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Blow molded, Rotationally molded, or Injection molded? How to make a Good Duck

Blow molded, Rotationally molded, or Injection molded? How to make a Good Duck

Which came first, designing the mold or designing the rubber duck? In the case of The Good Duck the bigger question was which process, blow molding, rotational molding, or injection molding, will result in the best rubber duck ever?

injection molded novelty items

Following through on a crazy idea, Craig Wolfe premiered Betty Boop Duck in 1997, and his company, CelebriDucks was born. Originally invented in the USA, this American icon had long since been outsourced over seas. CelebriDucks returned the art of rubber duck manufacturing back to the United States.

From NBA players, to Mr T, and KISS’s Gene Simmons, CelebriDucks are collectible rubber ducks fashioned after some of the greatest icons of film, music, athletics, and history. CelebriDucks was voted the top fan give-away by ESPN in sports stadiums all over the country.

Not easily satisfied, inventor and CelebriDucks founder Craig Wolfe, had to take the product to a higher level. His most recent invention, The Good Duck, is known as the safest rubber duck on the planet.

As most parents know, the first thing babies do when they grasp an object is to put it in their mouth. The Good Duck is made of medical and food grade materials that are soft and safe for teething children. FDA approved, PVC, Phthalate, lead and BPA free, The Good Duck is 100% Made in the USA, and it floats!

With all great ideas comes research and development. Knowing he wanted a safe, soft, rubber duck that floated, Wolfe knew BPA free and PVC free was the way to go. Hence, his tour of blow molding and injection molding plants throughout the United States. As he bounced from factory to factory researching processes and materials he noted SPI Blow Molding in Coloma, Michigan was already using a soft material that could work. Safety and softness was key for the cute duck.

SPI Industries won the development of the Good Duck

Wolfe explained the determining factor for choosing SPI Industries and SPI Blow Molding was the expertise of the people compared to other plastic manufacturing facilities in the mid-west.  SPI had the experience with reach and development to support The Good Duck project.

Still, that’s only part of the story. The softness of the material, the product safety, and the desire for ducks of different color took much trial and error. Choosing the correct material, one that would remain very soft and hold design detail into molds is challenging. Fine tuning CAD designs, re-molding, sculpting, testing and refinement of molds was time consuming and expensive.

Should a Good Duck be blow molded, rotationally molded, or injection molded?

The Good Duck design was originally planned to be injection molded. Once Wolfe started working with SPI Industries, owned James Doster, advised him on a different direction. With injection molding the Good Duck would be in two pieces. The two pieces would need to be glued together. SPI engineers explained, “The plastic needed for the injection molding method would be too hard and would require welding.” Because a true rubber duck needs to float, it needed to be hollow. Blow molding it as one piece and sealing in the bottom was the solution.

The next challenge was determining wall thickness. The soft material they wanted to use with the characteristics that make the Good Duck safe and chewable doesn’t flow like normal resins. Getting the wall thickness exact took some time.

“SPI Companies do more than just manufacturer, they’re trail blazers. They’re making a difference in every way they can, creating jobs and producing innovative products with cutting edge technology.”

For the Good Duck to be completely safe, color needed to be molded right in the product. Adding color was a another challenge because colorant adds weight and effects the floating capability. Consistent balance was critical and very intricate. “Not easy technology, but SPI came up with a formula that is top of its grade with an age grading of 0 and up and thus completely safe for ALL ages!” reported Wolfe.

SPI also provided a great supplier for packaging services for The Good Duck. American gift boxes are usually very expensive and drive up price point. SPI staff helped to locate a gift box manufacturer right here in the United States, keeping cost in line and also ensuring The Good Duck is 100% Made in America.

Future plans are in place to expand The Good Duck line because it is so unique. Communities who hold annual duck races as fundraisers can now use American made ducks! The Good Duck may also be employed as a promotional piece with custom embossing or silk screening of logos.

Wolfe says. “What’s good for you and the planet is the right thing to do. The Good Duck should be done and we should be making it in America. We now have a niche as we’re the only ones making them here and The Good Duck cannot be duplicated anywhere. It’s a cute little duck!”

Wolfe insists on getting the best product out there and The Good Duck will come out of the gate very strong with the highest level of product safety. Watch for the blue, yellow, and pink Good Ducks on the shelves of your favorite stores as early as December, 2015. If you just can’t wait, you can pre-order Good Ducks on the website http://CelebriDucks..com, call 415-456-3452 or email info@CelebriDucks.com

Benefits of Creating a Plastic Prototype for Production Molding

Benefits of Creating a Plastic Prototype for Production Molding
When you consider creating a new part that is to be made of plastic and the tooling cost is considerable, it is most desirable to test the functionality of the part prior to actually building the tool. Creating a plastic prototype can help determine if the part will function as designed. Modifications to a tool can not only be costly but degrade its overall performance and longevity.

