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There's a lot of industry terms to sort through in manufacturing. Explore our glossary for quick definitions of frequently used manufacturing terms and acronyms.

2K Molding
2k Molding is an injection molding method that uses two different plastic raw materials to produce a part. One plastic raw material is processed after the other within separate cavities in a single tool.


2-stage ejection
The two-stage ejecting is a structure in which two ejection operations can be performed when a die casting is ejected from the core.
3D Printing
Alternatively called Additive manufacturing, 3D printing is a technology based on digital model files, using adhesive materials such as powdered metal or plastic materials to build objects by printing them layer by layer.
A-side
A cosmetic portion of a finished part. It is usually the outermost side of the finished part that will cover the details on the cavity of the mold tool. The opposite of the A-side is the B-side.

A-Plate

The portion of the mold that creates the outermost and cosmetic side of the part. It may also be called the “cavity” and does not usually have any moving parts within it.
Anodizing
Electrolytic passivation results in the addition of an oxide layer onto the surface of a part (mostly aluminum) to increase the thickness of the oxide layer and protect the surface of the part from corrosion and abrasion.
Additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a production technique that involves the manufacture of a physical 3D object by controlling the deposited materials to the print bed. The process is termed additive as the part is built by the 2D layers from the substrate to the ground up. The opposite is subtractive manufacturing.


Angle pin

An inclined pin is used in a plastic injection molding tool to actuate a sliding core block.

B-side
The non-cosmetic side of a finished injection molded part. Unlike the A-side, the B-side of a part is a portion that doesn’t have any cosmetic detail in the part. It may be defined as the inside of the part. The opposite of the B-side is the A-side.
Boss
Bosses are protrusions or projections in injection mold or cast parts designed to engage fasteners, providing strength improvement and structural stability.

Build plate
This is a component of the 3D printer letting the material deposited layer by layer to form the final part.

Bubblers
Bubblers are small tubes that are used to inject coolant into hard-to-reach areas in the tool of an injection mold tool. Bubblers are passed into the injection mold tool through drill holes.

Barrel
A barrel is part of a molding machine, it represents a cylindrical component that is usually used for melting, compressing and injecting plastic raw materials into the molding machine’s runner system.

B-plate
Also referred to it as the “core”, it represents the portion of the mold where the ejectors, moving parts, and other components are situated in the mold.

Ball-nosed Endmill
A cutting tool with a semi-circular cutting edge and single radius used in CNC machining.

Bullnose Endmill
Standard endmill cutting tool with known radii corner sizes used in CNC machining.

Bevel
A Bevel is a chamfered edge in a part that is not perpendicular to the face of the piece. It is a flat and pruned corner in a part.

Bead blasting
A finishing technique is involved the use of pressurized air and abrasives to create the desired texture on the surface of the part.

Bump-off
A bump-off is an undercut feature in a mold. It is usually involved in part ejection and functions like the snap to release the part.

Bridge tool

A bridge tool is a makeshift mold designed to manufacture parts in low-volume until the mass production volume mold is available.

CAD
Computer-aided-design is used in creating 2D and 3D design models by computer before the product is made by machine.

CAM
Computer-aided-manufacturing is used in making the production part with the aid of CNC machine tools and the computer-aided-design (CAD) data file.

Cavity
This is the space between the A-plate and B-plate of the mold. The cavity is the part of the mold that needs to be filled up to create the part. It forms the cosmetic/outside of the part. The A-side of the mold may also be referred to as the cavity.

Chamfer
The chamfer is also known as the bevel. It is a flat and pruned corner in a part.

Clamp force
The clamping force, measured in tones, is the amount of force required to hold a mold so the plastic raw materials will not outflow during the mold injection process.

Core
The core is the interior of an injection or die-casting mold. It is convex and movable on the B-side of the mold. It is also defined as the B-side.

Core pin
It’s a removable hard steel pin embedded in a die cavity for the purpose of forming holes or threaded holes in the product.

Core-cavity
A full piece mold is formed by fusing/mating the A and B-sides of each half of the mold.

Cycle time
The cycle time is the total time taken to produce a single part from an injection molding operation. It encompasses the time from closing the mold to the final part ejection.

Chip size
The chip size refers to the size of the metal chips created by a cutting tool during a machining operation.

CNC
Computer numeric control is a high-precision machine that makes part with high-speed cutting tools controlled by the instructions in the CAM/CAD file.

CMM
Coordinate Measuring Machine is a highly accurate device that is used along with a CNC machine for measuring parts with the aid of a probe. CMMs can measure very small parts with a high degree of precision.

