Without the proper plastic molding equipment a custom molder will be facing an uphill battle trying to produce quality plastic parts. There are some pieces of equipment that you just cannot do without.
A simple thing like a properly sized and plumbed air compressor is a good example. Without enough compressed air any pneumatic equipment will not be able to properly function, and the results can be very dramatic.
Another overlooked item is the lowly fork lift. Just try moving one ton of steel around manually and you will begin to appreciate the value of the fork lift. The same goes for an overhead crane system. Sure, you can use a portable, manual engine hoist to set molds, and many companies still do this.
However, if you are serious about becoming a global player in the high precision industry of plastic molding, you should look into installing an overhead gantry type hoist system for moving, storing and setting molds.
No matter what type of plastic molding you are doing, thermoset, compression, injection, RIM, rotational, blow or vacuum molding, you need to have the right press. It might be a simple, proprietary vacuum forming press, or it could be a stack mold, complete with robotics and a dedicated inspection and assembly cell.
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There are many excellent manufacturers of injection molding machines. A few of the more prominent include Nissei, Engel, Arburg, Battenfeld, Demag, Husky and Milicron. Many other regional companies also make good molding machines as well.
Resin dryers are essential for any plastic production. Humidity control is critical for the entire process and a good quality desiccant dryer, such as the Honeycomb Desiccant Roto Dryer can control the dew point and save energy at the same time.
Many molding problems stem from material that has not been sufficiently dried. Hours or even days of troubleshooting can be avoided just by ensuring that this element of the process is covered.
There are so many different pieces of equipment that a production facility uses that it is difficult to even begin to cover them all. It really depends on what type of plastic molding process you are using and your budget, of course.
Plastic molding equipment
- Cleaning and lubricating equipment
- Cutters, knives, blades, clippers
- Static control equipment
- Safety and pollution control equipment
- Trimming and decorating tools
- Mold chillers, temperature controls
- Hot runner controls
- Blenders, feeders, mixers
- Material handling equipment
- Inspection equipment
- Packaging and conveyor equipment
The molding of plastic parts is a complex process. Once the method of molding is determined, there must be a recognition of the many auxiliary pieces of equipment required to adequately do the job. Attempting to save money by failing to invest in the right plastic molding equipment is really handicapping your chances for success.