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Transfer molding, ( BrE moulding ) like compression molding, is a process where the amount of molding material (usually a thermoset plastic) is measured and inserted before the molding takes place. The molding material is preheated and loaded into a chamber known as the pot. A plunger is then used to force the material from the pot through channels known as a sprue and runner system into the mold cavities. The mold remains closed as the material is inserted and is opened to release the part from the sprue and runner. The mold walls are heated to a temperature above the melting point of the mold material; this allows a faster flow of material through the cavities.
Transfer Molding. This is an automated operation that combines compression-, molding, and transfer-molding processes. This combination has the good surface finish, dimensional stability, and mechanical properties obtained in compression molding and the high-automation capability and low cost of injection molding and transfer molding. Transfer Molding is having a "piston and cylinder"-like device built into the mold so that the rubber is squirted into the cavity through small holes. A piece of uncured rubber is placed into a portion of the transfer mold called the "pot." The mold is closed and under hydraulic pressure the rubber or plastic is forced through a small hole (the "gate") into the cavity. The mold is held closed while the plastic or rubber cures. The plunger is raised up and the "transfer pad" material may be removed and thrown away. The transfer mold is opened and the part can be removed. The flash and the gate may need to be trimmed. Another key point is that a premeasured amount of thermosetting plastic in powder, preform, and even granular form can be placed into the heating chamber.
The molds in both compression and transfer molding remain closed until the curing reaction within the material is complete. Ejector pins are usually incorporated into the design of the molding tool and are used to push the part from the mold once it has hardened. These types of molding are ideal for high production runs as they have short production cycles. Transfer molding, unlike compression molding uses a closed mold, so smaller tolerances and more intricate parts can be achieved. The fixed cost of the tooling in transfer molding is greater than in compression molding and as both methods produce waste material, whether it be flash or the material remaining in the sprue and runners, transfer molding is the more expensive process.
In the semiconductor industry, package encapsulation is usually done with transfer molding due to the high accuracy of transfer molding tooling and low cycle time of the process.
However, the drive to introduce "Green" manufacturing is becoming a mandatory process in most semicon assembly operations. New transfer mold designs integrated with suitable surface treatments like CrN, MiCC and H Cr plating are becoming more popular in the industry.
Some common products are utensil handles, electric appliance parts, electronic component, and connectors. Transfer molding is widely used to enclose or encapsulate items such as coils, integrated circuits, plugs, connectors, and other components.
Plunger molding is a variation on transfer molding, where an auxiliary ram exerts pressure on the material being molded. This approach often performs better in fully automatic operation.