The simulation of polymer processes permits product designers to consider any geometric or processing condition, as crazy as it may be. It is known in the field of design that during the development of a product, the cost of fixing an error grows exponentially with the time it takes to detect the error. For that reason, the advantage of using simulation as a design tool can be very economical, but there are other reasons: such as decreasing the development time. Using a computer and software with material, process, and product data can lessen the need for tests (experiments) and reduce the costs related to material, staff, and machine time. For this, it is necessary to know as much as possible about the material variables, process conditions, and even the small details about the initial design of the product that will change during the process until the optimal design and/or processing result is obtained. The more information the designer has on it, the more accurate and more exact the simulation and the resulting values of the analysis will be.
One of the advantages of manufacturing with polymers in general is that several functions can be integrated in one component. For example, if the part was made with metal, different materials should be used for the different functions, leading to additional costs related to the assembly . For example, some functions can be integrated in one plastic component using snap fits, pipe connectors, seals, sliding bearings, threads, gear racks, and reinforcements (ribs). In some cases, it is impossible to fulfill all the requirements with one polymeric material, so it is very usual to find products with two materials that are processed at the same time or in the same mold in a special type of injection molding called co-injection molding or multishot injection molding (MSM).
There are numerous methods for producing plastic parts and many will be discussed in this post. Of the various processes, molding and extrusion are the most predominant. The best method will depend on the polymer being used, the part geometry, and the part’s function. The definition of plastic molding is it is a group of manufacturing processes used with a closed tool called a mold, to produce parts. The inside of the mold is in the shape of the part, when the high temperature mold is filled with the molten polymer and closes, the part is formed during the curing. Extrusion is another polymer processing method that can be used to produce plastic parts that are typically linear in shape. The extrusion process also uses hot molten plastic and a heated tool, however the extrusion tool is an open tool, called a die.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the entity in charge of approving materials that come into contact with human body, based on the material’s biocompatibility and biostability properties. There are a variety of methods that can be used to verify a material’s properties. However not all materials will require testing, the FDA states “if there is sufficient knowledge about the biocompatibility and toxicity of the material, then it is not necessary for further biocompatibility testing”.
Green Manufacturing (GM) can be defined as “manufacturing methods that support and sustain a renewable way of producing products and/or services that do not harm to the environment” . When the social and technological aspects of design, the reduction of environmental and health risks, worker protection and the use of the products are also included, we are talking about Environmentally Conscious Design and Manufacturing (ECD&M) . It may sound simple in words but the implementation of this methodology in a company requires the organization of production operations, management functions and personnel to facilitate the minimization of technical efforts and wastes .