyamide has an excellent combination of good electrical properties, high operating
temperatures, and flame-retardant capability (up to UL V-0 classification). The material is therefore used
for electrical components such as fuses, circuit breakers, transformer housing, etc.
Photo: DuPont
Properties of Polyamide:
+ Stiffness at high temperatures (glass
fiber reinforced PA)
+ High service temperatures: 120°C
constantly and a short-term peak
temperature of 180°C
+ Good electrical properties
+ Food-approved grades are available
+ Can be made flame-retardant
- Absorbs excess moisture from the air,
which alters the mechanical properties
and dimensional stability
- Brittleness at low temperatures if not
impact modified
Fig 44. This table shows the mechanical properties
of a standard quality of PA66 in a DAM, Dry As
Molded, (unconditioned) state and after the material
has absorbed 2.5% humidity at 23°C and 50% rel.
humidity (conditioned
state).
The
stiffness
decreases by 65% and tensile strength by 35%,
while toughness (elongation) increases five-fold.
The impact strength at room temperature increases
three-fold but drops by 33% at low temperature.
Source: DuPont
19
Chapter 4 – Thermoplastic Elastomers
Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are soft thermoplastics with a low E-modulus and high
toughness. Also called thermoplastic rubbers, their toughness is sometimes indicated by
Shore A or Shore D to characterize them, as with rubber. Their chemical structure consists of
both thermoplastic hard segments and elastic soft segments. The crucial difference to
traditional rubber is the lack of, or at least very slight, cross-linking between the molecular
chains. Most of the various TPEs offer a cost-effective alternative to rubber in a variety of
applications, thanks to its suitability for different processes such as injection molding,
extrusion, film, and blow molding. Feature-wise, however, rubber has the advantage of
higher elasticity and lower compression under constant load. All the thermoplastic
elastomers are ideal for material recycling, although incineration for energy extraction is also
an option.
TPEs can generally be divided into the following groups:
TPE-O, olefin-based elastomers
TPE-S, styrene-based elastomers
TPE-V, olefin-based elastomers with vulcanized rubber particles
TPE-U, polyurethane-based elastomers
TPE-E, polyester-based elastomers
TPE-A, polyamide-based elastomers
TPE-O
TPE-O (or TPO) thermoplastic elastomers, where the “O” stands for “olefin,” are a blend of
polypropylene and EPDM uncured rubber particles. Because it has a PP matrix, TPO takes
on a semi-crystalline structure. TPO-based elastomers are among the largest and most costeffective TPEs available. They have been on the market since 1970, and leading
manufacturers are Elasto, Elastron, Exxon Mobile, So.F.teR, and Teknor Apex.
By mixing the levels of EPDM in PP at concentrations from 10 to 65%, a great range of
properties can be achieved. With mixture concentrations below 20% we usually call the
materials impact modified PP, while levels above 60% give the more rubber-like properties.
The recycling code for TPE-O is > PP + EPDM <.
Properties of TPE-O
+ Cost-effective substitute for rubber
+ High stretch factor
+ Good tear resistance
+ Flexible at low temperatures
+ Good surface finish
+ Good chemical resistance
+ Can be UV stabilized
+ Easy to process
+ Can be colored
+ Paintable (primer required)
- Deformation properties (i.e. setting
characteristics) not as good as rubber
Chemical facts:
The predominant TPO types are made up of
monomers of polypropylene and uncross-linked
EPDM rubber (ethylene-propylene-diene-monomer (Mclass)). The properties depend on the monomer units
where “n” can be 90–35% and “m” 10–65%.
27
Chapter 5 – High-Performance Polymers
Advanced Thermoplastics
In everyday speech we describe this type of material as “high performance,” which means
plastics with the best properties. What kind of qualities do we have in mind when developing
materials to belong to this category?
Below we can see the wish list the researchers may have had when they set out to improve
the properties of engineering plastics:
Improved ability to replace metals
Improved mechanical properties such as stiffness, tensile strength, and impact strength
Increased service temperature
Reduced influence of ambient temperature and humidity on the mechanical properties
Less tendency to creep under load
Improved chemical resistance (especially considering the fluids used in cars, i.e. fuel, oil,
antifreeze, detergents)
Improved flame-retardant properties
Improved electrical insulation properties
Less friction and wear
Improved barrier properties (primarily to fuel and oxygen)
In addition, any new material would be required to:
Have a reasonable price in relation to the properties it offers
Be easy to process using conventional machinery
Be simple to recycle
Advanced reinforcement systems with carbon and aramid fibers or coating with so-called
nano-metals can also be used in combination with advanced polymers to achieve the above
goals.
Plastics designed to replace metals are sometimes called “structural materials” and clearly
have a great role to play in the future, especially since to date it is estimated that only 4% of
the potential applications have been converted.
This section gives an overview of the following semi-crystalline advanced polymers:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Fluoropolymer (PTFE)
High-performance aromatic polyamide (PPA)
“Liquid crystal polymer” (LCP)
Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS)
Polyether ether ketone (PEEK)
And the following amorphous polymers:
6. Polyetherimide (PEI)
7. Polysulfone (PSU)
8. Polyphenylsulfone (PPSU)
Recycling
All materials in this group can be recycled, and they have the material abbreviation in square
brackets (e.g. > PTFE <) as their recycling code.
33
Chapter 6 – Bioplastics and Biocomposites
Definition
If you ask a professional “what is a bioplastic?,” you would get one of three different answers:
1. It is a plastic manufactured from biologically based raw materials.
2. It is a plastic that is biodegradable, i.e. can be degraded by microorganisms or enzymes.
3. It is a plastic that contains natural fibers.
Since biobased plastics are not necessarily
biodegradable and biodegradable plastics do
not have to be biobased, it is important to be
clear about what you really mean. The
percentage of renewable ingredients necessary
for a plastic to be considered “bio” has not
been established, although leading bioplastic
suppliers deem that it should be at least 20%.
Plastics containing natural fibers are also
called "biocomposites" and are mostly
traditional plastics that have been reinforced or
blended with natural fibers such as wood, flax,
hemp, or cellulose.
In addition to the commodities PE and PP,
there are also biopolyesters, such as PLA.
Fig 95. Some of the first thermoplastics were
manufactured from cellulose, but they currently
have little commercial significance, except for
viscose fiber. Ping pong balls were originally
made of celluloid and are still produced from
cellulosic materials.
What do we mean by Bioplastic?
Fig 96. The illustration shows how to divide thermoplastics into conventional petroleum-based plastics
and different types of bioplastics.
41
Chapter 7 – Plastic and the Environment
At first glance, the title of this chapter may seem
ambiguous. Do we mean how plastic affects our
environment? Or how various environmental factors
affect plastic? We will consider both aspects.
The use of plastics is constantly increasing. One
important reason is the fact that plastics contribute to
increased resource management—for example, saving
energy and reducing emissions. Plastics also contribute
to technological development.
The plastic industry wants to contribute to a sustainable
society. That's why they invest considerable resources Fig 111. The use of plastics reduces
in the production of environmentally friendly materials our climate impact by saving energy
and reducing CO2 emissions.
and resource-efficient processes.
Plastic is Climate-Friendly and Saves Energy
That plastic can slow climate change by saving energy and reducing our emission of
greenhouse gases is not something we may instantly think of. The recent study "Plastics’
Contribution to Climate Protection" concluded that the use of plastic in the 27 EU member
states plus Norway and Switzerland contributes to the following environmental benefits:
Plastic products enable energy savings equivalent to 50 million tons of crude oil—that’s
194 very large oil tankers.
