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Injection molding and die casting are the main methods for mass production of both plastic and metal parts, which can be the components for end products or even the end product itself.
For many people, it is difficult to make a difference between the processes of injection molding and die casting, but you have arrived to the right place as we explain it as clearly as possible.
Injection molding is a manufacturing process where a mold created with the features and requirements of the part being produced is filled with raw material that has been previously liquified. To make sure the mold is completely filled the material is injected into it by using high pressure, hence the name injection molding.
As it happens with any other process, injection molding can offer a series of advantages depending on the application. The most common ones are:
There is not such thing as a perfect manufacturing process. There are always some negative aspects that should be taken into account when selecting the process for the application in hand. The most relevant disadvantages of injection molding are:
The most common materials available for injection molding are thermoset materials and thermoplastic materials. Here is a list of the most common names of available material of injection molding found in the market:
The most common applications of injection molding are found in electronics where joints and housings are typically made by using this process. Other good application product examples include but are not limited to:
Die casting is a manufacturing process which is very similar to injection molding, as it involves filling a mold (die) with molten material by the use of pressure and letting the material cool off until it solidifies in the shape of the desired part. The main difference is that the molten material is a type of metal instead of being thermoset or thermoplastic materials.
Some advantages of die casting are very similar to those obtained when using injection molding because the process is very similar. However, here are the most relevant advantages of die casting:
As mentioned before, there will always be negative aspect to be considered when choosing a manufacturing process, as they may affect the result on the specific application. Here are the most important disadvantages of die casting:
As mentioned before, materials used for die casting are metals and alloys which have melting points that are not very high. The most common names found in the market as available material of die casting are:
Die casting parts are found in many different industries, being one of the most prominent the automotive industry. However, die casting is used in the production of many general engineering equipment such as pumps and power tools. Here are other application product examples of die casting:
It is obvious that both molding and casting are very similar processes. However, there are some differences, being the materials used to produce the parts the most relevant one. Another difference can be found in how the molds and dies are made, since some injection molding manufacturers are currently 3D printing their molds. Finally, plastic parts are not as strong and durable as metal parts, so this could be an important difference to consider depending on the application.
To visualize the differences a bit better, take a look at the following table:
|Uses thermoset and thermoplastic materials
|Uses metals and alloys
|Molds can be made of metals or plastics by 3D printing them
|Dies are usually made by machining the desired shape into metal
|Functional parts for low impact and low stress applications
|Functional parts where strength and durability are important
Both injection molding and die casting are manufacturing processes for mass production of large volume. Although they have similarities, these processes should be differentiated as the materials used for each are different, thus affecting the costs associated and the possible application for each of them.
Injection molding is recommended for those applications with reduced exposure to impact, stress and harsh environments, while die casting works perfectly fine for those applications where high strength and durability are required. The selection should be made based on the application and the budget available.
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