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Tag Archives: plastic parts

AcciDENTAL Masterpiece – New Product Inventions as Art

New Product Inventions as Art Blow molded Plastic Teeth

At SPI Industry molding facilities we are fascinated with the creativity and ingenuity of new product inventions.  Product developers create new designs of existing products as well as completely new products that are designed to make life easier, more efficient, safer, or more attractive for everyone. We see all new product inventions as art!

Recently, we received the most unique new plastic molding product request yet. SPI Injection Molding and SPI Blow Molding have produced a full gamut of new product inventions from plastic game pieces, plastic home decorations, plastic parts for appliances, molded parts for healthcare, and many more but this new plastic product concept was a first.  It wasn’t too unusual when the SPI Injection plant in South Bend, Indiana received a request to produce a large plastic tooth. What was unusual was the story behind the tooth.

plastic blow molded teethNew Product Inventions as Art Installations

The over 3000 molded plastic teeth were needed to create a toothquake! The toothquake was represented in the form of a 23’ x 26’ wide waterfall from the second story windows of an old Victorian that is home to the dental office of Dr. Demray. The tooth quake, we learned, was a result of the seismic activity that arose from the relocation of everybody’s favorite childhood messenger, the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy was staying at Dr. Demray’s offices temporarily while her new warehouse was being constructed. As each night passed, the increase in children’s teeth could no longer be contained and caused a toothquake Friday, June 17, 2016.

Dr. Demray was the most obvious choice when the Tooth Fairy was in need of temporary living quarters. Throughout his over 40 year career Dr. Demray’s mission has been to educate kids about good oral care. Demray’s commitment to share the message of bone preservation and dental care to children is also demonstrated in his cast of characters such as Betsy Floss and Miss Ginger Vitis. These characters participate in parades and school presentations sharing the importance of good oral care for kids. Ever seeking new ways to bring dental care education to the forefront, Dr. Demray decided an art installation of thousands of teeth in a cascading waterfall from his second story offices would be impactful. As a long time Art & Acts supporter, Dr. Demray planned the art exhibit reveal for the opening day of the 2016 Northville Arts & Acts celebration.

When the concept was conceived Dr. Demray and his staff hoped the teeth would be made in the United States. When Dr. Demray’s staff contacted SPI Industries they called SPI Injection Molding plant in South Bend, Indiana. After a short discussion it was determined SPI Blow Molding plant in Coloma, Michigan would be the best approach for the production and molding of the plastic teeth.

SPI Blow Molding understood the teeth would be used to help educate kids on the importance of dental care. The SPI team quickly learned their efforts would also be paramount in the relocation of the Tooth Fairy to Northville, Michigan. This was no ordinary plastic tooth to be used in dental displays or for training for the dental industry!

Fulfillment of the order in time for the Arts & Acts Celebration in Northville set to begin June 17, 2016 was a fun and rewarding experience for the SPI Industry team.

Do you have new product inventions, art installations or even a new twist on an old product that needs attention to detail and experienced engineers to construct? Give SPI Injection or SPI Blow Molding a call today. We’d love to sink our teeth into it.

Read more about how Dr. Demray’s future plans for the teeth to benefit dental care awareness in future blogs.

Benefits of Creating a Plastic Prototype for Production Molding

Benefits of Creating a Plastic Prototype for Production Molding
When you consider creating a new part that is to be made of plastic and the tooling cost is considerable, it is most desirable to test the functionality of the part prior to actually building the tool. Creating a plastic prototype can help determine if the part will function as designed. Modifications to a tool can not only be costly but degrade its overall performance and longevity.

The CAD Systems of today, such as Solid Works, which is what we use at SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries provide a great deal of power to make changes to a part quickly as well as draw all related interacting parts to test the stack up interference fit required in a final assembly. Solid Modeling on the computer has replaced the need for some part prototyping of the past. None the less, there are several current approaches to making a prototype of the product that remain relevant today.

Plastic Mold Modeling:

Historically the only approach was to have a model made by a professional model builder.  The prototype may have been constructed of wood, plastic or metal depending on the size and function of the test needed to be performed on the prototype to prove its size and function.  Many parts today still require a fully functioning prototype model to get exact data from which a mold can be built.  It is a small price to pay for a good prototype part to avoid or at least reduce the iterations of design changes often required while designing and developing new parts and new products.

Rapid Prototyping:

Modern technology, such as Plastic Part Printing, has made prototyping not only less expensive but extremely quick to completion.  In today’s fast paced manufacturing arena the quicker a product can move from the sales planning stage to the manufacturing floor the better.  The life span of a consumer product has become incredibly short, thereby increasing, the pressure to develop new products even faster.  An example of how SPI Blow Molding recently used Rapid Prototype Printing to solve a problem for one of our customers, The Best Bins, was the development of a Portion Control Cylinder which was to be retrofitted into a current bulk food container dispensing unit.  Our engineering department drew the new portion control cylinder using Solid Works.  The drawing was then sent to the Rapid Prototype Entity, where it was produced.

