We often get asked about our Lifetime Mold Guarantee. What is it? How does it work?
Xcentric offers a Lifetime Mold Guarantee at no extra cost to you for the life of your project. We stand behind every mold we build and run.
Features and benefits of the guarantee include:
No Part Quantity Limits – There are no part quantity limits for the life of your project.
High Quality Mold Components – We are committed to providing you with only the highest quality mold components.
Proactive Mold Maintenance – With our U.S. based tool room, we proactively maintain your mold. Each mold is serviced each time prior to and after running a project; saving you time and money.
All Parts Are Run on Electric Mold Machines – Our all-electric machines have the benefit of running at a higher speed and are more efficient throughout the entire production process. Independent motors and sensors control the process and prevent damage to the mold.
Our Propriety Process Engine is utilized to prevent part overshot and applying too much pressure in the cavity which can potentially break mold features.
The Difference Between Traditional and Rapid Molding
FEATURED NOVEMBER 17, 2018 BY LESLIE LANGNAU-DESIGN WORLD
The “digitization” of nearly every process to make products continues. The latest industry to experience this shift is molding. Here’s a look at how digitization may affect traditional molding service providers.
Pierre Viaud-Murat | Senior Vice President of Sales
Digital manufacturing offers many benefits across multiple touch points: it can reduce time to market, labor overhead and asset use, plus it helps customers control quality and inventory. These advantages allow users to explore new revenue streams, develop and enhance innovative designs and respond to market demands. The digital age can enhance designers freedom to create and develop through one streamlined methodology.
The traditional manufacturing process The traditional manufacturing process usually consists of a several-step sequence within the manufacturing flow. Team members monitor and ensure that safeguards are in place throughout the entire part lifecycle. Throughout the process, various testing for form, fit and function are required to discover any part flaws. Each team member should be aware of these critical-path processes, as the traditional method of manufacturing requires more manual than automated production.
The traditional injection molding manufacturing process usually consists of several steps. Throughout the process, various testing for form, fit and function are required to discover any part flaws. Usually, the traditional method of manufacturing requires more manual than automated production.
For example, generating a quote using a DFM analysis and confirming an order manually can take approximately a week, if all of the process steps are accurate and on track the first time through. In the event that any modification is required, the same process steps would be repeated before finalizing the order.
Once an order has been placed, the mold design is reviewed for viability. When that design is finalized, it will go onto the next phase of the traditional manufacturing process. This can be a lengthier portion of the process, ranging from three to eight weeks. Additional delays may also occur if project issues are not identified early in the quoting process, which will result in re-quoting, redesigning or redefining the project. Any of the three can result in significant delays.
With all of the production factors in place, the part will then be molded. After the first shots, a visual and dimensional inspection will be done. If the part passes inspection, it is shipped out to the customer for review and feedback.
Once the customer inspects the part, they have the opportunity to approve or reject the run. In the event of a non-approval, the process would be modified and revisited again with continual iterations until the optimal part is achieved. Any combination of these factors can impact the cost, quality and timing in a traditional manufacturing process.
The digital manufacturing process Another approach to injection molding involves the digitization of as many injection-molding steps as possible. This approach is referred to as rapid or digital manufacturing, and is a natural progression of traditional manufacturing. The streamlining possible by digitizing many traditional molding steps can reduce total costs.
An evolution of traditional injection molding manufacturing is referred to as digitization. It involves digitizing as many injection-molding steps as possible to streamline many traditional molding steps to reduce total costs.
Digital manufacturing begins with the upload of a 3D CAD file to a service provider’s servers. The geometry and part requirements are analyzed, usually with proprietary software. Then the customer receives an interactive quote. Once the customer approves the quote, an order is generated and the mold design finalized and a tool-path created, often within hours.
The initial mold can often be created with modular components, which is another cost savings. Then, the mold is usually machined, a process that takes a couple of days. After benching and finishing, the mold tool is assembled for first production shots and inspection.
This process of rapid mold development can shorten development lead-time to weeks instead of months.
Digital manufacturing can accelerate every step of a part creation process. In traditional manufacturing, the retooling investment could push the break-even manufacturing numbers into the thousands – a cost-prohibitive change for many smaller businesses. Digital manufacturing, however, can implement that small design change for approximately a quarter of the investment in a quarter of the time.
