If you’re new to manufacturing an injection-molded product (using plastic or other materials), it’s critical to realize the impact materials have on the design and manufacture of a product.

Case in point: Recently a company that sells outdoor/sporting equipment contacted us to ask if we could take an aluminum part used in one of their products and manufacture it in plastic. The company’s goal was to reduce the cost of their existing part.

If you’ve ever stood in a drugstore or grocery store aisle considering which product to choose, chances are you didn’t give a second’s thought to whether the branding and messaging was hot stamped, pad printed, or labeled.

But when you’re responsible for working with a manufacturer to produce injection-molded packages, you have to determine the best decorating technique for the product. The most common types of decorating are Hot Stamping, Pad Printing, External/Sticky Labeling, and In-mold Labeling.

If you’re new to purchasing injection-molded plastics, you may be surprised when you read this post and discover all the hours required to produce a mold.

Recently a poultry processing company approached HTI Plastics about manufacturing a poultry shackle. The part had been made overseas. But the company, based in Nebraska, decided it would be simpler to make the part locally. They use about 10,000 pieces each year.

Before we begin production on a part or product, we determine what kind of resin to use. The resin is the base of the plastic product or component; the most essential element of the final product that will have impact on its cost, production time, usage, and life cycle. Resin selection is one of the earliest stages of part design, so it's not something we take lightly. These are just some of the things we consider when making a resin selection:

Every complex machine requires maintenance. You service your car to get better gas mileage and extend its life; we maintain our injection molds to keep them running smoothly and efficiently. The number of cycles run on an injection mold is a lot like the mileage on a car - certain operations must be done at prescribed intervals.

Every mold we make is different from top to bottom, and each choice we make in designing it affects its capability, cost, life cycle, and more. Here are some of the things we consider before designing the mold that will make a new product.

In today’s competitive manufacturing environment, it's important that HTI creates a high-quality product the first time, every time. That means controlling variation. Controlling variation is the key to producing consistent high-quality products that meet or exceed customer requirements. To identify and eliminate processing problems that create variation, we gather extensive data from each process and analyze it from a statistical standpoint. This level of analysis lets us understand our ability to effectively control or eliminate most sources of variation.

HTI Plastics attended the 2012 Pharmapack North America conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The conference brought together the leading medical device and pharmaceutical companies with the leading suppliers to the industry to discuss and examine the latest innovations in pharmaceutical packaging.  During the conference, HTI Plastics hightlighted their capabilites through a new HD video with interviews and footage of their production and automation expertise.

At HTI, we work hard to integrate both the latest advanced technologies and the innovations of our experienced and educated employees into our products and processes. Through great ideas and better implementations, we're able to deliver high-quality products to our customers every time.

Where Do We Start?

Prototyping is a cost effective start to building a great new product.  We build prototype products for customers in every stage of the development process. Customers can come to HTI directly requesting a product prototype for something they've already designed, or other times they come to us with just a concept for a new product. Many of our customers already know exactly how they want their prototype built and what materials they want to use. We frequently provide our expertise and guidance in making these decisions.

At HTI, all of our raw materials come to us in a pelletized form, so - naturally - we love the stuff. But it's a bit of an odd relationship ... we can't touch it! The integrity of a final plastic product depends in large part on the raw material being physically handled as little as possible. Because of this relationship, we use a custom designed, automated system to hold and distribute the raw plastics to our machines.  We partnered with Motan, who following our requirements built a system that handles our current capacity but is equipped to handle our future growth.

Injection molding is a complicated process, but that doesn't mean we don't use basic elements. One of the essential requirements for plastic injection molding is proper cooling, and for that we primarily use water. Chilled water is most often the cooling agent of choice because it's low-cost, has excellent thermal transfer properties, and is readily available. 

Read on for some interesting facts about water cooling here at HTI: