Plastic injection molding has changed significantly over the years. But despite the evolution, plastic molding is still based on the fundamental principles it was many years ago. Technological advancements such as the use of injection molding robots have only enhanced its efficiency and versatility. The plastic injection molding process involves the melting down of plastic particles and injecting them into molds. They are then allowed to cool, which helps the plastic to harden. The cooled plastic is then removed from the mold and put into use.
Materials Used in Plastic Injection Molding
Many plastics were invented in the mid-19th century. The early forms of plastic were challenging to work with since they could not easily form the desired shapes. In the 1870s, scientists developed more malleable types of plastic that were used in the plastic injection molding process. With the new plastics, engineers could now work on them to produce plastic tailored for specific applications.
Today, we have numerous types of plastics with varying hardness and melting points. These plastics are used in injection molding to produce sophisticated materials for different industries. The various plastics have unique properties that make them suitable for use in making multiple items. Some of the most popular plastics used in industries include:
- PVC and Polyurethane
Options Available for Plastic Injection Molding
initially, plastic molds were created using two different plates. One plate had the mold cavity where molten plastic was injected. The other plate was used in ejecting the finished product after cooling down.
The introduction of a computer-assisted manufacturing (CAM) has made injection molding easier and more efficient. Using CAM, manufacturers can now produce complex molds that would otherwise be impossible in the past. Computer-assisted manufacturing allows for more detail and precision. However, the mold cavity and ejector plate are still the primary components used in injection molding.
Machinery Used in Plastic Injection Molding
Plastic injection molding machines were introduced in the 1870s. However, the invention of screw injection molding machines by James Watson Hendry revolutionized the manufacturing landscape. Screw injection molding machines allowed for precise control of injection speed, which led to the production of high-quality plastic materials. Screw injection molding technology also allowed for the mixing of molten material before putting it into the mold. This, therefore, allowed for a mixture of recycled plastic and virgin material and blending them thoroughly before injection. Today, about 95 percent of plastic injection materials used in industries utilize screw technology.
The Future of Plastic Injection Molding lies in Robotic Automation.
Today, the plastic injection molding process is managed by computers. Molten plastic is ejected into aluminum and steel molds, where they create custom made plastics such as dishes and other plastic components that we use every day. The advancement of plastic injection molding technology, such as the use of injection molding robots, has made the production of plastic items easy and economical.
Nowadays, manufacturers are using a variety of machinery such as vertical and horizontal presses, hydraulic presses, and electric presses to create the pressure needed to produce various plastic items. This machinery helps in the production of a variety of plastic items, including car parts, toothbrushes, plastic containers, and even license plates.
Robotic automation has been received well by other industries, and it’s slowly finding its way in the plastic manufacturing industry. Automating the plastic manufacturing industry will increase the overall throughput because they can work faster than humans, and they don’t need breaks or vacations.
Automating the plastic injection molding process will also lead to the production of sophisticated products that could otherwise be impossible to produce when relying entirely on human labor. Robots are precise, and this helps to reduce the amount of scrap left after production.
Using robots in plastic injection molding will also improve the quality of plastic items drastically. Robots are consistent, and they are less likely to cause errors. It, therefore, guarantees the consistency of products from the first to the last batch.