Here Is a Quick Overview of Micro-Molding and Micro-Molding Materials

Posted by Ajinkya on February 25th, 2021

Micro-molding materials are used in various industries to create and increase the dimensional stability of products. These are usually used in abrasive industries, such as cement milling, sanding, finishing, and coating. Micro-molding materials can also be used in the automotive, chemical, and pulp chemical industries. This is because it increases the properties of the product, making them stronger and more resistant to wear and tear. These molds are usually made from either plastic polymers or metal resins.

Micro-molding is a small-scale molding form of injection molding. Micro-molding materials are used for the production of plastics parts with tolerances in the region of 0.5 to 0.5 mm with minimum tolerances in the region of 10 to 150 microns. This molding technique allows to produce extremely complex, small geometric shapes with high precision and accuracy. The use of micro-molding enables rapid production of plastic parts from intricate 3D computer generated designs. Micro-molding techniques such as hot embossing, injection molding, and dry forging can be used to design and manufacture parts with exact tolerance to small variations in the dimensions of the part or design along with high accuracy.

It also allows designers to use extremely complex die molds to create parts with intricate surface finishes and complex geometric designs. Plastic parts can be produced from simple round shapes through the use of hot embossing, injection molding or cold embossing techniques. This micro-molding technique is suitable for the production of small, delicate, intricate or detailed parts that require the highest level of precision and accuracy. It is also suitable for desktop manufacturing where there are frequent changes in measurements or sizes of parts on a frequent basis. The use of micro-molding techniques allows quick replacement of broken or damaged parts making it ideal for use in a variety of applications where products require frequent replacement.

Generally, micro-molding incorporates three polymer micro-fabrication technologies, such as injection molding, hot embossing, and casting. Injection molding is the most well-known technique due to its popularity in macro-scale plastic processing. Injection molding can be carried out using materials such as ceramics, elastomers, glass, metals, and thermoplastic & thermosetting polymers. New advancements in micro-machining are enabling the design and manufacturing of micro molds, which then enable micro injection molding in metal powder, silicone, and thermoplastic.

Micro-molding is a unique process that requires specialized molding machines that can deliver high injection speed, high injection pressure, uniform melt temperature, accurate shot control, and ultrafine resolution using sophisticated controls and servo-electric drives. Micro-molding is specifically designed to mold micro-miniature components. During the process, micro-molding materials are transferred from the hopper to the plasticizing unit, where it is melted and softened. Then the material is forced with pressure inside a mold cavity. After some time, the material freezes into the shape of the mold, gets ejected and the cycle is repeated. Some common micro molding materials are PMMA, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polyethylene, LCP, LSR, PGA, PLA, PEEK, stainless steel (metal injection molding), and cyclic olefin copolymers (COCs).


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