The Plastic Printer, working similar to laying down ink, uses heated plastic resin instead of ink.  The printer then makes repeated passes just as it would if printing on a piece of paper, only it continues to make passes laying down a thin film of plastic resin with each pass.  Each pass prints a slightly different geometry, thus changing the shape of the plastic that is being printed. Each pass also moves up slightly preparing for the next pass.  This process is repeated hundreds and hundreds of times, until a completed part has been produced.  The part can be hollow or in nearly any shape, making it a perfect process to prototype parts for both Injection Molding and Blow Molding, which is what we do here at SPI.

Blow molded plastic bin dispenserThe Prototype Portion Control Cylinder was then tested for the amount of product it would allow to move though the dispensing unit on The Best Bins Bulk Food Container.  The amount was not what we wanted.  Four versions of the prototype part later we were all pleased with the outcome. At that point we were ready to build a new tool.

The amount of time and money saved by being able to rapid prototype this part was significant to our customer.  Without this testing capability we would have been forced to rebuild a mold cavity multiple times, which is both expensive and destructive to the integrity of the new tool.

It should be noted this approach is best used to determine size and fit, not strength and toughness.  Material characteristics will be very different in the prototype than in the final molded version.

Pull Ahead Cavities:

Another approach to prototyping is the concept of pulling forward a cavity in a multiple cavity tool.  If the project is for medium to small plastic parts, then it is very common to use a tool in production containing several cavities of the same part.  In this case it is sometimes wise to build one cavity and use that cavity to product prototype parts.  If changes are required, modifications can be made to that cavity only, allowing all subsequent cavities to be constructed to the newly proven geometry; resulting from the testing on the prototype (pull ahead) cavity.  This is also the prototyping choice where many parts are required for testing and the test challenges the strength and toughness characteristics.

Pull-Ahead-Cavity-plastic-liquid-dispenserSPI Industries used this technique in developing a new plastic collar for Monsanto’s 1 gallon Pump n’ Go “Round-Up” dispenser.  The new tool was to be 4 cavities.  SPI used Mold Flow Software to assist with the tool design.  It was then determined a Pull Ahead Cavity was the right way to go so extensive testing could be done before completion of the other three cavities. We did discover additional changes to be made and thus preserved the strength and durability of the final three cavities.

Reap benefits of creating a plastic prototype for production molding. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries injection molding specialize in custom solutions and mold design. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries injection molding specialize in custom solutions. Bring us your plastic parts and plastic product manufacturing challenges and let us get to work creating solutions.

Where to Get Custom Injection Molded Plastics in Michigan

Custom Injection Molded Plastics in Michigan
When you’re planning to purchase or design custom injection molded plastics in Michigan, Indiana and the surrounding states there are many factors to consider. Because there are multiple avenues to take it’s important that you consider your options before moving forward.

Below we’re going to showcase how you can choose the best custom injection molded plastics in Michigan company for your needs. There are a lot of variables to consider, so make sure you choose wisely.

Multiple Industry Availability

The industry you work in will help to determine the style of plastic parts you require. Every injection molding facility won’t be able to deliver the level of parts you need to complete your project.

Everything from food containers, children’s toys, outdoor recreation products, to home supplies, to manufacturing goods, and more. Each of these types of goods will require a different kind of finished product, and some facilities will be better than others. For that reason it’s important to understand the specs surrounding your product before you place an order with a plastic injection molding facility.

For example, do you require thin walls or thick walls? Is your product complex or easy to produce? Do you need a high or low quantity?

These questions and more will help to guide the selection of your facility.

Ability to Produce Custom Parts

Can the plastic molding facility provide custom parts?

If you’re looking for an injection molding facility, then chances are you’re going to need a custom part. Some facilities only produce a set of standard parts, and don’t have the required machinery to cater to custom part creation.

Services To Help Base Your Decision

Below you’ll find a list of the most common distinguishing factors that will help you choose the right facility for your custom injection molded plastic parts.

  1. Short-Term vs. Long-Term Runs – Do you require a continuous supply of parts for the long-term, or do you only need parts for a short period of time? Some facilities require you place an order of over 2,000 units, while others are more flexible. When choosing your Custom Injection Molded Plastics in Indiana or Michigan production facility, make sure you find one that provides the correct parts on the timeline you need.
  2. Prototypes – The process of prototyping (link to older blog post) allows you to test different versions of your unit, before moving forward with the final step in production. There are multiple styles of prototyping available. If you don’t have a completely perfect model of the plastic piece you’re going to need produced, then you can greatly benefit from a facility that enables you to prototype first.
  3. Craftsmanship Due Care – What level of plastic parts do you need produced? In some cases you can get away with having lower quality plastic parts, but other times you must ensure every mold is created perfectly. The level of care and craftsmanship you require will help to determine which facility you choose.
  4. Thin Wall, High Tech Parts – The injection molding equipment and process they use will create different types of parts. If you require thin walled and high tech parts, you’ll need to work with a facility that offers that style of part. Once again, choose a facility that has a background in producing the style of part you require.
  5. Secondary Operations – What about when the parts are complete? Do you need a team to assemble, store and ship your parts, or will you do this yourself?

