It is well known that the Injection plastic mold used to create plastic parts ranging from water bottles to automobile bumpers are the most critical – and expensive – part of the injection molding process. In some cases a single mold can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, not including the ongoing maintenance and running costs.
However, despite being made of hardened steel, the very process of injecting melted resins at high temperatures and pressure into cavities over many cycles begins to wear away and erode the surface of cavities and moving components. Even the thermoplastic material itself can be abrasive or “sticky,” acting like sandpaper or leaving residue that wears down the surface.
Now, with the increased utilization of even more abrasive material in the form of long glass and composite fibers, the amount of abrasion and friction within molds is increasing. Subsequently, molds are taking even more of a beating.
It is for this reason that injection molders are turning to a variety of coatings to protect their investment and reduce maintenance and running costs. These coatings, applied to mold cavities as well as moving, sliding components within the mold, come in a variety of styles from carbon-based coatings, PVD & PACVD deposition to nitriding techniques that share one overriding goal: hardening the surface of the steel to protect it against all manner of abuse.
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