Cold slug
A slug is formed at the mouth of the nozzle, inhibiting optimal material flow during plastic injection molding

Compression molding
A high-pressure molding operation is compressed the substrate under the mold haves, cured with heat and pressured into forming its final shape.

Cyclic cooling
A mold cooling technique that alternates between cold and hot circuits.

Cascade gating
A sequential gating system uses in hot-runner mold systems where the gates are activated consecutively to fill up the mold cavity.

Check ring
Used in plastic injection molding to ensure that holding pressure is attained and maintained for proper part manufacturing

Conformal cooling
A mold cooling technique uses 3D printing-created internal channels

Copolymer
A polymer material formed by the processing of two or more monomer materials.

Cooling time
The cooling time is the total time spent in allowing the part in a mold to solidify until it can be safely ejected from the tool.

Datum
A standpoint or fixed point in a part’s surface or features can let us know all other dimensions are calibrated and collected.

Debossing
Carved letters and logos carve into a finished part surface.
Delamination
A damage occurs due to a production defect, stress concentration, or fatigue stress. This phenomenon will continue to expand under the influence of mechanical and thermal loads.

Dimensions
Standard part measurement for part sizes in standard units
Dielectric
A substance or insulating fluid that is not good at conducting electricity can be used in EDM operations.
DWG
A drawing file. A type of CAD format.
DXF
Drawing exchange format. A type of CAD format.
DMLM/DMLS
Direct metal laser melting (DMLM) or Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) is a 3D printing technique that uses power bed and laser to melt and form consecutive layers of metal powder on build platform to form a metal part.
Draft angle
The draft angle is a design factor in the sidewall or surface of a molded part to ease the ejection of the part from the tool without defects or damage.
Durometer
A numerical scale that ranks the degree of hardness of the material.
Direction of pull
This is the direction to move the mold surface when the mold is opened and the part needs to be ejected. It is considered relative to the part surface.
Distortion
A defect in the formation of the part due to poor part design or process control.
Date marking
The use of indexable inserts to specify the date of production.
Dryer
A heating chamber that is used to drive out excess moisture from plastic raw materials before injection molding.

Edge gate
Typically situated on the outside edges of the part. An edge gate is an opening unit where the plastic raw would flow into the cavity.
EDM
Electric discharge machining. A process of removing material from a workpiece through the use of electric currents.

Ejection

The process of removing a cooled/solidified molded part from a tool. It is the final stage of the injection molding process.
Ejector pins
Pins present in the B-side of a mold that is used to push the part after cooling is complete.

ESD

Electrostatic discharge. This is a spark/flow of electricity that may occur during machining due to the contact of two electrically charged surfaces.

Endmill

A cutting tool used in the machining of parts and industrial milling. It usually has a flat cutting surface.

Elongation at break

This refers to how long a material may be stretched, or deformed breakage occurs.

Ejector plates

Uses to hold the ejector pins, return pin and ejector stoppers in an injection molding tool.

Embossing

The letters, texts, logos, or other graphic features will be carved some millimeters above on the part’s surface.

Electrode

A conductor usually made of copper that discharges its electrical current on the surface of a workpiece. They serve multiple purposes in manufacturing.

Etch

Systemic and creative patterning of a part’s surface or mold tool to get the desired surface texture.

Engraving

An etching process put the logos, texts, or graphic on the surface of the part.

Family mold
A mold cavity that is capable of creating multiple dissimilar parts in one production cycle. A family mold can make multiple parts from the same material for a single technological process.

Fan gate

A type of edge gate used in the design of the injection molding tool.

FDM

Fused deposition modeling is a type of 3D printing that a print filament is heated to its melting point, extruded from the nozzle of a print head in consecutive 2D layers on the build platform to harden into a finished 3-dimensional part.

Fillet

A curved feature in a part where the rib meets the wall. Fillets are designed to enhance flow and reduce stress concentrations in a part.

Finish/Finishing

A series of techniques uses to apply the desired effect on the surface texture of a manufactured part. This may range from smooth, polished to mirror, bead-blasted, painted, and more. The essence of the finish is to deliver improved aesthetics, obscure imperfections, or add certain protective features to the part.

Flame retardant

A material (usually plastic resin) that is retardant to the effects of fire. Flame-retardant materials won’t burn.

Flash

An undesired layer of plastic or silicone material caused by spillover.

Food grade

Food-grade materials are plastic/can materials that have been approved for use in food preparation, storage, or processing.

