Out of the world working environments, say the space, need innovative, out of the box approach when it comes to producing the parts needed out there.
In order that everything is functioning for our aerospace engineers, and the crew working for the aeronautics industry as to gears, parts, and tools, aerospace injection molding is a proven production method.
In this post, we shall lay down all the necessary details to up-end your information about aerospace injection molding. From applications, benefits, and factors to consider, this post contains a guide for your aerospace injection molding reference.
If you are curious about how aerospace injection molding works, better read on.
Switching to Injection Molding in the Aerospace Industry
To give you a better picture, we must answer the question, why use injection molding in the aerospace industry? Engineers and producers concede as to why and the following reasons are the most common answers for the switch to injection molding in the aerospace industry.
Since the molds are easier to produce and at a cost-efficient rate, flexible designs for molds can be easier accessed by aerospace engineers. Such is done through prototyping the parts, testing them, and then producing them into the final parts.
Selection of Materials:
Aerospace is a delicate and precise industry. As such, the most suitable materials should only be chosen for aerospace products and parts. For example, in making turbine blades, pin maps, and housings for tubes, say in aircrafts, lightweight thermoplastics and metals should be used.
The bonding of multiple materials makes injection molding a good production method for the aerospace industry.
Tight Tolerance and Precision:
Tight tolerance is a very important feature in automotive and the aerospace industry. Being in the air and often on the road, these industries require parts with the durability, longevity, and ability to withstand high pressure.
Hence, if the produced parts are not accurate, solidified in a hurry, or prone to breakage, it would be a total wreck for these industries.
Since injection molding is known to produce parts with high tight tolerance and precision, the aerospace industry could benefit from it.
Strength and Durability:
Note that the aerospace industry is prone to turbulence, high pressure, and other ruckus in the flight. With products and parts with high pressure resistance, good chemical bonding, and reinforced surfaces, through injection molding, such problems in-flight would not be a problem.
As has been said, the aerospace industry is dependent on lightweight technology. Hence, aerospace engineers always innovate ways for weight reduction in their parts.
According to Rapid Direct, injection molded parts are significantly lightweight as they are usually made of durable plastics. This is the main reason why injection molding is a mainstay in aerospace.
The consistency in the processes make injection molding the best production technique if you are eyeing for uniform functionality and quality. According to RevPart, one mold design can be used to produce 10,000 uniform parts.
So, if aircrafts need uniform replacement parts, you can turn to injection molding to supply the whole aircraft industry using just a few mold designs.
Aircrafts and other aerospace products always look shiny up there and for a good reason. As they are made from injection molding, producers can choose from a wide array of finish options.
From custom roughness, glossy, plain, textured, or matte finish, you can achieve that from injection molding.
This benefit of injection molding is the very reason for the switch by the aerospace industry. Eliminating consumables, fasteners, adhesives, and other production wastes also eliminate added manufacturing costs.
Compared to conventional methods, plastic materials and the whole injection molding process are easier to transport, to design, and to store.
There are other reasons which compel the aerospace industry to switch to injection molding. But in so far as the most upfront applications are concerned, the above mentioned make the switch worth it.
Materials Used in Aerospace Injection Molding
Another good news with aerospace injection molding is applicable to various materials, especially plastics.
The only thing that you should know is when to use the right plastics and being familiar with the strengths and limitations of each. In this section, we give an overview of the most common materials used in aerospace injection molding.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS):
ABS is a good material for aerospace injection molding because of its durability and hardness, abrasion and chemical resistance, and high tensile strength. Examples of ABS produced parts in aerospace are seating parts, luggage bins, and cockpit visors.
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE):
As an aerospace material, HDPE is well-known for its translucent look, and toughness even at very low pressures. As such, HDPE is used in aircraft belts and fasteners, instrument panels, signages, and seals.
High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS):
The best features of HIPS are its high impact strength and thermal resistance, stability, and cost-efficiency. Some aircraft products produced from HIPS are trays, cargo containers, bins, and signages.
This plastic is known for its toughness, thermal and chemical resistance, and translucent finish. PP is extensively used in the production of luggage compartments, plane panels, and seating.
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU):
Some of the best features of TPU which is beneficial for the aerospace industry is that it is very durable, with abrasion and compression resistance, plus high ductility.
With these upsides, TPU is used in the production of drive belts, instrument panels, and cargo linings for planes.
Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK):
This material is not used ordinarily. According to Schmit Prototypes, when applied in aerospace injection molding, PEEK is reinforced with other materials such as carbon fiber or glass fiber.
Some of the applications of PEEK in aerospace injection molding is the production of exterior aircraft parts, bearings, and cable insulation. PEEK has high thermal and chemical resistance, making steam, salt, ice, and jet fuel resistant aircrafts.
There is still an extensive list of plastic materials used in aerospace injection molding. However, this list gives you a backdrop of the most used materials and their application in the aerospace industry.
