What You Need to Know About Plastic Injection Molding
How Items Are Made Using Plastic Injection Molding
A Look At The Evolution Of Plastic Injection Molding Methods
How Plastic Injection Molding Methods Have Changed Throughout the Years
More Molding Methods
The Plastic Revolution
Understanding the Art of Machining Plastics
How Items Are Made Using Plastic Injection Molding
Many people think that items made out of plastic have only been around for a very short time but this is actually not the case. Items made from molded plastic have been used ever since the process was developed in the 1870?s. Manufacturers found ways to heat plastic and form it into objects ranging from the very simple to the incredibly complex. Of course, the process continues to be refined and new technologies aimed at making it more efficient and now allow the use of materials gathered from different sources. This is particularly true of plastic injection molded medical parts.
Changes, Improvement and Technology
Although the plastic injection molding process has changed, the basic methods have not altered overly much. As soon as a form of plastic was created that could be heated and shaped easily people began to look for a way to create three dimensional objects easily and consistently. The plastic injection molding process followed shortly after.
What The Plastic Injection Molding Process Involves
The process itself is very simple. Plastic granules are used as a base material. These granules may be made up of only one type of plastic or they may be made up of a mixture. The granules may also include other materials that will give the finished products specific properties or qualities. These products are fed from a hopper into a heated chamber that melts the plastic down so that it becomes moldable. After the plastic has melted in the barrel, it is pushed by a plunger through a nozzle and into a mold.
The molds are kept cool even though the plastic is heated.
This is an integral part of the molding process. Without it, the items would never solidify properly. Many molds use coolant that runs along the mold to chill it and keep it at the right temperature. Once the finished product has been ejected from the mold (usually through the use of a burst of air) it can be finished and any plastic tags or excess materials removed. This is not difficult to do and the products are very consistent and the process offers very uniform results.
The Mold Creation Process
At the heart of the plastic injection molding process lie the injection molds. Some are very basic and will have only two parts to them. Others are much more complex and may use different techniques to move the molds so that different products can be created. In its most basic form, a plastic injection mold tends to have two parts. The first is the injector mold where the cavity used to shape the product is located. The ejector mold is used to eject the finished product from the injector mold.
Molds can be incredibly detailed in order to leave surface details or textured areas in the finished product. Now that computers are used in the design and manufacturing processes it is only our imagination which can limit what shape the molds can take.
How Molded Plastic Objects Are Used
If you think about how many plastic products we use on a daily basis, you will see why the plastic injection molding process is such an important one. Whether it is domestic use around a home (everything from baby bottles to plates to toothbrushes) or the plastic body panels we have on our cars, plastic has become an indispensable part of our lives.
One excellent example of this is the medical field in general. From IV tubing to oxygen hoses and other medical equipment, plastic injection molding is utilized in different areas of medicine including treatment, surgery and general patient care.
A Quick Look At The Plastic Injection Molding Process
Did you know that products have been made using plastic injection molding ever since the late eighteen hundreds? Although the process was much more limited and much less efficient back then, they have been making molded plastic products ever since eighteen seventy-two. The products that have been made using injection molding are now used in a wide range of different industrial, medical and domestic applications.
It is interesting to think that the same process has been used for well over a century to create the products that we use each day. They make our lives easier and more convenient and the process continues to improve as manufacturing techniques evolve.
A Look At The Injection Molding Process Used To Create Items
The process is a very simple one when one realizes the complexity of the items that may be created. In its raw form, the plastic used generally is in the shape of small granules. These may be mixed with other types of plastic and other compounds such as dyes. These can give different properties to items made from the same type of base plastic. Gravity causes the pellets to flow into a heated drum where they are melted down until they can flow into the mold.
The mold itself is cooled. This is usually done by running coolant by or through the mold so that it stays at a temperature low enough that the plastic will harden. The plastic enters the cooled mold through a nozzle that directs the melted plastic through special openings in the mold. Once the cooling is complete, a burst of air will push the finished product out of the mold and it can be further machined to remove imperfections or small surface flaws.
How The Plastic Molds Are Created
Simple plastic molds are created in two sections. The first is the injection mold which contains the shaped reservoir where the items are formed. The second is the ejector mold which is what is used to get the finished product out of the mold. If a mold is more complicated it may have a number of other sections that are used to achieve specific effects. They can be used with different molding techniques to create a wide range of different products.
Usually when a mold has a number of very fine details, it is created using computerized manufacturing techniques that allow the mold to be shaped very precisely. The amount of detail that can be included in a mold is one of the advantages to the plastic injection molding process.
Plastic Parts and Products are Everywhere
If you are surprised to find that we use products produced using plastic injection molding you should not be. We utilize plastic for everything from keeping our food fresh to packaging our toys. Many of those toys are themselves manufactured using plastic injection molding. Even the automotive industry uses parts molded from plastic. Whether it is interior belts and hoses or exterior door panels, we use these items every day.
The medical industry is also one area where these products are used a lot. IV tubes, hoses for oxygen and other instrument parts are all made using the plastic injection molding process. Often if items are meant to be used and then disposed of rather than sterilized they are created using plastic injection molding.