Dip molders form plastic parts and objects by dipping a mandrel or a mold into a liquid plastic material and letting the material set around the shape of the mold. Dip molding is a popular manufacturing method because it is cost-effective and energy efficient. It also has high turnover rates depending on the size of the dip molder used. There is minimal material wastage, and most molds are simple and inexpensive to make, taking away the costs of manufacturing expensive dies.
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Applications of Dip Molders
Closely connected to dip coating, the dip molding process used by dip molders is utilized in the consumer, medical, electronic, and packaging industries. Products for use outdoors, such as wire fencing, sports and recreational equipment, and tools can all benefit from the protective qualities of polymer coatings. Specialized coatings, such as UV coating, can be used for products like eyeglasses, automotive windows, and other outdoor products to prevent against sun damage.
Common products formed by dip molders include:
- Plastic Caps and Plastic Caps
- Latex Gloves
- Handles and Grips for Tools
- Sports Equipment
Process of Dip Molding
The dip molding process is almost entirely automated, which ensures labor costs are kept low. First, a polymer coating is heated until it reaches a liquid state. In the case of the material plastisol, it is liquid at room temperature and does not require additional heating before being used in the dip molding process. Molds or mandrels of primed aluminum or steel are formed in the negative of the desired part or component; they are then preheated and lowered into the molten polymer where the surface and the plastic adhere to each other. Some dip molded parts may then be further heat treated to fully bond the polymer to the surface of the metal or achieve a desired texture on the surface of the part.
Benefits of Using Dip Molding
In addition to providing a colorful, attractive finish to products, plastic coatings can improve corrosion resistance, scratch and wear protection, and provide a smooth grip for better handling. Dip molding results in precise parts with close tolerances of wall thickness.
Factors to Consider When Using Dip Molding
Oven temperature, rate of dip, and length of dip, as well as the speed at which an object is removed from the polymer, all affect the configurations of the part. For example, double walls can be manufactured by dipping a mold into the plastisol or polymer twice and allowing the layers to form separately. Hardness and finish texture can also be adjusted according to the intended use of the product and the most suitable design.