Plastic prevents the emission of 120 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year,
which is equivalent to 38% of the EU's Kyoto target.
The average consumer causes around 14 tons of carbon dioxide emission. Only 1.3% of
that, about 170 kg, is derived from plastic.
In the automotive and aerospace industries, the use of
plastic saves weight and thus reduces fuel costs. In the
construction industry, plastic is increasingly used as a
superior insulation material that provides a good indoor
environment and reduces energy consumption.
Fig 112. Plastic accounts for approx. 12–15% of a modern car's
weight, which in Europe alone results in annual savings of 12
million tons of oil and a 30 ton reduction in CO2 emissions.
The body of this sports car is made of carbon fiber reinforced
plastic and has an even higher proportion of plastic than an
ordinary car.
Without plastic, transportation costs for the retail
industry would increase by 50%. On average, plastic
packaging accounts for between 1 and 4% by weight of all
products packaged in plastic. For example, a film that
weighs 2 g is used to pack 200 g of cheese, and a plastic
bottle weighing 35 g packs 1.5 liters of drink. If you also
include containers and shipping material, then plastic
packaging increases its share to 3.6% on average.
Fig 113. A 330 ml glass Coca-Cola bottle weighs 784 g when
full and 430 g empty (including the lid), i.e. 55% of the product
weight is in the packaging. By comparison, a 500 ml bottle in
PET is 554 g when full and just 24 g when empty (incl. lid), i.e.
only 4% of the weight is packaging.
Plastic also has many uses in climate-friendly energy production. For example, the wings of
wind turbines are made of vinyl ester with internal PVC foam; pipes in solar collectors are
made from polyphenylsulfone; and the casings for fuel cells are manufactured out of
polyetherimide.
47
Chapter 8 – Modification of Polymers
This chapter describes the polymerization of thermoplastics and how to control their
properties by using various additives.
Fig 123. 95% of all the plastics produced are based on natural gas and
oil. The remaining 5% comes from renewable sources, i.e. plants.
In 2010 plastics accounted for about 4% of the total oil consumption,
as follows:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Heating
Transport
Energy
Plastic materials
Rubber materials
Chemicals and medicine
Other
35%
29%
22%
4%
2%
1%
7%
Polymerization
The polymerization of monomers obtained by cracking of oil or natural gas creates polymers
(synthetic materials) that can be either plastic or rubber. The type of monomer determines
which type of material you get, while the polymerization process itself can create different
variations of the molecular chains, such as linear or branched as shown below.
Fig 124. Polymerization of ethylene can produce different
variants of polyethylene. LLDPE is made up of linear
chains like the one at the top of the figure. LDPE has a
branched chain structure, as shown in the middle.
And PEX has cross-linked chains, i.e. where there are
molecular bonds between the chains, as shown at the
bottom.
If a polymer is made up of a single monomer it is called a homopolymer. If there are more
monomers in the chain it is called a copolymer. Acetal and polypropylene are resins that can
occur in both these variations. The copolymer group (the second monomer) is mainly located
after the main monomer in the chain. In the case of acetal there are about 40 main
monomers between every copolymer group. The copolymer may also occur as a side branch
in the main chain, in which case it is known as a graft copolymer.
Fig 125. At the top we can see the linear chain of a pure
polymer, such as polypropylene. By adding ethylene you
get a polypropylene copolymer with a block structure
according to the second chain from the top. This
material has much better impact resistance than normal
polypropylene.
By adding EPDM (rubber monomer) you get a graft
polymer with a chain structure and a material with
extremely high impact strength.
You can also create a copolymer by mixing the granules
from different polymers. In this case, the material is
known as an alloy or blend. ABS + PC is an example of
this type of copolymer.
51
Chapter 9 – Material Data and Measurements
In this chapter we will go through those properties of
thermoplastics that are often requested by designers and
product developers when they are looking for a material in
a new product or when they must meet different industry or
regulatory requirements, such as electrical or fire
classification.
When plastic producers develop a new plastic grade they
usually also publish a data sheet of material properties.
Sometimes this is made as a "preliminary data sheet" with
only a few properties. If then the product will be a standard
grade, a more complete data sheet will be published. Many
suppliers publish their material grades in the CAMPUS or
Prospector materials databases on the Internet, which can
be used to some extent free of charge (see next chapter).
CAMPUS is very comprehensive and can describe a
material with over 60 different data types, and at the same
time you can get graphs (e.g. stress-strain curves) and
chemical resistance to many chemicals.
The most requested data when it comes to
thermoplastics and that are usually in the
“preliminary data sheet” are:
Fig 147. What are the different
requirements from authorities on a
so unremarkable product as an
electrical outlet that must be
fulfilled to be sold on the market?
Tensile or flexural modulus
Tensile strength
Elongation
Impact strength
Maximum service temperature
Flame resistant classification
Electrical properties
Rheology (flow properties)
Shrinkage
Density
Tensile Strength and Stiffness
Stiffness, tensile strength, and toughness
in terms of elongation can be obtained
by the curves in tensile testing of test bars.
Fig 148. The picture shows a test bar in a
tensile tester. All plastic producers
measure the mechanical properties on
specimens manufactured according to
various ISO standards, which makes it
possible to compare data between different
manufacturers.
Photo: DuPont
Fig 149. In a "preliminary data sheet" only a few
data are shown compared with the data sheets
that occur in so-called standard grades or in the
CAMPUS material database.
In the data sheet above, which describes an
acetal from DuPont, 16 different data items
divided into the following groups are shown:
• Mechanical
• Thermal
• Other (density and mold shrinkage)
• Processing
Source: DuPont
59
Chapter 10 – Material Databases on the Internet
A good way to find information about different plastic materials is to visit the raw material
producer’s websites or visit independent material databases on the Internet. In this chapter
you will find three leading global databases: CAMPUS and Material Data Center from the
European company M-Base and the Prospector Materials Database from the U.S. company
UL IDES. The great advantage of all the databases is that you can compare the material
data no matter who the producer is, as all the materials in the databases are tested in exactly
the same way.
CAMPUS
About 20 large plastics raw material producers use CAMPUS to inform their customers about
their products. Software for CAMPUS is offered free by the producers, and can be
downloaded directly via the Internet: www.campusplastics.com.
The database is updated regularly and can be updated via the CAMPUS website.
Fig 167. The CAMPUS window consists of four smaller windows. The top left is the list of all the
materials. The top right is the properties window, which in this case shows the mechanical properties of
the selected grade (Delrin 100 by DuPont). The bottom left is the information window with the information
about Delrin 100, and to the right we can see the different curves for this material in the graphics window.
Properties of CAMPUS 5.2
+ The database is free to download
from the Internet
+ You can sort the properties in tables
+ You can compare different materials in
a tabular form
+ You can compare different materials
graphically
+ You can get chemical resistance for the
materials
+ You can specify and print your "own" data
sheet
+ You can search for materials meeting
various criteria on properties
+ You can get the material process
data in "curve overlay" and "polar"
charts
+ You can get the material’s flow
properties (to be used in mold flow
simulations)
- You can only compare materials from
one specified material producer at
a time
- The database must be updated
manually
65
Chapter 11 – Test Methods for Plastic Raw Materials and Moldings
In this chapter we will describe the plastic raw material producer’s quality control data, the
various material defects that a molder may find, as well as the test methods you can use
when you want to analyze these kinds of defects.
