Injection Molding—What Does Clean Mean?

Clean Injection Molding

If you need injection molded parts for medical, electronics or other contamination-sensitive applications, you may expect that the parts will have to be produced in a clean room facility. That expectation could cost you.

Certified clean rooms are a necessity for some jobs, but they can drive up the price you’ll pay for each and every part. Instead, many contamination-sensitive parts can successfully be manufactured under what we call Clean Injection Molding conditions, which is sometimes known as “white-wall injection molding.”

So what exactly does Clean Injection Molding mean? For starters, the walls don’t really have to be white. Any color will do as long as the molding facility employs a combination of equipment and production processes that reduce or eliminate the possibility parts will be contaminated.

With our history molding components for the optical industry, our facility has been built from the ground up for Clean Injection Molding. Key aspects of our approach include:

  • All-electric molding machines. Aside from their repeatability and efficiency, all-electric molding machines simply generate less airborne particulate than their hydraulic equivalents. Nothing against hydraulics, but if you want to mold clean, all-electric is the way to go.
  • Robotic parts handling. Another essential ingredient in molding clean is the use of robotic parts handling systems. From removing parts from the mold to performing secondary operations post-mold, robots keep things clean by eliminating contamination from humans or dirty surfaces.
  • Epoxy, anti-static floor. When we said our plant was built from the ground up for cleanliness, we weren’t kidding. Our epoxy floor is not only easy to keep clean but also has anti-static properties—and you can think of static electricity as a form of contamination that can destroy parts.
  • Robust air exchange and filtration. Keep the air flowing if you want to mold clean. Our facility features air handling systems capable of filtering and exchanging 1,000,000 cubic feet of air every hour. It would be tempting to operate our air handling system to keep our heating bills down in the Minnesota winter and minimize our cooling bills in the summer, but we actually run the system 24/7 with cleanliness in mind. We exchange and filter plant and outside air continuously—all the while maintaining constant temperature and humidity in our molding operation throughout the year.

These are just a few of the things we do to mold clean in our facility. At the end of the day, however, Clean Injection Molding is a mindset that pervades every aspect of our operation—from pellets coming in the door to inspected parts leaving our loading dock.

Get in touch, and we can explore whether your medical or similar part lends itself to our Clean Injection Molding approach. If it does, you’ll save some money on your way to quality parts. And, by the way, if your part truly does need a certified clean room for manufacturing, assembly, cleaning, inspection or assembly, we can handle that too.

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