The CAD Systems of today, such as Solid Works, which is what we use at SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries provide a great deal of power to make changes to a part quickly as well as draw all related interacting parts to test the stack up interference fit required in a final assembly. Solid Modeling on the computer has replaced the need for some part prototyping of the past. None the less, there are several current approaches to making a prototype of the product that remain relevant today.

Plastic Mold Modeling:

Historically the only approach was to have a model made by a professional model builder.  The prototype may have been constructed of wood, plastic or metal depending on the size and function of the test needed to be performed on the prototype to prove its size and function.  Many parts today still require a fully functioning prototype model to get exact data from which a mold can be built.  It is a small price to pay for a good prototype part to avoid or at least reduce the iterations of design changes often required while designing and developing new parts and new products.

Rapid Prototyping:

Modern technology, such as Plastic Part Printing, has made prototyping not only less expensive but extremely quick to completion.  In today’s fast paced manufacturing arena the quicker a product can move from the sales planning stage to the manufacturing floor the better.  The life span of a consumer product has become incredibly short, thereby increasing, the pressure to develop new products even faster.  An example of how SPI Blow Molding recently used Rapid Prototype Printing to solve a problem for one of our customers, The Best Bins, was the development of a Portion Control Cylinder which was to be retrofitted into a current bulk food container dispensing unit.  Our engineering department drew the new portion control cylinder using Solid Works.  The drawing was then sent to the Rapid Prototype Entity, where it was produced.

The Plastic Printer, working similar to laying down ink, uses heated plastic resin instead of ink.  The printer then makes repeated passes just as it would if printing on a piece of paper, only it continues to make passes laying down a thin film of plastic resin with each pass.  Each pass prints a slightly different geometry, thus changing the shape of the plastic that is being printed. Each pass also moves up slightly preparing for the next pass.  This process is repeated hundreds and hundreds of times, until a completed part has been produced.  The part can be hollow or in nearly any shape, making it a perfect process to prototype parts for both Injection Molding and Blow Molding, which is what we do here at SPI.

Blow molded plastic bin dispenserThe Prototype Portion Control Cylinder was then tested for the amount of product it would allow to move though the dispensing unit on The Best Bins Bulk Food Container.  The amount was not what we wanted.  Four versions of the prototype part later we were all pleased with the outcome. At that point we were ready to build a new tool.

The amount of time and money saved by being able to rapid prototype this part was significant to our customer.  Without this testing capability we would have been forced to rebuild a mold cavity multiple times, which is both expensive and destructive to the integrity of the new tool.

It should be noted this approach is best used to determine size and fit, not strength and toughness.  Material characteristics will be very different in the prototype than in the final molded version.

Pull Ahead Cavities:

Another approach to prototyping is the concept of pulling forward a cavity in a multiple cavity tool.  If the project is for medium to small plastic parts, then it is very common to use a tool in production containing several cavities of the same part.  In this case it is sometimes wise to build one cavity and use that cavity to product prototype parts.  If changes are required, modifications can be made to that cavity only, allowing all subsequent cavities to be constructed to the newly proven geometry; resulting from the testing on the prototype (pull ahead) cavity.  This is also the prototyping choice where many parts are required for testing and the test challenges the strength and toughness characteristics.

Pull-Ahead-Cavity-plastic-liquid-dispenserSPI Industries used this technique in developing a new plastic collar for Monsanto’s 1 gallon Pump n’ Go “Round-Up” dispenser.  The new tool was to be 4 cavities.  SPI used Mold Flow Software to assist with the tool design.  It was then determined a Pull Ahead Cavity was the right way to go so extensive testing could be done before completion of the other three cavities. We did discover additional changes to be made and thus preserved the strength and durability of the final three cavities.

Reap benefits of creating a plastic prototype for production molding. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries injection molding specialize in custom solutions and mold design. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries injection molding specialize in custom solutions. Bring us your plastic parts and plastic product manufacturing challenges and let us get to work creating solutions.

Where to Get Custom Injection Molded Plastics in Michigan

Custom Injection Molded Plastics in Michigan
When you’re planning to purchase or design custom injection molded plastics in Michigan, Indiana and the surrounding states there are many factors to consider. Because there are multiple avenues to take it’s important that you consider your options before moving forward.

Below we’re going to showcase how you can choose the best custom injection molded plastics in Michigan company for your needs. There are a lot of variables to consider, so make sure you choose wisely.

Multiple Industry Availability

The industry you work in will help to determine the style of plastic parts you require. Every injection molding facility won’t be able to deliver the level of parts you need to complete your project.