Quality Control during Raw Material Production
The plastic producers measure the quality of their plastic raw material at regular intervals
(random sampling). Depending on the type of polymer and the included additives, they use
different test methods during production. In general they are testing:
x
x
x
Viscosity, which is dependent on the molecular chain length
Fiber content, i.e. the ash content after complete combustion of the polymer
Moisture content of each batch at the packing station
Fig 171. Here we can see the test results of 12
different batches of a 30% glass fiber reinforced
grade. The aim is to be as close as possible to
30%, but as long as the result is within the green
lines (30 ± 2%), the material is approved for
delivery. Batches 7 and 11 are not acceptable
and must be redone in order to fall within the
delivery limits.
Fig 172. In the table to the left we can see that
thermal and mechanical properties are tested at
least once a year.
These values are then used for the published
values in the producer’s literature or in
databases. It is only in exceptional cases that
molders can get their material regularly tested
with these types of testing.
The test values that the producers receive during the random sampling of the various
production batches will as a rule be attached together with the material (or invoice) in the
form of a delivery certificate. In this certificate you will find the same lot number (also called
batch number) that you will find stamped on the bags or octabins. It is very important to keep
these certificates in case of a complaint because the production plants always want
information about the batch.
Fig 173. To the right you can see a
delivery certificate from DSM for
Akulon K224-G6 (natural PA6 with
30% glass fiber).
Here they have measured:
x
Moisture content of 0.050% and
indicated the upper delivery
limit to be 0.150%
x
An ash content (glass fiber
content) of 29.9% and indicated
the limits of supply to be
between 28.0% and 32.0%
x
A relative viscosity in a
solution of formic acid of 2.45,
which is well within the
tolerance limits.
67
Chapter 12 – Injection-Molding Methods
History
Injection molding is the predominant processing method for plastics, allowing the production
of parts in both thermoplastics and thermosets. In this chapter, however, we focus on
injection molding for thermoplastics.
The method was patented in the U.S. back in 1872 by the Hyatt brothers, who began
producing billiard balls in celluloid. The first molding machines were piston machines where
the plastic material was filled in a heated cylinder. Once the plastic is thus melted, it is
pressed into a cavity by means of the piston. The first screw machines, i.e. the type used
today, were not introduced until the 1950s.
Injection molding has become the most popular machining process for thermoplastics today
because it provides such great cost advantages over conventional machining or other
casting methods. The process has also undergone great development in the last fifty years
and is now completely computerized.
Fig 194. The picture shows an old piston
injection-molding
machine.
The
locking
mechanism was a knee-joint type that is
commonly used even today, but the locking
and opening movements required arm muscles
to operate the levers.
Fig 195. A modern injection-molding machine
manufactured by Engel. This machine has a
hydraulic locking mechanism. You can also get
"all-electric" machines, which are significantly
quieter than the hydraulic ones.
Photo: Engel
Properties
Injection molding is a completely automated process that often produces finished
components in one go. In addition:
+ The components can be very complex in shape without any need for post-operations
+ It has a very high production rate (in extreme cases, with thin-walled packaging, a cycle
time of only 3 to 4 seconds)
+ It can manufacture everything, from millimeter-size precision parts (e.g. gears in watches)
to large body parts for trucks, with lengths over 2 m
+ It can fabricate really thin walls of just a few tenths of a millimeter, or thicker up to 20 mm
+ Several different plastic materials can be combined by co-injection in the same shot (e.g.
a soft grip on a rigid handle)
+ Metal parts can be overmolded (Figure 196)
+ Components with so-called Class A surfaces (Figure 197), can be produced, suitable to
paint or chrome-plate, as often seen on cars
+ Automated post-processing operations can easily be made, such as removing gates and
runners, assembling (e.g. welding), or surface coating the components
+ Runners or rejected components can be directly recycled at the injection-molding machine
73
Chapter 13 – Post-molding Operations
Surface Treatment of Moldings
Generally, you get completely finished parts when performing injection moldings. Parts with
the correct color are ready to be used immediately or ready to be assembled with other
components. However, there are opportunities to further enhance improvements of the
injection-molded part by surface treatment. Usually surface treatments are made to improve
the aesthetic value but may sometimes be required to meet the functional needs.
Fig 211. A headlamp housing made in PBT
In this picture you can see the chrome-plated
reflector through the glass (which has been
made in polycarbonate). The surface treatment
has been made in order to get the optic
properties as well as adding protection to the
surface from the high-heat-generating light
sources.
The various surface treatment methods used for thermoplastics that we will cover are:
x
x
x
x
x
Printing/labeling
IMD, In-mold decoration
Laser marking
Painting
Chrome plating or metalizing
Printing
There are many different reasons for printing on plastic products. You often want to add a
label or add instructions onto the surface of the product. The printing methods that we will
describe in this chapter are:
x
x
x
Hot stamping
Tampon printing
Screen printing
Fig 212. Containers, cans, and bottles with labels and instructions added to the surface. On many of
these an adhesive label in either paper or plastic foil has been attached. There are also various methods
to print directly on the plastic surface.
77
Chapter 14 – Different Types of Molds
In this chapter we will cover different types of molds, and in the next chapter, we will look at
them in more detail. If you ask an operator within the molding business what types of molds
are commonly used, their likely reply is "common molds and hot runner molds." Hot runner
molds will be discussed in the next chapter. What the operator probably means by “common
molds” is shown below:
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Conventional two-plate molds
Three-plate molds
Molds with slides
Molds with rotating cores for parts with inner threads
Stack molds
Molds with ejection from the fixed half
Family molds
Multi-component molds
Molds with melt cores
The list covers most of the common types of molds but does not claim to be complete. In
most of the above types, you can also choose between either cold or hot runner systems for
the molds.
Two-Plate Molds
Two-plate molds are the most common type of molds for injection molding.
Fig 223. Here is an example of a two-plate mold with one cavity used to manufacture the basket shown in
the picture at the top left corner. It is easy to see that the right half is the movable one, since the ejector
plate (bottom) can be seen here. The left half is fixed and has a hot runner system integrated. The
four columns are used to center the mold halves together.
81
Chapter 15 – Structure of Molds
In this chapter we will focus on how a common two-plate mold is constructed.
We will look at the following:
A. The function of the mold
B. Runner systems – cold runners
C. Runner systems – hot runner
D. Cold slug pockets/pullers
E. Tempering and cooling systems
F. Venting systems
G. Ejector systems
H. Draft angles
Fig 234. To the right is a schematic diagram
of the structure of a two-plate mold.
m shows the nozzle centering of the tool.
n shows the sprue and the channel between the
nozzle of the cylinder and the runner.
o shows the runner that leads the material through
the gate into the cavities.
p shows the gate that leads the material into the cavity.
q shows the cavity.
r is the cold slug pocket. s is the cooling system.
t shows the ejector system.
u shows the venting and v shows that the part has a
draft angle.
