The Engineering Resource Center was approached by a leader in airway clearance technologies to mold a 6” long acetel part with .012” flatness tolerance. At the time, the customer was having the part machined out of a block of plastic which resulted in a high part price and did not allow them to reach the flatness tolerance they needed. The concept was thought to be impossible to achieve.
Design intent (how the part would be used in production) was a key factor in this project. Our project engineer approached the task knowing that several iterations may be necessary to get the part molded consistently at the requested flatness. Moldflow® software was used to predict the direction and amount of warp the part may have. Validating moldability with a flow analysis tool enabled our project engineer to identify and correct potential injection molding problems as the part was designed.
Knowing that each iteration would take time and money, our engineers designed the mold in a way that allowed them to test several iterations quickly and cost effectively. After measuring the parts from the first trial, it was proven that the once thought to be unattainable tolerance was in fact possible.
By keeping design intent at the forefront of the project, The ERC was able to develop a part with features that did not exist previously while offering significant cost savings. We're happy to know that our role in this project helped this customer save a lot of money in manufacturing the parts thereafter.