Your Basic Guide to Plastic Molding
Plastics are semi-synthetic or synthetic compounds that can be molded into hard objects. It is also polymers that may be combined with other substances. After manufacturing, plastics can be seen almost everywhere. From your favorite toys, kitchen utensils, jars, tubes, bottles, cases, protective caps, and accessories, there’s almost nothing in our modern life that hasn’t been touched with the wonders of plastic molding.
The Process: From Melting To Cooling
The very basic thought of this process is melting plastic and having it take the shape of a mold once it hardens but for your sake, we’ll be discussing it in detail.
As you can see, in order for plastic to become products such as dog collar buckles, boxes, flower pots, traffic signages, product displays, market promotions, cabinets, breakfast trays, backpack buckles and car parts, it has to undergo a heating process.
Selected raw materials like duraflex material are placed in the plastic injection molding machine and melted. As it moves further inside the machine, it is forced into molds by way of injection. Once the molten plastic takes the shape of the mold, it is allowed to cool, harden, then ejected from the machine. The process is repeated until the desired number of products has been made. So if a client orders for a thousand plastic buckles, the machine will do the process all over again until a thousand buckles have been made.
The Various Processes of Plastic Molding
The process mentioned earlier is called injection molding but there are also other techniques in manufacturing plastics.
- Blow molding is similar with injection molding except for the fact that molten plastic is poured out of the machine vertically to a tube. The mold will close on it, forcing the plastic to take its shape. As it cools, the hollow product is formed. This is a common process used in making containers, tubes, and bottles.
- Compression Molding is the process of placing a slug of stiff plastic in between two heated halves. It commonly uses presses in a vertical manner. The products of this process are cooled by air. Rates of products manufactured by this method are considered moderate.
- Film Insert Molding is a method that inserts an image under the surface of a part to be molded. The material to be inserted is like a fabric or film.
- Gas Assist Molding is a method used in making stuff with hollow parts. A shot of plastic is taken the place of highly-pressured gas in order to fill the shape of the mold.
- Rotational Molding makes use of hollow molds filled with powdered plastic. The molds rotate at separate ways at once. A hub swings the entire mold making the plastic melt and stick to the molds. When the molds starts to turn slowly, it cools the product but water is sprayed to hasten the process. Although the tooling rates are low, rotational molding rates per product manufactured by plastic manufacturers are quite high.
- Structural foam molding is preferred when thicker walls are needed. It makes use of a blow agent or nitrogen. Foaming appears when molten plastic reaches the mold. A layer of plastic is formed and solidifies in the wall of the mold. The process can use any thermopastic that are suitable for injection molding.
- Thermoforming plastic sheets are heated horizontally and sucked into hollow tools. Once solidified, the plastic takes the shape of the cavity. Tooling rates are low and products rates vary upon the kind of machine used.
Whether you admire the process undergone by quick release buckles or not, one thing’s for sure; plastic molding is an amazing process!