A. The Function of the Mold
There are many demands on a mold in order to obtain high-quality products:
x
x
x
x
x
The dimensions have to be correct
Filling of the cavities has to be shear free
Good venting is necessary during the filling process
Controlled cooling of the plastic melt in order to obtain correct structure of the material
Warp-free ejection of the part
B. Runner Systems – Cold Runners
The cold slug pocket system can be divided into different
parts:
1. The sprue
2. The runners
3. The gate
The sprue n shown on the right is the connection between
the cylinder nozzle and the runners o of the mold. In most
cases, it has a conical shape in order to avoid sticking in the
mold when it has been packed. The sprue should be easy to
pull out from the fixed half when the mold is opened at the
end of the injection-molding cycle. For some semi-crystalline
materials such as acetal the sprue can be cylindrical in
shape. The dimensions of the nozzle should be adjusted with
a diameter of about 1 mm less than the smallest diameter of
the sprue.
Fig 235. Above is the runner
system. n is the sprue, o is the
runner and p shows the location
of the gate.
87
Chapter 16 – Mold Design and Product Quality
In Chapter 11 problems that may occur on injection-molded parts due to defects in the plastic
raw material are described. In this chapter we will look at problems due either to badly
designed molds or improper part design. In Chapter 28 we will describe process-related
problems.
Mold-Related Problems
These types of problems are not always as easy to detect by visual inspection as material- or
process-related problems are. Many of these problems are only discovered when the parts
are mechanically tested or when the parts break under normal stress loads.
Below are some common problems due to:
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Too-weak mold plates
Incorrect sprue/nozzle design
Incorrect runner design
Incorrectly designed, located, or missing cold slug pocket
Incorrect gate design
Incorrect venting
Incorrect mold temperature management
Too-Weak Mold Plates
If you get a flash around the sprue or runners during the injection phase, it may indicate toohigh injection speed, too-low lock pressure on the machine, or too-weak mold plates.
Fig 252. In the picture to the left a fan shroud in
acetal is shown.
The gate is in the middle, and it is clear that the
mold plate has become deformed so that a flash
around the gate has been formed even though the
cavity is not completely filled. Moving the mold to
a larger machine with higher clamping force did
not help in this case.
In the case above, the first attempt to solve the problem was choosing an acetal grade with a
lower viscosity. However, this did not solve the problem entirely (see the figure below to the
left). Another option to solve the problem would have been to increase the wall thickness of
the shroud or change the grid thickness in the round hole. Neither of these solutions were
chosen; instead a solution using flow directors was used. The wall thickness was increased
by using a honeycomb pattern (as shown on the figure below to the right).
Fig 253. A less viscous grade of acetal
with slightly less impact resistance was
chosen to fill the fan shroud entirely,
but still flash in the middle could not be
avoided.
Fig 254. By applying a pattern of flow
directors one succeeded to fill the
shroud without getting the flash in the
middle, nor did the cycle time need to
be extended.
93
Chapter 17 – Prototype Molds and Mold Filling Analysis
In the previous chapter we described various errors that depend on either an incorrect part or
mold design.
When designing new parts or starting the molding of a new product, you will get a number of
new questions and challenges:
x
x
x
x
x
Will the part get the correct dimensions?
Will it warp?
Are the runners too long? Will the part be completely filled?
Where should the gate be placed in order to make the part as strong as possible?
Are the temperature-control channels correctly dimensioned and located?
Prototype Molds
In order to avoid unpleasant surprises when starting the production in a new mold, you can
use a prototype mold to see what the part would look like once it has been molded. Another
option is to complete only one of several cavities in a production mold. These procedures
could save both money and time. But they are not always completely reliable as runners, and
mold temperature systems seldom correspond to the final production mold. Producers are
using prototype molds when the plastic part is very complex or when the production mold is
very expensive. Within the automotive industry these kinds of molds sometimes are named
“soft molds” as they often are made in aluminum or in soft steel. When it comes to more
simple part or mold design most prototypes have been replaced by a mold filling analysis.
Fig 263. Above is a prototype mold (highlighted
in red) in aluminum for the cams shown in the
figure to the right. Here only one part is made in
each shot. Below is the production mold in steel
with 16 cavities. This mold is about 30 times
more expensive to produce compared to the
prototype mold in aluminum.
Fig 264. Here we can see a common component
used in assembly of furniture. AD-Plast in
Sweden developed this component in PPA with
glass. They won the prestigious price
“Plastovationer 2009” by successfully replacing
metal with plastic. The cam is stronger than the
former zinc one without needing to change the
outer dimensions.
Source: AD-Plast AB
Mold Filling Analysis
Mold filling analysis is a computer-based tool that facilitates the ability to get accurate plastic
parts in less time when producing a new part or modifying an existing mold.
Fig 265. On the image you can see a mold designer in front of
his PC working with Moldflow, a mold filling software. Such
software is able to run on standard PCs but requires a lot of
computing power. In order for the calculations to run as fast as
possible it is necessary to have a large internal memory as well
as a fast processor.
97
Chapter 18 – Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing
In the previous chapter we described various prototyping tools. In this chapter we will look at
methods to produce prototypes or small production series without use of molds made of
metal.
Prototypes
The reason for using a prototype or model during the development process of a new product
is that it:
x
x
x
x
Shortens the development time so that the marketing process can start earlier
Often facilitates communication between parties during the development process
Enables opportunity to test various functions and/or interactions with other components
Emotionally and physically can’t be fully replaced by virtual models
Fig 281. Before computers were used in the
development process of new products, prototypes and models were handmade. The picture to
the left was taken at the Naval Museum in
Karlskrona, Sweden. Here two admirals in the
navy in 1779 make the decision to build a new
battleship using a very detailed wooden model.
Producing models is something that humans have done throughout history. Most kids today
get their first contact with models by playing with Lego or modeling clay. The advanced
computerized technology of 3D manufacturing used today was developed in the late 1980s
and has taken steps through CAD / CAE / CAM / CNC.
Which technique you choose depends entirely on the complexity of the part. If it is a part with
simple geometry it is usually cheaper to produce it using cutting methods such as milling,
laser, or water cutting. If the part is more complex, rapid prototyping (additive technology)
may be the only possible solution or a much cheaper solution compared to cutting
techniques even if the material is significantly more expensive (about 50 SEK/kg of plates in
polyamide and 3000 SEK/kg for photopolymer in the SLA method). However, you must take
into account that the production of milled models requires removal of up to 90% of the
material, while the amount of material waste when using rapid prototyping is negligible.
Rapid Prototyping (RP)
This kind of additive technology is fairly new and goes under a variety of names. When
performing a search the following terms may be helpful: rapid prototyping (RP), rapid tooling
(RT), rapid application development (RAD), additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing.
We will take a look at the following methods:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
SLA – Stereolithography
SLS – Selective Laser Sintering
FDM – Fused Deposition Modeling
3DP – Three-Dimensional Printing
Pjet – PolyJet
103
Chapter 19 – Cost Calculations for Moldings
Most molders are using advanced computer-based software to calculate costs or post-costs
of injection-molded parts. Unfortunately, it is very seldom that injection machine setters have
insight into or get the opportunity to use such software, even though they have great
potential to affect the costs by adjusting the injection-molding parameters.
How often does it happen that setters add a few seconds of extra cooling time when they
have a temporary disturbance of the injection-molding cycle? And then forget to change back
to the original settings before the parameters are saved for the next time the mold will be set
up? Those extra seconds can mean thousands of Euros in unnecessary production costs per
year and may also reduce the company’s competitiveness.