Flow marks

Due to the improper flow of molten plastic raw material in the mold cavity, causes marks like tree-ring, spiral or cloud-shaped wave uneven defects in the plastic table.

Fixture

A fixture is a device (such as a clamp or vice) used to secure a workpiece during machining operations.

Forced ejection

An unconventional technique of removing a finished part from mold tool by using the undercuts rather than the ejector pins.

Gate

This is the part of the mold where the resins enter to fill the mold cavity.


Gas trap

A consequence of insufficient ventilation, gas traps occur when there are pockets of space in the part that trap gas during an injection molding operation.


Gusset

A triangular-shaped rib feature is used to provide support to a part.


G-code

A set of digital programs those are extracted from a 3D CAD file to instruct the machine on the tool path, tool speed, feed rates, and other parameters when machine a CNC part.


GD&T

Geometric dimensions and tolerances are used to define geometric shapes of parts and components, to define the individual characteristics of allowable deviations that may occur in form and scale.


Gate freeze off time

The time takes for the molten plastic raw materials to fill a mold cavity before cooling and solidification begin.

Height gauge

A measuring device used to obtain the height of a part’s feature perpendicular to the horizontal plane.


Hopper

This is a cylindrical drum where plastic pellets (raw materials) are loaded to be melted for the injection mold.


Hot sprue

A hole in the injection mold tooling that allows for the flow of materials from the nozzle to the mold tool cavity.


Hot tip

Hydraulic-powdered sliding cores in an injection molding tool


Homopolymer

A thermopolymer plastic raw materials are formed from a single monomer.


Hot tip gate

Hot tip gate is suitable for product designs that allow small sprue residue on the surface or bottom of the injector.


Hot runner

A heated channel system used to supply the molten plastic resin from the nozzle to hot tip locations.

IGES

A type of CAD file format for exchanging 3D data. The acronym stands for Initial Graphics Exchange Specification.


Injection

The process of forcing the molten material (thermoforming resin/molten thermoplastic) into a mold.


Insert molding

A plastic injection molding processes involve the injection of molten plastic into a mold that contains a pre-placed metal insert.


ISO

International Standards Organization regulates consensus-based, industry-wide market acceptable standards to govern raw material and production processes around a wide array of industries and applications.

Jetting

The appearance of serpentine curves on the molded product due to improper exit design. Jetting usually occurs near a gate. 

Knit lines

Defects in a finished part occurring as a result of a meeting and re-solidification of two separated flows of cooling material along with their interface. Knit lines may also be called stitch lines, weld lines, or meld lines.
Lathe
A CNC machine equipment is used in the production of parts with cylindrical or concentric features, round profiles, and cavities.

Layer height/thickness

This is the average height or thickness of a single deposited layer of material in 3D printing. This is can be as small as microns or as large as inches.

Live tooling

The act uses rotational cutting tools to remove material from a stock/blank workpiece in a mill or lathe for CNC machining.

Living hinge

A plastic hinge made from high-flexibility and resilient plastic resins for use in applications where need frequent bends/snaps, repeated open and close.

LIM

Liquid injection molding is a production process used to make parts from liquid silicone rubber.

LSR

Liquid silicone rubber is a raw material for casting urethane and liquid injection molding.
Masterbatch
An original version of a pigmented plastic resin is used to deliver color to the manufactured injection-molded parts.

M-code

A programming language used to communicate auxiliary functions in CNC machining.

Metal safe

Also called steel safe, is a process of making certain changes to a part’s design to enable the part to be made oversized in the mold tool.

Melt temperature

The temperature for plastic resins become molten and can be injected into the tool for molding.
Micrometer
A small precision measuring device used to obtain the dimensions of objects in microns. Also called micrometer screw gauge

Molding temperature

The maximum temperature for a plastic resin must be molded to form the desired part. The molding temperature like the melt temperature is based on the properties of the resin compound to be molded.

Mold cycle

It is a total part molding cycle from injection to ejection.

Multi-cavity mold

An injection molding tool has multiple cavities for creating multiple dissimilar parts in one mold cycle.

Medical grade

A resin, metal or material is suitable for use in medical applications

Mold-release spray

A liquid spray uses to facilitate the ejection parts from the tool. It is usually used when parts are stick to the mold and hard to remove.

Nozzle



A tapered fitting at the end of the barrel of an injection molding machine supplies molten resin into the sprue of the mold.



Net shape


The final and desired shape of the manufactured part. At this point, the part is ready for use and will not undergo any further machining.

O-Ring 
An elastomer seal has a circular cross-section. 