Everything from food containers, children’s toys, outdoor recreation products, to home supplies, to manufacturing goods, and more. Each of these types of goods will require a different kind of finished product, and some facilities will be better than others. For that reason it’s important to understand the specs surrounding your product before you place an order with a plastic injection molding facility.

For example, do you require thin walls or thick walls? Is your product complex or easy to produce? Do you need a high or low quantity?

These questions and more will help to guide the selection of your facility.

Ability to Produce Custom Parts

Can the plastic molding facility provide custom parts?

If you’re looking for an injection molding facility, then chances are you’re going to need a custom part. Some facilities only produce a set of standard parts, and don’t have the required machinery to cater to custom part creation.

Services To Help Base Your Decision

Below you’ll find a list of the most common distinguishing factors that will help you choose the right facility for your custom injection molded plastic parts.

  1. Short-Term vs. Long-Term Runs – Do you require a continuous supply of parts for the long-term, or do you only need parts for a short period of time? Some facilities require you place an order of over 2,000 units, while others are more flexible. When choosing your Custom Injection Molded Plastics in Indiana or Michigan production facility, make sure you find one that provides the correct parts on the timeline you need.
  2. Prototypes – The process of prototyping (link to older blog post) allows you to test different versions of your unit, before moving forward with the final step in production. There are multiple styles of prototyping available. If you don’t have a completely perfect model of the plastic piece you’re going to need produced, then you can greatly benefit from a facility that enables you to prototype first.
  3. Craftsmanship Due Care – What level of plastic parts do you need produced? In some cases you can get away with having lower quality plastic parts, but other times you must ensure every mold is created perfectly. The level of care and craftsmanship you require will help to determine which facility you choose.
  4. Thin Wall, High Tech Parts – The injection molding equipment and process they use will create different types of parts. If you require thin walled and high tech parts, you’ll need to work with a facility that offers that style of part. Once again, choose a facility that has a background in producing the style of part you require.
  5. Secondary Operations – What about when the parts are complete? Do you need a team to assemble, store and ship your parts, or will you do this yourself?

These secondary options can be costly, but also necessary depending upon the type of business you run. Some facilities cater to shipping, storage, and assembly, but others do not.

If you have any questions regarding where you can get your plastic molded parts, then get in contact with SPI today. We love help our customers across the Michigan area get the plastic parts they need.

SPI Expansion in the News

SPI Blow Molding Expansion in the News

Thanks to everyone at Tri-City Record for publishing SPI Blow Molding expansion in the news. Below is the recent newspaper article about SPI Blow Molding expansion published in the Tri County Record in Watervliet, Michigan. 

Please contact Karl Bayer, editor & publisher of  Tri-City Record P.O. Box 7  • 138 N. Main St., Watervliet, MI 49098 or call 269  463-6397.

SPI Blow Molding completes major expansion project in Hagar Township

SPI Expansion in the NewsSPI Blow Molding recently celebrated the completion of their 6,000 square foot warehouse addition with a formal ribbon cutting July 13, 2015.

John Doster, President of SPI and Izzy Dimaggio, Hagar Township Supervisor handled the honors.

The entire Hagar Township Board as well as some interested members of the community attended the ceremony, which was followed by a tour of the plant, an explanation of what SPI Blow Molding does, and in general, how they do it.

Thad Rieder of Cornerstone Alliance was also in attendance. Rieder was instrumental in assisting SPI with the tax abatement process, which was unanimously approved by the Hagar Township Board.

Doster commented on how pleased the company was with the support they have received from not only the Hagar Township Board, but the State of Michigan as a whole.

“The support we have been given by the State of Michigan is more than expected. It all started with Cornerstone Alliance putting us in touch with the various other agencies which could help us stabilize and grow.” Doster said. “Michigan Small Business Development Corporation (MSBDC) helped us get the ball rolling. Cornerstone Alliance pushed us along and the Hagar Township Board capped it off with tax abatement support.”

It takes a village and in this case, it looks like the village won. It is nice to see the various governmental sponsored entities come to the aid of private enterprise and make things happen. Though this is on a very small scale, it represents what a larger team can do. SPI indicated they have added 5 new jobs since the approval of this new project.

SPI Blow Molding is a Custom Blow Molder of hollow plastic parts. They are an extrusion blow molder specializing in low to medium volume work, requiring a fairly large array of materials.

Their customer list includes major manufacturers such as GE Healthcare, making arms for MRI Beds, down to the small single product entrepreneur such as Best Bins, making bulk food dispensers.

They process basic polypropylenes and ethylenes to more difficult clear polycarbonates. SPI has molding size capacity from a single pound head through 40 lb head machines.

