What types of plastics can be used for injection moulding?

injection-moulding

What types of plastics can be used for injection moulding?

Different plastic materials for injection moulding

Here at AKF Plastics, we’re pioneers in next-generation injection moulding production. We provide high-quality injection moulding solutions for our clients in the automotive, aerospace, and construction industries.

While the world tends to talk about plastic and plastics overall, many different plastics exist. As such, all have their unique characteristics and uses. And thats where we come in. And thats where we come in.

We help our clients identify suitable plastic compounds for their needs and produce them to their requirements. We can even store and deliver these components if necessary! So on top of providing our injection moulding expertise, we can become a focal point of our clientssupply chains.

Lets learn a little more about the different types of plastics we work with and which industries theyre most widely used.

But first, the things all our plastics have in common

Here at AKF, we could use recycled plastics for all our injection moulding while maintaining the highest quality in production and robustness. All our finished components will also meet the necessary relevant certifications and ISO standards.

As such, all our injection moulding plastics are recyclable themselves. This means that you benefit from a reduced carbon footprint whether you use the components internally, are a supplier yourself, or manage products that use our injection moulded components. You can have confidence telling your clients and customers that the high-quality plastic they’re using has the highest eco-credentials possible.

plastic-airplane-part-injection moulding-AKF-Plastics
Plastic kwaliteits controle

What types of plastics are available from AKF?

Broadly speaking, we can split plastics into three main areas:

  • High-performance thermoplastics
  • Engineering thermoplastics
  • Standard thermoplastics

What are these, and how are they used?

High-performance thermoplastics

As you might have guessed from the name, these are the most advanced category of plastics and are where our main specialism lies.

In this category are high-end, high-tech, expensive materials like Poly-Ether-Ether-Ketone (PEEK), Teflon (PFA), and Polyphenylene sulphide (PPS). Generally, these are the more robust plastics with the ability to withstand exceptionally high temperatures and maintain their shape when exposed to these temperatures and other sources of stress.

For our clients in the aerospace industry, we only use these high-performance technical thermoplastics and polymers to ensure the plastic parts we produce can perform the job they need to.

We also use high-performance thermoplastics for some automotive projects, depending on our clientsneeds. These plastics will be deployed in high-stress locations of vehicles, potentially used as the fuel tank and elsewhere in the fuel system, and house components like lighting.

luchtvaart vliegtuigstuur plastic spuitgieten
AKF Plastic injection moulding machine

Engineering thermoplastics

Engineering thermoplastics are considered a “mid-level” plastic but make no mistake, these plastics are still incredibly strong and can often withstand significant temperatures and pressures.

This category of thermoplastics includes things like polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyamide (PA), Acrylo-Nitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS), and polyphthalamide (high-performance polyamide or PPA).

Such is the range of plastic in this category that there are several uses for these plastics.

At AKF, we use them for our clients in the construction and automotive industries, depending on their specific needs and desired uses. 

In both industries, engineering thermoplastics can have several uses. For example, in construction, these plastics can enhance the strength of buildings or other building components, insulate electrical wiring, or be moulded to provide cosmetic and aesthetic enhancements for building projects.

In contrast, engineering plastics are commonly found under the hood in the automotive sector, often in conjunction with and connecting to high-performance thermoplastics.

Standard thermoplastics

These plastics are the cheapest to produce. As such, they have lower levels of functionality in terms of strength and flexibility. However, they can still be instrumental in a wide range of applications.

Most typically, these plastics are polyolefins, a class that itself has a vast number of specific plastics sitting within it. While some of these plastics are very low strength and easy to break – think polystyrene and disposable plastic cups – the plastics we use in our injection moulding are robust and able to meet our clients’ assembly or usage demands.

As with engineering thermoplastics, standard plastics aren’t used in the aerospace sector but are widely found in construction and automotive applications.

For example, these plastics are widely used for gravel mats and panelling in construction. In contrast, in the automotive space, they’ll typically be used for a combination of interior and exterior features, such as bumpers, dashboard housing, and other internal panelling.

Grindmatten-Plastic-Spuitgieten-bij-AKF

Whatever you need, we can produce it at scale!

At AKF Plastics, we can help you with all your injection moulded plastic component needs.

From advising you on the right plastics you’ll need to use to hit regulatory standards in your industry to aiding you with the design of your components, right through to the production and, if required, storage and assembly, we’ve got you covered.

Whether you need high-end thermoplastics or something produced from the cheaper compounds, we can make what you need at scale and at a reasonable cost.

Contact us here to discuss your injection moulding needs and get a free quote. 