The purpose of this chapter is to show how a fairly detailed cost calculation for injectionmolded parts can be made. The setter also gets a tool that enables him/her to see how
changes that are made in the process can influence the cost of the molded part. This tool is
based on Microsoft Excel and is available for downloading at www.brucon.se. The user does
not need any extensive knowledge of Excel in order to fill in the input values required to
immediately obtain the final cost picture at the bottom of the page.
The rest of this chapter will explain how to use the Excel file and what the different input
values mean.
When you open the file called Costcalculator.xls you must first make a copy of this file to
your computer's hard drive, otherwise the macro functions won’t work. Depending on how the
default values are set for your own Excel program, it may be necessary to make
modifications of the security settings. Detailed information of how this is to be done can also
be found on the author’s homepage. The Excel file is also in “read-only” mode, so it should
be saved under a different name once you have completed it.
Fig 313.The start menu once the Excel file has been opened.
There are three different functions to choose between:
1. Read about the functions of this software
2. Compare the costs between two different materials
3. Make a full part cost calculation
Before you click on the key “I accept the conditions” you are only able to “Read about the
functions of the software.” The two other keys will only display blank pages.
Fig 314. Once you have clicked on “I accept the conditions” you will see “The file is active” as shown
above, and all the different functions can now be used.
111
Chapter 20 – Alternative Processing Methods for Thermoplastics
Blow Molding
Blow molding is a fully automated process that produces hollow products from thermoplastic.
There are two main variants. The first involves extrusion of a hollow tube, known as a
“parison,” into a cavity between two mold halves (see the figure below). In the second, an
injection-molded “preform” is heated and blown into the cavity (see the figure at the bottom of
the page). Most PET soft drink bottles are produced in this way.
Fig 322. Blow molding with parison
Picture n shows the extruded tube coming through the extruder head into the cavity.
In picture o the mold has been moved to the next station, where the tube is blown out toward the walls
of the cavity using compressed air.
In picture p the tube has been completely pressed out against the cavity walls and allowed to cool.
Picture q shows the finished part being ejected from the mold.
As a rule, only special grades with relatively high viscosity are used for blow molding, e.g.
PE, PP, PVC, PET, PA, and some thermoplastic elastomers.
Multiple extruders can be used for different layers of the parison, for example to improve the
barrier properties of a product. The hose can also be extruded in sequence, e.g. soft
segments alternating with rigid ones to produce rigid tubes with integrated soft bellows.
117
Chapter 21 – Material Selection Process
A major task of designers and project engineers is selecting the right material for their
applications. When the materials under consideration include plastics, this task is particularly
difficult, since there are hundreds of different polymers and thousands of different plastic
qualities to choose from. Finding the right material requires knowledge, experience (your own
or access to that of others), and sometimes a little luck.
If you choose a material that is considered "somewhat too good," this will usually be reflected
in the cost being seen as "somewhat too high," which can have an effect on your
competitiveness. However, on the other hand, if you choose a material of a “borderline”
quality, you run the risk of complaints and a bad reputation in the marketplace, which also
affects your competitiveness.
How Do You Select the Right Material in Your Development Project?
Let's take a new iron as an example. Before the designer starts
thinking about what materials to use in the iron, he must be clear about
the following:
x
x
x
What should the new iron look like?
What different functions should it have?
What will it cost?
Fig 348. So...
what should
this new iron
look like?
When answering the above questions, the designer should make a list
of the requirement specifications, as detailed as possible.
Development Cooperation
A good way to reduce development time when it
comes to plastic components is to utilize the
collective expertise and experience of a project
team consisting of its own development department
working with a potential material supplier and
potential manufacturers (e.g. molder and mold
maker).
Establishing the Requirement Specifications
To establish a complete requirement specification
from scratch is very difficult. As a rule, one always
encounters new challenges in development work.
The requirements can be divided into categories:
1. Market requirements:
Fig 349. Successful collaboration with
x New functionalities
project subcontractors generally shortens
x Regulatory requirements
development time significantly.
x Competitive situation
x Cost objectives
2. Functionality requirements:
x Integration of multiple functions in the same component
x Different assembly methods
x Surface treatments
3. Environmental requirements:
x Chemical restrictions
x Recycling (easy to disassemble and to sort)
4. Manufacturing requirements:
x Processing methods (e.g. injection molding)
x Molding equipment
127
Chapter 22 – Requirements and Specification for Plastic Products
The requirement specification will differ from product to product depending on what it will be
used for. For a spatula, heat resistance and food approval are key requirements; for the
blade to an indoor hockey stick, toughness and the ability to shape the blade afterward are
the most important properties. This section will address most of the properties that should be
included in the requirement specifications of thermoplastic products. It is important to bear in
mind that the tougher the requirements for a product, the more expensive it becomes to
manufacture.
Below there is a list of the different things that need to be considered when drawing up the
requirement specification for a new plastic product:
1. Background information
2. Batch size
3. Part size
4. Tolerance requirements
5. Part design
6. Assembly requirements
7. Mechanical load
8. Chemical resistance
9. Electrical properties
10. Environmental impact
11. Color
12. Surface properties
13. Other properties
14. Regulatory requirements
15. Recycling
16. Costs
1. Background Information
This generally refers to a description of the product and its intended usage and is often
defined by the following questions:
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Have we developed a similar product?
What new features will the product have?
Is this just a new size (upscaling/downscaling) of an existing product?
Can we modify the geometry of an existing product to create this new one?
Does the new product require a radical change of materials?
How do the competitors’ products work?
What tests, studies, or reports already exist regarding this type of product?
Fig 356. The picture on the left shows a zinc cam
(furniture assembly screw). The cam in the
picture on the right has the same dimensions but
there has been a radical change to the material
used: i.e. polyamide instead of zinc.
Fig 357. The picture above shows various
sealing clips.
Working from the left, clips 3 to 6 are purely
upscaled/downscaled versions of the same
product, whereas the other three clips have
different geometries.
Fig 358. When collecting background information
for the development of a new product, it is
common to compare existing products on the
market to try to find possible improvements, new
functions, or lower production costs than your
competitors.
131
Chapter 23 – Design Rules for Thermoplastic Moldings
Designing in plastic is a science in itself, and a lot has been written on the subject. This
chapter aims to show some of the most important rules that a designer should bear in mind
when developing a new product in plastic. These rules are divided into the following ten
sections:
1. Remember that plastics are not metals
2. Consider the specific characteristics of plastics
3. Design with regard to future recycling
4. Integrate several functions into one component
5. Maintain an even wall thickness
6. Avoid sharp corners
7. Use ribs to increase stiffness
8. Be careful with gate location and dimensions
9. Avoid tight tolerances
10. Choose a suitable assembly method
Fig 393. There is some good design literature online available for
free download. One such document is “General Design Principles for
DuPont Engineering Polymers” containing 136 pages of useful
information.
See: plastics.dupont.com/plastics/pdflit/americas/general/H76838.pdf
Rule 1 – Remember That Plastics Are Not Metals
Some engineers still design plastic components as if they were made of metal. If you can
succeed in maintaining the strength, the product will be lighter and often much cheaper.
However, if the main purpose is to reduce production costs, it is by default necessary to
make a total redesign when plastic is intended to replace metal.