SPI is capable of assisting customers with product design, tool design, tool building and the ultimate production of finished goods. They are located at 3930 Bessemer Rd., Coloma, Michigan, 49038. They can be contacted at 269-849-3200 or visit their web site at moldedparts.com

SPI’s mission is to provide the best custom molding experience for the injection and blow molded requirements of its valued customers. This experience involves flawless support culminating in successful global product delivery.

SPI’s core software, mechanical, and human technologies insure future profitability and growth to its employees, community and customers. SPI’s commitment is embodied in its value statement and quality policy.

SPI Blow Molding molds the HDPE Buzz Ball Football game table that was awarded 2nd place at the Annual Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) Awards.

The award was granted in the Industrial Blow Molding Division of the 2nd annual blow molded parts competition. The ABC, SPE Blow Molding competition showcases the latest innovations and advancements in the blow molding industry. The competition was held in conjunction with the 30th Annual ABC and SPE Blow Molding Conference in Chicago, October 5-7, 2014.

What is the best type of prototype for your plastic part?

Benefits of creating a plastic prototype for production molding

3d printer plastic prototype a type of prototype for your plastic part

When you are manufacturing a new plastic part that is to be made of plastic you will save time, money, and stress by testing a mold prior to building the tool. Modifications to a tool can be costly and may degrade its overall performance and longevity. Accurate computer aided design (CAD) software reduces the need for prototyping of some parts. Nonetheless, there are many approaches and benefits to creating a prototype of a product. Determining the best type of prototype for your plastic part is your first step.

Choosing the best type of prototype for your plastic part:

Modeling:

Historically the only approach was to have a model made by a professional model builder.  The prototype may have been constructed of wood, plastic or metal depending on the size and function of the test needed to be performed on the prototype to prove its size and function.  Many parts today still require a fully functioning prototype model to get exact data from which a mold can be built.  It is a small price to pay for a good prototype part to avoid or at least reduce the iterations of design changes often required while designing and developing new parts and new products.

Rapid Prototyping:

Modern technology, such as Plastic Part Printing, also known as 3-D printing has made prototyping quick and inexpensive. With each new product’s life span shortening each year there is much more pressure to create new products and get them out on the shelf as soon as possible.

Pull-Ahead Cavities

Another approach to prototyping is the concept of pulling forward a cavity in a multiple cavity tool.  If the project is for medium to small plastic parts, then it is very common to use a tool in production containing several cavities of the same part.  In this case it is sometimes wise to build one cavity and use that cavity to product prototype parts.  If changes are required, modifications can be made to that cavity only, allowing all subsequent cavities to be constructed to the newly proven geometry; resulting from the testing on the prototype (pull ahead) cavity.  This is also the prototyping choice where many parts are required for testing and the test challenges the strength and toughness characteristics.

SPI Industries used this technique in developing a new plastic collar for Monsanto’s 1 gallon Pump n’ Go “Round-Up” dispenser.  The new tool was to be 4 cavities.  SPI used Mold Flow Software to assist with the tool design.  It was then determined a Pull Ahead Cavity was the right way to go so extensive testing could be done before completion of the other three cavities. We did discover additional changes to be made and thus preserved the strength and durability of the final three cavities.

SPI Offers the Most Current Solutions and Prototypes for your Plastic Part

Do you still have questions on which is the best type of prototype for your plastic part? Please give us a call. SPI’s skilled designers and engineers are experienced in the best practices for plastic part molds and the type of prototype for your plastic part that considers your time, budget and best testing for your specific part.

Bookmark this blog for updates on plastic molding technology and plastics manufacturing. Our next blog will cover more information on rapid prototyping or 3-D printing as it is more frequently known. SPI works closely with a local technical college, Ivy Tech for 3-D printing molds. The Engineering and Design Technology students develop 3-D models for SPI customer review. Read more to determine if a 3-D model will be the best type of prototype for your plastic part.

SPI BLOW MOLDING COMPLETES EXPANSION

SPI Blow Molding ExpansionSouth West Michigan

SPI Blow MoldingRibbon cutting July 13, 2015. John Doster, President of SPI and Izzy Dimaggio, Hagar Township Supervisor handling the honors.

Coloma, MI, SPI Blow Molding recently celebrated the completion of their 6,000 square foot warehouse addition with a formal ribbon cutting July 13, 2015.  John Doster, President of SPI and Izzy Dimaggio, Hagar Township Supervisor handled the honors.

The entire Hagar Township Board as well as some interested members of the community attended the ceremony which was followed by a tour of the plant and an explanation of what SPI Blow Molding does and in general how they do it.  Thad Rieder of Cornerstone Alliance was also in attendance. Rieder was instrumental in assisting SPI with the tax abatement process, which was unanimously approved by the Hagar Township Board.

