From specialized parts to new designs to brand new products, Low Volume Injection Molding is helping many businesses bring revolutionary products from design to production. There are many benefits to Low Volume Injection Molding (LVIM), and many reasons engineers add LVIM machines to their facilities. This list describes nine reasons why you should consider LVIM.
9 Reasons to Own a Low-Volume Injection Molding Machine
1) Low Cost and Quickly Produced Molds
Molds for Low Volume Injection Molding machines are quite different when compared to a traditional mold. LVIM molds are typically only one cavity which are made of aluminum or soft steel compared to the steel multi-cavity molds of other machines. This allows for molds to be inexpensive and easier to design. The single cavity soft metal molds take significantly less time to manufacture than multi-cavity steel molds.
2) Different Cost / Benefit Analysis
Large injection molding machines can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase. Low Volume Injection Molding machines cost a fraction of the price and are ideal for situations in which the price of a traditional injection molding machine outweighs its use. LVIM machines have a quick payback when it comes to short production runs, over molding, and prototyping applications.
3) Reducing Mold Engineering Costs
Developing a new part in a single cavity mold saves significant time, yet yields the same answers relative to cavity flow, material shrinkage, draft angle and venting. This base of knowledge is transferred to a large multi-cavity mold that likely costs more than the single cavity mold and machine combined!
4) Prototyping Benefits
A 3D printed part identifies “form and fit,” but is relatively useless when it comes to color and strength. Your marketing people will appreciate the ability to produce parts in various colors and shades as you develop a working prototype with Low Volume Injection Molding machines. Your engineers will appreciate the ability to produce plastic injection molding parts in various polymers and polymer blends. Ultimately having an appealing, durable product will be the basis for your company’s reputation.
5) Easy to Produce Parts
Whether we are talking about prototype or production parts the Low Volume Injection Molding machine typically has a short learning curve to operate. This is partly because some of the functions of a large injection molding machine such as hot runners, part ejection, multiple heat zones, etc. are not included in the setup considerations. Along with the easy operator training is the fact that the smaller volume machine can be more quickly purged of material to change to a new polymer, a different color or a completely different mold.
6) Less Time to Market
When a new product is being evaluated, it’s easy to consume lots of time developing a prototype. Any time spent developing the product is potentially lost money if the product could have been created faster. Low Volume Injection Molding machines allow final production parts to be produced typically in less than half the time of a standard injection molding machine. This is because of the easy to machine mold and the quick operation time of the machine.
7) Bridge Tool
It was previously mentioned that a Low Volume Injection Molding machine can produce the same parts as a high volume injection molding machine. Once a part is finalized and sent to be mass produced, what happens when the tooling is being created and manufacturing is on hold? That LVIM machine previously used comes in handy again by using the LVIM machine to “bridge” the gap until full production starts. This allows parts to still be produced with no time lost waiting. Marketing and Sales people will be happy to get early products samples to show the potential customers or first articles for approvals. Management will be happy to shorten the gap between investment and revenue!
8) Backup to production
The previous benefit mentioned how a LVIM machine can be used to “bridge” the gap until full production. However, once full production starts, this machine is still useful. When a large injection molding machine goes down, it is unknown how long the machine could be non-operational. The LVIM machine can be used to produce parts while the large injection molding machine is repaired. The LVIM machine not only acts as a bridge to production, it also acts as a backup to production. Anytime an injection molding machine is not running, money is being lost. Low Volume machines help mitigate production stoppage, another example of how versatile the LVIM machine can be.
9) Space savings
LVIM machines are typically smaller and are often configured as a vertical injection molding machine that have a very small footprint. This makes them ideal for a lean manufacturing cell. These machines are also often located in a polymer lab or machine shop “prototyping” area. With the benchtop size and a cart on wheels the LVIM machines have the mobility to adapt to changing manufacturing requirements.
You can see why Low Volume Injection Molding machines are a pivotal piece of the production puzzle for many businesses. With these benefits, you can realize cost savings and move on market opportunities faster, with less risk. Once you add a Low Volume Injection Molding machine to your facility, you may add many other benefits to the list.