If a direct comparison is made, the metal will have a higher:
x
x
x
x
Density
Maximum service temperature
Stiffness and strength
Electric conductivity
While the plastic material has an increased:
x
x
x
Mechanical damping
Heat expansion
Elongation and toughness
Fig 394. This table shows that
thermoplastics
have
certain
advantages over metals, such as
decreased weight, corrosion
durability, thermal and electric
insulation, freedom of design,
and recycling potential.
However,
they
are
clearly
disadvantaged in terms of
stiffness,
strength,
and
sensitivity to high temperature.
Thermosets follow the same
patterns as thermoplastics but
are much harder to recycle.
145
Chapter 24 – Assembly Methods for Thermoplastics
Most designers seek to make their plastic products as simple as possible while at the same
time integrating all the necessary functions. The product should preferably come out of the
mold complete and ready, but sometimes—for functionality or cost purposes—it can be
necessary to make the product in two or more parts that are assembled at a later stage.
There are several assembly methods for thermoplastic products, and this chapter considers
most of them. To begin with, it is common to divide the assembly methods into those where
the product can be disassembled and reassembled several times (e.g. using screw joints)
and those permanent methods, whereby components are assembled only once (e.g.
welding).
Fig 432 and 433. This bobbin is
made as two identical halves in
a mold with a simple parting
line. The halves are then rotated
90° in relation to each other and
then joined together by pressfitting.
Assembly Methods That Facilitate Disassembly
Among the dismountable methods, the following methods are usually used when it comes to
plastic details:
x
x
x
x
Self-tapping screws
Threaded inserts
Screw joints (with an integrated thread)
Snap-fits (specifically designed to allow disassembly)
Fig 434. If a good screw joint is
required for a self-tapping screw, the
plastic material should have a
stiffness lower than 2800 MPa (i.e.
the same as for POM). For stiffer
materials (e.g. glass fiber reinforced), a threaded hole or threaded
inserts are recommended. It is also
important to use a self-tapping screw
that is specifically developed for
plastic materials.
Fig 435 and 436. Above to the left is a threaded brass
bushing in the wall of a pump housing made in glass
reinforced polyamide 66. The bushing can either be overmolded or pressed into the plastic wall.
The plastic caps on the plastic bottles in the picture to the
right are typical examples of a screw joint with integrated
threads.
159
Chapter 25 – The Injection-Molding Process
Molding Processing Analysis
In this chapter, we will go through the main
injection-molding parameters that affect the
quality of the moldings. We will also emphasize
the value of working systematically and having
good documentation.
To the right there is a document called
"Injection moulding process analysis.” There is
an Excel file that can be downloaded at
www.brucon.se. On this sheet we can record
most of the parameters that need to be
documented to describe the injection-molding
process for a molded part.
This document was designed by the author of
this book when he was responsible for the
technical service at one of the leading plastic
suppliers in the Nordic region.
You may think: Why should I spend time to fill it
in when I can get all the parameters printed out
directly from the computer system in my
molding machine?
The answer is that you would probably drown
in all the figures and only with difficulty find the
cause of the problem. You would also have
difficulties in finding the key parameters as the
printouts from different machines are
completely different.
Fig 456. The working tool "Injection moulding
This document is perfect for use both in process analysis," which is described in this
problem solving and as a basis for process and chapter.
cost optimization as well as for documenting a
test drive or a start-up of a new job. If you fill in the document when the process is at its best
you will have good benchmarks for comparison when there is a disturbance in the process.
Therefore, we will closely examine the structure of this document and explain the meaning of
the information in each input field. On the last page of this chapter is the document in fullpage format.
Contact Information
In the top part of the page there are some fields that can be filled in. If you only plan to use
the page for internal documentation, it will probably be redundant to fill in these data.
However, you should always fill in the date and contact person. If after several years you
need to go back and see how a particular setting was made, it is usually interesting to know
who did it and then get additional information.
It is also important to know when the setting was made if several settings have been made
over time.
If you use the document to communicate externally with a raw material supplier or a sister
company, etc., it also facilitates this if the contact details are filled out.
Fig 457. Contact information.
165
Chapter 26 – Injection Molding Process Parameters
In this chapter, we will publish the main injection-molding parameters for a number of
thermoplastics.
When setting an injection-molding machine with a new resin, you should always use the
recommended process data from the raw material producer if available. If you don’t have
them, look on the producer's website or search for them on the Internet.
NOTE: The values shown in the tables in Figure 506 are typical for an unmodified
standard grade of the polymer in question and serve only as a rough guide. Contact
your plastic raw material supplier for accurate information about your specific grade!
The melt temperature is one of the most important parameters. When processing semicrystalline plastics, you should always consider the risk that you may get unmelted granules
in the melt. To eliminate this risk, you should use the cylinder temperature profile that
depends on the capacity utilization of the cylinder. See Chapter 25, page 171. You should
also be aware that additives such as flame retardants or impact modifiers often require a
lower temperature than the standard grade. Glass fiber reinforced grades should have, as a
rule, the same temperature settings as unreinforced grades.
The mold temperature is also one of the most important parameters for achieving the best
quality. For semi-crystalline plastics you need a certain temperature to ensure that the
material's crystal structure will be correct and thus provide the best strength and dimensional
stability (less post-shrinkage). See Chapter 25, page 173.
Drying is needed for plastics that are either hygroscopic (absorb moisture) or sensitive for
hydrolysis (degraded chemically by moisture). See more in Chapter 25, page 170.
We recommend that molders use dehumidifying (dry air) dryers in their production. Therefore
we publish both the temperature and drying time needed to be below the maximum allowed
moisture content for the material, provided that the dry air dryer is working with a sufficiently
low dew point.
Note also that if you dry the material longer than the indicated time in the table you should
reduce the temperature 10–20°C because some materials can oxidize or degrade thermally.
Material where "Needs normally not to be dried!" is recommended in the table may still need
to be dried if condensation will occur on the surface of the granules. If this is the case, a
drying temperature of 80°C and a drying time of 1–2 hours usually works well.
The reason that the maximum Peripheral speed is published in the tables is that many
molders in good faith are dosing up the next shot with too high of a screw speed and thus
unnecessarily degrading the polymer chains in the cylinder by high shear and friction,
resulting in poorer quality. On page 179 in Chapter 25 you will find a formula where you can
calculate the maximum allowed peripheral speed to maximum allowed rotation speed
depending on the screw diameter. If you cannot find the recommended maximum peripheral
speed for your resin, you should take into account that high-viscosity grades sometimes
require 30% lower rotation speed compared to a less viscous standard grade. For example,
impact-modified acetal with a melt index of 1–2 g/10 min has a recommended maximum
peripheral speed of 0.2 m/s, compared to 0.3 m/s for a standard grade with melt index of 5–
10 g/10 min. For glass fiber reinforced grades you will usually find the recommended
maximum peripheral speed to be 30–50% of the speed for the unreinforced grade. Also,
impact modified, flame retardant grades used to be more sensitive to shear than standard
grades.
Having sufficiently high Hold pressure is especially important for semi-crystalline plastics.
Usually it is recommended to have as high a pressure as possible without getting flashes in
the parting line or having ejection problems. We publish hold pressures because many
molders sometimes in good faith set far too low a hold pressure, resulting in poorer quality.
Other important parameters such as hold pressure time, hold pressure switch, back
pressure, injection speed, and decompression are more dependent on the part design and
machine conditions. We therefore cannot give any general values of these parameters, but
refer you instead to Chapter 25.
