Decoration

Why would I choose in-mold labeling of my plastic product over self-adhesive or heat transfer labeling?

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In-mold labeling is typically used on larger, multi-color images, which must be permanently bonded to a product. This process provides greater durability than pressure sensitive and heat transfer labeling. During in-mold labeling, the label is held to the mold using static electricity. The molten plastic is then injected into the mold cavity and chemically bonds with the back of the in-mold label. The label is now physically part of the product and cannot be peeled or torn from the product. In-mold decorating may also reduce total product costs. Because it is done during the molding cycle, the decorated product ejects from the mold without the need for secondary decorating processes.

What is the difference between hot stamping and heat transfer labeling?

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Both are done as a secondary decorating process after the parts have been injection molded.

In hot stamping, metallic or color-pigmented foil is placed on the surface to be decorated and a hot die strikes the foil. The hot die has the image that is to be transferred to the part. Through heat and pressure, the metallic or pigment on the foil is transferred to the part. Hot stamping is generally done on parts that are mostly flat. It can be done on curved surfaces on special hot stamping equipment.

In heat transfer labeling, the image is printed on the foil at our supplier’s manufacturing plant. The foil is then placed on the surface to be decorated and a hot die that is flat strikes the foil. The heat and pressure from the hot die transfer the printed image on the foil to the part. Like hot stamping, heat transfer labeling is generally done on flat parts but can be done on curved parts and even cups with special equipment.

Hot stamping is generally selected for simple images that only require one color. Heat transfer is generally selected for complicated images or for images that require multiple colors.

Design and Engineering

If I give you a sketch of the part I want produced, how long will it take before a prototype can be made?

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Our engineers can use your sketch to produce a 3D CAD model in our design software, SOLIDWORKS®. Depending on the complexity of your part, the CAD model may only take a couple of hours, or it could take a couple of days. Once the 3D CAD model is complete, a prototype part can often be fabricated within 2-5 days.

What is a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM)?

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Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM) measure the physical dimensions of an object. A probe on the machine is used to collect X, Y, and Z coordinate data from a part. This data is converted into measurements of the part and its features, which can be compared to design requirements and critical dimensions. To assist with manufacturing inspections, the CMM can be programmed to repeatedly run a measurement process on a set of parts.

What are the benefits of replacing metal parts with plastic and can your company carry out this conversion?

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The end use of a part will always determine whether a metal part can be converted to plastic. If it can, some of the potential benefits are:

  • Lower overall production costs: Secondary operations such as coloring, texturing, or polishing the part can be done in the molding process, thereby eliminating the secondary operations.
  • Reduced assembly time and costs: Instead of assembling or fastening together metal parts, a single injection molded part can combine all of the necessary features.
  • Lower shipping costs: Plastic generally weighs less and therefore, will cost less to ship.
  • Greater structural strength: Using engineering grade plastic materials, along with integral ribs, gussets, or bosses, can produce a plastic part, which exceeds the performance of metal.
  • Resistance to corrosion: By withstanding many chemicals and environments, plastic parts will often deliver a longer life, than metal parts.
  • Thermal response: The properties of plastic parts can be tailored to handle a variety of temperature conditions.
  • Wear resistance: The surface of a plastic part can be made very tough and durable with additives, so that it can serve as a high-performance bearing or a rugged handle.

Our Engineering team will use their knowledge and experience to help determine if your part can be converted from metal to plastic. We will provide additional support with appropriate material options to meet your performance and budget requirements.

What is the difference between a prototype injection mold and a production injection mold?

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A prototype injection mold is generally a smaller, less expensive mold, which can produce several hundred to several thousand parts. Prototype molds are used when injection molded parts are needed to test a design or if the market for selling a product has not been fully established. In order to keep costs lower, prototype tools may be constructed with less durable steels, aluminum, or other materials.

Prototype molds usually serve as a bridge between constructing a few part prototypes and full production quantities.

Production injection molds are built to produce large quantities of parts for years. They are constructed of hardened steel and are designed so worn components can be replaced to extend the life of the tool. Production molds often use multiple cavities to produce many copies of parts during each molding cycle. Class 101 production injection molds are designed to run at least 1 million cycles of parts.

Molding

What is your company doing to stay in the forefront of your industry?

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When purchasing new injection molding machines, we are purchasing the latest in all electric and hybrid machines from European and Asian suppliers. Please visit our News & Events page to read about our latest machinery additions as a part of our replacement strategy to continually update equipment.

We have also rebuilt some of our older machines, which still have excellent mechanics, but have outdated electronic controls. With these updates, we get highly capable and more energy efficient machines.

We are also taking advantage of MuCell® technology from Trexel on selected molding presses. The MuCell process introduces nitrogen into the plastic resin melt stream in the barrel. By the time it reaches the mold, the nitrogen is thoroughly mixed in the resin, giving it a very homogenous cell structure. The process allows for weight savings and cycle time savings while improving the dimensional stability of the finished part.

What is the need for cleanroom injection molding and what is an ISO 7 cleanroom?

