Custom Plastic Injection Molding and Custom Rubber Molding Under One Roof

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Over molding of rubber on plastic a growing trend in the industry.

It is an obvious advantage to have one supplier responsible for all aspects of product delivery

Today’s competitive market demands are the driving force behind the technological advancements and process improvements required to gain product advantage. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the custom plastic injection molding and rubber injection molding industries, where two distinct processes must converge in the creation of products that involve rubber over moldings over plastic substrates.

Medical and dental devices, electronic connectors, hand tools and a variety of consumer products are increasingly produced utilizing rubber over molding on plastic -- primarily to improve the ergonomics of the final product. However, there are additional compelling drivers that are fueling the estimated 15% growth in demand for such products every year. Most notably, such finished goods often command higher market prices.

Unfortunately, higher market prices mean significantly less if manufacturing costs also rise. Yet this is often the case as such parts typically involve a myriad of players -- a plastic injection molding company, a rubber molding supplier that produces the over molding, and yet another party for assembly. This process is unwieldy and also adds significant costs from increased shipping and logistics, delays in receipt of parts from one or more sources, parts that fit poorly together, and no single source of responsibility.

In an attempt to avoid this scenario, product manufacturers are instead turning to the rare breed of injection molder that can handle custom plastic injection molding along with custom rubber molding -- along with assembly -- under one roof. Of the approximately 700 custom injection molding companies in the U.S., only a handful can lay claim to the required capabilities and expertise.

“It is an obvious advantage to have one supplier responsible for all aspects of product delivery,” says Wil Thomas, senior project engineer for R&D at Nobel Biocare, a world leader in dental solutions including crown, bridge and implant products.

Nobel Biocare selected Applied Tech Products Engineered Rubber and Plastics Group (ATPERPG) as a single plastic/rubber source. ATPERPG is a global manufacturing company that provides product design, prototyping, tool design and production, custom plastic injection molding, rubber injection molding, finishing/assembly, packaging and distribution.

ATPERPG designed a container for Nobel Biocare that holds dental implants using a custom plastic injection molding process with a rubber injection molding overlay. Everything from design through assembly of the finished product was accomplished at ATP’s facility in Tempe, Arizona. As a result, Nobel Biocare was able to keep costs down.

Injection molders can also approximate rubber over molding by utilizing thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), also known as “plastic rubber.” ATPERPG also provides this service, making it one of a very few molders that provide expertise in rubber (including silicone), TPEs and engineered thermoplastic resins. As such, the company can guide product designers more objectively in the area of material selection. This decision typically is made through an analysis of the product’s purpose and the preferences of the end use customer.

“Our industrial engineers chose synthetic rubber rather than TPE as it had a better feel,” explains Thomas.

According to Thomas, Nobel Biocare has experienced little or no quality problems related to the custom rubber molding or custom plastic injection molding processes. “ATP helped us develop something that really differentiated us from our competitors,” adds Thomas.

AT P Engineered Rubber & Plastics Group

Mike Torti

Phone: (610) 688-2200

Fax: (610) 688-1534

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