Molding is a manufacturing technique used to seal connectors and protect electronics from moisture, dust, debris, vibration and strain. Like many manufacturing processes, there’s more than one way to mold a connector, but that doesn't mean all outcomes are the same.
Potting is the most traditional method, which involves pouring liquid resin over a part and waiting for the resin to “cure” or harden. Though effective, this process is laborious and time-consuming. Alternatively, manufacturers use high-pressure molding, which involves placing a part inside a special mold and injecting molten plastic into the mold at a high-pressure to fill the cavity and encapsulate the part. This process is faster, less expensive and more effective than potting processes, which begs the question — Why bother with any other molding method?
High-pressure molding is great for durable electrical components and high-volume orders, but the force can damage delicate electronics. When it comes to PCBs, sensors and other fragile parts, low-pressure molding is the best option.
The Benefits of Low-Pressure Molding
Unlike potting, which involves as many as eight steps to complete, low-pressure molding is a quick three-step process:
Step 2: The melted material is injected into the mold
Step 3: The mold opens and cools immediately
2. Speed & Flexibility
Low-pressure molding uses aluminum molds, which are relatively quick and easy to produce. Furthermore, overmolded parts are ready for handling almost immediately after they are released from the mold. Thanks to the efficiency and quality of the low-pressure molding process, manufacturers can offer shorter cycle times, produce lower volumes, take concepts to market faster than potting — without jeopardizing quality.
3. Economical & Low-Cost
The low-pressure molding process is straightforward and negates the need for ancillary equipment and resources, such as large X-ton presses. Less processing time also equates to less labor, energy utilization and overhead costs. Furthermore, the melt material used for injection is relatively inexpensive and easy to source.
4. Environmentally Friendly
The molten material used in low-pressure molding is an all-natural plant derivative that does not emit any gases or toxic fumes at any point during the manufacturing process. Moreover, because low-pressure molding uses all-natural melts, any leftover material is 100% reusable.
The simple process involved in low-pressure molding provides considerable room for customization. From logos and grommets to intricate shapes and varying sizes, product developers can take more creative liberty and engineer a solution to meet the exact needs of the product application.
Most importantly, low-pressure molding results in a lightweight, watertight finish that meets certification requirements and compliance standards. The added protection also extends the life of your electrical equipment and reduces the need for costly repairs or replacement parts.
To learn more about overmolding electronics, download our free guide.