Doster commented on how pleased the company was with the support they have received from not only the Hagar Township Board, but the State of Michigan as a whole. “The support we have been given by the State of Michigan is more than expected.  It all started with Cornerstone Alliance putting us in touch with the various other agencies which could help us stabilize and grow.” Doster said.  “Michigan Small Business Development Corporation (MSBDC) helped us get the ball rolling. Cornerstone Alliance pushed us along and the Hagar Township Board capped it off with tax abatement support.”

It takes a village and in this case it looks like the village won.  It is nice to see the various governmental sponsored entities come to the aid of private enterprise and make things happen.  Though this is on a very small scale it represents what a larger team can do.  SPI indicated they have added 5 new jobs since the approval of this new project.

SPI Blow Molding is a Custom Blow Molder of hollow plastic parts.  They are an extrusion blow molder specializing in low to medium volume work, requiring a fairly large array of materials.  Their customer list includes major manufacturers such as GE Healthcare, making arms for MRI Beds, down to the small single product entrepreneur such as Best Bins, making bulk food dispensers.  They process basic polypropylenes and ethylene’s to more difficult clear polycarbonates.  SPI has molding size capacity from a single pound head through 40 lb head machines.  SPI is capable of assisting customers with product design, tool design, tool building and the ultimate production of finished goods.  They are located at 3930 Bessemer Rd., Coloma, Michigan, 49038.  They can be contacted at 269-849-3200 or here on the website.

______________________________________________________

SPI’s mission is to provide the best custom molding experience for the injection and blow molded requirements of its valued customers. This experience involves flawless support culminating in successful global product delivery. SPI’s core software, mechanical, and human technologies insure future profitability and growth to its employees, community and customers. SPI’s commitment is embodied in its value statement and quality policy.

  ###

Media Contact for SPI Blow Molding
John Doster
269-488-2752
3930 Bessemer Rd Coloma, MI 49038

molded plastic parts manufacturing 3D prototype

Understanding Molded Plastic Parts Manufacturing: From Concept To Fulfillment


Molded-Plastic-Parts-Manufacturing-3d-prototypeWhen you’re looking to design a plastic part or entire plastic product, the process generally follows a simple series of steps. However, the method of production you end up using may be any one of several which is determined by the geometry of the part and the functional requirements placed upon it. It’s important to understand molded plastic parts manufacturing.

Fortunately, the steps are pretty straightforward once you understand the sequence of events needed to take a project from an initial idea to a final part design and manufacturing process. Below is a simple road map to consider and some examples of a couple of the most common molded plastic parts manufacturing methods.  Go from initial design to a completed product.

1. Coming Up With A Design 

The first step is coming up with a design for your plastic molded part. This can begin with something as simple as a sketch on the back of a napkin. Your initial design should ultimately incorporate enough detail to have an engineer draw up a 3D Model of your proposed plastic part. This is the beginning point from which you will make all the changes and refine the initial ideas into a working representation of your parts. Also from this drawing you may want to get an actual prototype built.

During this phase it is very helpful to work with a design team, which generally includes engineering, sales and manufacturing technical expertise, to assist with finalizing your design and preparing it for the next phase of the process. It’s important to define what type of testing needs to be done to prove out the feasibility of your part design and functionality.

2. Determine the molding process to be used.

injection molded plastic parts

Screw Driver Set — Tools/Hardware

blow molded plastic bellows

Bellows

During this phase you’ll need to decide which type of molding method will be best for your product. The type of plastic molding process selected will depend upon your initial design, quantities needed and overall functionality of the part. There are several plastic molding processes available.  Five of the more common general broad categories are Injection Molding, Blow Molding, Rotational Molding, Extrusion Molding and Thermoset Molding.  Each of these processes have more specific sub groups of processes within them.  The general category is all you will need at the beginning of your project. From these categories you will quickly narrow to the primary molding process most appropriate to your part.

Two of the most common forms of molding plastic include blow molding and injection molding. Injection molding is used to produce parts made with a simple open and close function of the mold. Wall thickness and close tolerances can generally be held more consistent with injection molding than blow molding.  Blow molding is used to produce hollow plastic parts and can accommodate unusual shapes.  Both injection molding and blow molding can use a very wide range of resin materials that exhibit a similar wide range of physical properties, both visually and to the touch.  Impact strength, flexible toughness, pliability, and many other characteristics can be achieved by both injection and blow molding.

3. Prototype Your Design

During the prototyping phase, if your budget allows, you’ll develop a plastic prototype that will resemble the final molded plastic part. The plastic prototype may be created using rapid prototype resin printing, soft tooling, or use single cavity pull-ahead tooling.  There are many prototype processes available today.  The design team will determine the best fit for your project.

The budget for your project will also influence the number of times you can afford to go back and forth between your mock-up design and initial prototype. You want to keep the number of iterations to a minimum.  You will be working closely with the designers and product engineers at this stage.  The manufacturing team will play a large role in guiding what can and cannot be molded using the various plastic molding technologies.

