Courses are focused on the design, development, and manufacturing of plastic products. As such, each course is designed to present the technology from an industry perspective using real life examples and development case histories.
Courses in the Foundation Series are designed for technical professionals of all backgrounds and skill levels. They are especially pertinent to design engineers, industrial designers, technical and non-technical managers, sourcing and purchasing professionals, quality specialists, production personnel, and technical sales and marketing staff. Courses in the Specialty Series are designed similarly, with a subject manner of special interest. Courses in the Advanced Series are suitable for experienced technical professionals only.
Courses in the Foundation Series are presented in a 1-day format. Courses in the Specialty or Advanced Series may be presented in a 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day format. A course outline, notes, and a glossary of technical terminology will be provided to each attendee.
Injection Molding – A Designer’s Perspective
This course provides an overview of injection molding from a designer’s perspective. We will follow the process from raw material through plastication (melting), to injection into the mold, through the cooling phase to ejection from the machine, and finally through post handling and assembly. We will discuss raw material issues, machine constraints, tooling concerns, and basic design criteria, and how these can affect the form, fit, and function of the final molded part. Finally, we will discuss vendor selection (design and engineering firms, toolmakers, molders, and resin suppliers).
At the conclusion of this course, attendees will be capable of evaluating the suitability of injection molding for any given part, and will understand the criteria involved in vendor selection.
Estimating Production Costs
This course provides a simple yet comprehensive methodology for estimating production costs. Included in the methodology are the variables mentioned above, plus labor rates, overhead rates, secondary operation costs, handling costs, packaging costs, freight costs, customs fees, transaction expenses, global exchange rates, and more. Additional variables which can be included include estimates of yield losses, rework costs, and recycling costs.
At the conclusion of this course, attendees will be capable of preparing a comprehensive cost analysis for any product, manufactured anywhere in the world.
Note: While the focus of this course is on injection molding, the process and methodology is applicable to all manufacturing processes.
Plastic Material Selection
This course presents a methodology for plastic material selection that is unique in the plastics industry. Unlike conventional materials selection methods – which rely almost exclusively on quantitive data – this methodology will allow attendees to evaluate the suitability of any thermoplastic material for any given design application.
In this course attendees will be introduced to the world of commodity and engineering plastics. Using case histories and commercial examples, we will explore how these materials are used, and why they are used. We will discuss grades of materials (prime, off-spec, industrial, etc), the use of additives (structural reinforcements, fillers, processing agents, UV stabilizers, etc), and – most important of all – costs (including raw material costs, processing costs, and cost of secondary operations). Using common layman’s language, we will then translate generic terms about a material’s characteristics – such as stiffness, strength, and toughness – into specific technical properties that are relevant – and quantifiable – to the intended application. We will review industry standard tests that are used to quantify these properties, and discuss how to interpret and understand the behavior of the material in the intended application based on the available property data.
At the conclusion of this course, attendees with have sufficient knowledge to write a comprehensive material specification for any given application.
Note: while this course is primarily focused on injection molding, the methodology is applicable to most thermoplastic processing technologies, including blow molding, rotational molding, extrusion, et al.
Fundamentals of Plastic Part Design
This course provides a technical overview of plastic part design for injection molding. We will begin with some basic guidelines for plastics (such as minimum and maximum wall thicknesses, use of radii, etc), along with basic tooling requirements (parting lines, draft, gates, ejector pins, etc). We will discuss how the part design affects injection and flow of molten plastic through the mold cavity, and the effects of wall thickness variations (including ribs and bosses). We will review the requirements for the fixed and moving halves of the mold, and some criteria to determine the preferred orientation of the part in the mold. We will then discuss gate location(s) – where they should be and where they can (and can’t) be – parting line locations, slides, shut-offs, ejector pins, and how all of these affect draft requirements. We will review the differences between amorphous and semi-crystalline resins, and for unfilled, filled, and reinforced materials. Finally we will discuss post mold design issues, including de-gating, flash removal, and secondary operations.
At the conclusion of this course, attendees will have sufficient knowledge to design a plastic part for injection molding.
Engineering Documentation for Molded Plastics Parts
This course provides an overview of the various types of documentation that can be used to control the form, fit, and function of a molded plastic part. It begins with a discussion of CAD data, including methods to control design status, along with discussion of native format versus translated data. We will discuss the purpose and proper use of engineering drawings, in both digital and paper formats. We will review basic methodology for specification and measurement of plastic part dimensions using standard GD&T principles. We will review the use (and mis-use) of standard drawing notes, including tolerance tables, material call outs, and more. We will discuss the purpose and proper use of specification documents, as well as test data, measurement reports, and analysis reports. Finally, we will review methods for storage and retrieval of engineering documentation, in both analog and digital formats.
At the conclusion of this course, attendees will be capable of conducting a “release for tooling” design review of a molded plastic part.
Coloring of Plastics
This course presents an introduction to the coloring of plastic materials. It begins with an overview of color technology, including how color is defined and measured, the difference between color and appearance, and the variables to consider. The main section of the course provides an overview of the various ways color is achieved in plastics materials, and the costs and resources involved. Finally, we will discuss proper methods for selecting and specifying the color and appearance of a molded plastic part.
Please see our terminology section for a sample glossary of color technology.
Advanced training for experienced technical professionals is available in a number of areas, as listed below. These courses follow the same format as courses in the Specialty Series, but are intended to provide more in-depth exploration of the topic. Courses in this series can be custom designed to meet the needs of the client.