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Plastics Overview: Molds and Platens

Molds
There are two types of molds. The simplest is the two-part mold, which consists of two halves into which the cavities for the part are cut, as well as the runners and gates. The other type is the three-part mold, which contains a third plate between moving halves.

Mold Materials
Some molds are built only for prototyping and do not need a long service life. Other molds are built for long production runs with abrasive materials, so they must be armored to reduce wear. Some cavities require excellent surface finishes to ensure the same finishes in the product. Others may be quite rough. Product requirements dictate the mold material. Basically, the mold-making industry can meet any need by supplying cavity materials that range from thermosets to complex steel alloys, and by offering a variety of surface treatments, from chrome plating to wear-resistant, sputtered coatings.

Platens
Platens are the mounting plates of a press to which the entire mold assembly is bolted.