Design for manufacturing (DFM) in injection molding is about optimizing the design of a molded part so that it’s easy to make, cost-effective to produce, and meets your application requirements. DFM encompasses material selection, mold design, and process optimization but also accounts for quality, reliability, safety, time-to-market, compliance, and assembly.
Known also as design for manufacturability, DFM works best when part design informs mold design and vice versa. Part designers also need to understand the basics of the injection molding process, which begins when a polymer is heated and forced through a nozzle or sprue. Within the mold, this material passes through runners and gates. When the part is ready, the mold is opened and the part is extracted.
There are many DFM considerations, but several that are especially important for injection molding:
- material selection
- wall thickness
- draft angles
- structural reinforcements
- cycle times
The following sections explain.