Once you’ve finalized your prototype you’ll move forward to getting the final mold designed for your plastic part or product. You will now be working with tool design engineers to determine the most appropriate way for your part to be arranged in the actual tool, also referred to as the mold.  This process should, if at all possible, include the manufacturing technical team to determine how a tool, or mold, should be designed to run properly in the molding equipment from which the part will ultimately be produced.

4. Manufacture Your Item

The plastic manufacturing company you use to produce your final plastic part will depend upon many factors.  The type of molding you’re going to use for your final product, such as size of part and annual projected quantities will lead you to the group of processors for consideration. Most manufacturing facilities have specific specialties at which they excel.  Some plastic molding companies do just the part manufacturing.  Others do secondary assembly.  Some manufacturing companies take the process all the way to finished goods.  Fulfillment including packaging and shipping is not available from all molded plastic part manufacturers. You will also want to discuss the volume of parts each plastic manufacturer can handle. Small plastic manufacturing plants may not be suited well for large volumes.  Others specialize in short run, highly technical molding.  SPI Blow Molding is one of the Custom Industrial Molders capable of very difficult challenges.  We range from high volume parts for the agricultural industry to low volume parts for the Medical Industry.  Large tanks for the recreational vehicle industry to small injection molded parts for the electronics industry. SPI Industries’ injection molding resume covers a very diverse range of products from plumbing fixtures to freight securement systems.

Early discussions with potential manufacturers about volume, turn around, types of plastic resins available and fulfillment is highly recommended. It’s important to work with a plastics manufacturing facility that has experience producing similar style plastic parts, or is proficient in the style of plastic molding your product requires. You will also want to consider if you simply need parts or if you need the project handled from concept to completion. You may consider location of a plastic molding facility. SPI Industries and SPI blow molding are located in the South West Region of Lower Michigan and North West Region of Indiana. SPI Plants produce plastic molded parts for companies located in more than simply the Great Lakes Region. Our customers are located throughout the country.   Depending on the needs of the customer, location is not always the most important criteria.

5. Package The Goods

Once your molded plastic parts haplastic product fulfillment. products in boxes ready to shipve been produced they may then be packaged and delivered to your facility for assembly and further distribution, or could be delivered directly to your customers.  Discuss in detail your overall need for assistance with any and all steps in the manufacturing process.

Determine the role of your molded plastic part in the overall production of your finished goods. For instance, if the molded part is just one of many components and requires additional assembly or further steps in the production process, a decision must be made as to who will do the additional work. It could be the molder or it could be you as the customer. Talk to your plastic parts manufacturer about assembly capabilities offered. Secondary operations are now offered by most plastic molders. SPI Industries and SPI Blow molding offer assembly and final processing for several customers.  From single part production to total contract manufacturing and fulfillment, whereby we ship directly to your customers from your orders supplied daily.

If the molded plastic part is a standalone product you’ll be able to immediately distribute the parts to your customers. This is generally not the case.

Some manufacturing facilities will handle all of the shipping for you, while other facilities will simply deliver the finished product to you, and you will have to handle the delivery and shipping to your customers.

If you’re ready to make a mock-up design, a plastic prototype, or have a question about the manufacturing process, get in contact with SPI Industries or SPI Blow Molding today. We can help guide you through the entire molded plastic parts manufacturing process.

How To Make A Plastic Mold For Plastic Products and Parts

make a plastic Injection mold for plastic logistic loadbars

Injection molded plastic logistic load bars

Most people within the plastics industry are familiar with creating a mold for plastic products. Or, at least have a general understanding of the process that goes into it. However, some general confusion still exists with product designers, engineers, and other professionals about the ins and outs of the process. There are a number of methods to make a plastic mold for products that will be used for manufacturing multiple quantities of products. Each method will take different amounts of financial investment and time. The steps below will get you moving in the right direction to create your very own plastic mold.

1. Determine Quantity

What’s the quantity of plastic products you’ll be producing? The number of parts and custom plastic pieces you need will determine the type of molding you use, and the manufacturer you work with.

Most manufacturers require that your entire build be at least 100,000 parts or greater. If this number is too high then you may have to shop around until you find the right manufacturer who is willing to do the job for you. Contact SPI Blow Molding or SPI Industries today to discuss quantities, larger plastic blow molded pieces or plastic injection molded pieces can be produced at lower quantities and still be cost effective.

2. Your Budget

What will your budget be for this plastic mold? Your budget for your project should include the design and creation of your mold, as well as future modifications.

Your budget can also influence the method of plastic molding you use, as some are cheaper than others. Also, the more complex your overall design, the more expensive the process is going to be.

