Injection Molding

Injection molding is an injection and molding method.

Injection molding is a manufacturing process for producing parts by injecting molten material into a mould, or mold.

The advantages of the injection molding method are fast production speed, high efficiency, the operation can be automated, a variety of colors, shapes can be simple to complex, sizes can be from large to small, and the product size is accurate, the product is easy to replace, and can be complex in shape Parts, injection molding is suitable for mass production and complex shapes such as molding processing fields.

At a certain temperature, a screw is used to stir a completely melted plastic material, which is injected into the mold cavity under high pressure, and is cooled and solidified to obtain a molded product. This method is suitable for the mass production of parts with complex shapes and is one of the important processing methods.

The injection molding process can be roughly divided into the following 6 steps

Injection molding section:

Clamping, injection molding, pressure holding, cooling, mold opening, and product removal.

By repeating the above process, products can be produced periodically in batches. The molding of thermosetting plastics and rubber also includes the same process, but the temperature of the barrel is lower than that of thermoplastics, the injection molding pressure is higher, the injection mold is heated, and the material needs to be cured or vulcanized in the injection mold after injection, and then the film is removed while hot.

Nowadays, the trend of processing technology is developing in the direction of high-tech. These technologies include micro injection molding, high-fill composite injection molding, water-assisted injection molding, mixed-use of various special injection molding processes, foam injection molding, mold technology, simulation technology, etc.

Injection molding process

Temperature controlled injection molding equipment and injection molds

  1. Barrel temperature

The temperature to be controlled in the injection molding process includes barrel temperature, nozzle temperature, and mold temperature. The first two temperatures mainly affect the plasticization and flow of plastics, while the latter two temperatures mainly affect the flow and cooling of plastics. Each plastic has a different flow temperature.

For the same plastic, due to different sources or grades, the flow temperature and decomposition temperature are different. This is due to the difference in average molecular weight and molecular weight distribution. 

Plastics are injected into different types. The plasticizing process in the machine is also different, so the temperature of the selected barrel is also different.

  1. Nozzle temperature

The nozzle temperature is usually slightly lower than the maximum temperature of the barrel, this is to prevent the “salvation phenomenon” that may occur in the straight-through nozzle. 

The temperature of the nozzle should not be too low, otherwise, it will cause premature coagulation of the melt and block the nozzle, or affect the performance of the product due to the injection of the early coagulation into the mold cavity.

  1. Mold temperature

The mold temperature has a great influence on the internal performance and apparent quality of the product. The temperature of the mold depends on the crystallinity of the plastic, the size and structure of the product, the performance requirements, and other process conditions (melt temperature, injection molding speed, and injection molding pressure, injection molding cycle, etc.).

Pressure control

The pressure in the injection molding process includes two kinds of plasticizing pressure and injection pressure and directly affects the plasticization of plastics and product quality.

  1. Plasticization pressure

(Backpressure) When using a screw injection molding machine, the pressure on the top of the screw when the screw rotates backward is called the plasticization pressure, also known as the backpressure.

The magnitude of this pressure can be adjusted through the relief valve in the hydraulic system. In injection molding, the plasticizing pressure needs to be changed according to the screw design, product quality requirements, and the type of plastic.

If these conditions and the screw speed are unchanged, increasing the plasticizing pressure will strengthen the shear. The effect is to increase the temperature of the melt, but it will reduce the efficiency of plasticization, increase the counterflow and leakage, and increase the driving power.

In addition, increasing the plasticizing pressure can often make the temperature of the melt uniform, the mixing of the color material uniform, and the discharge of the gas in the melt. In general operation, the decision of plasticizing pressure should be as low as possible on the premise of ensuring good product quality. The specific value varies with the type of plastic used, but usually rarely exceeds 20 kg/cm2.

  1. Injection molding pressure

In the current production, the injection molding pressure of almost all injection molding machines is to the top of the plunger or screw against the plastic.

The applied pressure (converted from the oil pressure) shall prevail. The role of injection pressure in injection molding is to overcome the flow resistance of plastic from the barrel to the cavity, give the molten material a filling rate, and compact the molten material.

