The Dip Molding Process
Dip molding is the process of dipping a mold into a polymer to create a molded component. Plastisol is a suspension of PVC particles in a plasticizer. This is the most commonly used dip molding material because it is easy to process and affordable. Neoprene molding is when the mold is dipped in an alternative material known as neoprene. Other materials such as latex and urethane can also be used in dip molding applications.
Dip Molding Benefits
The neoprene molding process (dipping the mold in neoprene) is ideal for many applications. Below are some of the benefits:
Tooling: The tooling costs and lead times for dip molding tooling is substantially less than the typical cost and lead time as compared to that of tooling for other custom plastic manufacturing process.
Geometry: At MDI, we can provide custom plastic molding shapes. Our unique mold-making techniques allow us to create a custom molding to fit your needs. Due to the uniqueness and flexibility of the dip molding process, it is easier to achieve a wall thickness that is much thinner or thicker than with other plastic manufacturing processes. Should a wall thickness change be required after tooling is completed, it easier to accommodate this change using the dip molding process.
Similar in many ways to dip molding methods, dip coating is a highly utilized plastic coating method for items with complex designed not easily covered through traditional spray and powder coating methods. In simplistic terms, the dip coating process entails the submersion of a product into a polymer or coating solution, in order to form a smooth protective layer on the outside diameter.
There are several factors that play into how the coating or film is developed on the product, including different characteristics of the chosen polymer, the entry and exit speed of the product when dipped in and out of the polymer, and the dwell time, or time duration necessary to effectively coat the product. Additionally, some dip coating solutions may be photosensitive, and require the item be exposed to UV energy throughout the entire immersion of the product.
Volume Requirements: All of our facilities are set up to accommodate prototypes and low production volumes in our manual dip molding cells. Likewise, each of our plants are also equipped with automated dip molding production lines to support high volume requirements, while maintaining low production costs.
Materials: PVC/ Plastisol is the generic name for the raw material MDI uses for dip molding. It is liquid at room temperature and gels to a solid during the molding process. When heated, Plastisol fuses and is converted into a tough, homogenous mass with excellent abrasion, aging, corrosion, and electrical resistance; never to liquefy again. It can be compounded in almost any hardness, clarity, and color and can be pumped or sprayed. The surface appearance can go from shiny to matte to foam.
Plastisol can also be compounded to meet many standards, including FDA food contact, non-toxic, USP Class VI, UL, & MIL-P-20689. In addition, MDI is also now dipping in neoprene as well.
Once the product has been effectively dipped, with even coverage throughout, many of the polymers used today require a drying period. Allowing your product or component this time to dry will help harden or crosslink the polymer, ensuring the coating is robust and firmly bonded to the surface. Once finished drying, the dip coated product will achieve the strength and protective properties intended.
Our team works intimately with our leading coating solution and polymer suppliers in order to find the perfect medium for each individual project. Customer relationships are vital for our entire process, as we need to understand all the different aspects of your unique product and what materials/processes we can use to ensure the dip molding provides all the necessary features and the best protection possible.
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