These secondary options can be costly, but also necessary depending upon the type of business you run. Some facilities cater to shipping, storage, and assembly, but others do not.

If you have any questions regarding where you can get your plastic molded parts, then get in contact with SPI today. We love help our customers across the Michigan area get the plastic parts they need.

Difference Between Injection Molding and Blow Molding

Difference-Between- Injection-Molding-and-Blow-MoldingMost people in the plastics manufacturing industry are familiar with both blow injection molding and blow molding these days. However there is still some confusion by product designers and engineers new to the industry about the difference between injection molding and blow molding . The blow molding process has become a standard for specific applications and understanding the differences between these two plastic molding processes can save design, prototyping and production time. This of course results in money savings and increases the speed of completion and delivery of your plastic part.

There are several significant differences between injection molding and blow molding:

  • manufacturing process itself
  • tolerances and margins of error
  • design considerations
  • role of the process for intended result

Main difference between injection molding and blow molding:

  • Injection molding – produces a part that is solid such as a reusable coffee cup lid
  • Blow molding – produces hollow parts such as water bottles

The blow molding process can produce plastic parts with very complex shapes. However to achieve this the wall thickness may vary from place to place depending on how much the material has to stretch when it is being blown. The thickness of a plastic part created through injection molding is determined by the relationship of the mold and the core.

You will be farther ahead if you are able to determine the best molding process for your plastic product in the product development stage. 

Be prepared to answer a lot of questions from plastic mold engineers:

  • How is your plastic part going to function?
  • Is it a stand alone item?
  • Is it a part that connects to other parts or works in tandem with other parts to achieve a result?
  • Does it need to pivot, move, expand, condense?
  • Is the weight critical to the function?
  • Will the part need to withstand extreme levels of cold or heat?
  • Does the item need to adjust to specific pressure levels or PSI?
  • Will the part hold fluids?
  • Does it need to be food safe?
  • Does it need to be flexible or does it need to be solid and rigid?
  • What length does the part need to be, width, depth?

Answering these questions when designing and manufacturing any item is good a idea. With items requiring plastic molding the large variety of plastics to choose from, the importance of accuracy, and the difference between injection molding and blow molding it’s best to determine these answers as soon as possible. When one millimeter size difference can make the item usable or unusable for its intended purpose, accuracy and creative solutions are required. That’s why we have engineers, right?

Custom Plastic Molding Solutions

Because of the many variable in producing molded plastic parts, nearly every part we produce requires a custom solution. Engineers review all variables based on the end use of the product.

Variables to consider in Molded Part Production:

  • type of plastic used
  • flexibility or strength
  • psi pressure rate required
  • withstand temperatures levels – hot or cold
  • wall thickness
  • product dimensions

Once these variables are considered the whole process will go much smoother and quicker. The use of 3D printers in the prototype stage helps to reduce time too. Designing molds and fine tuning them to perfection can take a few tries but once complete production can begin.

When injection molding is determined to be the best process for your plastic part once you have an approved mold you’re practically golden. The injection molding process begins, the product is produced and there is very little concern of production issues with the injection process.

Therein lies another difference between injection molding and blow molding. In the blow molding process getting the mold perfect is only part of the battle. During the blow molding production process there are many variables manufacturers must pay attention to. The iterative nature of the blow molding process lends itself to production variables.

Periodically checking the production line is important for quality control. If the plastic is stretched too much small pin holes or cracks in seals can result. Checking for wall thickness uniformity to ensure they are within the tolerances needed for the part to behave as it is intended is also critical. As an example, a plastic bellows is made to collapse when pressure is applied and then expand back to it’s original form once pressure is released. Consistent wall thickness helps the bellows to function correctly. If the plastic bellows collapses on one end faster than the other because the wall is thinner your plastic part may wear out quicker and may not function smoothly. Having sold process control systems in place will produce consistent parts with high quality function.

Blow Molding Production Concerns:

  • pinhole leaks
  • leaking seals
  • flexibility or strength
  • velocity or pressure of blown air
  • speed of the mold closing
  • process temperature
  • wall thickness
  • poor function
  • consistent product dimensions

You can learn more about the various plastic molding processes that are applicable to your product or new invention at Plastic news.

Do you have a new plastic product invention and you aren’t sure about which plastic mold process is the best solution for your item? Give SPI a call today, our engineers love a challenge! We will help guide you in the most appropriate and cost efficient plastic molding solution for your unique requirements.