Overmolding is a process that combines two different materials to create a single, integrated part. It is used to produce products such as toothbrushes, disposable razors, medical devices and even cell phone cases. Using overmolding allows manufacturers to reduce assembly costs, save space and make products that are more durable. However, it is important to choose the right materials for this process. To do so, you should look at the properties of both the substrate and the overmold.
Choosing the right materials for overmolding is a complex process that should be done in consultation with a plastics supplier. The material must be compatible with the substrate and must bond to it adequately. In addition, it must not have any issues with temperature changes or shrinkage. The material must also be able to resist corrosion and stains. The ideal substrate will have good dimensional stability, as well as proper draft angles and radii.
One of the most common methods for overmolding is co-injection molding. This involves using a base layer of substrate and then injecting an overmolding of plastic. The overmolding can be made from the same or different material as the substrate. This technique is often used to add color or texture to a product, but it can also be used for functional purposes such as increasing shock absorption.
Another method for overmolding is injection molding over extruded plastic. This is commonly known as thermoplastic overmolding. Thermoplastics are very versatile and come in a variety of colors and textures, making them the most popular choice for overmolding. They can also be molded into complex shapes and have excellent heat resistance. In addition, thermoplastics can be recycled and reused, making them an eco-friendly option for overmolding.
To use thermoplastics for overmolding, the substrate must have good dimensional stability and proper draft angles and radii. It should also be free of any burrs or sharp edges that could interfere with the overmolding process. In addition, the substrate should be able to withstand the heat of the injection molding machine. Lastly, it should have appropriate tensile related properties such as elongation and tensile modulus.
Overmolding can be a great option for making products that require multiple functions, such as a waterproof case. It can also be used for products that need to withstand harsh environments, such as high-pressure washdowns or constant sanitation. In addition, it can be a good option for products that need to be rugged and visually appealing.
The most important thing to remember when selecting a material for overmolding is that the two layers must be bonded together. This requires an understanding of the material’s physical and chemical properties as well as its compatibility with other materials. In addition, it is crucial to understand the product’s function and environment, as this will help guide the design of the overmolded portion. In addition, it is vital to work with a reliable partner that has experience in the overmolding process. This will ensure that the final product is as functional and aesthetically pleasing as possible.