OES

Optical Emission Spectroscopy is one of the techniques for identifying raw materials with Positive Material Identification (PMI) 

Overmolding 

Under certain conditions, the profiles obtained from the one-time molding of polymer materials (such as plates, sheets, rods, tubes) are remolded to obtain the final shape of the product.

Packing 
An application is under extra pressure to a filled mold to ensure the required part density and dimensional tolerances specified for the part. It is used to combat fill or sink problems but may increase the chances of flash in the part or cause the part stick to the mold. 

Parting lines

Split lines on either half of a die casting or plastic injection mold. 

Pigment

A natural/synthetic coloring agent used to add color to plastics, paints, and other materials.

PMI 

Positive Material Identification is a method using in-depth chemical analysis to assess materials and compare the results against a database of known materials. 

Pressure die casting 

PDC is a metal manufacturing solution involving the injection of molten metal into the mold of a die casting cavity under high pressure. 

Process control 

A technique involves total control of the parameters in injection molding to ensure optimal production cycles, minimize re-runs, and ensure repeatability.

Platten 

Large, mobile plates in an injection molding machine where the mold halves are clamped. 

Press

A function used for injection molding operations 

Pick-outs 

A part of a mold is inserted, and the remains are. Pick-outs must be taken out and put back into the right place of mold before a new production cycle begins. 

Porosity 

An injection molding has unwanted pockets of space/voids in a part. It often affects the strength and integrity of a part. The porosity can vary from size and shape.

Pin push 

A plastic injection molding defect causes stress marks on the cosmetic surface of the part when directly opposite to the ejector pins. 

Parasolid

A CAD data exchange file format. 

PIM

Plastic Injection Molding is a manufacturing method employed to make multiple copies of a part by using thermoforming plastic resins that are injected into an empty cavity tool under pressure. 

Quenching
The use of rapid cooling techniques to achieve material properties like hardness or solidity in a mold tooling operation.


Quality control
A set of stringent processes and operations designed to use to observe, scrutinize, record, and compare certain parameters from raw material to finished part and making sure the manufactured part conforms to the customer specifications.




Resin 
Thermosetting or thermoforming plastic used as a raw material in an injection molding process. 

Ribs 

Ribs are support structures in injection-molded parts. They usually feature at about 90 degrees to the position of bosses/walls. 

Runner 

It is a resin feed channel running to the gate from the sprues. They usually run parallel to each channel.

Rockwell

A standard term to specify the degree of hardness of a material.

Resolution 

This is the level of detail achieved in a part that has been manufactured using 3D printing/additive manufacturing. High-resolution parts are usually very detailed.

Radiused 

A natural occurrence in a milling process, parts, or features are said to be radiused when their edges or vertexes have been rounded. An intentional addition of a radius to the edge of any part is called a fillet. 

Reinforced resin 

A resin material that has been augmented with fillers for additional strength, hardness, and impact resistance. 

Ram 

A component in an injection mold is responsible for the movement of the screw in the barrel to inject the resin into the mold.

Screw
A processing component in the barrel of an injection molding device uses pressure to melt resin pellets before they are injected into the mold.

SLS

Selective laser sintering is a 3D printing technology that uses CO2 laser to deposit thermoplastic powder unto a hot bed, before sintering (fusing) the powder into solid. This is repeated layer after layer till the final part is formed.

Short shot

An injection molded part that is deformed or missing certain features because it wasn’t filled enough resin.

Shrink

A reduction in the size of an injection molded part as it cools during the process. This is usually factored into design dimensions to ensure that the final part size is achieved irrespective.

Sink

A cosmetic defect in the surface of an injection mold process arising from the varying thickness and cooling rates across the part.

Sprue

A point let the resin first entering the mold. Resin flows to the other parts in the resin distribution system (runners) across the mold.

Sticking

A complication parts are difficult to remove from the mold as a result of poor or no draft angles in the design.

STL

A CAD file format is only suitable for additive manufacturing machines and should not be used in injection molding or CNC machining.

STP/STEP

An ISO Standards for the Exchange of Product Model Data. It is a common CAD data file format.

SL/SLA

Stereolithography is a 3D printing method that applies UV-laser at a point to draw on the surface with a prepared photo-sensitive liquid thermoset resin. The UV-laser will continue drawing at the specified points, turning (curing) the resin solid across layers and laying on the 2-dimensional cross-sections that eventually form the finished 3D part.

Straight-pull mold

An injection mold tool designed without any side-actions or special features that may be used to resolve undercuts. It simply consists of only two halves that form the cavity.

