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8 Recent Innovations in Plastic Injection Molding
The industry of making plastic parts continues to grow thanks to new processes and ideas. These innovations shape plastic injection molding methods and give businesses and manufacturers new ways to mass-produce plastic parts. Here are some recent innovations in plastic injection molding that may help your business and make manufacturing more efficient.
Micro Injection Molding
As technology advances, our devices and equipment grow smaller for easier handling and storage. Many companies and industries keep innovating by creating new designs every year with more compact dimensions. Small plastics are popular in many fields, and using micro-injection molding is the best way to fulfill that need.
The computer and phone industry benefit from micro injection molding since they use small plastic molds for newer phones and computer devices. The medical field also uses smaller medical devices for patients, such as portable IV pumps that are small enough to fit in a pouch on the hip.
Additionally, the military uses small plastics in developing technology, such as drones and the small components of a gun. Micro injection molding helps numerous industries and improves the potential for more convenient technology. More and more businesses are using smaller parts, so there’s a good market for micro injection molding.
Gas-Assisted Injection Molding
Certain injection molds have intricate designs and small spaces to fill. These small spaces make molding a full plastic piece difficult since the resin may not reach it. Gas-assisted injection molding ensures that the resin reaches the smaller portions of the mold by injecting pressurized gas into the fluid while the resin cools.
The gas will release after the cooling finishes, and the part will eject from the mold. This innovation in plastic injection molding is a great way to make complicated plastic parts and ensures the plastic surface is stronger since the gas causes it to expand.
Overmolding is an innovative process that molds resin over an injected molded plastic. The process typically uses a rubber-like substance, such as silicone, but it may use harder substances, such as nylon. This extra layer of materials gives the object better durability.
The plastic parts will have better protection and last longer as they become more corrosion-resistant. The appearance of overmolded parts is unique and creates a look that reassures whoever uses it that the plastic has great protection. You can overmold products besides plastics, too, such as metal, for durable strength and better scratch resistance.
Automation is an integral part of many settings where efficiency is necessary. Machines are more fast-paced than humans and won’t slow down as fast. More manufacturers implement automation as part of plastic injection, with various machines and computer systems creating more opportunities for workers to improve the rate at which they make plastic parts.
An automated device requires software to control and program. In recent years, developmental software has been in the making for controlling automated injection molding machines. The software has a variety of different controls that will allow users to perform various tasks that would take longer to perform.
This software will improve productivity in manufacturing locations and help people perform their work more efficiently. There are also accessibility controls that help users perform tasks from other locations.
With the addition of smart technology and other devices, it’s possible to remotely control an injection molding machine. Remote access will allow people from different locations to begin production before they arrive at a location.
This technology will help employees who can’t come to work and need to operate the machinery. The software allows workers to work remotely and continue production even from a different location. There’s also a feature for remote monitoring to ensure that operations run smoothly and the other workers are in the loop about what goes on in facilities.
Planning is essential when constructing numerous parts, and knowing how certain production lines will affect business is beneficial. There’s software that will run simulations of production and estimate how much time and resources it takes to complete. Quality metrics given by the software will help manufacturers understand what they may do to produce better plastic items.
The ability to simulate mold flow makes it easier to predict how a product will flow into a mold and what the cooling process will yield. Foresight is a valuable aspect to have in manufacturing, and your business will benefit from the simulations run by the software.
Structural Foam Molding
A great innovation for injection molding is structural foam molding. This process combines injection molding and gas-assisted injection molding by creating a foam comprised of a plastic resin and gas-like nitrogen. The mixture turns into foam upon injection and expands. The result is an interior of foam and a shell of hard plastic material.
This foam mixture makes it easier to create complicated shapes and reach smaller portions of the mold. Plus, it creates sturdier plastic. The inside of the plastic is hollow, while the exterior is strong and detailed, depending on the mold.
Shifting Toward Sustainable Practices
The world continues to transition to sustainable practices that will prevent further environmental damage. Energy-efficient drives help manufacturers save money and promote longer-lasting production in facilities.
The less energy you consume, the fewer fossil fuels you burn and release into the air. Manufacturers recently began using plant-based materials in their injection molding to create plastics that are less harmful to the environment. These materials come from common produce, such as corn or flax, making them easy to collect and use.
Injection Transfer Molding
Transfer molding is the process of creating similar injection-molded items simultaneously. Injection transfer molding takes it a step further by using the typical injection molding process and using a plunger to press the resin into two or more molds.
The molds would cool simultaneously and eject for a faster rate of production. This process provides the additional benefit of creating a uniform appearance across multiple molded items, such as plastic tube plugs.
You must stay current on the latest innovations in plastic injection molding to improve your business. Consider these methods and technology as you brainstorm new ideas for plastic manufacturing and develop new ways of completing production quotas.
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