Injection molding cycle

The time required to complete an injection molding process is called the molding cycle, also known as the molding cycle. It actually includes the following parts.

The injection molding cycle directly affects labor productivity and equipment utilization. Therefore, in the production process, on the premise of ensuring quality, try to shorten the relevant time in the injection molding cycle.

In the entire injection molding cycle, the injection time and cooling time are the most important, and they have a decisive influence on the quality of the product. The filling time in the injection time is directly inversely proportional to the filling rate, and the filling time in production is generally about 3-5 seconds.

 The pressure holding time in the injection time is the pressure time for the plastic in the cavity, which accounts for a large proportion of the entire injection time, generally about 20-120 seconds (extra-thick parts can be as high as 5-10 minutes).

Before the frit is frozen at the gate, the holding time will affect the dimensional accuracy of the product. If it is later, it will have no effect. The holding time also has the most favorable value, which is known to depend on the material temperature, mold temperature, and the size of the main channel and gate.

If the dimensions of the main channel and gate and the process conditions are normal, the pressure value that gives the smallest fluctuation range of the shrinkage rate of the product is usually the standard. The cooling time mainly depends on the thickness of the product, the thermal and crystalline properties of the plastic, and the mold temperature.

The end of the cooling time should be based on the principle of ensuring that the product does not cause changes during demoulding. The cooling time is generally between 30 and 120 seconds. If the cooling time is too long, it is not necessary.

Not only does it reduce production efficiency, but also for complex parts. It causes difficulty in demolding, and even demoulding stress may occur during forced demoulding. The other time in the molding cycle is related to whether the production process is continuous and automated, and the degree of continuous and automated.


  1. Injection molding pressure

The injection pressure is provided by the hydraulic system of the injection system. The pressure of the hydraulic cylinder is transmitted to the plastic melt through the screw of the injection molding machine. Under the impulse of the pressure, the plastic melt enters the vertical flow channel of the mold through the nozzle of the injection molding machine (also the mainstream channel for some molds), the mainstream channel, and the split flow.

Channel, and enter the mold cavity through the gate, this process is the injection molding process or called the filling process. The pressure exists to overcome the resistance in the melt flow process, or conversely, the resistance in the flow process needs to be offset by the pressure of the injection molding machine to ensure that the filling process proceeds smoothly.

In the injection molding process, the pressure at the nozzle of the injection molding machine is the highest to overcome the flow resistance of the melt throughout.

After that, the pressure gradually decreases along the length of the flow toward the front of the melt. If the exhaust inside the cavity is good, the final pressure at the front of the melt is atmospheric pressure.

There are many factors that affect the filling pressure of the melt, which can be summarized into three categories:

  • Material factors, such as the type and viscosity of plastics;
  • Structural factors, such as the type, number, and location of the casting system, the cavity shape of the injection mold and the product Thickness, etc.;
  • Processing elements of injection molding.
  1. Injection molding time

The injection molding time mentioned here refers to the time required for the plastic melt to fill the cavity, excluding auxiliary time such as mold opening and closing.

Although the injection molding time is very short and has little effect on the molding cycle, the adjustment of the injection molding time has a great effect on the pressure control of the gate, runner, and cavity. Reasonable injection molding time helps the melt to fill ideally, and it is very important to improve the surface quality of the product and reduce the dimensional tolerance.

The injection molding time is much lower than the cooling time, which is about 1/10 to 1/15 of the cooling time. This rule can be used as the basis for predicting the total injection molding time of plastic parts.

 In the mold flow analysis, the injection molding time in the analysis result is equal to the injection molding time set in the process conditions only when the melt is completely driven by the rotation of the screw to fill the cavity.

If the pressure holding switch of the screw occurs before the cavity is filled, the analysis result will be greater than the setting of the process conditions.

  1. Injection molding temperature

Injection molding temperature is an important factor affecting injection molding pressure. The barrel of the injection molding machine has 5 to 6 heating sections, and each raw material has its proper processing temperature (detailed processing temperature can refer to the data provided by the material supplier).

