Structural foam molding.
Structural foam molding (SFM) is similar to traditional injection molding in that heated thermoplastics are injected into precision-made tools. The key difference between structural foam molding and typical injection molding is SFM was developed and is capable of producing much larger sized parts with lower molding pressures.
Lower molding pressures are needed with structural foam because inert gases add to the pressure in the mold cavity instead of relying totally on machine pressure. This produces results with a cellular core and solid plastic exterior walls and a part geometry with less internal stress and better stability.
SFM gives product designers and manufacturers great benefits and opportunities to create a variety of custom manufactured plastic products.
Advantages of structural foam:
- Capable of producing larger parts than conventional injection molding.
- Lower pressure needed in the molding process.
- Smaller tonnage presses and aluminum molds can be used.
- Less stress and a more stable design geometry.
- Lighter weight parts with higher impact strength and better strength to weight ratio.
Click here to see a case study on how our structural foam molding team helped launch a new product line.
Applications of structural foam:
The commercial applications of structural foam are practically unlimited. The process and material offer designers and engineers unique creative and functional properties.
Used in recreational vehicles, commercial truck parts and products, outdoor consumer products, industrial and business equipment, underground applications and much more.
Let’s discuss how our specialist teams, advanced structural foam molding capabilities and USA based facilities can benefit your product development and manufacturing.
Multi-nozzle technology is unique to the structural foam process. Injection nozzles are located throughout the platen surface. This allows large sized parts to have multiple injection locations or the opportunity to run multiple molds simultaneously on a single molding press. Each injection nozzle allows for precisely controlled heat, time and material processing.
Holes in platen where multiple nozzles can be precisely located and individually controlled.
Structural Web / Gas Assist Molding
Gas assist, otherwise known as structural web, offers added production advantages. Gas channels are added to the part geometry to improve fill characteristics. The result is a better cosmetic appearance by lessening the appearance of shrink opposite ribs and transition points, plus the reduction or elimination of the swirl pattern you typically see with structural foam.
Production benefits include:
- Large structural components and/or hollow parts with thinner walls and lighter weight.
- Smooth surfaces that rival finish of high-pressure injection molding.
- Consistent surface finish and color with no swirls.
- Advantages and savings of lower pressure molding.
- Aluminum tools save money compared to steel molds.
- Much larger part size using minimum clamp tonnage.
Our teams can quickly advise on your product suitability and manufacturing process. We also can assist with design, engineering, mold making and material selection to get your project started right.
Most importantly, being structural foam specialists, we have the expertise, quality controls, staff and comprehensive facilities needed to take your parts from development through production seamlessly and cost-effectively.
Our in-house engineering department have developed many new products and can achieve up to 12% reduction in part weight and production using aluminum tooling. This can add up to substantial savings over the life of a program.
Precision specifications, superior quality control systems and state of the art nozzle controls assure the highest level of shot-to-shot consistency from the first run through production runs years into the future.
Leaders in structural foam technologies.
Robot automation, modern equipment and independent multi-nozzle injection control have kept us on the cutting edge of SFM. Multiple part geometries in multiple colors are molded in each cycle on a Uniloy Milacron 1500 ton press. Two robots on one beam handle the parts.
Miles Products is proud to work with one of America’s best structural foam molding facilities. In 2015 an investment of 13 million dollars was made in new plant and equipment. When completed, the expansion will offer a 323,000 sq. ft. state of the art structural foam molding complex built to our specifications on a green field site in Ohio.
Press sizes include 2,600 ton, 1,500 ton, 1,000 ton, 725 ton, 500 ton, and 375 ton machines with single part capabilities of up to 200 lbs. This all adds up to the very best in SFM services and capabilities to dependably supply even your most demanding needs.
Structural Foam Molding Design Guide
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Learn about the various molding processes. The guide includes tips, illustrations and specifications to refer to when planning and designing for structural foam molding.