Once a concept is developed, there must be a plastic molding design made before any plastic molding can take place. This can consist of a crude sketch using a piece of scrap paper or a sophisticated CAD design program, however concept is similar: getting the thought developed into a plastic molded part.
It could be one among numerous categories of mold also. Quite possibly the most common is surely an injection mould, or mold, but it could also be thermoset, compression, vacuum, blow mold, RIM, rotational, or a silicone rubber mold. All these are totally unique, but have some features in common.
Many mold designers emerged through the ranks of mold making and have a good grasp of what is necessary to build a mold. Other designers learned their skill in a technical college which specializes in industrial design, mold making and machine tool design. Working with a CAD design program, like Unigraphics, Solidworks, or CadKey has many advantages. They’re powerful CAD/CAM programs that contain integrated features which fine-tune the procedure.
Take, by way of example, an injection mold. It is a complicated tool that usually contains moving parts, which include ejector pins, lifters, core pins and even unscrewing parts. It could also employ a hot runner system, such as a Moldmaster or Incoe system.
Designing a plastic part with a CAD program enables the designer to visualize in realistic 3D to see how these moving parts will interact with the rest of the mold. This will make the job a lot less difficult and helps to eliminate errors downstream. Alternatively, it also can make the work more complicated because the people designing the plastic part are also using a similar approach and they also incorporate many functions into one product. This leads to a highly complicated part with many features that should all be machined within the mold.
Most companies that build molds for plastic have in-house designers, but some use free-lance designers who work from home. Both approaches work, with each having it’s own merits.
Obviously, with the in-house designer it is easier to communicate. There’s little scheduling, fewer conference calls, no awaiting emails and file transfers. This, needless to say, requires paying the salary and benefits associated with a full-time employee, which is not always the best solution.
An off-site designer is less costly and, when done right, is usually accessible for consultation and questions. These days, with the capability of internet communication, distance is much less of a challenge than previously.