To remain competitive, particularly during a global pandemic, manufacturers must find ways to do more with less. Fulfill more orders in less time. Build more products with fewer resources. Drive more business with less environmental impact. They achieve the impossible by replacing outdated processes with newer technologies — for example, low-pressure injection molding instead of potting.
Potting involves pouring liquid resin over electrical parts to fill the assembly and form a protective, insulating encasement. While the process can produce effective results, potting has numerous disadvantages, including a complex, multi-step process, long curing periods, and the potential for shrinking. Furthermore, because potting compounds cure exothermically, cure reactions can generate enough heat to damage delicate electronic parts, such as PCBs and sensors. Ultimately, the risks and disadvantages equate to higher production costs, longer cycle times, and lower levels of quality and consistency.
What is low-pressure injection molding?
Low-pressure injection molding is a soft molding process that performs the same function as potting, but in less than half the steps and at a constant low pressure that slowly fills a cavity with greater precision and consistency. Slower, in this case, actually results in less hesitation and faster cycle times. The consistently low pressure also allows the melt to flow further through thinner channels. Because low-pressure injection molding does not require a cure period, electrical parts are less susceptible to heat damage or shrinkage.
The economic advantages of low-pressure injection molding
- Low-pressure injection molding requires less than half the steps to complete the process compared to potting. That means less time, energy, material, and manpower.
- Low-pressure injection molding is an environmentally-friendly process that produces zero waste, fumes, or toxins. The ingredients used in low-pressure injection molding are all-natural, biodegradable, and can typically be recycled, should a cycle result in scraps.
- Low-pressure injection allows manufacturers to mold thinner walls without freeze-off, increase cavitation, eliminate flow-front hesitation, and produce greater uniformity for consistent, high-quality aesthetics.
- Fewer steps, resources, cycle time, waste, and risk equates to significantly more savings and value, which ultimately gets passed down to the customer.
Overmolding prolongs the life and performance of electrical assemblies, adding great value to the investment. But the greatest value is achieved when you partner with a provider that incorporates advanced processes like low-pressure injection molding into a larger Lean-Six Sigma-inspired strategy, such as cellular manufacturing, which reduces waste while increasing quality and consistency.
Learn more about how iCONN Systems manufactures overmolded cables.