3. Overall Size and Design

The type of plastic molding your project will require will be determined by the size and design of your product. You can also adapt your design to use a specific plastic molding process. For instance, when using injection molding you’ll generally have to have a smaller design. While, blow molding is usually used to create products, such as, containers, tubes and bottles.

4. Project Materials

Your project design will influence the materials and types of plastics that need to be used. Sometimes, designs will have a specific material that needs to be used for the product to function, while other times the materials can be more flexible.

Make sure you speak with your manufacturer to ensure you’re using the right material for the job.

Plastic Molding Methods Available

There are a variety of plastic molding methods, which can be used based upon your unique project specifications.

make-a-plastic-mold-blow-molded-bellows

Blow molded plastic bellows

The most commonly used methods to make a plastic mold are:

  • Injection molding
  • Blow molding
  • Compression molding
  • Gas Assist Molding
  • Film Insert Molding
  • Rotational Molding
  • Thermoforming

By going through the process above you’ll have every specification you require to build the perfect plastic mold for your product. This isn’t a process you’ll want to rush, as a simple design flaw can have you starting the entire process again from scratch.

If you’re ready to make a plastic mold or product, or have a question about the process, contact SPI today. No question or project is too challenging for our team! We can help to guide first time product inventors through the plastic molding process, or implement a unique solution for a product redesign that your are considering.

Difference Between Injection Molding and Blow Molding

Difference-Between- Injection-Molding-and-Blow-MoldingMost people in the plastics manufacturing industry are familiar with both blow injection molding and blow molding these days. However there is still some confusion by product designers and engineers new to the industry about the difference between injection molding and blow molding . The blow molding process has become a standard for specific applications and understanding the differences between these two plastic molding processes can save design, prototyping and production time. This of course results in money savings and increases the speed of completion and delivery of your plastic part.

There are several significant differences between injection molding and blow molding:

  • manufacturing process itself
  • tolerances and margins of error
  • design considerations
  • role of the process for intended result

Main difference between injection molding and blow molding:

  • Injection molding – produces a part that is solid such as a reusable coffee cup lid
  • Blow molding – produces hollow parts such as water bottles

The blow molding process can produce plastic parts with very complex shapes. However to achieve this the wall thickness may vary from place to place depending on how much the material has to stretch when it is being blown. The thickness of a plastic part created through injection molding is determined by the relationship of the mold and the core.

You will be farther ahead if you are able to determine the best molding process for your plastic product in the product development stage. 

Be prepared to answer a lot of questions from plastic mold engineers:

  • How is your plastic part going to function?
  • Is it a stand alone item?
  • Is it a part that connects to other parts or works in tandem with other parts to achieve a result?
  • Does it need to pivot, move, expand, condense?
  • Is the weight critical to the function?
  • Will the part need to withstand extreme levels of cold or heat?
  • Does the item need to adjust to specific pressure levels or PSI?
  • Will the part hold fluids?
  • Does it need to be food safe?
  • Does it need to be flexible or does it need to be solid and rigid?
  • What length does the part need to be, width, depth?

Answering these questions when designing and manufacturing any item is good a idea. With items requiring plastic molding the large variety of plastics to choose from, the importance of accuracy, and the difference between injection molding and blow molding it’s best to determine these answers as soon as possible. When one millimeter size difference can make the item usable or unusable for its intended purpose, accuracy and creative solutions are required. That’s why we have engineers, right?

Custom Plastic Molding Solutions

Because of the many variable in producing molded plastic parts, nearly every part we produce requires a custom solution. Engineers review all variables based on the end use of the product.

Variables to consider in Molded Part Production:

  • type of plastic used
  • flexibility or strength
  • psi pressure rate required
  • withstand temperatures levels – hot or cold
  • wall thickness
  • product dimensions

Once these variables are considered the whole process will go much smoother and quicker. The use of 3D printers in the prototype stage helps to reduce time too. Designing molds and fine tuning them to perfection can take a few tries but once complete production can begin.

When injection molding is determined to be the best process for your plastic part once you have an approved mold you’re practically golden. The injection molding process begins, the product is produced and there is very little concern of production issues with the injection process.

Therein lies another difference between injection molding and blow molding. In the blow molding process getting the mold perfect is only part of the battle. During the blow molding production process there are many variables manufacturers must pay attention to. The iterative nature of the blow molding process lends itself to production variables.

Periodically checking the production line is important for quality control. If the plastic is stretched too much small pin holes or cracks in seals can result. Checking for wall thickness uniformity to ensure they are within the tolerances needed for the part to behave as it is intended is also critical. As an example, a plastic bellows is made to collapse when pressure is applied and then expand back to it’s original form once pressure is released. Consistent wall thickness helps the bellows to function correctly. If the plastic bellows collapses on one end faster than the other because the wall is thinner your plastic part may wear out quicker and may not function smoothly. Having sold process control systems in place will produce consistent parts with high quality function.

