While automation may have its fair share of glitches, one cannot deny that the selling point of this process is greater precision and accuracy. As is the case, big producers are relying automation in most manufacturing methods such as in plastic injection molding.
Automation basically integrates high-end technology, tools, and equipment to lessen manual work and upend precision. Hence, one of the major benefits of automation is greater accuracy, more uniform products in terms of design and quality, and cost-efficiency.
In this post, we shall comprehensively lay down some of the most significant advantages of automation in plastic injection molding. An overview of what it is as a process is also incorporated for better appreciation of automation in production.
What is Automation in Plastic Injection Molding?
In general, automation in plastic injection molding refers to the use of automated precision machines, equipment, and robotics for a more accurate injection molding process.
Since these tools are automated, it means that they already have pre-programmed features for phases in the production.
Business reports statistically present the benefits of automation in industries. For instance, Nexus Integra reports that companies who have switched to automated production gained an increased company productivity of 14%. Consequently, a decrease of 12% in production expenditure due to automation was also attained.
In injection molding, Plastivision reports that 77% of injection molding companies in the world have switched to automation. It is also said that automation in injection molding and other consumer product and parts industries is not only incorporated in the manufacturing line.
Automation in these industries is also integrated in their quality control schemes, packaging, and even shipping and logistics.
Types of Automation Used in Injection Molding
In the field of injection molding, automation proves to be an integral part in the production process. The following are some of the different types of automation that are integrated in injection molding:
Automated Injection Molding:
Automated injection molding can be applied in two ways: direct molding and insert molding. In direct molding, automation systems help in providing precision control in every phase.
As such, a better, more accurate molded part same as its predecessor part is produced over again.
In insert molding, automated injection molding is very beneficial in secondary operations and quality control. It is especially applicable in visual inspection, post-processing, and assembly.
Centralized Computer Control Systems:
Installing a centralized computer and control systems with the back-up of interconnected automated systems allow the simultaneous operations of other automated tools and robotics systems.
In just a few clicks of applications and programs, intricate processes such as geometric imprinting and assembly become more seamless and convenient to do.
Automated Machinery and Robotics System:
Automated machineries and robotics systems are made for complex tasks at a high turnaround and peak performance.
From pre-fabricating molds, loading the materials, up to more intricate processes in the production, automation and robotics can keep up, completing tasks with minimal supervision.
According to NB Plastics, the inclusion of robotics system in secondary operations have also dramatically eased workload and lessened turnaround time for production.
Automation and Robotics: Advantages in Plastic Injection Molding
Now that you already have a working knowledge of what automation is in plastic injection molding, it is time to narrow down some of the most significant advantages that it offers to plastic injection molding.
The list is not exclusive and there are other benefits of automation in plastic injection molding to explore.
Less Part-to-Part Variations and Waste:
By ensuring precision and accurate cuts and molds, less part-to-part variations is secured by automation in plastic injection molding.
Due to this, lesser volume of rejects and production wastes are also generated through automation. Hence, aside from a very seamless production, automation also contributes to an environment-friendly production.
Reduced Part Costs:
Since the loading and unloading of materials are already handled by automated machineries and robotics system, compromising the parts shall be lessened.
Through this, there is a dramatic reduction of parts costs because everything becomes more accurate and precise.
Increased Utilization and Consistent Cycle Times:
Note that automated tools and equipment, robotics systems, and a central computer system interconnect varied processes through one communication system.
As is the case, there is increased utilization because all the equipment is in sync at work. Further, this also leads to a more consistent cycle time as such is already pre-programmed.
Increased productivity and efficiency:
One of the best advantages of automation in plastic injection molding is the uninterrupted operations they offer. Being able to do intricate tasks, at high turnaround, speed, and with no interruptions, increased productivity and efficiency is achieved.
Improved Quality Control and Consistency:
Again, this has something to do with the centralized system of automated machines, equipment plus robotics system. Same parts are produced fast over and over. Quality control and inspection are also done with precision through automated measurements.
Compromised parts are eliminated on point. All these taken in, automation ensures very high-quality control and consistency in production methods and the products as a whole.
Reduced Labor Costs:
This is the most upfront advantage of automation in plastic injection molding. The intricate processes involved in production shall no longer be under the hands of manual operators.
Aside from avoiding risks for the operator, it also reduces labor costs because only secondary quality control shall only be left for them. In other words, lessened direct labor also lessens labor costs.
Faster Time to Market:
With accuracy, centralized work, and high turnaround, the interval between production to display in market becomes shorter through automation. The logic here is simple.
Automation lessens production time by 50-75%. Hence, order fulfillment and delivery shall also be lessened in terms of time.
Improved Safety for Workers:
This advantage must be overemphasized. Working in the consumer production industry is as hazardous as it could get given the machines and intricacy of work involved. Automation in production according to Rodon Group, decreases work hazard by 60-70%.
Workers shall still be needed for other production related processes that is true. But in so far as the risky processes are concerned, automation improves the safety of workers.