183
Chapter 27 – Problem Solving and Quality Management
Increased Quality Demands
The accelerating developments in both processing technology and thermoplastics have led
to new uses, such as metal replacement, electronics, and medical technology. At the same
time, the demands on plastic components have increased when it comes to performance,
appearance, and other characteristics. The slightest deviation from the requirements and
specifications must immediately be addressed, and thus the goal for many molders is to
deliver error-free products (zero tolerance) while keeping their own rejects below 0.5% at
high utilization of their machines. We can no longer accept the previous "hysterical"
troubleshooting methods, where changes in the process parameters (sometimes several at
the same time) immediately were made without any detailed analysis of the problem as soon
as there was an unacceptable deviation from the specifications. To meet the increasing and
intense competition, you have to work with both statistical problem-solving methods and
process control. In this chapter we will describe some of these:
ATS: Analytical troubleshooting
DOE: Design of experiments
FMEA: Failure mode effect analysis
In the next chapter, we will describe a large number of errors that can occur during injection
molding of thermoplastics and how to solve them.
Analytical Troubleshooting - ATS
The word "problem" is often used with different meanings, such as production problems,
decisions, and plans to be implemented. This diversity can create a lot of confusion when it
comes to communication with others.
Working on problems in a systematic and organized way within the area of “analytical
troubleshooting” (ATS) requires very specific definitions of the word "problem." This leads to
an improvement in communication and understanding among the parties involved.
Definition of the Problem
A problem always consists of a cause and an undesirable deviation.
Below is an example of this.
Fig 507. The black specks that
you can see on the red button of
the safety belt lock are an
unacceptable deviation. It is
normally defined as a surface
defect.
Fig 508. The cause of these
black specks is usually the use
of too-high screw speed in the
injection-molding machine. This
leads to a screw deposit on the
surface of the screw that
degrades thermally and causes
the specks on the surface of the
button.
185
Chapter 28 – Troubleshooting – Causes and Effects
Molding problems
In the previous chapters we dealt with defects caused by bad material. In this chapter we will
discuss process-related errors. These can generally be divided into the following main
groups:
1) Fill ratio, which means unfilled or overfilled parts
2) Surface defects
3) Strength problems
4) Dimensional problems
5) Production problems
In general, process problems belong to several of the main groups.
In order to identify and classify a problem and then find possible causes for it, you should ask
the following questions:
1)
2)
3)
4)
What kind of problem is it?
What has changed?
When did this happen?
Where do the error/errors occur:
• On the part / parts (the same place or randomly)?
• In the production cycle?
5) How often does it occur?
6) How serious is it?
Fig 522. Forms for the analysis of problems in Excel format are available at www.brucon.se.
We will now describe a wide range of common and uncommon errors that can occur during
the injection-molding process. We have also tried to list the causes of the most probable
ones in a logical order, based on a large number of troubleshooting guides issued by leading
plastic suppliers.
NOTE: When troubleshooting, it is important that the material supplier's process
recommendations for the relevant material are available to adjust any incorrect settings.
195
Chapter 29 – Statistical Process Control (SPC)
Statistical process control is a method that has long been used in the engineering industry to
improve the quality of produced products. Regarding the production of plastic products it has
not yet been put into use on a large scale (2014). SPC among molders is, however, largely
increasing. In this chapter we will give the reader an orientation on the principles and
different concepts used. This chapter has been developed together with Nielsen Consulting
(www.nielsenconsulting.se), a Swedish consultant who specializes in SPC training and has
contributed with text and images.
Why SPC?
SPC is a very useful and profitable method because it:
• Creates customer value, i.e. improves the function or extends the lifetime of the
customer's product
• Reduces rejects by focusing on the tolerance center (see terms below) instead of the
tolerance limits
• Prevents failure of the products because actions are taken at the right time
• Reduces the need for final inspection, i.e. deliveries with high capability (see terms
below) don’t need a final inspection
• Promotes customer relations because capability allows the customer to take the goods
without performing an incoming inspection
• Detects machine failure at an early stage and thus becomes an aid in state-based
maintenance
• Reduces inventory costs by error-free deliveries and allows a reduced inventory
• Can reduce stress in production as the need to measure and control the process is
reduced
• Can facilitate price discussions as accurate deliveries usually mean more satisfied
customers
• May increase staff engagement through increased understanding of the process as it
is easier to see patterns and trends in the process
• Provides a uniform approach when there is no room for "sole and absolute discretion"
• Is a tool in the Lean process that provides continuous improvement with focus on
satisfying the customer
Definitions in SPC
Normal Distribution (Gaussian Dispersion)
This is the way in which the measured values, in most
cases, will be distributed as a result of the random
spread around its mean value (highest point of the
hump); see the figure to the right.
Notice that most of the measured values are around
the hump and that there are fewer values closer to the
periphery. It is in other words not very likely that you at
all, under random sampling, will find some details at
the periphery. It is not enough that the details that you
happen to measure fall within the tolerance range. To
see the Gaussian dispersion many details need to be Fig 560. Normal distribution and mean
measured, and it may be time consuming. But there is value.
a shortcut by using the standard deviation!
215
Chapter 30 – Internet Links and Index
Internet Links
The following companies have contributed with information and/or photos for this book and are
highly recommended if you need more information about their products or services:
Company
Acron Formservice AB
Ad Manus Materialteknik AB
AD-Plast AB
Arkema
Arla Plast AB
Arta Plast AB
Bergo Flooring AB
Clariant Sverige AB
Digital Mechanics AB
Distrupol Nordic AB
DuPont Engineering Polymers
DSM
DST Control AB
Elasto Sweden AB
Engel Sverige AB
Erteco Rubber & Plastics AB
European Bioplastics
Ferbe Tools AB
Flexlink AB
Hammarplast Consumer AB
Hordagruppen AB
IMCD Sweden AB
Injection Mold - M Kröckel
IKEM
K.D. Feddersen Norden AB
Makeni AB
Mape Plastic AB
Mettler Toledo AB
Miljösäck AB
Nordic Polymers Sverige AB
Novamont S.p.A.
