Plastic injection molding is a typical manufacturing process for producing plastic components in large volumes. This technique has been around for years and has always been a fast-moving method.
As technology evolves and consumers become more specific about the features they want in their components, new trends bring unmatched benefits to the manufacturers who opt for this technique. Here are the top trends in plastic injection molding that will become even more predominant in 2022.
What is Plastic Injection Molding?
Before we jump straight to the top 2022 trends in plastic injection, let’s first understand what it is and how it has evolved over the years. Typically, the process of plastic injection molding occurs in four significant cycles:
- Melting – Plastics are melted to make them flexible and easy to manipulate. However, it’s worth noting that different plastics present various properties, benefits, and melting points.
- Injection – The raw material is forced into the molding press to form the desired shape.
- Cooling – Cooling starts once the molten plastic makes contact with the interior molds. The mold cavities then harden into the shape of the component.
- Ejection – The part is ejected after it fully solidifies.
How Has Plastic Injection Molding Evolved?
Early forms of plastics have been in existence since the 1850s, though they were hard to work with. It was until the 1870’s that more malleable forms of plastics were invented, leading to the development of plastic injection molding techniques. There has been a series of advancements since then, such as:
- The introduction of screw injection molding machines has led to better control of injection speed, improving final product quality.
- Over time, gas-assisted screw machines were invented, which has facilitated the creation of more robust, flexible, and more complex products. This invention also minimized various aspects, including production time, costs, and waste.
- Computer-assisted manufacturing means more varieties of plastics that can create more complex shapes.
Plastic Injection Molding Trends for 2022
Sustainability has become an essential topic in the manufacturing processes, particularly in the plastic injection molding industry. This sector is quickly adapting to new sustainability policies and values. The aim is to reduce the emissions and dangerous, non-disposable waste ending up in landfills.
As a result, the 2022 plastic molding trends focus on using recyclable plastic materials to ensure sustainability. In addition, the plastic injection molding industry is considering other alternatives to minimize carbon footprint during processing.
The increased demand for flexible, cost-effective products in plastic molding has increased the demand for custom products. Moreover, most companies prioritize custom solutions because they increase their ROI.
The Use of High-Performance, Lightweight Materials
In 2022, one of the most important advancements in the injection molding processes will be focusing on high-performance, lightweight materials. This could mean less economic costs and fewer energy costs.
Another trend that will make waves in 2022 is plastic injection automation. Various automation software possibilities and tech advancements such as advanced analytics, AI, and machine learning will make the industry even more prevalent and powerful.
With such technologies, plastic injection molding processes can easily be controlled and managed to ensure efficiency in production cycles. This also allows companies to correct issues like irregular fill patterns before proceeding to the production phase, saving costs and time.