Comparing Traditional Injection Molding From Automated Injection Molding
At a general perspective, the main difference between traditional injection molding and automated injection molding is the inclusion of automation through robotics and computer systems.
Outside the direct molding process, however, the following are the other differences between these two injection molding processes. One is the grip and the handling of molded components.
Traditional injection molding involves manual handling of fragile parts. As such, material compromise is common. On the other hand, automated injection molding handle materials through vacuum-based collection systems and grippers.
Further, finetuning is also made more efficient and seamless by automated injection molding. Excess consumables are eliminated before post-processing and assembly.
And if there is a need to overmold, you can easily press some buttons to do it for you. This is not possible for traditional injection molding at an instant pacing.
Where Does Automation Apply in Plastic Injection Molding?
Aside from the advantages, you must also know the applications for automated plastic injection molding.
Being an indispensable feature of mass production in modern industry settings, you would know why automation has revolutionized mass production. The following are the most common applications of automated injection molding.
Loading of Materials and Unloading of Finished Products:
When left with traditional plastic injection molding, time and workspace can be an issue. This is especially true in the loading of materials and unloading the produced pieces.
Robotic systems and centralized computer systems create viable working environments where loading and unloading of materials would no longer need human hands.
Because of this, greater physical risks are lessened and more precision as to the materials loaded is increased.
Quality Control Schemes:
Indeed, human operators could oversee and supervise quality control and process inspections.
However, robotics and automated systems ensure more accurate inspection and quality control by having specialized features with built-in sensors to identify if there are precision errors, measurement errors, and design errors.
Stacking, Sorting, and Assembly:
Again, compared to manual stacking, sorting, and assembly, the time needed could be daunting. The higher risk of inaccuracy can also be a common problem in manual labor for these processes.
Good thing, automated tools and equipment plus robotics which can do all these post-processing activities seamlessly and at a faster speed are available for tapping.
By secondary processes we mean, labeling, packaging, and embellishing. The best benefit that one can get from robotics and automation in secondary processes is that it can incorporate side-entry robotics to do all of these at a high speed and accuracy.
There might be other applications of automation which were not covered in the list. Nevertheless, these are the upfront applications of automation in plastic injection molding.
Industries Which Benefit From Automation in Injection Molding
For you to have a more detailed view of how automation benefits everyday industries, here are the sectors or fields which have become dependent on automation in manufacturing their products.
Injection molding has become very indispensable in the medical field for many reasons. Medical devices, from simple to the more sophisticated ones, depend on injection molding because of the durable and cost-efficient products it creates.
As such, X-Ray components, diagnostic kits, medical device enclosures, and other more complex medical devices are made more precise and durably built by injection molding.
Your syringe, IV cases, eyedroppers, and capsule molds, among others, are some of the most common products produced through inject molding.
The precision, and uniformity brought about by automation in injection molding makes the latter an important phase in any pharmaceutical production.
Food and Beverages:
Plastic cutleries, cups, trays, and other consumer products all benefit from the automation involved in injection molding.
Injection molding, with its precision, and food grade materials, ensure that the plastics used in the food and beverage industry comply with international standards.
What would the telecommunications industry be without plastic cables, optic devices, adapters, and more, without plastic molds of which they are made from?
The presence of automation in injection molding makes telecommunications more advanced because of improved devices which makes communication technology always up-to-date.
Perhaps, automation is most beneficial to construction, architecture, and aerospace. The need for uniform, lightweight, and highly functional products make automation indispensable in this industry because of its accuracy and cost-efficiency.
From simple parts to ones with more complex and specified geometries, there is no denying that the construction industry would be paralyzed without parts made by injection molding.
It must be noted that this list of industries is not exclusive. There are other fields of businesses that are not mentioned here, which also depend on automated injection molding.
One thing is clear though: these industries are upscaled by automation in injection molding because of its accuracy in production, thereby creating uniform, functional, and cost-efficient products.
Automation is the modern trend and all for the good reasons. As we have covered here, the main benefits of incorporating automation in plastic injection molding are increased efficiency and productivity, among others.
From seamless production to post-processing, assembly, and even labeling, the output of uniform products with uniform functionality and efficiency bring about a large turnaround for your company, profit-wise.
If you are planning to endeavor on engaging into injection molding, automation is a must. As can be gleaned from what we have covered, automation in plastic injection molding offers significant benefits.
Hence, it is very important to understand the range of advantages of automation in plastic injection molding as laid down in this post.
Get High-quality Plastic Injection Molding With Kemal
If you are looking for high quality plastic injection moldings, you can checkout the services and products offered by Kemal.
Their pool of experts and dependable staff will assist you in every phase of the production process. They are also open for consultations and instant quotations for a wide range of projects.
As for plastic injection molding, you can see a wide range of products and services at Kemal Manufacturing.
Product specifications, minimum order quantities, and high-end production of plastic injection molds can be expected from Kemal Manufacturing.