The difference between moldability and manufacturability may seem subtle, but the reality is that understanding it better can have an impact on your part development.
What is Moldability?
Moldability refers to how well the mold of your part will conform to being injected with molten plastic. Once your mold has been created from your design, a good injection molding process needs to account for how well plastic can fill that mold cavity. From material selection to mold complexity, there are many factors that will determine whether the part you designed is capable of accepting this process. Certain features in your part design like undercuts and threading, can be tricky to mold correctly and consistently. These can cause problems like knit lines, warp and flash.
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Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is the proactive process of designing a part to meet the specifications of the chosen manufacturing process used to produce that part. No longer can a product engineer design a part for fit and function only. Product Engineers are also expected to understand the manufacturing process and incorporate those parameters into their design to ensure good part production.
Ignoring design for manufacturability can have disastrous consequences. By the time a product concept gets through the design phase and into the testing/prototyping phase, up to 80% of the budget for that product has been committed. The material costs have been identified, the tooling costs are known and any assembly costs are also worked into the budget by then. And once it has been committed, it is very expensive to turn back to change the design.