Molding Plastics? Thinking Of Moving Beyond Sheet Metal?
The unique plastics process of Reaction Injection Molding technology, or RIM Molding, can offer great flexibility compared to traditional methods of molding parts. Many designers will find the RIM process to be a viable alternative to satisfy complexity, cost, and timing issues. (www.exothermic.com)
The Reaction Injection Molding process works by combining two liquid components that chemically react in a closed mold to form a thermoset plastic part. Unlike thermoplastic injection processes that require very high temperatures and pressures to melt and force plastic into a steel tool, RIM Molding requires significantly less energy and minimal injection force. Instead, the liquids undergo an exothermic, or heat generating, chemical reaction and polymerize inside the mold. Due to the low viscosity of the component liquids, an average mold can fill in a few second or less, at molding pressures of only 50-150 psi, and the finished part can be de-molded in as little as 60-120 seconds.
RIM Molding is optimal for flexibility, strength, surface hardness, wear resistance, sound/vibration dampening, thermal insulation, and chemical, electrical, or fire resistance. The low-pressure tools machined out of aluminum translate into low costs, shorter lead times, and with greater flexibility in design and tooling changes.
Overall, the RIM process can offer designers and engineers unprecedented design freedom to unlock their creativity, while providing unsurpassed part to part tolerance stability at comparatively low cost.
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