When it comes to steel in the Philippines, the general public is arguably only familiar with either stainless steel or metals used for construction. But for people who work in the steel industry, there are so many types and subcategories of steel that are used in different industries. Some are used primarily in the aeronautic industry, while another grade finds its way to the chemical industry. Steel is no longer a one-dimensional material, it is a classification of metal alloys used for a variety of purposes all over the world!
One of the many industries that use steel is the plastic molding industry. Here, it is tool steels that are primarily used in the creation of molds. Steel grades such as S7, H13, and P20 are the common steels to choose from. Each of them used because of their unique characteristics. With that being said, there’s one steel grade used that is part of the stainless steel category—420ss.
The only stainless steel grade among the many steel materials used for plastic molding, 420ss is the most workable stainless steel that can keep up with the demands of the plastic molding industry. In that regard, here’s a short overview of stainless steel in the plastic molding industry!
When it comes to plastic molding, the steel used for the mold has to pass a number of requirements. General requirements are basically the central elements that every steel grade for plastic mold should have, while the specific requirements depend greatly on the product you’re going to mold!
In general, every steel needs to be easy to machine. The plastic mold industry prides itself on being able to create a plethora of different designs for plastic products. Thus every steel mold needs to be easy to design and apply. The harder it is to machine a mold steel, the lesser appealing it is to use.
Mold steels should also be incredibly hard. The popular ones used recently can be hardened all the way to Rockwell 50 and above. Every mold steel should reach a certain level of hardness. The harder a mold steel is, the stronger and more durable it is! The 420ss is usually hardened all the way to 50 Rockwell.
Wear resistance is one of the most important features that every mold steel needs, seldom will a plastic injection molding company ever receive orders for a small number of products. A plastic mold should at least begin to show signs of wear-and-tear when it has already molded around 50,000 plastic products!
And of course, another relevant feature that mold steel needs is good thermal stability. A mold steel will continually be exposed to a high-temperature material—though not enough to melt alloys. But of course, prolonged exposure will usually have an effect on a steel that doesn’t do good with heat, sometimes creating deformities and other malformations that will have an effect on the finished product.
It’s no surprise that the 420ss passes all of the requirements mentioned above. In fact, this stainless steel grade is a popular choice for plastic molding because of its high corrosion and wear resistance. It is often used in medical applications, particularly those that need to be highly polished. Another thing about this steel grade is that it is easy to weld—making it perfect for certain projects!
The Option for Corrosive Material
Stainless steel is the choice for plastic molding when working with corrosive plastic molding resin such as PVC, UPVC, and POM. The high corrosion resistance that the 420ss provides will prevent any kind of toxic fumes from spilling out. Stainless steel will also keep intact when in contact with such corrosive materials, so in this kind of application, Stainless mold steel such as 420ss is the most ideal option that molding companies have.
High Durability and Long Lifespan
Finally, 420ss is also one of the best choices if you’re expecting a high volume of production. Its high wear resistance enables it to produce greater than 500,000 units of plastic products, something that can only be matched by the CSM21, another stainless steel grade!
Being able to withstand such a high volume of production makes stainless steel ideal for long-term projects. It lessens the need for tool revisions and plating wear—two things that are apparent in other steels used in plastic molding. However, even with the apparent durability and long lifespan of these stainless mold steels, they will eventually get worn out—when that happens, recreating the mold is relatively easy!
In an industry that is primarily dominated by other types of steel, stainless steel still makes a name for itself as one of the most popular and most durable options there is. Well known for its corrosions and wear resistance, stainless steel in the Philippines will always be one of the most versatile types of steel that can be used in all industries!