Reflective Insights Injection Molding

Introduction

Injection modeling is a manufacturing process which is involved in the production of parts by injecting molten material into a mold. It allows the geometry of the component to be maintained without deflection. Injection molding is one of the most commonly used technologies in industries. Based on our project, the aluminum injection process starts with injecting raw aluminum material at a high temperature into a cavity formed by the mold cavities. This paper is a reflective essay based on our class project which involved improvement of the conformal cooling channels for a given 3D insert.

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As part of this project, I have learned that water is an essential component of this technology. I used to believe that air was mainly used in cooling since water will create wetness. After carrying out this project, I have come to realize that water plays a vital role in the modeling process and without it, the technology would not be able to achieve the appropriate level of productivity, be cost effective and achieve the best quality that can be relied globally. Water is one of the essential factors in cooling design that is required to shorten the cycle time needed for economies of scale. Water runs in via the molding channels in the mold tools to accelerate the process of solidifying.

Additionally, since childhood, I have been wondering how some products were developed. For instance, at one time I tried to create a bottle cap at home, and the result was demoralizing. The issue of the creation of products such as toys, radio control, dashboard, and containers has remained misty for many years. After carrying out this project, I have realized that the process was even automated and there were various ways of designing molds and cooling systems. For instance, subtracting manufacturing which is a traditional method of creating prototypes components. The process involves a subtracting material from a 3D block of material which in most cases is done manually. The machine used in this process utilizes several tools to cut the block material into "y," "x" and "Z" axis and ultimately shape the component (Staff, 2016). Additionally, the injection molding manufacturing can be utilized which is used to create rapid prototype components. It consists of metal melting, and the melt is injected to a significant predesigned cavity steel mold component.

I have always been a thinker, and throughout my course work, I have considerably sharpened my knowledge. Regardless of this, I still not had a good understanding of the molding process. Irrespective of the knowledge being in books available in the library, I always imagined how molding personnel had to be quick while transferring the molten metal into cavities. After carrying research for this project, I realized that the injection molding machine is designed in a way that it can maintain the material that has been melted at liquid state on the route to the tool cavity which has suitable temperatures for cooling the material and molding.

Being computer literate was and is one of my main goal in my career, but when I heard of 3-dimension (3-D), I was ignorant and thought that this was the knowledge of graphics designers. Unfortunately, I came across the word in my project, and I had to examine the document thoroughly to ensure it wasn't computer documents. I realized that 3-D printing is a molding process which is used to direct metal laser sintering technique. The 3D printers create a prototype part by sintering metal powder layer upon layer with the aid of a laser. For the process, computer-aided drafting (CAD) software is used, and data is transferred via stereolithography (STL) file to the 3D printing machine. The machine further translates the data into a real prototype component either made of metal or plastic (Titow, 2012). This method is more flexible for the parts to attain their shapes.

After researching for the project and reading my course work material, I felt that I had learned much. I thought that I had greatly expanded my knowledge and almost everything about modeling was on my fingertips until my friend asked me to mention some of the significant issues to consider in the molding designs. This called for further reading, and I realized that clogging was one of such factors. For instance, with 3D having the ability to create small diameters for the cooling hole, this means less space for turbulence water to pass through and this increase chances of clogging the cooling platforms. Moreover, the system clogging indicates that; less coolant passing through which increase chances of having higher temperatures and evaporation of the coolant.

Additionally, residual stress and cracking is another issue where thermal fatigue shortens the life of the in-service tool, therefore, causing heat checks on the component’s surface (Ma et al., 2010). Some stress factors that could result in stress factors include thermal, mechanical stress and residual stress. Thermal stress leads to thermal fatigue which alters the magnitude and direction of the materials leading to cracks in the internal of the components.

At the beginning of the project, I had a feeling that it was just an overnight activity. How wrong I was. Based on the fact that we were many, we had challenges like time management, especially during the project composition time. Many team members came late; therefore, we had to start late. Additionally, the fact that we had other subjects to do in addition to daily activities, the project became challenging. Fortunately, we had a good discussion up to the end of the project. This project has increased my research skills, critical thinking skills and most important being patient. Regardless of this, I thought this project could be better being done in pairs to increase the level of knowledge since, in pairs, everyone would be forced to participate and pay close attention to details.

In conclusion, this project has opened my mind and increased my knowledge in the manufacturing sector. I have disapproved my believes and myths, and currently, I have the truth with me. I have developed research skills, and I can now think critically to issues. I am confident to apply this knowledge to come up with a more efficient and flexible modeling machine.

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References

  • Ma, k., goetz, r. And srivatsa, s.k., 2010. Modeling of residual stress and machining distortion in aerospace components (preprint) (no. Afrl-rx-wp-tp-2010-4152). Air force research lab wright-patterson afb oh materials and manufacturing directorate.
  • Staff, C.M., 2016. Creative Mechanisms Blog. Everything You Need To Know About Polypropylene (PP) Plastic, 12.
  • Titow, M.V., 2012. PVC technology. Springer Science & Business Media.

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