Plastinject AB
Polykemi AB
Polymerfront AB
Polyplank AB
Protech AB
Re8 Bioplastic AB
Resinex Nordic AB
Rotationsplast AB
Sematron AB
Stebro Plast AB
Talent Plastics AB
Celanese
Tojos Plast AB
Vadstena Lasermärkning
Weland Medical AB
Internet link
www.acron-form.se
www.ad-manus.se
www.ad-plast.se
www.arkema.com
www.arlaplast.se
www.artaplast.se
www.bergoflooring.se
www.clariant.com
www.digitalmechanics.se
www.distrupol.com
plastics.dupont.com
www.dsm.com
www.dst.se
wwwelastoteknik.se
www.engelglobal.com
www.erp.se
www.en.europeanbioplastics.org/
www.ferbe.se
www.flexlink.com
www.hammarplast.se
www.hordagruppen.com
www.imcd.se
www.injection-mold.info
www.ikem.se
www.kdfeddersen.com
www.makeni.se
www.mapeplastics.se
www.se.mt.com
www.miljosack.se
www.nordicpolymers.dk
www.novamont.com
www.plastinject.se
www.polykemi.se
www.polymerfront.se
www.polyplank.se
www.protech.se
www.re8.se
www.resinex.se
www.rotationsplast.se
www.sematron.se
www.stebro.se
www.talentplastics.se
www.celanese.com
www.tojos.se
www.lasermarkning.se
www.weloc.com
Product or service
Rapid prototyping
Training/testing/analysis
Injection moldings
Plastic raw material
Extrusion
Injection moldings
Plastic flooring
Masterbatch
Rapid prototyping
Plastic ddistributor
Plastic raw material
Plastic raw material
Electro-optical systems
Thermoplastic elastomers
Injection molding machines
Plastic distributor
European trade organization
Tool maker
Conveyors
Storage products
Blow moldings
Plastic distributor
Mold graphics
Swedish trade organization (training)
Plastic and machine distributor
Injection moldings
Plastic distributor
Equipment for analysis
Climate-smart plastic bags
Plastic distributor
Bioplastics
Injection moldings
Plastic raw material
Plastic distributor
Recycled products
Rapid prototyping equipment
Bioplastics
Plastic distributor
Rotational moldings
Vacuum forming
Injection moldings
Injection moldings and extrusion
Plastic raw material
Injection moldings
Laser marking equipment
Plastic clips
223
Index
A
ABS
Acetal
Action planning
Actual value
Additives
Advanced thermoplastics
AFS
Air bubbles
Air streaks
Amorphous
Analytical troubleshooting
Anisotropy
Aromatic polyamide
Assembly methods
Atactic
115
121
190
186
152
133
185
207
201
207
185
138
135
159
152
B
Back pressure
Biocomposites
Biodegradable
Bioplastic
Biopolyamides
Biopolyester
Biopolymers
Black specs
Blisters
Blow molding
Brittleness
Burns
177
146
141
141
145
144
143
198
201
117
208
198
C
Cable production
CAMPUS
Capability
Cause verification
Cellulose
Charpy
Chemical properties
Chrome plating
Cold slug
Cold slug pocket
Color streaks
Compostable plastics
Conical gate
Control chart
Control limit
Cooling
Cooling time
Copolymer
Corner radius
Cracks
Crazing
124
165
218
188
143
162
155
180
205
189
200
143
156
216
216
190
179
151
154
207
209
224
Creep
Crystalline
Cushion
Cycle time
147
207
181
179
D
Degradable
Delamination
Design rules
Deviation chart
Diesel effect
Discoloration
Dosing
Dosing time
Draft angle
Dry air dryer
Drying
DuraPulp
141
190
145
186
199
198
180
179
192
170
172
144
E
Ejection
Ejection problems
Ejector pin marks
Electrical properties
Electron microscope
Elongation at yield
Environmental impact
Extrusion
192
212
205
164
172
160
148
119
F
Factorial
Failure definition
Failure mode effect analysis
Family mold
Fill rate
Film blowing
Flammability
Flammability test
Flash
Flexural modulus
Fluoroplastic
FMEA
191
185
193
184
196
123
163
170
196
161
134
193
G
Gas bubbles
Gas injection
Gate
Gate design
Glass fiber streaks
Glass transition temperature
Gluing
Goal value centering
Granulation
207
176
188
156
202
208
164
218
152
H
HB-classification
HDPE
Heat deflection temperature
Heat stabilization
High performance nylon
Hold pressure
Hold pressure switch
Hold pressure time
Hold up time
Hot air dryer
Hot channel mold
Hot plate welding
Hot-stamp printing
Hygroscopic
163
209
162
157
135
175
182
175
179
170
189
162
178
170
I
IMD
Impact strength
Injection-molding cycle
Injection-molding economics
Injection-molding failure
Injection-molding machine
Injection-molding methods
Injection-molding process
Injection pressure
Injection speed
Injection time
Injection unit
IR spectrophotometer
IR welding
Isotactic
Izod
179
161
175
103
195
174
173
165
174
177
177
174
171
162
152
162
J
Jetting
203
L
Laser marking
Laser welding
LCP
LCPA
LDPE
LLDPE
Locking unit
Lot number
179
163
136
145
209
209
175
166
M
Machine capability
Masterbatch
Material data
Material Data Center
Material selection
MDPE
Mean value
Mechanical properties
Melt core mold
220
154
159
165
127
209
215
153
186
Melt index
164
Melt temperature
Melting point
Metalization
Microtome cut
Monomer
Mold
Mold failure
Mold filling simulation
Mold shrinkage
Multi-component injection
Multi-component mold
172
208
180
172
151
181
193
197
164
176
185
N
Nonlinear
Normal distribution
Notch sensitive
Nozzle
Nylon
146
215
154
169
119
O
Oil stains
Orange peel
206
204
P
PA
Painting
Part cost calculation
PBT
PC
PE
PEEK
Peripheral speed
PET
PEX
PHA
Physical properties
Pigment orientation
PLA
Plastic
PMMA
Polyamide
Polycarbonate
Polyester
Poly ether ketone (PEEK)
Polyethylene
Polymer
Polymerization
Polymethyl acrylate
Polyphenyl
Polypropylene
Polystyrene
Polysulfone
Polyvinyl
POM
Post-mold shrinkage
119
180
111
123
125
219
138
179
123
209
145
154
201
144
205
117
119
125
123
138
209
205
151
117
140
111
114
139
113
121
174
225
PP
PPA
PPC
PPSU
Printing
Problem analysis
Process capability
Prototype molds
PS
PSU
PTFE
PTT
PVC
Pyrometer
111
135
137
140
177
188
220
197
114
139
134
144
113
172
Q
Quality control
167
R
Record grooves
Recycling
Regranulate
Regrind
Reject
Relaxation
Replacement cost calculation
Requirements
Ribs
Riveting
Rotation welding
Rotational cores
Rotational molding
Runner
204
149
166
166
112
147
116
127
155
164
161
183
125
187
S
SBS
Screen printing
Screw diameter
Screw speed
SEBS
Semi-crystalline
Service temperature
Setpoint
SFP
Shut-off nozzle
Silver streaks
Sink marks
Six Sigma
SPC
Specific heat
Specific volume
Splays
Splays
Sprue
Stack mold
Standard deviation
Starch
128
178
179
179
128
207
162
186
191
167
199
197
216
215
208
208
199
200
213
183
216
143
226
Stiffness
Strain curves
Stress-strain curves
Stress concentration factor
Stringing
Styrofoam
Suck-back
Surface coating
Surface defects
Surface gloss
Syndiotactic
159
160
160
154
214
114
180
177
198
202
152
T
Tampon printing
Temperature profile
Tensile
Tensile modulus
Test methods
Thermal properties
Thermoplastic
Thermoset
Three-plate mold
Tolerances
TPC-ET
TPE
TPE-A
TPE-E
TPE-O
TPE-S
TPE-U
TPE-V
TPO
TPS
TPU
TPV
Trouble classification
Two-plate mold
Two-component molding
178
171
159
160
169
157
207
206
182
158
131
127
132
131
127
128
130
129
127
128
130
129
187
181
176
U
UL service temperature
Ultrasonic welding
Unmelts
UV resistance
162
160
172
154
V
V rating
Vacuum forming
Venting
Venting barrel
Vibration welding
Viscosity
Visual inspection
Voids
163
126
191
168
161
164
168
197
W
Wall thickness
Warpage
Water injection molding
Water stain
Weight curve
Weld-lines
Wrong dimension
153
211
176
206
176
203
210
X
XR chart (diagram)
216
227
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