Digital manufacturing is scalable and flexible. Should demand rapidly increase, the digital manufacturing process can move between low-volume to mass production. Thus, designers can react to market behaviors quickly and easily. If demand drops, rapid manufacturing enables adjustments while still achieving the lowest total cost. Thus, regardless of a market’s volatility, digital manufacturing lets users respond accordingly.
The digital manufacturing process allows customers to quickly go through multiple iterations easily. Low-cost tooling makes low-production runs economical enough to test on select markets and use the feedback as a learning curve. Customers can maintain their existing quality controls, while developing good parts that can get to market faster. Some service providers offer optional services, such as inspection and project management consulting. Digital inspection allows for rapid feedback and tool modifications, if necessary. Service providers usually have experienced tooling experts who can consult during the mold development process to solve any problems that arise.
Mold considerations Mold service providers strive to ensure a mold tool is available over the lifecycle of a project. Often, the tool is made from a high-grade aluminum base material, like QC-10, which offers an excellent strength-to-weight ratio.
Compared to steel, aluminum is softer and less dense, dissipates heat quickly and efficiently and costs up to 75% less. It’s also a recyclable material, an attractive feature when material waste can be higher than 50% per part. Recyclability and material reuse can help recoup initial material costs.
Although aluminum may not be the right material for every type of mold, it works well for prototyping, bridge tooling and low volume production. Depending on the size and structure of the parts, the heat dissipation within an aluminum mold can be up to 50% higher than steel or other metals, creating faster production turnaround times. Aluminum molds will usually last through production runs of several thousands of parts. DW.
How Draft Can Help To Improve Plastic Injection-Molded Parts
Draft is an angle incorporated into your plastic part design to aid in the ejection process.
Include Draft Upfront in the Design Process
Plastic parts should be designed with draft to prevent sticking and ejector pin push marks on the outward surface during ejection. Applying the proper draft angles or tapers on the surface of an injection molded part is critical to part moldability. Often times, draft is not considered when prototyping with CNC machining or 3D printing. It should be considered when either one of these prototypes will ultimately be injection molded. Not incorporating draft into your design upfront can directly result in costing more time and money later on in the manufacturing process.
Downfalls of Not Including Draft
Without draft being included in the design, parts may bend, have poor surface finishes, break, or warp due to stresses on the molded part. If not dealt with, improper draft can lead to sticking, breaking, surface finish imperfections and a variety of other issues causing manufacturing delays. In addition, the absence of draft may also damage the mold itself. You do not want your part to look like the photo below.
Proper planning can assist in avoiding costly mistakes.
General Rules for Draft
Although there is not one set draft angle for all plastic injection molded parts, below are some general guidelines for draft:
• 0.5° on vertical applications • 1.5° to 2° per side are standard for plastic injection molding • 3° for light texture or shutoff (metal sliding on metal) • 5° or more for a heavy texture
A good guideline is 1° of draft per 1” of cavity depth however keep in mind that a variety of factors will influence this such as material selection, wall thickness, shrink rates and manufacturing capabilities.
Do you questions or concerns about draft? Upload your design today at xcentricmold.dev.varcm.com or let one of our Technical Experts assist you by contacting us a 586-598-4636 or email email@example.com. It is a good way of avoiding future moldability issues.
How to Save Time and Money When Designing for Overmolding
Overmolding is a process where a single part is created using two or more different materials in combination. The first material, often referred to as the substrate, is partially or fully covered by another material (overmold material) during the manufacturing process. A wide range of materials are capable of being overmolded, including both hard and soft plastic resins.
Typically a substrate material or part is placed into an injection molding tool at which point the overmold material is shot into, onto, or around the substrate. When the overmold material solidifies, the two materials become joined together as a single part.
Customers frequently request to make overmolding layers thinner than 1 mm for TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) “soft touch” overlays. When we inquire as to why they are requesting this specification, we often hear that they are solely requesting this in order to save money on material costs or simply have no specific reason. Such thin sections are a common source of issues. Not only is the “soft touch” feeling so slight that it cannot be noticed, but sections that are too thin do not allow the material to flow properly and adhere to the substrate. If not properly planned for upfront, lack of correct thickness can result in rework and spending significantly more time and money than originally thought.
