Plastic Injection Molding: The Benefits in Manufacturing
Little thought is paid to the manufacturing of the products we commonly live by. From glass to metal, to several types of rubber, most of the products we consume are mass produced through the process of injection molding. But, out of all of materials manufactured through injection molding, plastic is the most produced.
Today’s plastic injection molding industry is unique, because over 30 million tons of plastic are manufactured yearly. In addition to that, there are more than 60,000 different types of plastic, so this is probably a very daunting industry for manufacturers. Thankfully, plastic injection molding is more diverse due to innovative resins like Nylon 6/6, K Resin and Styrene; alongside imaginative additives such as color and ultraviolet inhibitors. Needless to say, injection molding is an extremely tedious business, because molds must be meticulously constructed in order to properly facilitate the molding process.
In the case of plastic, horizontal injection mold machines have generally been the tool of the trade since the 1980s. Nowadays, the advent of efficient hybrids and vertical mold machines enable the plastics injection mold industry to manufacture practically any shape and size item. Even though machines actually do the molding, there is always the potential of injury for the human machine operators. Fortunately, today’s injection and blow molding machines are considerably safer due to incredible features like hydraulics and robotic controls; as well as strict regulations imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), and American National Standards Institute.
EMBETTERING THE INDUSTRY
Although the plastics injection industry is better these days, the primary concern with manufacturing this material circumvents around its inability to safely decompose into the environment. That is why for the last several decades, lots of revenue has been invested in making plastic more environment friendly, through methods such as recycling. In the early years, injection molding techniques were essentially unchanged, so hazards like contamination were highly possible from the polymers and petrochemicals that make up plastic. Now, plastics are much safer for edibles, due to the advancements in materials, food preservation, and packaging.
Current injection molding methods are more environment friendly, because of efficient machinery and durable thermosetting polymers capable of withstanding abuse, and extreme temperatures. More importantly, the greatest asset of plastics is probably its lifespan. This pertains to the fact that modern day plastics are made to endure the wear and tear of dishwashers and microwave ovens. Obviously there will always be reasons for and against the use of plastics, but the pros undoubtedly outweigh the cons!
As previously alluded, the main reason people were likely opposed to the manufacturing of plastic, is because of its inability to safely decompose. On the other hand, if plastics were not manufactured, the only other alternatives for food would be through materials such as glass, metal, and of course, paper. For the record, paper would probably be the cheapest material to replace plastic, but the issue of pollution would most likely increase dramatically. It is easy to envision how Styrofoam and paper cups and plates could compile in landfills and overwhelm communities. So in retrospect, all of the options just mentioned would probably be relatively more expensive than plastic to mass produce.
Frankly speaking, the injection molding industry is a necessity for society, so it is vital for manufacturers to continue improving this process. In actuality, the plastic injection molding industry really does take every precaution into consideration with regard to hazards, so in essence, plastic is technically a very healthy option. Also, proper recycling techniques should always be considered when discarding plastic to ensure a more environmentally-friendly Earth.
Microdyne Plastics provides the high-quality precision molded plastic injection mold design, precision mold making, close-tolerance injection molding and comprehensive inspection services for a complete custom manufacturing experience.
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