Transfer Molding: The Final Step in Forming a Complete Assembly

An image of the transfer molding process at work

Transfer molding is used in many electronics manufacturing processes, particularly in potting electronic assemblies. The name may be unfamiliar to some but not only is it quite common, it is just one step past compression molding in terms of complexity. Transfer molding can produce more complex geometries than compression molding, but less complex geometries when compared to injection molding. It is typically a low to medium volume process and the materials used are, more often than not, thermosets, rubbers or even compound materials with special fillers for enhanced properties (and we know how good Harbec is with specialty materials!)

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Why Is Transfer Molding Beneficial?

The real benefit of using transfer molding is the ability to mold fairly complex geometry with thermosetting materials and encapsulate metal inserts or electronic components at relatively low pressures, think of spark plugs or cable connectors, high-temperature car components with metal connector pins, etc. The other benefit is the low-cost of equipment needed, a perfect fit for a low-volume, highly toleranced, custom electronic assembly that holds a mix of molded, machined, and electrical components.

In the image below, material is preheated in the primary chamber before a plunger is used to force the material through a channel that then leads to the molded part cavity. Transfer molding has ability to produce higher pressures than compression molding, which allows you to achieve higher tolerance parts and more complex geometries, another image to show basic functions of solenoids also shown:

A diagram that explains the transfer molding process

Transfer Molding in the Aerospace Industry

An image of the transfer molding process at work

Harbec has adopted this technology for use in the aerospace sector, manufacturing solenoids. Solenoids are devices composed of a coil of wire which can generate a magnetic field upon application of electrical current which can precisely actuate a piston, drive a gear, open a latch, etc. One of the reasons transfer molding is used is because it allows electronic components or machined inserts to ‘float’ inside a cavity while the resin is curing and encapsulating the product, it is also a highly customizable process. We are essentially filling in all the voids and untaken space within the assembly, a term commonly referred to as ‘potting’. This is done for many reasons in the electronics industry, for our customer in aerospace, the main concern is the electronic assembly ability to resist vibrations and impacts while maintaining a high level of functionality.

Transfer Molding Services with Harbec

Harbec has the capabilities to complete the process from start to finish. We machine an outer housing from metal which then receives post-process plating, injection mold the spool, ‘wind’ the spool with copper wire to form the solenoid, assemble and install a circuit board, crimp on pin connectors, assemble the spool into the machined housing and ‘pot’ the entire assembly. Finally, the part is inspected to IPC Space standards and given a comprehensive electrical workout on our custom-built automated test station to verify performance.  Talk about a one-stop shop! Contact us today to get started.

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