Plastic injection molding presses are classified or rated based on tonnage, or more specifically, the clamping pressure or force. Presses can run in size from less than 5 tons of clamping pressure to over 6000 tons. The higher the press ton rating, the larger the machine.
A machine rated for 60 tons can deliver 60 tons of clamping pressure. This pressure keeps the mold closed during the injection process. Too much or too little pressure can cause quality issues. Too much or too little pressure can also cause flashing, where excess material appears on the part edge.
How to know the required press tonnage?
There are many factors that are taken into consideration when determining the size of the press. The size of the part, the polymer being used and something called the safety factor. The safety factor is an additional numerical percentage buffer that is added to the calculation to help avoid defects in the final part. Some recommend adding 10% to allow for the safety factor. As mentioned earlier, the MFI (Melt Flow Index) of the plastic compound will also impact the pressure needed to produce the part. Many calculations include the platen size as well as the mold and part size, however, to get an estimate of the press size your project will need, we have simplified it even further.