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How are utility and control-cabinet keys manufactured?

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Utility and service or control cabinet key and components are all made in moulds. All the components of a utility and control-cabinet key are manufactured using one of the following processes. If the key is made from more than one piece, the pieces are manufactured separately and then fitted together as the final step.

Die-casting

Non-ferrous metals (metals with no iron content) are formed into parts for a utility and service or control cabinet key by die-casting. Non-ferrous metal (metals that don’t contain iron) products can be made using the die-casting process but ferrous (iron-containing) metal products cannot.
Die-casting the metal zinc into components for utility and service or control cabinet keys Molten metal, in this case zinc alloy (see {{widget type=”cms/widget_page_link” anchor_text=”What are utility and control-cabinet keys made of?” title=”See What are utility and control-cabinet keys made of?” template=”cms/widget/link/link_block.phtml” page_id=”3368″}}), is pushed under high pressure into an iron mould, or die, in  the shape of the component.
The mould opens to release the solidified zinc part of the utility and service or control cabinet key. The metal solidifies within minutes and the die is opened to release the solid part.
Die casting with excess material on it before it goes through the trimming press. Often the part will be attached to other parts by strips of metal that form during the casting process in the channels, or runners, that connect the cavities of the mould together.
Trimming presses remove any excess metal to tidy up the cast zinc utility and service or control cabinet keys. A trimming press cuts off the excess material and the finished part is produced.

Injection moulding

Plastic and metal parts can be produced by injection moulding processes The injection moulding process is used to make plastic and steel parts for utility and control-cabinet keys.
Ferrous metals contain iron so need to be treated differently to non-ferrous metals.

Metal injection moulding

The metal injection moulding process is used to form ferrous metals in a mould because they cannot be die-cast.

Metal powder is mixed with thermoplastic powder to make a feedstock for the injection moulding process to make utility and control or service cabinet keys. Very fine metal powder is mixed with thermoplastic powder and heated. The plastic melts but the metal does not. The plastic binds the metal powder together. It is shaped into pellets to make it ready to be used in the injection mould.
Metal injection moulding to make utility and control or service cabinet keys The pellets are melted in the injection moulding machine and the mixture of molten plastic and fine metal powder is injected into a mould the shape of the component to be cast.
A chemical bath dissolves the plastic binding material and leaves behind a low density metal. When the plastic in the mixture has cooled and solidified, it is removed from the mould and placed in a chemical bath which dissolves most of the plastic.
Porous metal part with most plastic removed and on its way to becoming a utility and control or service cabinet key Heating removes more of the plastic polymer through evaporation. The component is now made up of 40% air.
The porous metal part needs to be heated to increase its density so it becomesa a strong utility and service or control-cabinet key It is heated again, this time in a furnace at a much higher temperature, to increase the density of the metal by removing the air. The optimum temperature is 85% of the metal’s melting point. For instance, if the metal’s melting point is 1000 degrees Celsius, then the ideal temperature to heat it to is 850 degrees Celsius.
Heating causes the metal part to reduce in size as the powder melts together and forms a high density utility and control or service key Removing the air spaces causes the component to decrease in size by between 15% and 25%. This means that the mould at the beginning must be larger than the part you wish to produce. Manufacturers can calculate this to a high level of accuracy and so the finished products are exactly the right size.
Plastic injection moulding process is used to produce parts for utility and control or service cabinet keys

Plastic injection moulding

The plastic injection moulding process is simpler than metal injection moulding.

Thermoplastic granules are melted to make parts for utility and control or service cabinet keys. Plastic beads are melted and injected into a mould. Once the plastic is cooled the mould is opened to release the solid plastic part.
Plastic parts still attached to the solidified runners or channels that feed the cavities with molten plastic to make parts for a utility and control or service cabinet key The parts are removed, using a trimming press machine, from the solidified channels, or runners, that feed the mould.
Glass fibre is used to reinforce plastic to make the parts of the utility and control or service cabinet . Sometimes the plastic used to make parts for utility and control-cabinet keys are reinforced with glass fibres to make them stronger and more durable.