Shot

The total volume of material that is injected into a mold cavity for one production cycle.

Shot weight

The total weight of all the parts (runners, gates, sprues) manufactured after one injection molding cycle.

Stripper plate

A mobile plate functions by pushing molded parts off the mold core after injection molding

Surface plate

A flat and solid surface forms the basis of setup, layout, and measurement.

Surface finish

The texture of an outermost layer of a part measured in roughness. It determines the level of abrasion a part can withstand and cosmetic appearance of the part.

Stress marks

It is a visual defect on the surface of a molded part arising due to uneven cooling and heating during the production of the part.

Split lines

A mark left on a molded part shows where the two sides of the mold split.

Support

Load-bearing components used to provide support to parts during 3D printing

Surface coating

Addition of material covers on the original surface of a part to modify its functionality, physical/chemical properties, and appearance.

Subtractive manufacturing

Conventional part manufacturing techniques involve the use of a tool to remove successive parts from a blank/workpiece till the final form is reached.

Sliding core

Also known as a slider, the sliding core is an automatic feature in an injection mold tool that forms holes or undercuts in the part.

Surfometer

A device consisting of an electronic stylus uses for evaluating the roughness of a part’s surface by moving the stylus across the face of the part.

Tap
A male cutting tool uses in creating internal threads in parts and enclosures

Thermoplastic

A moldable plastic resin becomes molten under the influence of heat. This kind of resin can be re-melted and re-molded into the desired shape. This way, thermoplastic parts are reversible and re-processable.

Thermoset

A moldable plastic resin contains two or more material constituents that will be chemically altered during molding. Once formed, thermoset parts are irreversible and set into their final shape

Transfer molding

The use of a known amount of solid powder/material is placed in a transfer pot and then forced into the core area and closes the cavity of a heated mold.

Tolerance

The level of acceptable deviation (lower or higher) from the original dimensions

Turn gate

A turning/rotating gate in a multi-cavity injection mold tool is able to shut off different cavities as required.

Turning

A CNC machining process involves the use of a rod stock rotated in the lathe while the cutting tool remains stationary to remove material from the blank and make a round/cylindrical part.

Undercut
A hole or feature is not in the line of draw of an injection molded part design. It is the area of the part that shadows another portion of the same part. Because of its positioning, an undercut will create an interlock between the part and the mold halves.  Undercuts should be designed with release mechanisms to ensure part ejection and/or mold opening. 

UV-stable 

A material/resin is capable of withstanding the deteriorating effects of ultraviolet light rays. 

Undercut release mechanism 

A moving component in the design of a plastic injection mold tool allows both the molding and ejection of any part formed in a location with undercuts.

Vent
An opening hole in an injection mold tool allows air to escape from the mold cavity while it is filled.

Vacuum casting

A production technique used to create copies of a master pattern using LSR (liquid silicone resin) to fill a silicone mold and curing the part in a vacuum chamber.

Vapor polishing

A finishing technique used to create a smooth surface appearance and optical clarity on transparent plastic parts.

Vice

Used for holding workpieces between opposite faces of jaws. One of the jaws is fixed, while the other is movable.

VQS

Visual quality standard is the standard dictating the visual observation of a part.

Vacuum hardening

Heat-treated steel alloy in a vacuum chamber to prevent oxidation when they are processed in the heat cycle

Vacuum fixture

A vacuum fixture is used to secure the workpiece in a CNC operation involving the use of vacuum pressure.

Wall
The wall of a part surface perpendicular to the horizontal plane and borders the total volume/size of such part.

Warp

A defect is mainly a bend/curve at the edges of the part resulting from internal stress in different areas of the part. Warping is caused by differences in the rate of cooling and shrinking in the part.

Wire EDM

A means of Electrical discharge machining (EDM) involves the use of brass wire as an expendable conductor to cut through hardened steel.

X-axis 
One of the primary axes in a 3-dimensional X, Y, and Z plane. The X-axis is usually the horizontal axis depending on the point of view of the viewer. 

XRF

X-ray Fluorescence is a type of analytical procedure involving the bombardment of the surface of a material with high-energy X-rays to determine the material’s chemical composition.  

Y-axis 
One of the primary axes in a 3-dimensional X, Y, and Z plane. The Y-axis is usually the vertical axis depending on the point of view of the viewer. 


Z-axis 
One of the primary axes in a 3-dimensional X, Y, and Z plane. Depending on the point of view of the viewer, the Z-axis may be towards or away from the viewer. 

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