Plastic is overtaking the mechanical industry at a very quick pace. The design process of pieces that were traditionally made of metals keeps advancing and making plastic injection molding a very popular technique. However, there is a big problem looming on the horizon: the design of plastic molds is solely handled by creative types that leave engineering out of the process in ways that could make manufacturing them unrealistic or unattainable. It can also happen the other way around: too many engineers with a limited scope can create functional parts that can get outdated in a moment’s notice due to their lacking features.
Creativity aside, to create a good plastic injection molding you need a marriage of basic principles of design and proper engineering. You can only get there by following certain rules.
Let’s take a look at them:
Gathering of Minds
First off, you need to get a sit-down with the minds behind your project. There are very few notable exceptions in the world where you will find an engineer that is also an excellent designer. They do exist, but they are rather uncommon. Once you get these two elements of the equation on a single table, you can go over the specifics about materials, specs, shapes, and measures. Make sure to project your expectations on both of them and keep open channels of communication between the three of you.
Going Over details
Make sure to pay attention to each tiny detail that comes from both sides, while their onions will somewhat collide at times they can always make anything work as you expect on their end. Make sure to keep the revision process very streamlined and clean. A design process with the input of both has very few chances of failing. This will also give an opening to the engineer to create just what you want and to work just the way you need it to.
Make Compromises and Find Balances
You will also need to make a compromise when it comes to quality control with both ends. Designers probably have a good guess on the type of material you should use to create your part. Engineers, on the other hand, are trained to know the right material you should use after studying the design. It would be ill-advised to go with a gut feeling, so the best way to go around this is to get both parts to compromise on materials that will deliver the best-finished product without affecting the budget. Given the nearly endless options of polymers out there, this should not be as hard as it sounds.
Always remember that designers and engineers have their strengths and weaknesses. The designer can come up with an outstanding piece of machinery using a CAD program, but the engineer will be able to tell you after a quick glimpse into what works and what doesn’t. Designers are trained to project your expectations on paper. Engineers make them possible to the extension of their capabilities by following the established science of their field.