Engineering Failure Analysis: Unveiling Plastic Injection Molding Issues Through Forensic Insights

Plastic injection molding has brought about a manufacturing revolution, enabling the creation of intricate components with unparalleled efficiency. However, even this advanced technique is not immune to challenges, and issues may arise that lead to product failures. In such cases, conducting a comprehensive product failure analysis becomes crucial in order to get your product back on the market quickly with every chance the product will live up to a reasonable expectation of a long market presence.

In this article, we’ll explore how engineering failure analysis through forensic research plays a pivotal role in uncovering problems within plastic injection molded projects, ensuring the quality and reliability of the final products.

Understanding Plastic Injection Molding

Plastic injection molding is a versatile method used across industries to create a wide array of products, from consumer goods to automotive parts. It involves injecting molten plastic material into a mold cavity, which solidifies to take the desired shape. Unfortunately, many products fail to stand up to their intended use due to selecting the wrong resin material. Tensile strength, impact compression strength, chemical resistance, cooling temperature, and more must be taken into consideration when selecting the right engineered resin for a product’s intended use and requirements.

Every injection molded part is the result of a complex series of changes in phase, temperature, and pressure, filling rate and cooling rate,  so the custom plastic injection molder you select needs to be able to provide insight into the challenges that take place on a molecular level. Plastic Molded Concepts is one of very few plastic injection molding companies that uniquely specialize in engineered resin injection molding products. You can count on our years of experience and scientific knowledge and tools to help bring your product back to market quickly and successfully.

To discuss your injection molding challenges, reach out to one of our experts:

Larry Floyd: President/CEO/Chief Engineer
Garrett Woldanski: 
Sales Manager and Business Development/QA Liaison
Angie Wolter: 
Customer Support

Challenges in Injection Molding Projects

Despite its efficiency, injection molding projects can encounter challenges that lead to product failures. These challenges include:

  • Dimensional Inaccuracies: Variations in cooling rates or uneven mold filling can result in parts with inaccurate dimensions or warping.
  • Surface Defects: Inadequate cooling or poor mold surface quality can lead to blemishes like sink marks, weld lines, too little venting of material gasses and surface roughness.
  • Material Issues: Poor material selection or inconsistencies in material properties can affect the product’s mechanical properties and durability.
  • Mold Design Problems: Defects can arise due to suboptimal mold design, such as flow imbalances, trapped air, or insufficient cooling. Defective mold design can also be too small gate(s), too small runner system that can impede resin flow and lead to higher plastic pressure and causing molded dimensions to be very difficult to be repetitive dimensionally.  Very high cavity pressures can also lead to very unstable dimensions becoming unable to make products to repetitive dimensions for product after product cycle after cycle. In years past this was many times referred to as “Black art”!
  • Process Variations: Fluctuations in processing parameters like temperature, pressure, and cooling time can lead to variability and defects in the final product.

Engineering Failure Analysis: Uncovering Hidden Problems

Engineering failure analysis involves a systematic investigation to identify the root causes of product failures. In the context of plastic injection molding, this analysis includes:

  • Material Assessment: Thoroughly examining the material properties used in injection molding can reveal inconsistencies that contribute to defects. 
  • Mold Inspection: A comprehensive evaluation of mold design and condition helps pinpoint potential sources of defects. 
  • Defect Analysis: Investigating the underlying causes of defects through visual inspection, microscopy, and non-destructive testing provides insights into their formation.
  • Historical Data Review: Examining historical data from past molding runs helps identify patterns and trends in defects, contributing to a deeper understanding of the issues.

Benefits of Engineering Failure Analysis Through Forensic Research in Injection Molding

  • Quality Enhancement: Addressing the root causes of defects through forensic insights improves product quality and minimizes the risk of future defects.
  • Cost and Time Efficiency: Early resolution of material issues avoids costly rework, scrap, or additional processing steps saving time and helping products get back to market quickly.
  • Process Optimization: Insights from forensic research guide the optimization of processing parameters, enhancing efficiency and reducing waste.
  • Continuous Improvement: Lessons learned from forensic insights inform ongoing improvement in design and manufacturing processes.

Engineering failure analysis through forensic insights is invaluable for uncovering hidden issues within plastic injection molded products. By conducting forensic research, laboratory analysis can uncover resin issues leading to product failure. In addition to material assessments, mold inspections, process monitoring, defect analysis, and historical data reviews help manufacturers  identify the causes of product failures and prevent them from recurring. In the dynamic field of plastic injection molding, engineering failure analysis through forensic research plays a critical role in ensuring the success of projects across diverse industries.

Why Choose PMC?

Plastic Molded Concepts is a U.S based company that uniquely specializes in molding with engineered resins. We have been thriving in the plastic molding business for 45 years. We have the experience and certified in-house Master Molders, allowing us to take on projects of any complexity. We provide a comprehensive range of plastic molding services including mold design assistance, modeling, prototyping, manufacturing, and testing.

Discover how our forensic research can help identify and solve your product failure challenges by requesting a quote today.

Request quote

Plastic Molded Concepts creates and ships parts that our customers can use with confidence, security, and safety.