What Injection Molding Techniques Are Used for the Aerospace Industry?
Injection molding is the umbrella term used for various techniques. The most common of which insert molding, overmolding and plastic injection. Hence, in this section, we shall lay down how each injection molding technique is used in the aerospace industry.
Plastic Injection Molding:
In simple words, plastic injection molding involves the process of injecting molten plastic materials in specially designed mold. The materials commonly used in this process are thermoplastics and elastomers.
Some of the aerospace products produced through plastic injection molding are aircraft linings, luggage bins, compartments, belts, and seats, turbine enclosures, and turbine blades, among others.
This molding technique is also called the two-shot cycle. It means that you can create a part made from two types of components, mostly the combination of plastics or plastic and metal.
Of the four, it is the most upend.Overmolded aerospace parts include lavatories, seating, latches, handles, and switches.
As the name suggests, insert molding makes use of an insert, commonly a metal insert, and then molded with thermoplastic over it.
As a result, the metal component becomes embedded in the mold, creating more durable parts. Insert molded products in the aerospace industry include chassis parts, turbines, enclosures, and bezels.
If you need to produce uniform micro parts, you have to switch to micro molding. The types of products manufactured under micro molding are those, according to Xometry, that are at least 0.1 grams.
Parts of these weights and sizes are sensors, bearings, and other small gears for planes.
Overall, what is projected here is that injection molding is an all-around production technique in the aerospace industry. All the types of injection molding are used for various applications in this industry.
Injection Molded Aerospace Products Commonly Produced
While we have already mentioned some of the aerospace products manufactured through injection molding, there are some products which need to be emphasized. As such, here are the most common injection molded aerospace products that you should know of.
With the excessive air turbulence, you would want durable and high strength casings for the plane’s electronics and electric lines.
This is the main reason why battery housings for aircrafts are made from plastic injection molding. Specifically, thermal and chemical resistant plastics are chosen as they are less prone to vibrations and turbulences.
In the same way as the previous one, plane circuits must be encased where they cannot be disturbed by turbulence.
To protect them and the electric lines of the plane, they need to be kept in a highly insulated enclosure. Good thing, thermoplastics can be made into circuit enclosures at an aerospace grade durability.
While in-flight, aircrafts are dependent on communication equipment and radio transmission signals.
To make sure that the signal and communication flow are not intercepted up in the air and in bad weather, the radomes which encloses this equipment must be reinforced with durable casings. Injection molded thermoplastics are cut for this application.
To make sure that the flow speed is well-monitored, sensing devices like pilot tubes are installed in aircrafts. One feature that they must have is a smooth finish.
Enclosures with a custom finish at a cost-efficient production makes injection molding the most applicable technique for making pilot tubes.
These types of blades are lightweight, hence, very effective for the aerospace industry.
Not only does injection molding contribute to a lightweight solution to aircraft builds but the smooth finish and durable build also keep the right rate of propulsion for a more efficient aircraft performance.
Aircrafts and drones are built with several chassis’ parts. Injection molding creates stable chassis parts with cost-efficient processes.
Aside from this, designers and aerospace engineers also prefer injection molding in the production of chassis parts because of its smooth and translucent finishing as well as its reinforced parts.
This aircraft component needs very high tight tolerance. The main function of bezels is to prevent air leaks in the plane. Bezels are lightweight parts. It being the case, it only makes sense that they be manufactured using aerospace injection molding.
This is not an exclusive list. As have been mentioned, there is an endless list of products produced through aerospace injection molding.
But as regards the most common produced parts for the aerospace industry manufactured through injection molding, the above mentioned are the most significant.
Make Custom Aerospace Prototypes and Parts With Injection Molding From Kemal
As we have covered, there is a virtually endless possibility when it comes to production using aerospace injection molding. The products that can be manufactured out of the technique serve a lot of benefits and are indispensable in the aerospace industry.
If you are looking for a full range aerospace injection molding services, know that there are reputable manufacturing companies to do the work for you like Kemal Manufacturing.
With their pool of experts, including engineers, they can provide a comprehensive design line and consultation with how you would like to go about your aerospace prototypes and parts.
Make custom aerospace prototypes and parts with injection molding from Kemal now. You may visit their official website and see what they can offer.
Injection molding is a mainstay production technique because of significant reasons. Some of these are its cost-efficiency, fast lead time, accuracy, and consistent uniformity in products.
In the aerospace industry, the same benefits are obvious. As a matter of fact, the four major techniques used in injection molding are used in the production of aerospace products.
Using plastic materials such as PP, ABS, HIPS, and the like, the aerospace industry thrives through injection molding. Some of the products manufactured using aerospace injection molding are bezels, chassis parts, turbine blades, and radomes. ‘
Switching to aerospace injection molding is easy if you are a producer. Check out some of the most reputable companies in the field like Kemal, for all your aerospace injection molding needs.