Injection molding flash, also known as flashing, refers to extra plastic that develops on the surface of injection-molded objects. Although some injection molding flash is expected during the plastic injection molding process, too much flash can harm the surface finish of parts and obstruct seating, mating, or assembly.

Sungplastic seeks to shed light on flash’s root causes and help toolmakers and injection molders with advice on how to recognize and handle flashing problems. To produce high-quality plastic parts with little to no flash, Sungplastic works with manufacturing partners who have the required skill in tool making and injection molding.

You will learn more about injection molding flash if you keep reading. To obtain a quote for your forthcoming project, you can directly contact us. When you do this, you will have access to design for manufacturing feedback (DFM), which can help you optimize your design to reduce injection molding flash. For additional design tips, you can also discuss with our expert designers.

Injection Molding Flash

Causes of Injection Molding Flash

Injection molding flash can occur due to various factors, including:
parting line mismatches
improper venting
low clamping pressure
low viscosity
uneven flow
Some of these issues are related to tooling, but others are a function of processing.  

Parting Line Mismatches

Injection molding flash often occurs when molten plastic escapes through gaps at the parting line, where the two halves of the injection mold separate to release the plastic part. Proper alignment and fitting of the mold halves during the tool making process can prevent injection molding flash. However, over time, wear and tear can lead to gaps, and contaminants can hinder mold closure, requiring cleaning and refitting.

Improper Venting

Vents are essential in molds to allow air to escape and ensure complete filling of the cavity. Insufficient or improper venting can result in injection molding flash. Vents need to be appropriately sized to allow air to escape while preventing molten plastic from escaping. The number, depth, and location of vents are crucial considerations.

Insufficient Clamping Pressure

The clamping pressure, which holds the mold closed during injection, plays a role in injection molding flash formation. If the pressure inside the mold exceeds the clamping pressure of the injection molding machine, it can force the mold halves apart, leading to injection molding flash. Insufficient clamping pressure can also cause plastic leakage, even with well-fitted mold halves.

Low Viscosity and Uneven Flow

Processing conditions can contribute to flash by causing low viscosity, making the plastic flow too readily, or by allowing the mold to fill too rapidly. Factors such as excessive melt temperatures, prolonged residence times, inadequate drying leading to residual moisture, and excessive use of coolants can all contribute to flash formation.

Addressing these issues requires careful attention to tooling design, mold maintenance, and process optimization. By addressing the root causes, manufacturers can minimize flash and achieve high-quality injection molded parts.

How to Address Injection Molding Flash Issues

In the realm of injection molding, adhering to industry standards is crucial, and typically, the acceptable threshold for mold flash is less than 0.004 inches (0.10 mm). To put this into perspective, if you were to run your finger along the edge of the molded part, you shouldn’t feel anything sharp. Achieving even lower levels of flashing, such as 0.002 inches (0.05 mm) or less, is indeed possible, but it demands meticulous attention during tooling design, construction, and mold fitting. It’s important to note that reducing flash to lower levels can also lead to increased tooling costs.

If your injection-molded components require these stricter flash limitations, Sungplastic recommends communicating your requirements during the quoting and Design for Manufacturability (DFM) stages. Typically, the responsibility for flash elimination falls on the shoulders of the molding partner. While some partners may suggest manually trimming flash, this may not always be the optimal solution. Hand trimming entails additional labor, and it can result in variations from one part to another. Moreover, if excessive flashing is present when the tool is brand new, it’s likely to worsen as the tool undergoes wear and tear.

If you encounter excessive flash in your parts, Sungplastic suggests that you request your molding partner to take specific troubleshooting measures and address issues in the following areas:

How to Deal with Parting Line Mismatches
How to Deal with Insufficient Venting
How to Deal with Inadequate Clamping Pressure
How to Deal with Low Viscosity and Uneven Flow
How to Deal with Mold Deflection During Filling

Addressing these specific problem areas can help mitigate flash issues and ensure that your injection molding process produces parts that meet your quality requirements.

How to Deal with Parting Line Mismatches

To tackle parting line mismatches, it’s essential to ensure that the two halves of the mold align properly without any gaps. This process, known as spotting, involves applying ink to one half of the tool and closing both halves together. By transferring ink to the other half of the mold, spotting reveals any alignment issues requiring additional mold fitting. In the United States, blue ink is typically used, while red ink is the choice in China.

How to Deal with Insufficient Venting

When dealing with insufficient venting in new tooling, first, confirm whether vents exist in your mold, as sometimes this crucial step can be overlooked during manufacturing. If vents are present, ensure they are spaced at intervals of 1 to 2 inches apart. Additionally, inquire about the appropriate vent depth, which varies depending on the type of plastic being molded. If your parts have been in production for a while and flash has become an issue, consider cleaning the vents as a potential solution.

How to Deal with Inadequate Clamping Pressure

Injection molding comprises filling, packing, and holding stages, all of which can contribute to flash formation. Begin by requesting your molder to produce fill-only parts and assess if excessive flash occurs. If so, check the press’s clamping tonnage and inspect the mold for debris that may affect the clamping force. Tonnage refers to the clamping force that the injection molding press can exert. During the packing and holding stages, your molder may need to adjust the pack and hold pressure to prevent flash. These stages involve injecting extra material to compensate for shrinkage during packing and maintaining pressure equilibrium during holding.

How to Deal with Low Viscosity and Uneven Flow

Melt temperature, which is the temperature at which solid plastic pellets melt as they exit the nozzle and enter the mold, plays a critical role in the injection molding process. Manufacturers provide a range of melt temperatures, and different plastics may have distinct temperature requirements. Additionally, variations can occur between batches of polymers with the same basic formula. To address issues related to low viscosity and uneven flow that may lead to flash, it is advisable to verify that the melt temperature on the injection molding machine falls within the recommended range specified by the material’s manufacturer.

How to Deal with Mold Deflection During Fill

Injection molding flash caused by mold deflection during the fill stage is often influenced by clamping and cavity pressures. To address this type of tooling distortion, ask your molding partner to check the dial indicators on the tooling’s platen. If mold deflection remains a concern, additional support hardware may be required for the tool to maintain its structural integrity during the injection process.

By systematically addressing these injection molding flash issues, you can work towards minimizing flash and ensuring the production of high-quality parts.

Troubleshooting Injection Molding Flash at Sungplastic

As an expert injection molder, Sungplastic provides DFM analysis and methods to troubleshoot Injection Molding Flash for our customers’ projects. We will optimize mold design, control injection parameters, implement proper process control,Maintain and inspect various equipment. Before full-scale production, conduct trials and validation runs to fine-tune the process and identify potential flash-related problems.

We can address flashing issues and produce the high-quality injection molded parts you require because we have the tools and expertise to do so.
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