Issues related to thin overmolding layers can sometimes be resolved by adding gates to the overmold which increases the L/T (length over thickness) ratio. If gates are not an option, too thin of a wall will require reworking the part design adding costs, time and labor. If a thin TPE layer “freezes up” during the injection molding process, it is not uncommon to have to rework both the substrate tool and the overmold tool and rerun the part. Discuss your expectations early in the design process with our technical experts in order to ensure the best possible outcome for your product’s success.
If you are interested in receiving more information on overmolding, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 586-598-4636.
For more information about overmolding, please watch our webinars.
Celling Biosciences Recieves Complex Plastic Parts in 30 Days
Medical and scientific devices pose three key challenges for companies like Celling Biosciences: time, quality, and cost. On one hand, to build a reputation for leadership in the closely watched biotech industry, you have to launch innovative products before your competitors can do likewise. On the other hand, if you can’t manufacture high-quality injection molding parts with complex geometries at market acceptable prices, you lose to those who can. Those were the concerns of Celling Biosciences’ engineering team in Austin, Texas when they sought for competitive bids to manufacture parts for a new clinical blood-therapy device.
Complex Geometries Are Difficult to Produce
In late 2017, Medical Design Engineer Jay Jones was issuing bid packages for this project. He had identified three competent parts manufacturers. Among them was Xcentric Mold & Engineering. He first heard about Xcentric from a colleague: “You just have to try them,” he was told. And by late 2017, he had already used Xcentric on more than one occasion to successfully produce parts that incorporated increasing levels of design complexity. But now he had something that was very difficult produce. Celling Biosciences’ new blood-processor — called the Autologous Regenerative Therapies (ART) Two-Step Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) device — had all the hallmarks of a serious production challenge.
Jay had reduced the number of components in the design from 23 to 8 but making some of these parts would not be easy. One mold was quite simple, producing the orange thumb wheel positioned on the top of the final product. The mold for the transparent base component, however, incorporated geometries requiring complex mold features such as threaded inserts, slides, and multiple hand loads — the stuff any engineer would acknowledge as a real test for an injection molded parts supplier. Accuracy, quality, and adherence to tight tolerances were absolutely necessary to create a final product that clinical labs would buy and rely on for day-to-day safe and reliable operation
Overnight Quote and Injection Molded Parts in 30 Days
The team at Celling Biosciences also understood the impact of launch dates on profitability. Their existing parts suppliers would normally take from four to six weeks to develop a quote in response to a bid package. Although that kind of lead time is built into a typical product launch by medical device companies, it doesn’t help the bottom line, and nobody has to like it. Other suppliers would decline or request multiple concessions on complex designs. So after uploading their design files to three bidders, the team was astonished when Xcentric responded overnight with a bid and zero design change requests.
By comparison, one of the other two bidders responded in four weeks, and the last bid came in after six weeks had passed. So on the bid process alone, Xcentric had saved Celling Biosciences a significant amount of lead time. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
After conferring with his colleagues at Celling Biosciences, Jay accepted the bid from Xcentric Mold & Engineering. The contract called for the creation of aluminum molds and production of parts made from a PC/ABS blend. Expectations were for a low- to mid-volume production flow, around 3,000 parts per year.
Figure 1. The ART Two-Step PRP
This was the first time that Celling Biosciences had awarded a product with such complex geometries to Xcentric Mold & Engineering, so Jay had the usual sense of anticipation about delivery of the final product. His previous experiences with Xcentric, however, had been excellent, and he was confident that they would be able to handle the complex geometries in the ART Two-Step PRP. But he was unprepared for the fast production turnaround. Xcentric delivered the “first shots” (the first production parts) to his office within 30 days — including delivery time! Jay put it into his own words: “I was holding the finished product only a week after the second bidder sent a quote and two weeks before the last bidder responded! It’s the kind of timetable nobody in the industry can match.”
Complex Geometries at the Right Price
Despite the complex geometries of Jay’s design, Xcentric had fulfilled its promise of a fast turnaround for customers:
“No matter the complexity of your design or the quantity of your order, Xcentric can deliver a wide variety of plastic and metal custom parts in as fast as 1-15 days.”
The final success factor was the low cost of the Xcentric bid. The company had delivered a complex, high-quality product at a lower cost than competing bidders, while maintaining the whole production chain in the United States. Taken as a whole, Xcentric helped Celling Biosciences bring a complex product much earlier to commercial stage and within budget.
If you are interested in receiving more information, contact us at email@example.com or 586-598-4636.