The only way to run a successful injection molding operation is to have an outstanding process monitoring system to go along with the injection molding machines. There are several parameters that need to be monitored, with the goal to minimize variability in the process itself, which in turn will minimize variability in the product.

Parameters include (not in order): Times (Cycle, Fill, clamp, etc), Pressures (pk hyd, hold, back, in-cavity, etc), Temps (water, oil), Distance (Cushion, etc).
I am amazed at the number of companies that do not monitor their processes. I think it is because of the variability of the process from job run to job run. This variability is a built in rationalization for non-investment in monitoring hardware, software, etc. One needs to be convinced of the immediate and long term cost savings before an investment will be made.
The propositions behind injection molding process simulation are very basic. First, that although our plastic materials and processes are very complex they are not special. They obey the same laws of physics as everything else and that means that prediction is possible. Plastic Injection Molding Process

Second, that expert calculation is better than expert estimate. If plastic injection molding had been simple, we would all have been calculating the process since plastic injection molding began. But it was too complex for pencil and paper, slide rule and log table so it had to wait for affordable computing to come along. That is the sole reason why injection molding process simulation by computer seems controversial while rule-of-thumb calculations for locking force seem natural.

Third, that because the materials, processes and geometries are so complex, the computer model must be imperfect but this does not mean it is useless. A law of diminishing returns ensures that beyond an economic point, further gains in model accuracy bring only slight improvements in results. The threshold moves as calculation techniques develop and the cost of computing power drops but the principle remains. Current simulation models are probably close to being as good as they need to be. With them, a plastic injection molding expert can get closer to right-first-time than without them and that's where the benefit lies. Incidentally, when we use a rule of thumb, we are using a very simplified process model. It is a lot further from reality than any computer simulation out there.
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