The injection molding temperature must be controlled within a certain range. If the temperature is too low, the melt plasticization is poor, affecting the quality of the molded parts and increasing the difficulty of the process; if the temperature is too high, the raw materials are easily decomposed.

In the actual injection molding process, the injection molding temperature is often higher than the barrel temperature, and the higher value is related to the injection rate and the performance of the material, up to 30 ℃. This is due to the fact that the molten material is sheared as it passes through the injection port and generates high heat.

There are two ways to compensate for this difference when doing mold flow analysis. One is to try to measure the temperature of the molten plastic injection molding, and the other is to include the nozzle during modeling.

  1. Packing pressure and time

Near the end of the injection molding process, the screw stops rotating and just advances, at which time injection molding enters the holding pressure stage. During the pressure maintaining process, the nozzle of the injection molding machine continuously replenishes the cavity to fill the volume vacated by the shrinkage of the parts.

If the pressure is not maintained after the cavity is filled, the part will shrink by about 25%, especially the ribs will shrink due to excessive shrinkage. The holding pressure is generally about 85% of the maximum filling pressure, which of course should be determined according to the actual situation.

  1. Backpressure

Backpressure refers to the pressure that the screw needs to overcome when reversing the storage material after reverse rotation. The use of high back pressure is conducive to the dispersion of pigments and the melting of plastics, but it also extends the screw retraction time, reduces the length of plastic fibers, and increases the pressure of the injection molding machine.

Therefore, the back pressure should be lower, generally not more than injection molding 20% of stress. When injection molding foam, the back pressure should be higher than the pressure created by the gas, otherwise the screw will be pushed out of the barrel. 

Some injection molding machines can program the back pressure to compensate for the reduction in the length of the screw during melting, which reduces the heat input and lowers the temperature.

However, because the result of this change is difficult to estimate, it is not easy to make corresponding adjustments to the machine.

Defect resolution

The injection molding process is a complex factor involving injection mold design, injection mold manufacturing, raw material characteristics, and raw material pretreatment methods, injection molding process, injection molding machine operation, etc., and is closely related to processing environmental conditions, product cooling time, and post-processing process.

Manufacturing processes. Therefore, the quality of the product is not only determined by the injection molding accuracy and measurement accuracy of the injection molding machine, or only determined by the quality of the injection mold design and the accuracy level of the mold processing. Generally, it will also be affected by the other factors mentioned above and Constraints.

Under the constraints of so many compound factors, the appearance of defects in injection molded products is inevitable. Therefore, the internal mechanism of defect generation and the location and type of defects that can be produced by the product are predicted, and they are used to guide mold design and improvement and summarize defects.

The law of production and the formulation of more reasonable process operating conditions are particularly important. We will elaborate on the mechanism and solutions of injection molding defects from three main factors that affect the plastic material characteristics, injection mold structure, injection molding process, and injection equipment in the injection molding process.

Common defects classification of injection molded products

The plastic materials used in the injection molding process are diverse, and the types and forms of injection mold design are also varied.

In addition, the familiarity of the operator with the specific injection molding machine, as well as the operation skills and practical experience differences between the workers, are also different.

At the same time, the objective environment (such as ambient temperature, humidity, and air cleanliness) will also vary with the seasons. These objective and subjective conditions jointly determine the occurrence of defects in injection molded products.

Generally speaking, there are three main aspects of evaluating the performance of plastic products.

First, the appearance quality, including integrity, color, gloss;

Second, the accuracy between size and relative position, that is, dimensional accuracy and position accuracy;

Third, the mechanical properties, chemical properties, electrical properties, etc. corresponding to the purpose, that is, functionality

Therefore, if a problem occurs due to any of the above three aspects, it will lead to the occurrence and expansion of product defects.

Common defects classification of injection molded products

Appearance defects: discoloration of silver lines, welding marks

Process problems: flash, shrinkage, lack of glue

Performance issues: warpage and embrittlement