Plastic injection moulding is present in almost every area of our modern-day lives. From toy shops to your bathroom, you’ll find items created from the plastic injection moulding process. But what exactly is plastic injection moulding? In this guide, we explain what injection moulding is, how the process works, its advantages and how we create the best products that are using this high-quality process.
What is Injection Moulding?
Plastic injection moulding is the process of creating plastic products from a mould. This is done through melting plastic pellets otherwise known as thermoplastic polymers until they are malleable enough to be injected into a mould cavity at pressure to form, when cooled, a solidified final plastic product.
This process is known for its precision and ability to create complex and detailed parts with unrivalled consistency. Plastic injection moulding is widely utilised across industries such as automotive, electronics, medical device production, consumer manufacturing and more due to its cost-effectiveness, design flexibility and fast production capabilities. Plastic injection moulding techniques allow the mass production of plastic components while maintaining accuracy and high quality. This makes it an important technique in modern manufacturing.
The Injection Moulding Process
Understanding the details of the injection moulding process is key to appreciating its versatility and why it is a preferred manufacturing technique in many industries. Here are the steps in more depth.
Thermoplastic Material Selection
The process begins with the careful selection of plastic material. Various types of thermoplastic resins can be used, each offering specific properties suitable for different applications. Factors like durability, flexibility and heat resistance are considered when choosing the right material.
Melting and Injection
Once the thermoplastic material is selected, the prepared product mould is clamped firmly to prepare for injection. Molten thermoplastic material is injected into the mould under high pressure. This is usually done using a ramming device or a screw-like plunger. More pressure is then exerted on the mould to ensure that all of the mould’s cavities are filled with molten plastic. This is done through either mechanical or hydraulic pressure and ensures a smooth, complete product.
Injection Moulding Cooling and Solidification
After injection, the molten plastic is then left to cool and solidify within the mould. The cooling process is carefully controlled to ensure consistency and prevent defects in the final product.
Ejecting the Mould
Once the plastic has solidified, the movable metal plates used to hold the mould are separated from the fixed point in order to separate the mould. Rods, a plate or an air blast are used to eject the newly formed plastic part from the mould. This step is critical to maintain production efficiency and minimise cycle times. At this stage, Fern Plastics then aims to recycle and reuse any plastic waste from this process to create a circular plastic injection moulding process.
Types of Plastic Materials Used Injection Moulding
When it comes to injection moulding, the choice of material is paramount as it directly influences the product’s properties, durability and suitability for specific applications. There is a vast range of plastic materials available for moulding, each with its unique characteristics and advantages. Understanding the different types of plastic material is crucial for achieving the desired results in your injection moulding projects. Some of the common thermoplastics used in the moulding include:
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
- Nylon/ Polyamide (PA)
- Polycarbonate (PC)
- Polycarbonate Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (PC+ABS)
What is Plastic Injection Moulding Used for?
Plastic injection moulded parts and components can be found in everything from electrical gadgets to household objects, wheelie bins to medical tools. Some of the most common objects formed by the plastic injection moulding process include plastic bottle screw tops, internal car parts, wire spools, toys and storage containers among many other things. Many objects you use in your everyday life may have been manufactured using the injection moulding process as more and more objects are developed using this method every day.
When it comes to plastic injection moulded parts, you can find them in a wide range of industries and uses from the very small to the large. Moulded products can be found everywhere from factories to your own garden. Here are some of the most common injection molded plastic products and where they are used.
Injection Moulding Products for Machinery and Automotives
One of the most common examples of injection moulded products is in machinery and automotive components. The ability to form large quantities of identical parts means that plastic injection moulded products can be used for everything from dashboards to cup holders to radio controls and plastic injection moulded machine fixtures.
Plastic Injection Moulded Examples in Healthcare
When it comes to the healthcare industry, the ability to create sterile components that can be easily cleaned is one of the benefits of the plastic injection moulding process. Mass-produced items such as plastic syringes and medication trays can all be created through plastic injection moulding processes. In addition to this, plastic injection moulding examples can also be found in some tools used for medical procedures as well as sharps disposal bins among many other uses for molded products.
Plastic Injection Moulding Examples in Everyday Objects
Of course, plastic injection moulded parts are not just used in the automotive or healthcare industries. Many of the consumer goods you use every day are formed from plastic injection moulded parts. Some examples of injection moulded products include everything from toilet seats to barbeque accessories, collectable models to recycling bins and everything in between.
What Are the Advantages of Injection Moulding?
There are numerous advantages that make this process a preferred choice in manufacturing across diverse industries. Here are some of the advantages of plastic injection moulding.
Low Scrappage Rates for Plastic Injection Moulding
When it comes to the efficient creation of moulded parts, plastic injection moulding is one of the most efficient with minimal levels of waste produced. At Fern Plastics we aim to reuse and recycle up to 100% of our plastic and manufacturing waste to be used for future projects with the help of our in-house machines and recycling partners. Our processes mean minimal waste without any compromise on quality.
Complete Design Flexibility
When it comes to plastic moulding and injection moulded parts, the world is your oyster. Bespoke moulds can be produced to fit a wide range of uses with endless options to customise and adapt to fit your needs. Intricate shapes can be created with highly detailed designs to be added to the product. Moulds can also be created to fit various elements together for a working product.
High Output Capabilities with Plastic Injection Moulding
One of the biggest benefits of plastic injection moulding is the ability to produce huge quantities of identical products quickly, easily and cost-effectively. With injection moulded parts, thousands of plastic injection moulded parts can be produced before maintenance is required with quick turnaround speeds that can be vital for smooth business operations.
Low Production and Labour Costs
When it comes to the labour costs involved in injection moulding products, the costs are minimal. This is because plastic injection moulding is largely automated with most of the work involved in injection moulding products done by machines to speed up the process and require far less manpower than other methods. This means that the overhead costs of plastic injection mouldings are relatively low making the production process a lot more efficient and cost-effective.
Finished Products are Extremely Consistent
As the finished injection moulded parts are created using a mould, the end result is highly consistent each and every time. This can be vital in projects where exact-fit parts are required to be fit for purpose. Creating injection moulded parts using this efficient process ensures limited discrepancies with an exact match product in every unit and batch, ideal for high tolerances in large volumes. No matter what the product specifications are, once your bespoke plastic injection moulding is created, your finished product should meet your custom specifications each time.
Reduced Finishing Requirements for Plastic Injection Moulded Parts
When it comes to the perfect finish, plastic injection moulding can help simplify things. Many plastic injection moulded parts are already created with a high level of detail and shaping so require very little finishing work upon production. A high amount of detail can be produced using plastic injection mouldings with good colour control and the ability to include inserts.
What Does Fern Plastics Offer?
Fern Plastics offers a high-quality plastic injection moulding process. Our fast efficient process is high-precision and creates a lightweight product with fantastic repeatability, regardless of the complexity of the design. Our specialities include particularly challenging plastic injection moulding including those with leak-free specifications and pleasure-tight needs. That’s why we have developed a good reputation for innovation and problem-solving over our 60 years of trade. We also provide close dimensional tolerances with excellent surface finishes, fire retardant mouldings, transparent moulding or lenses as well as a range of value-added services. We can guarantee your plastic injection mouldings will be right the first time and on time every time with 24-hour production.
Are you looking for a dedicated plastic injection moulding service with years of experience and expertise? Why not get in touch with the team here at Fern Plastics now to find out more about how we can help you and the range of services we provide.