Advantages of Production Injection Molds vs. High-Volume 3D Printing
hile 3D printing does not have the upfront cost of a mold as injection molding does, it does not reduce unit costs over time, as injection molding does.
Plastic injection molding can quickly become a more economical option, with production running in just a few hundred pieces.
Faster production times
Most of the time spent in plastic injection molding is spent in manufacturing the mold itself.
During a real production run, a set of parts can be created in seconds.
For a 3D printer, it can take 20 minutes to make a part (a very small and simple design, such as a washer or nut) or several hours (more complex or larger parts).
This means that producing a large number of parts does not have a significant impact on the total time required for injection molding.
On the other hand, adding more parts to an order could give a 3D printer days, weeks or even months to complete the order.
High quality products
The most common 3D printer is a melt deposition modeling (FDM) machine.
This means that the printer creates the part by repeatedly heating a drop of plastic and dropping it onto the part.
Allow each layer to cool completely before adding the next layer.
This layering can introduce new structural weaknesses because these layers can sometimes be easily separated.
For plastic injection molding, the production mold is completely filled with molten plastic and then cooled.
Since the parts come together as a whole, injection molding does not introduce any new structural defects.