Multi-material or multi-component injection molding is a technique that has advanced considerably in the last ten years. The technique has advanced not just due to technological improvements but also due to OEMs looking for innovative methods to obtain an advantage over competitors in terms of value and quality of products. Multi-component molding may be defined as the combination of different components into a single component directly in the molding process itself. This approach previously required separate manufacturing and assembly steps but now has been integrated into one comprehensive multi-part solution.
Benefits of Multi-Component Processes
Different multi-material injection processes have different names that include two-component (2KK), co-injection, over-molded or multi-component. Multi-component molding may be defined as the process of making a part from more than one material in the same production process. Some of the advantages of multi-component processes are listed below:
- The main reason behind multi-component processes is to reduce expenses and complex assembly steps, for instance, gasket assemblies with complex geometries.
- When materials are over-molded, i.e. arranged one atop the other, a combination of a range of properties in the part is obtained. For instance when overcooling onto metals is performed, one may require the shine and stiffness of a metal and at the same time, the smoothness, softness and transparency of liquid silicone rubber.
- Another advantage of overloading with LSRs is that grades have been formed to offer primer-less adhesion to a wide range of substrates including engineering plastics and metals.
- Many materials need the use of primers or surface treatments which lead to additional steps in the manufacturing process but LSRs will bond to most surfaces through direct bonding.
- Because of the high compatibility between materials, it is possible to obtain full bond strength immediately after de-molding. Parts can be bonded through mechanical and chemical adhesion leading to the strongest possible bond between materials.
Special Advantages of Multi-Component Processes
Certain special advantages of multi-component processes are listed below:
- The ability to mold complex designs and geometries which could never be done using a separate assembly step.
- High-quality surface finish with the best bonding properties.
- Clean surfaces and consistent thicknesses throughout the parts.
SIMTEC is a research and technology driven company. Since their establishment in 2002 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, they have been continuously developing Extraordinary Solutions™ for leading industries worldwide with services ranging from prototyping to serial production of high precision Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR), overmolded and Two Shot (LSR/Thermoplastics) components.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Simtec.
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