Manufacturers make countless products today with reaction injection molding, from automotive parts to medical equipment. But what is reaction injection molding?
Reaction injection molding, or RIM, is a manufacturing process that gives engineers a ton of design freedom. Products from vehicle bumpers and fenders to protective casings on scientific machinery are possible to create through it. The RIM process can also create encapsulated products without harming electronic components, such as circuit boards and antennas.
The RIM process usually helps create plastic products and features multiple stages. It starts by mixing plastic liquids under high pressure. These liquids then move into a mold, where they solidify. Besides design freedom, this simple procedure has many advantages. Read on to understand the benefits of reaction injection molding.
Products created using the RIM process feature thermosets rather than thermoplastics. Thermosets have a two-part liquid formula that reacts chemically. On the other hand, thermoplastics require a separate heating and cooling process. Thermosets also contribute to greater strength for the molded product, whether it has rigid, elastomeric, or foam properties.
Because the injection pressures and processing temperatures in the RIM process are lower than other manufacturing methods, RIM is cost effective for larger projects. The ability to customize each product also contributes to this advantage. For example, manufacturers can choose to create RIM products with:
- Varying thicknesses
- Molded-in inserts
- Consolidated parts for sleek, seamless, and more sterile products
RIM manufacturing also involves less expensive tooling than other processes. Additionally, RIM utilizes less energy and floor space than other processes, especially injection molding.
Understanding the benefits of reaction injection molding also entails considering its effect on weight. RIM products tend to be much more light than products fabricated with other manufacturing methods. This allows engineers to create items that are lightweight yet simultaneously strong.