As regular readers of our news page will note, we like to regularly share posts about changes taking place in the plastics industry. But there are a number of other related industries that benefit from Shini USA’s services, so we make sure to keep an eye on developments in those fields as well.
In this post, we’ll look at some innovations and trends happening in injection molding, highlighting the diverse capabilities the field offers to a wide range of businesses!
Micro Injection Molding
One fascinating development in the injection molding field has been micro molding. Let’s examine some of the key facts:
- This type of injection molding involves molding parts on a microscopic level, and even to the micron level in some instances.
- While micro injection molding can be a benefit to a wide range of industries, where it really demonstrates its value is in the medical field. With small tools being used in surgeries and other essential procedures, and those tools necessitating the use of molded components, medical device manufacturers are able to provide better-quality tools by way of micro injection molding that can lead to saving lives!
- To ensure these delicate parts meet the high quality control standards required by the medical field, many injection molding companies have implemented quality control teams with specialized tools in-house. Additionally, this in-house assessment reduces the points of contact these parts receive, reducing the chance for damage during shipping or handling.
Advances in Automation
Another development within injection molding has been the increase in automation seen in various processes. Here are some of the newest aspects to take note of:
- More and more smart robots are being brought into injection molding facilities, often in roles they had previously not been utilized for.
- While robots have been tasked with a variety of processing, assembling, and other duties for some time, newer smart systems have the capability to often work side by side with their human operators, streamlining many aspects of a given job.
A New App for Remote Monitoring
Speaking of smart devices, robots aren’t the only way more advanced technology can significantly impact an injection molding company’s operations. The IoT, or Internet of Things, has been playing a stronger role in various fields for the last decade.
As Plastics Technology reports, one new app is changing the way production monitoring can be carried out in an injection molding facility. Let’s look at specifics:
- The German parent company of Boy Machines has announced it will be releasing its Status App that operators can utilize to streamline their processes.
- The Status App works with equipment supplied by Boy Machines and delivers remote production monitoring data for injection processes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Any internet-connected device can display the data to the operator, and older Boy Machine equipment that utilizes analog controls are still able to be monitored via the app.
- Some of the data that can be viewed from the Status App include the ID of what is being molded, the target quantities for the end product, the actual quantities for the end product, the number of components that still need to be completed, and the percent effectiveness.
New Approaches to Manufacturing at Home and a Reassessment of the Supply Chain
While offshoring has been a concern for many in the manufacturing industry for some time, in recent years “reshoring” and “nearshoring” have begun to be implemented as well. This change, along with a reexamination of supply chain practices, is shifting the processes of modern facilities. Let’s look at some key aspects:
- Many companies are seeing the value of keeping their manufacturing within the U.S. because of higher levels of quality, simpler coordination for quality control, reduced shipping and supplying times, and fewer rejected parts.
- Often, any cost reduction that was available to the company via offshoring is offset by problems with the aspects listed above, essentially nullifying any benefit to acquiring parts—injected molded or otherwise—from an offshore facility.
- A reexamination of the offshore supply chain has also taken place. Global uncertainties due to changes in the transportation fields as well as other factors have led companies to look for companies they can build a reliable partnership with, whether as part of short-term or long-term contracts.
A New System for Predicting Part Quality During Injection Molding
As Plastics Today reports, Swiss company Kistler has developed a process monitoring system for injection molding they have dubbed ComoNeo, which features ComoNeoPREDICT as part of its functionality. Let’s look at details:
- The ComoNeo system allows for data to be presented in real time that relays the status of the injection molding process and forecasts the quality of the end product.
- A testing plan is utilized by way of the system’s Stasa QC software which lets operators determine the dimensions that are sought for a part, the processes the injection molding machine needs to enact, and the specifics for cycle time.
- Because of the ComoNeoPREDICT feature, the system can reduce the number of faulty parts by a significant degree, saving a facility time, money, and materials.
- Operators of the system are able to quickly learn the interface, as it functions similarly to apps found on smart phones and takes roughly five to ten minutes to grasp.
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