Mould costs from different perspectives; how to decide wisely

AKF Plastics Injection moulds storage

Mould costs from different perspectives.

HOW TO DECIDE WISELY.

For injection moulding it is well known that one requires the good old injection mould. A lump of steel with absolutely no appeal whatsoever and generally with a huge price tag. Superficially the end customer tends to think that the unavoidable mould costs are part of his problem. Only insiders know that the injection moulder, as processor, has an ever greater interest in proper tooling. Injection moulds are being purchased all over the world and there is a huge variety in considerations of how, where and at what costs to source injection moulds.

Mould costing analysis

Let’s take a look into the mould costing analysis and purchasing strategies mainly from an economical point of view. Let’s also see what end customers and processors have as mutual interests and which strategy serves best for all parties involved. End customers tend to judge the non-recurring mould costs as a bit of a pain in the ass. The unavoidable investment to set up production and sales of the products derived from the mould. 

One might have strategic or economical reasons to really judge and assess mould costs as one-off investments. Local tax rules may play a role in how to process these costs into the accounting system but in general they are judged as costs.

It is not more than logical and natural that the end customer, who is going to pick up the tab for the mould costs in the end, is really driven at reducing these costs. As such, by nature, the end customer will seek the lowest possible mould costs. After all one is not willing to spend more money than absolutely necessary for these tooling costs.

Metal-injection-mould-detached
Example of a complex mould.
AKF-labels-in-moulds
Mould in AKF warehouse awaiting the next run.

Mould costs as part of the product price

In reality however the unavoidable mould costs should be judged as ‘facilitating’ costs in order to ensure swift, smooth, high-levelled, fast, constant and high-quality production which is supposed to feed sales. As such the mould costs are, without any doubt, always part of an amortisation of some kind. 

The investments into tooling could be better seen as part of the product price instead of a preceding burden. Unfortunately the latter is usually the way it is approached in organisations as a result of which the drive is at minimising the investment costs.

What do we mean by this?

Well psychologically one tends to look at a one-off investment figure. In injection moulding this usually starts with € 10K + figures. The end customer may be distraught by this amount. However it should be more in perspective if one is able to assess the meaning of these costs into the product price.

Say the investment in the mould is quoted as being 100,000 currency units. One could blindly focus at the huge amount of 100,000 currency units but one should better make a product related analysis. If I sell the following number of products the following applies :

units soldabsolute mould costs relative
mould costs [per product]
relative mould costs
1010,00010 % of the investment
1001,0001 % of the investment
1.0001000.1 % of the investment
10.0001000.1 % of the investment
10.000100.01 % of the investment
100.00010.001 % of the investment
1.000.0000.10.0001 % of the investment
10.000.0000.010.00001 % of the investment

In that range of sales figures it becomes obvious that the mould costs are about to vaporise and are being reduced to a mere pre-financing.

Sales risk for the injection moulder

Of course the critical end customer will object and state that it is not guaranteed that these sales figures will be met. However there the end customer is shifting sales risk on to the injection moulder. The uncertainty in sales drives the price reduction in tooling. It is difficult but at the same time vitally important that sales are assessed properly in order to facilitate tooling investments.

Reliable and robust injection mould

On the other hand the processor is primarily interested in the most reliable and robust injection mould. The injection moulder will at the most ad an administrative profit margin onto the mould costs, but has interest in earning through the production output of units. For the processor the mould is a one-off thing while production should have a long term character.

Additional costs injection mould

However if the injection moulder is forced into obtaining the required injection mould at the lowest possible costs there may occur two risk situations for the injection moulder. A non-functioning injection mould may cause either additional costs, due to it’s sales character mainly in the risk area of the injection moulder, or may obstruct sufficient output.

Low quantity sales eliminate the options to recover additional mould operating costs for the processor while high quantity sales may reduce turnover in the case of malfunction tooling. In either case the profitability of the processor is being pressurised.

Mutual acceptable pricing

So it seems there is a conflict of interest between the processor and the end customer when it comes to mould investment costs. However if one is willing to change the cost assessment model into an amortisation model one is able to find a mutual acceptable pricing. 

End customers should realise that incomplete marketing models shift sales risks onto the processor who might even take additional risks in order to cope with this. A cumulation of such risks usually disrupts future business relationships.

Feel free to contact us for more information and download our free eGuides about mould costs.

AKF Plastics eguide leveranciersselectie Nederland
To answer the most frequently asked questions we have compiled a handy eGuide series with Tips & Advice. Part 1 is about mould costs.
AKF-EGUIDE-LEVERANCIERSSELECTIE-2019
Part 2 provides insight into how you can select the right supplier, cost structure, price structure and our vision on quality.