Dip molding’s origin can be traced back to the 1300s when the dipping process for tapered candles was developed. After World War II, the use of plastic became widespread as manufacturers began to apply dip molding techniques to create more flexible parts and pieces. The technology offered today has advanced exponentially, especially over the past 30 years with the development of polymer molding.The advancements in dip molding equipment, polymers and techniques now allow dip molding to compete with injection and blow molding and offers significantly lower entry and tooling costs.
In simplistic terms, the dip molding process entails the dipping or submersion of a tool, which is also commonly referred to as a mold, into a solution of polymer. The characteristics of the polymer, entry and exit speed of the tool into and out of the polymer, and the dwell time in the polymer impact the coating or film that will be developed onto the tool. Some thermally activated polymers require the tooling be heated either prior to immersion or during the immersion process. After the tooling is removed from the polymer, it is typically manipulated by changing the orientation of the tooling, allowing excess material to flow over the tool. This aids in uniformity and improves the cosmetic appearance. Thin wall molded products requiring high levels of uniformity are often manipulated by spinning the mold in conjunction with changing the orientation of the mold after it is withdrawn from the polymer. Many polymers require a drying step to harden or crosslink the polymer to obtain the final strength properties, allowing for easier removal or stripping. Secondary features can be added to the molded component during the dip process. For example, features can be over dipped or created by mechanically moving the coating that is on the tooling, as in creating a bead or ring.
The advances in equipment and processes would completely amaze our 13th century predecessors. Allow DipTech Systems® to assist in evaluating the optimal manufacturing equipment for your project. You, too, will be amazed!
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