Up until recently, aluminum plastic molds had a bad reputation. There was a groundless myth that aluminum wasn’t as reliable as steel for handling the heat and pressure needed for molding glass, plastic and other materials. Despite there being no evidence of this, and the potential cost saving benefits of using aluminum molds, companies refused to take this risk. This myth has now been proven to be false and businesses are now benefiting from this material’s assets.
The Benefits of Aluminum Plastic Molds
Aluminum plastic molds aren’t ideal for every type of molding need but in some cases they can actually be more beneficial than steel plastic molds. Aluminum is not as expensive or heavy as steel, which means it’s easier to transport. The light weight nature of the aluminum molds means that heating and cooling times are greatly reduced, increasing production and turnaround times by up to 50 percent. They offer uniform heat distribution, which means that plastic items are much less likely to distort than items made using steel molds. The plastic itself flows better and at longer distances without as much pressure and the molds are filled more quickly and effectively. Another benefit of aluminum molding is its flexible nature which makes it a lot easier to use for molds with elaborate and detailed designs.
Consequences of Using Aluminum Molds
As you can see, there are many pros to using aluminum plastic molds. There are also a few cons that are important to look at when choosing a mold material. Aluminum needs to be cleaned correctly in order to extend its use. It also needs to be created very carefully so as to avoid gaps and mistakes that could lead to parts not fitting correctly with other parts or similar issues cropping up at a later time. The other main difference is quantity. Aluminum plastic molds can still make up to hundreds of thousands of parts, depending on the size of the part, while steel plastic molds can make millions of parts.
The Pros are Also the Cons in Steel Plastic Molds
Steel plastic molds have been relied on consistently for many years and are often trusted to handle high heat, high volumes, and high pressure with easy maintenance. Steel molds can be produced easily with high durability to stand against the elements and rust. Unlike aluminum plastic molds, steel molds also produce an optical grade finish. With these benefits, it’s easy to see that steel is a reliable material for creating molds. Interestingly, the pros of using steel molds are also the cons. The heavy nature of steel molds increases production times because of how long it takes to heat and cool and this can also contribute to the distortion of parts.
As you can see, both materials are useful and reliable for handling many production needs but the final decision as to which material to use must depend on the type of parts that need to be made. For intricate parts with lower volume needs, aluminum plastic molds may be best. For higher quantity needs with an optical grade finish, steel molds may be your better option. Both are reliable plastic mold types that can ultimately ensure you get the high quality part you need.