One of the advantages of custom plastic molding is the ability to easily accommodate molded-in components. From brackets or threaded inserts to attach molded plastic parts to finished equipment or cores to add structural integrity to a part, the RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) and RIM (Reaction Injection Molding) processes are well suited for molded-in components.
At Osborne, a large metal fabrication department is utilized to create a variety of metal components that require integration into a molded part. Osborne’s fabrication department utilizes a wide variety of presses, welding stations, and even a laser cutting machine to support any secondary metal application, including molded-in components like brackets or inserts. Whether or not your application requires installation of metal hardware or bonding of plates, Osborne’s flexible capabilities can handle any requirements you need, saving you both time and money on your custom molding project.
Benefits of Molded-In Components
When the geometry of a part allows, molded-in components can be superior to post-mold components, which are bolted, screwed, or glued-on. Post-mold components rely solely on the bonding mechanism for success, which can sometimes be unsustainable for long-term or heavier-duty parts.
With the resin transfer molding (RTM) and reaction injection molding (RIM) processes, a molded-in component is fully integrated into the part, which makes it stronger and longer-lasting. When the component is molded in it, there is no assembly needed, resulting in less labor for secondary processes.
Some common molded-in components used in custom plastics manufacturing include:
- Brackets or plates
- Threaded inserts for attaching components like hinges
- Foam cores or metal screens for added structural strength and integrity
- Electrical conduit for wiring, cable and harnesses
- Metal or ABS piping for plumbing applications
- Hinges for parts used in the agricultural or transportation industries
Components Molding Process
The mold-in technique varies based not only on the components being incorporated, but also on the type of molding process, being either RTM or RIM.
When it comes to RTM, adding molded-in components utilizes the reinforcing material to ensure the component is situated where it needs to be in the final design.
An example of including a molded-in component with an RTM part is molded-in cores. Reinforcing material, generally fiberglass, would be added into the cavity of the mold, followed by the core, then finished with additional fiberglass. The reinforcement of the fiberglass is what keeps the component in place when the mold is closed and resin is injected to complete the molding process.
Reaction Injection Molding
For RIM, the process can be a bit more complicated—it really depends on what the molded-in component is. An example of a molded-in component with RIM is threaded inserts that are on the surface of a finished part. The threaded inserts would be magnetically attached to the mold so they stay in place after the mold is closed and while the material is being injected.
For other components that are not on the surface of the finished part, such as cores, some engineering would be necessary to determine the best method for holding the component in place while the material is being injected. Several options exist and Osborne engineers can assist in ensuring the proper placement of any molded-in component.
Contact the Experts at Osborne Industries
The experienced team at Osborne is always eager to help customers with any project challenge that may arise. If your custom plastic molding project requires secondary assembly or additional molded-in components, please contact us or request a quote today.