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Certain types of products must be manufactured in an area that is nearly free of contaminants in the air. Most of these products are used in the medical industry. The most effective way of accomplishing this is to manufacture the parts in a cleanroom. A cleanroom has a controlled environment in which the concentration of airborne particles is controlled to specified limits. Our cleanroom is currently classified as an ISO8, but it tests below that level and could be certified to a lower level if necessary.

What is your machine size range?

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We have 31 injection molding machines that range from 60 tons to 1220 tons clamping force. The shot size ranges from 0.80 ounces to 287 ounces. All four of our machines in the cleanroom are all electric Engels with clamping forces of 60 tons, 110 tons, and 200 tons.

What is MuCell® injection molding?

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The MuCell® process is a relatively new process for injection molding that can greatly improve the quality of plastic parts while lowering production costs. It involves the controlled use of gas, usually nitrogen, to make a foamed part.

The part created will be lighter due to the nitrogen gas creating a uniform cell structure within the part. By varying the amount of gas used in the process, the cell structure can be increased or decreased. The cell structure replaces plastic thereby making the part weigh less.

Other benefits of the MuCell process are the elimination of molded-in stress and sink marks. Also, the internal pressure of the gas forces the plastic against the mold causing the part to cool quicker and to have greater dimensional stability.

Quality

How does ISO 13485 differ from ISO 9001?

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ISO 9001 is an international standard for the quality management of product manufacturers and service providers all over the world. ISO 9001 evaluates management systems to ensure manufactured products consistently meet customer requirements and that quality is continuously improved.

ISO 13485 is an international standard for the quality management of businesses that build medical devices. While similar to ISO 9001, this medical device standard has more stringent requirements in certain areas. Businesses with ISO 13485 have demonstrated the ability to provide medical devices which consistently meet customer and applicable regulatory requirements.

Obtaining ISO registration involves an enormous amount of time, effort, and dedication by all aspects of an organization. Only after a multi-day third party assessment can the registration be achieved. Following registration, the organization is subject to annual audits, at a minimum, to ensure that the quality system is being maintained and improved.

ISO 9001 and 13485 registration by an organization signifies an unending commitment to quality and provides assurance to its customers that it will provide quality goods and services.

What is the meaning of IQ, OQ, and PQ?

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These are acronyms for Installation Qualification (IQ), Operational Qualification (OQ) and Performance Qualification (PQ).

These qualifications are primarily used when first qualifying medical device manufacturing. They are used to determine the expected variability in processes and to ensure that the devices operate as expected within the variability. They define an operation range specification for the process. If the processes move outside the specifications, the qualification process must be done again at the new process settings.

What is AIAG?

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AIAG is an acronym for Automotive Industry Action Group. It is an organization that was founded in 1982 to develop a structure for improving quality in the North American Automotive Industry.

AIAG originated the PPAP requirement in QS9000 (now ISO/TS 16949), the automotive industry’s version of ISO 9000 quality system. It publishes the PPAP manual that details the requirements of the different levels of PPAPs.

What are PPAPs and do you perform them?

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PPAP stands for Pre-Production Approval Process. PPAPs are a way of examining and approving the production process. Approval of a PPAP ensures the client that the supplier has the ability to produce a quality product at the level that the client requires. It is a valuable tool for suppliers as well because it helps to identify possible problems that might arise in production. The supplier can then address solutions to the problems or systems to control the issues before starting full production. PPAPs are required by most automotive companies as well as numerous other large industries. PPAPs are part of the Bright Plastics Quality Management program.

Rapid Prototyping

I’m not ready to pay for having a mold made, but I need to check the fit of my plastic parts. Can you help?

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Bright Plastics can provide a rapid prototype of your design which will allow you to check the form, fit, and function of your parts. The prototype can be a simple model of the part or may be a fully functional part, depending on the requirements.

There are a variety of ways that a 3D printed prototype can be made, including Stereolithography (SLA), Polyjet, and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). Our design specialists can help determine the best process to use based on your specific needs. Rapid prototypes are less costly to produce and make sense to use for testing purposes (and small production runs), because they offer opportunities to improve or change the design before building an injection molding tool.

Tool Room

What size molds can you handle?

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We can handle up to 500 ton molds in our tool room. We work with local tool and die shops to handle larger molds.

How many toolmakers do you have on your staff?

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We have three toolmakers on staff. Our Tool Room Manager is a Journeyman tool and die maker with 20+ years of mold building experience.

What kind of engineering support do you have for your tool room?

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We have two plastics engineers and two engineers from other disciplines. We have contracted the building of hundreds of tools and have partnerships with multiple tooling sources both domestic and international.

Engineering uses SOLIDWORKS® CAD software to design and modify parts and tools. In addition, we have SOLIDWORKS Plastics to conduct mold flow analysis.

MuCell and Trexel are registered trademarks of Trexel, Inc.
SOLIDWORKS is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS Corporation in the US and other Countries.

Contact Bright Plastics

We hope you’ll contact Bright Plastics to learn more about our products and services. Call us at 336-668-3636, or email [email protected].