What is 2k Injection Molding?
This innovative manufacturing process can efficiently produce a complicated molded part from two different materials or colors. It is called 2k injection molding because the materials may be of different properties or hardness levels but are processed into one product in one injection molding process.
The primary reason the 2 component injection molding process is common and widely accepted is that it saves costs. The 2k injection molding process saves the time that would have been used in the possible assembly step. It is not only economical, but it also produces the best design features and aesthetics.
Equipment used for 2k Injection molding
Essentially one machine is programmed to perform two injections in one cycle. The 2k molding machine needs to be kitted with multiple injection screws using a rotating tool, a transfer tool, a moving core tool, and any other necessary equipment. Often, a tooling transfer is used to ensure a smooth operation.
Applications used for 2k injection molding
2k injection molding can effectively handle the combination of hard and soft plastics or two colors in one play plastic product. One instance where 2k injection molding can be used is in a plastic product is with the plastic and the lid seal made of soft plastic. Usually, the 2k molding process is in two steps.
Some products manufactured with the 2k injection molding process include toothbrushes, a soft and hard handle piece, control buttons, anti-slip applications, bicycle handlebar grips. The manufacturing process used in 2k injection molding involves making two pricing cavities. During the production process, plastic is injected into one cavity of the mold. The mold is made to rotate, and the plastic is injected into another cavity once the previous mold is hard.
Benefits of 2k Injection Molding
Supports detailed features
During the injection molding process, plastics are subjected to intense high pressure and, as a result, are pressed harder against the molds. The result of this is that a large amount of details can be included in the design. Also, with high pressure peculiar to the injection molding process, complex shapes can be manufactured at a reduced rate.
More so, since plastic can be injected into the mold using one or more injections, the 2k injection molding allows a more defined split between the two materials. For instance, the hardness or softness of a material or using different colors.
The 2k injection molding is all about flexibility. This allows for production with different colors or the latest technology. It also gives you the liberty to choose different designs compared to metal production.
Unlike other molding processes, the 2k injection molding is quick once the injection molds have been designed to the customer’s specification and preset. It allows more parts to be produced from a single mold. This high production rate makes it more cost-effective.
The production costs can be significantly lower since 2k technology assembles steps together into one injection molding process.
Plastic injection molding makes it possible to use fillers in the injection molds. These fillers can help reduce the density of the plastic during the molding process. It also ensures additional strength is given to the molded parts. This process is one of the best, providing enhanced strength and durability most molding processes do not offer.
Products made with 2k injection molding are more attractive since two colors can be used in one production. This can be achieved with co-injection molding, which removes the worry of using a particular type of plastic.
Saves manufacturing costs
This automated process is performed by machines and robotics. The sole operator’s role is to control and manage. Automation reduces manufacturing and overhead costs. It also reduces the waste associated with assembly defects.
With a reduced workforce during this injection molding process, the entire manufacturing cost is significantly reduced. Another advantage of the automation process is accurate injection molds. Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) are used and ensure precision in making the molds.
Functionality and durability are essential aspects of any product. The combination of hard and soft plastic makes the product more user-friendly since the soft plastic cover or soft edges increase the user’s comfort. Products can also be tailor-made to fit the buyer’s needs.
With 2k injection molding, you utilize lightweight and high-density materials that are a perfect substitute for metal. Utilizing plastic parts lessens the heaviness attached to metal parts. These parts can be used in various enterprises without compromising strength and steadfastness.
Since there is little wastage, the 2k injection molding process is environmentally friendly. The manufactures adopt sustainable practices such as plastic regrind to minimize waste.
Difference Between 2k molding and over-molding
Overmolding is a type of injection molding process that allows the combination of two different materials in a single product. However, here are a few differences between over-molding and 2k injection molding.
- While over-molding can be both a single or two-shot, 2k molding is just a one-shot process.
- Production-wise, the 2k molding has a larger production volume for big operations compared to the over-molding.
- During the over-molding process, the materials must be cold to be removed. For the 2k injection molding, on the other hand, the polymer can be flexible and hot, which allows greater functionality.
- Overmolding has more restrictions on the usable materials, while 2k molding allows many materials to be used.
Finally, with 2k injection molding, you have more creative powers. However, there are still fundamentals to adhere to, such as using the right materials and combining the right plastics to get better results.
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