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Tag Archive: vacuum molding

  1. Vacuum vs Slush Molding: The Right Tooling for Your Application

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    Working on process design for an upcoming program? FET Engineering provides electroform nickel tooling for slush molding, vacuum molding, roto molding, and other processes important to the form and finish of many end products in automotive, marine, recreational vehicle, and heavy-duty industries. As most major market leaders work with multiple molding vendors, it’s important to specify the best-fit requirements from the start.

    Which molding process is the best fit for your end product?

    Vacuum Forming

    Vacuum molds are an excellent fit for high-volume parts, for instance, automotive, marine or recreational vehicle interiors. Vinyl and foam padding can be molded together in a single shot, repeatably over 1000s and 1000s of parts from a single mold. Many interior components are made using vacuum forming like this full interior door panel electroformed nickel in-mold grain lamination (IMGL) tool by FET Engineering.

    From a design perspective, vacuum mold shapes are also easily customized which makes designing the mold a quicker process that lends itself to a better final design.

    Vacuum forming is best fit for: High volume, large panels with deep groove lines

    Slush Molding

    Slush molding is the process of heating the mold up to a very high temperature and dumping dry powder into the hot mold creating a melted “slushy” product that is rolled around until cooled.  As it cools, it solidifies and all the textures and details are then transferred.  The result is a skin that is hand pulled from the mold. (Think of dipping your hand in wax and pulling the wax off to reveal your fingerprint and texture) This skin is then taken to the next step to be bonded with the substrate by a foam injection machine that FET also provides.

    Slush molding can produce the finest textures, such as leather grain, and tooling for slush molding typically requires a shorter lead time than vacuum tooling, though because of the high heat required, will require more maintenance and repair over the lifetime of a high volume, long-running program. FET Engineering supports your Tier 2 molding vendors with US-based service, cleaning, and mold repair.

    Slush molding is best fit for: Lower initial cost, faster lead time, lower volume parts with highly precise detail

    Summary

    Vacuum Tooling Slush Molding
    • Low cost at high volume
    • Extreme detail transfer with complex shapes
    • Efficient, low heat
    • Lower cycle times
    • No robotics needed
    • Shorter lead times for additional molds
    • Consistent and repeatable

    FET is proud to provide vacuum and slush tooling services across the globe. We provide extensive repair and maintenance services and warranty all our products. Contact us to learn more about how FET can be of service for any of your mold tooling applications.

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