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Torsten’s Training Tips: Nominal Wall Thickness

by Torsten Kruse

What is nominal wall thickness and how is it relevant in designing functional plastic parts?  Although parts can have various wall thicknesses to accommodate form, fit, and function, designers are generally tasked with minimizing thickness to lessen material consumption, achieve a faster cycle time, and reduce manufacturing costs. But parts with thin walls are more challenging to manufacture, from molding to ejection to post-molding handling and structural integrity.

Nominal Wall Thickness Molded Part Cross-Section

Nominal wall thickness is the uniform thickness throughout a part. The measurement will be different for different parts, depending on several factors, including the end-use of the part and the capabilities of the molding machine. Of course, nominal wall thickness will be different for a simple packaging container than for a structural automotive part. The ideal nominal wall thickness is based on what type of part is being designed, the overall design envelope or size, the resulting part’s functionality, what molding equipment will be used, and lastly, what material will be used for the part.

Nominal wall thickness should be evaluated during the initial design process and minimized to reduce overall cycle time and material usage.

It’s important to evaluate materials during the design phase of the part and mold as making changes after a part is molded will not only alter part performance but could create unnecessary time delays and costs.

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