If you were to ask almost any group of people what they know about plastic injection machines, I would be willing to bet that very, very few have any idea whatsoever what they do or how they operate.
There might be the occasional person who worked in a plastics factory in high school, or perhaps there is a mechanical engineer who has read about these machines. But, typically, very few have any meaningful concept of these important machines.
Just take a look around where you presently are: I imagine there is a computer, keyboard, mouse, water bottle, light switch, electrical outlet and cords, waste basket, chairs, fire extinguisher, room deodorizer, light cover, door stop, fire alarm and so on. All of these items came out of a plastic injection molding machine!
So, here are 10 things most people don’t know about them
1. Plastic injection molding machines can range in size from table top to as large as your garage! Tiny medical parts, for example, are made in micro molding machines. These little parts are so small that you need a microscope to view them! Yet they have incredible detail and accuracy.
2. Some high production molding machines can produce over 200 million parts in one year! You would think that the entire world would be full of plastic parts by now and every man, woman, and child would have one of everything produced!
3. A high quality molding machine can easily cost $750,000 US. This is just the bare machine, no accessories or special tools and no mold installed.
4. Every molding machine requires a mold to produce parts. You would think this is obvious, but, for most people, it is not. They just never even give it a thought.
5. Some medical grade plastic can cost over $5000 per pound! Just imagine how unhappy the boss is when there is a high rate of scrap!
6. Some molding machines operate with no human present, 24/7. This is called, “Lights Out.”
7. If a human gets caught between the two halves of a molding machine when it is closing, they will be completely crushed. The machine has pressure sensors, but if these are not activated, or malfunction, the molding machine, also known as a “press” will close and crush anything that is not supposed to be there.
8. It is possible to operate plastic mold injection machines in a very environmentally manner. If set up properly, and with the newer, greener machines, there is very little pollution. Not only that, but the plastic can be recycled and can be biodegradable.
9. Products as diverse as a soda bottle, water tank, Space Shuttle components, gun parts, endoscopic devices, and shoes all come from a type of plastic mold injection machine.
10. A molding machine can operate profitably for decades, if properly maintained. These machines can be a great investment, if managed correctly. It is very profitable at times, and very frustrating most of the time.
Overall, plastic injection machines are true workhorses for our modern society. Without these mechanical servants, we would have literally none of the thousands of products we use on a daily basis.
Some of the key machine manufacturers are Husky, Engel, Battenfeld, Demag, Boy, Arburg, Milicron, Netstal, Negri Bossi, Nissei, Toshiba and Van Dorn.
The international competition has become extremely fierce in the last decade. Some companies have had to merge and others have simply gone out of business.