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Will batch 3D printing become a replacement for the injection molding process?

Views: 69     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-02-10      Origin: Site

Based on the 3D printing process, mass production has been a direction that 3D printing manufacturers have been working on, and the efforts of many manufacturers in mass production can be seen at the just concluded Formnext 2021.

So one day, if 3D printing can achieve the same high volume production as the injection molding process, will it replace it?

Let's compare the advantages and disadvantages of both.

01. Advantages and disadvantages of the injection molding process

a. Advantages of the injection molding process

Injection molding is currently one of the preferred processes for the production of plastic products. Its advantages include a wide variety of plastic materials that can be used, less material waste during production, fast mass production, low cost, etc.

b. The disadvantages are mainly from the mold

1. The long production period and high cost of molds make injection molding economically efficient only when a certain amount of plastic products are produced, which is not suitable for small batch production.

2, molding has limitations, some shapes will lead to the mold can not be removed, limiting the product design.

3, high cost of iteration, after modifying the product design, the corresponding production molds also need to be modified, it will require new costs and time.

Therefore, iteration is generally done only when the set of molds has achieved economic benefits. In order to realize the economic benefits, the machine must be produced to a certain quantity after it is turned on, which will cause inventory costs.

Advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing

Advantages of 3D printing

The advantages of 3D printing are many, there is no need for molds, less molding restrictions, can take full advantage of design and topology optimization, structural optimization of the product, and equal or better mechanical properties with less material.

The cost of 3D printing has very little correlation with the complexity of the part. For example, a complex part can cost geometrically more when using injection molding, while 3D printing does not increase the cost geometrically, and also allows multiple parts to be integrated into a whole and printed out in one piece, reducing assembly time later.

Since no molds are required, 3D printing has better support for iteration. In addition, 3D printing can be produced on demand, making as many as needed, reducing inventory pressure and making production more flexible.

Disadvantages of 3D printing

1, the speed of mass production is not fast enough, when the production quantity exceeds a certain amount, the efficiency of 3D printing becomes inefficient. Compare 3D printing and injection molding to runners, 3D printing is a sprinter, and injection molding is a long-distance runner.

2, the variety of materials that can be used is much less than injection molding.

3, The surface quality is average and often requires post-treatment to improve the surface quality.

Put at the end.

From the advantages and disadvantages of both sides, the two sides are currently in a complementary stage, some small batch production has now a lot in the use of 3D printing process.

And in the future, with the continuous progress of 3D printing technology, will continue to grab some market from the injection molding.

But to really replace the injection molding, a short period of time is still relatively difficult. When the 3D printing speed is fast enough, support enough materials, the quality of printed parts better, the injection molding process may have a relatively large impact.

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