What are the benefits of using family molds in injection molding?
- Lower mold cost
- Easier ordering
- Low-volume production potential
- Improves production rate and cost-per-part
- Ideal for prototyping use
Using injection molding for your plastic parts and products entails molten resin being inserted into a hollow mold cavity. This then cools and takes shape — resulting in your desired part. However, when you’re looking to make multiple plastic parts in one go, then this process shifts. Designing and building several molds and allocating resources for multiple setups is difficult and costly. This is where family molds come into play.
In this post, we get into the many benefits of using family molds in injection molding. Read on to see if they’re the best option for your project!
What are Family Molds?
Family molds are often recommended by injection molders for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they’re the preferred mold type over dedicated molds.
Unlike dedicated molds, family molds are multi-cavity, meaning they can accommodate numerous parts per injection molding cycle. In short, they are capable of making several parts each time resin is injected into them.
Let’s take a closer look at what benefits this mold design offers:
Lower mold cost
When comparing the costs of making dedicated, single-cavity molds for each part, versus a family mold to create all parts in one go, the first benefit is clear. Choosing a family mold offers significant cost savings.
It also offers high-cost efficiency over the mold’s lifespan. This is because, with family molds, there is the need to produce and maintain only one mold tool, rather than several. Thus, there are significant reductions in operation and maintenance costs.
Placing an order for multiple injection molds can be complicated. There are a lot of things to factor in, such as mold designs and lead times.
However, this ordering process becomes much easier when you opt for a family mold from the get-go. This simplifies the designing and ordering of your molds and overall makes things easier for both your team and your injection molder.
Low-volume production potential
Family injection molds are the ideal solution for low-volume orders. They’re best suited for smaller run sizes (i.e., those below 50,000 parts), as it cuts down on the indeed to run through different molds and multiple cycles to complete a product.
Improves production rate and cost-per-part
With a family mold, you gain the capability of producing your plastic parts in sets. Even if you have just two separate parts to create, choosing a family mold is the most effective way of improving your production rate.
Doing this also improves your cost-per-part — you don’t have to deal with extra material use, additional maintenance costs, and higher tooling bills if you create all the parts you need in one family mold.
And, with faster overall production times, you can make more parts per cycle. This also improves your time to market.
Ideal for prototyping use
Since a plastic product can be fully molded and assembled by using just one family mold, this makes it ideal for the prototyping phase. Using this kind of mold helps speed up the design and modification phases, and cuts down on pre-production costs.
Considerations for family molds
That said, despite all the benefits that this mold type offers, there are some considerations to keep in mind.
- Plastic resins used must be of the same material and color. You can’t combine different plastics or colors when using a family mold.
- Parts should be of similar size and volume. This is because the multiple cavities in the family mold will be filled at the same time, and at the same rate. Having parts of varying size and volume can cause several defects, such as underfilling or flash molding
- The number of parts in the family mold will affect what types of runners you can use. If there are a large number of parts within the mold, then you may have to switch to a hot runner system.
Family mold applications
With both the benefits and considerations in mind, you may be wondering what applications best suit family molds.
Generally, it’s recommended when you need a cost-effective solution for producing various components or parts at once. This is common for more complex plastic products. It’s also ideal when part size, volume, and material are all similar. Lastly, it may be a good solution when you’re dealing with a project that’s low volume but time-critical, and where productivity is a must.
There are many benefits of using family molds in injection molding projects. They offer a time- and cost-effective solution for more complex plastic designs. And, they help improve lead times and allow your products to hit the market much earlier!
If you’re interested in creating family molds for your application, message Richfields today. We offer a broad range of tooling solutions — family molds included — to help you develop the best molds for your project. Reach out to learn more about our services, or to discuss your project with us!