There are a lot of ways to reduce how much material is in your automotive parts—some easier than others. Here are 9 of them:
1. Select material type when designing the part
The material type should be decided upon and taken into consideration in tandem with designing the part. The type of material will greatly affect how it performs inside the mold and what features need to be present in the design in order to make it as efficient as possible.
2. Use good manufacturing practices when designing the part
Design is key and can make or break the project before it even begins. Techniques such as coring out thick sections when applicable to reduce part weight should be taken into consideration. The runner and gate size and location are vital as well.
3. Perform mold simulations
Mold simulations allow for inexpensive investigations into potential part designs before the mold is constructed. The risk of altering a part design is lowered when the process capability is simulated beforehand.
4. Use processing technology
The utilization of a process control system (such as CoPilot®) and in-cavity pressure sensors allows you to see what’s happening inside of the mold before the part is ejected. That means you can create consistent processes that result in high quality parts again and again without the need to sort through scrap.
5. Use sequentially valve gated hot runner systems
A valve gated hot runner system, in most cases, removes the scrap of a cold runner system due to the gate located on the part surface. Eliminating this sprue from every part produced adds up very quickly.
6. Train your team
Training gives processors knowledge to optimize the molding processes. This can result in avoiding costly processing strategies (or lack thereof) that needlessly increase part weight.
7. Use gas assist molding
Gas assist is a process where nitrogen is injected into a thick part to hollow it out. This makes the part lighter by packing from the inside out, creating a hollow channel in the interior.
8. Use foaming agents
Foaming agents are a category of chemical additives mixed into the plastic resin. When the resin or foaming agent is injected into the mold, the foam will expand and create hollow cellular structures inside the thicker regions of the part. This essentially packs the part from the inside out, resulting in much lighter parts. This process is also known as low pressure molding.
9. Use DECOUPLED MOLDING processing
DECOUPLED MOLDING separates pack from hold in the injection molding process. This eliminates the effects that viscosity shifts can have on the process, building consistency in part quality. It streamlines the process to make it as efficient as possible in all ways, including finding the perfect balance of material for each part.
Learn more and discover how to reduce materials in automotive parts with our latest white paper.