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Choosing Wall Thickness - How it Affects Cost

SpecialChem / Jan 24, 2007

The minimum thickness that can be moulded is a function of the apparent viscosity of the polymer melt, the pressure available from the injection unit and the distance the melt has to flow. The wall thickness must be much greater for a high viscosity polymer such as polycarbonate than it would be for a low viscosity one such as polyamide. The optimum wall thickness is polymer and flow length dependant. The wall thickness determines the total weight of the component too. Compared to 3mm, 2.7mm does not seem to be too much different, but of course, it determines that a moulding will require 10% less material. Furthermore 2.7mm will cool 12% quicker than 3mm if its polypropylene and 15% faster if it is HD polyethylene. As the cost of an injection moulding is dependant upon polymer content and production rate, 0.3mm can make a significant effect on cost. Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) products such a Moldflow will enable the prediction of optimum wall thickness based upon a pre-determined maximum injection pressure for almost any polymer.

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