Blow Molding Production Concerns:

  • pinhole leaks
  • leaking seals
  • flexibility or strength
  • velocity or pressure of blown air
  • speed of the mold closing
  • process temperature
  • wall thickness
  • poor function
  • consistent product dimensions

You can learn more about the various plastic molding processes that are applicable to your product or new invention at Plastic news.

Do you have a new plastic product invention and you aren’t sure about which plastic mold process is the best solution for your item? Give SPI a call today, our engineers love a challenge! We will help guide you in the most appropriate and cost efficient plastic molding solution for your unique requirements.

New Outdoor Product Manufacturers Benefit from Multiple Generations of Outdoor Enthusiasts

New Outdoor Product Manufacturers had blow molded at SPI

New Outdoor Product for New Outdoor Product Manufacturers

New outdoor product manufacturers are feeling supported by studies that show increases participation and spending in the outdoor recreation industry. Even during the economic recession from 2005-2011 the outdoor recreation economy grew approximately 5% each year.1 In the United States there are 198 million adults between the age of 18-65 and of those, 60% qualify themselves as outdoor consumers.2 With it’s undeniable impact on economic, social and health benefits, outdoor recreation is getting attention from leaders and consumers alike. Last month (February 2015) the Obama administration’s announcement for “Every Kid in a Park” and the new national monument designations brought attention to the importance of the outdoors and introducing outdoor recreation to a new generation.

With America’s youth spending less time outside than ever before, many parents who grew up enjoying the outdoors are working to expose their children to outdoor activities. 43% of outdoor consumers have kids at home.3 Studies by the Outdoor Industry Association show this renewed interest in outdoor activities increases outdoor product purchases by this growing sector. From bicycles and accessories to hiking, swimming, sports and camping gear, outdoor recreation product manufacturers are diversifying their product lines to meet the demands of families getting outdoors and active. Whether outdoor sports enthusiasts or backyard barbecuers, outdoor consumers are all ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities and income levels. New outdoor manufacturers can assist in raising the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts by developing innovative products that can fit family budgets and lifestyles.

The recent OIA Consumervue study identifies clear consumer segmentations in the outdoor recreation industry. These consumer segmentations can help new outdoor product manufacturers develop specific products that help people participate in outdoor recreation more easily and often. New outdoor product manufacturers can strategize business growth by developing new product lines for existing consumers, discover new consumers with an existing product line and capture new customers with new product lines. A clear example is with the aging baby boomer generation. Many baby boomers grew up enjoying outdoor recreation and still want to enjoy the outdoors. Health and mobility can be limited with this group and they need products that will assist them in continuing to engage comfortably. New outdoor product manufacturers who create products that will help this generation stay active and comfortable while enjoying the outdoors not only increase the aging populations lifespan and well-being, healthier communities and reduced medical expenses result.

• more than 140 million Americans make outdoor recreation a priority in their daily live
• outdoor recreation consumers spend $646 billion on outdoor products and activities,
• Outdoor recreation industry employees over 6.1 million Americans.

Although electronic gadgets are in the hands and homes of preschoolers and the elderly alike, consumers actually spend over twice as much on outdoor recreation as they do on their household utilities annually. A recent study on the frequency and types of camping equipment consumers purchased showed these otherwise distracting electronic devices are often used to research camping equipment purchases in advance of camping trips. From sleeping bags to portable sewage disposal products for campers. consumers read about products online, reviewed them in a store and most often purchased them in the store.

As the generations of American’s who grew up enjoying the outdoors continue to actively engage the younger generations in outdoor recreation more outdoor products will fill their homes, garages, and mini-vans. From sports water bottles to baseball bats, kayak oars and plastic lawn darts new outdoor product manufacturers must find cost effective solutions to meet the demand. As the baby boomers strike out with their lightweight walking canes, sunshade umbrellas, and activity trackers, new outdoor product manufacturers can develop innovative solutions to keep them active in style.

As America heads into Spring and the most active months for outdoor recreation are upon us consider what’s missing in your biking, barbecue, sports or camping gear. Search online or in stores for the outdoor recreation products you need. If you don’t find what you are looking for maybe it hasn’t been invented yet. If you have an idea for a new outdoor recreation product you can contact a local manufacturer to create a plastic mold or a 3-D printer prototype and try to develop it on your own. If creating a small business is not your goal, search for an outdoor product inventor club or ask a molding manufacturer if they have customers who produce similar product solutions. You never know, your invention could help countless people in multiple generations step out into the great outdoors in comfort and style.

 

1. Consumervue Executive Summary, 2014, Outdoor Industry Association

2. Consumervue Executive Summary, 2014, Outdoor Industry Association

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