Plastic injection molding as a manufacturing technique has been around for decades. However, new injection molding trends are propelling this method forward, bringing new and unprecedented advantages to the companies that opt for it.
Find out what the new injection molding trends are for the coming years and how your company can benefit from applying them.
What is plastic injection molding?
Plastic injection molding is a manufacturing technique that takes place in four basic stages:
- Plastic particles are melted so that they are more easily manipulated and flexible. Different types of plastic are used in this process, as they present various properties and benefits. Different types of plastic also present diverse melting points, which must be taken into consideration.
- They are injected by force into molds, thus taking the desired shape
- The plastic hardens inside the molds by cooling it.
- The resulting product is ejected from the mold and sometimes trimmed to add the finishing touches.
This technique allows companies to create custom-shaped products (including complex shapes or very technical pieces), rapidly and at a relatively low cost.
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How has plastic injection molding evolved?
While plastics have been around since the 1850s, it wasn’t until the 1870’s that more flexible types of plastics were invented. As a result, injection molding processes were developed. Since then, a number of advances have pushed the possibilities in plastic injection molding further:
- The invention of screw injection molding machines meant that injection speed was more easily controlled so that the final product also presented a higher quality. This process also permitted the use of mixed materials, opening the door for colored and recycled plastics to be used.
- Gas-assisted screw machines have also enabled the creation of more complex, more flexible and stronger products. This method also meant economical costs went down, as production time, waste, and the product’s weight have been all minimized.
- More complex molds exist now thanks to computer-assisted manufacturing, designers can now generate more complicated shapes (they can have multiple sections or be more detailed and precise).
Plastic injection molding trends for the next year
Plastic injection molding sustainability
The plastic injection molding industry is quickly adjusting to new sustainability values and regulations, especially at a time when the plastic industry is being increasingly monitored and regulated. Thus, new injection molding trends point towards:
- The use of 100% recyclable plastic materials that are also safe and environmentally neutral.
- Looking into alternatives to reduce the carbon footprint during manufacturing. This may include applying renewable sources of energy and working towards minimizing energy losses during manufacturing processes
At the same time, companies must guarantee that the shift towards sustainable models doesn’t compromise on product quality, including the mechanical and physical properties of products.
Increased demand for lightweight materials
Lightweight materials often translate into less economic costs (such as those involved in transport), as well as fewer energy costs (for instance, in automotive parts). Lightweight materials in medical devices can also improve the patients’ results.
Plastic injection molding custom solutions
The search for more cost-efficient options in plastic injection molding has also led to prioritizing custom solutions, as more and more companies realize their ROI increases when their technical parts are custom-made to fit their specific needs.
Plastic injection molding automation and new technologies
Different automation software options, as well as the introduction of AI, Machine Learning, and advanced analytics, are pushing the possibilities of plastic injection molding further.
These technologies allow for minimized downtime and malfunctions in equipment, developing predictive maintenance programs, and faster production cycles. At the same time, new software is allowing companies to simulate injection molding cycles during the design process, testing for issues such as irregular fill patterns. This translates into correcting issues before moving on to the production process, thus saving time and money.
Knauf Appliances innovative techniques in plastic injection molding
At Knauf Appliances we’re experts in plastic injection molding techniques, we help companies achieve their goals by designing and manufacturing expanded polystyrene and polypropylene pieces using plastic injection molding. Our commitment to meeting our clients’ needs and sustainability has led us to prioritize the use of these two materials, as they have extraordinary sustainable properties.
We provide a unique combination of know-how in plastic molding technologies while working towards meeting and developing the current plastic injection molding trends through our research and development installations and our design offices.
We are specialists in:
- Thermoplastic injection technology
- The production of decorative plastic parts for various industries.
- Gas injection technology, aesthetics, and electronic moulding.
- Exterior and interior injection moulded components for the HVAC industry, mainly manufactured from polystyrene, polypropylene, ABS, PC, PC / ABS, and PC / PMMA.
- Guaranteeing the aesthetic appeal of our plastic components, by using various decorative techniques: water painting, two-colour painting, masking, pad printing, entry, and hot stamping.
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Plastic injection molding technology has been a Knauf Industries’ core business ever since the creation of the company, and now has 2 injection plants and 41 EPP/EPS processing plants strategically located to best serve the supply chains of our most demanding international clients.
Looking for a plastic injection molding partner? Get in touch with us and learn more about plastic injection molding trends and how your company can benefit from them.