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Plastic Injection Molding Machine
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Plastic injection molding machine plays a very important part in our daily lives. Most of the machinery we use has come out of these machines, be it the computer, the air conditioner or your car, most parts have come out of this machine yet most of us are unaware of what these machines are and what they do. So here are some basic facts to get you better acquainted with this molding machine.
These machines range in size from a table top to a garage. Tiny plastic products like medical parts are made in micro molding machines. Micro machines make parts so small in size that microscopes are needed just to see them. These machines are very accurate and the details on the parts they produce are always precise. The medical grade plastic used to make these parts can cost up $5000 per pound.
The production range of these machines varies from normal to very high. Some high production molding machines can produce up to 200million parts per year. High quality molding machines can cost around $750,000. This is usually the price of the machine without any mold or accessories. The molds, an absolute must for every machine are installed later. A plastic molding machine has to be able to heat the plastic at very high temperatures in order to melt it and at the same time work efficiently at high temperatures. The molten plastic is then poured into the molds. The molds have to be of high quality and very precisely made in order for the finished product to be accurate and detailed.
The two halves of the mould close with immense pressure, so much so that if a human gets caught between the two halves he will be crushed. The machines are equipped with pressure sensors but if the sensors are switched off or not working everything that comes in the press or the molding section of the machine is crushed. These days some machines operate 24/7 without any human presence. This is known as “lights out”.
These days the plastic injection molding machine has become very environment friendly. If they are set up properly there is very little pollution. The newer machines are specially eco friendly. Even the plastic used can be recycled and biodegradable. These machines are responsible for making a wide range of products, from soda bottles, gun parts, shoes, endoscopic devices to space shuttle components.
A god quality molding machine can operate profitably for decades. The molding business is very profitable at times but the competition is high and many companies have to go into merger to survive. The international competition has become fierce as new companies making high quality machines have come up. Some of the most popular companies in the plastic injection moulding machines are Husky, Engel, Battenfeld, Demag, Boy, Arburg, Milicron, Netstal, Negri, Bossi, Nissei, Toshiba and VanDorn. In the modern world, the plastic injection molding machine has become the new workhorse that is providing us with many daily uses, technical and luxury items.
Most of the machines we use today are produced through injection moulding machines. These machines are produced from most of our household equipment as well as many parts of vehicles, office and other industrial machinery. These machines have the real industry that is behind most of the industries we see today. The products of these machines are used widely and required in all spheres of the economy to run secondary industry and the economy.
These moulding machines are now produced with very high technology with the capability of producing small air conditioner vents to large plastic equipment that can weigh more than a ton. Therefore, the machines also vary in size starting from table tops and going up to many tons. The capabilities of the machine and their costs vary proportionately. Some machines have multiple moulds and can be used to produce a variety of products through one machine with various qualities while others are more generic and depend on producing only one machine.
The injection moulding machines is called the same because it works by injecting the liquid plastic into the molds to produce the required products. Thermoplastic and thermosetting plastics are two types of polymers used as raw materials. The polymers are heated to a certain level so that they become liquid and then are injected into the cavity of the injection molding machine. The cavity is the strongest part of the machine, designed specifically to hold the liquid plastic in it until it solidifies and takes the shape. The cavity needs to be the toughest part of the machine as it has to me more resistible to temperature changes. As all products are required to be of the same quality, if the cavity expands or contracts due to the temperature changes, the quality of the products will suffer.
The injection molding machines have two processes. The first process is called the injection process wherein the polymers are injected into the injection barrel and heated to the melting point to form the liquid. This plastic fluid is injected into the mold or the cavity where it will cool off and take the desired shape. The hydraulic or mechanical pressure is then applied to ensure that there is no trapped air in the mold. The liquid plastic is then left to solidify and take the desired shape without any problems due to uneven spread or trapped air. Once the plastic has solidified in the desired shape, an ejection process begins using the ejection mold and pins that carefully remove the plastic without any damage to it. The process is simplistic and the changes in technology have mainly changed the quality of work and no substantial change in the major molding process has come out for some time.
The mold can be used repeatedly until it maintains the desired thickness and uniformity. Once the mold changes its appearance, wither the mold or the entire machine needs to be replaced. These machines are very expensive and specialized machines. A high quality machine can start go above a million dollars.