Benefits Of Injection Moulding
Seat yourself inside a modern car and you will quickly realize that you are surrounded by plastic on every side. Walk around the outside and you will also notice plastic in the bumper and maybe the fenders. No matter how expensive the car, many of the appointments from the dashboard to the armrests and side panels on the doors are the product of a custom injection moulding process that started as a prototype and may have eventually become a high-volume production part.
Why Plastic Custom Injection Moulding?
The move to plastic has been partly to save costs, but plastic parts have many characteristics that enable manufacturers to meet goals for quality, fuel saving, and greener manufacturing. By experimenting with different materials, prototyping some parts through custom injection moulding, and testing the results, the automotive industry is constantly improving.
- Appearance and texture: Appearance is high on the list of attributes for a high-quality part. Parts made by the custom injection moulding process are noted for their excellent surface finish. Assuming correct design, good gating practices, appropriate material choice, and careful processing, the parts should not only be free of defects, but have the desired look and feel. Depending on the surface finish of the mold used, parts can have a rough, easy-to-grip texture like a gearshift knob or a smooth texture like a fender. Their overall appearance might be wood grain, stone, leather grain, multi-gloss, or one of other finishes considered standard in the automotive industry.
- Weight Reduction: Currently, 8% of the car's weight is in plastic. Since plastic weighs 50% less than other materials used in the process, any swaps of metal with plastic will reduce weight, which is highly desirable for better aerodynamics and better fuel economy. As a result, car manufacturers are experimenting with materials and custom injection moulding techniques to take weight out of grilles, intake pipes and even car bodies. The new Alfa Romeo 4C, for example, is made with a plasticized carbon fibre body made by compression moulding, with bumpers and some other interior and exterior parts made by a custom injection moulding process as well. Major US auto makers Ford and GM are trying plastics in less traditional applications such as tailpipes and are experimenting with microcellular foam custom injection moulding of unseen parts. The emphasis is on keeping the amenities that people like while reducing weight.
- Greener Production: With a growing emphasis on the environmental impact of automobile manufacturing, as well as emissions, custom injection moulding is a highly desirable process that uses up to 99% of its scrap. Many products are made from recycled and reprocessed materials in methods that use natural cooling and other methods to reduce energy use. Although some materials used in moulding emit high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which take over a year to dissipate, the industry is experimenting with new types of plastics that emit fewer toxic chemicals. For example, Ford is working with food manufacturer Heinz to determine if dried tomato skins left over from making ketchup can be used to make an alternative to plastic. The company has several bio-based materials in its portfolio as a possible replacement for petroleum-based plastic in custom injection moulding.
Looking for a forward-looking company that produces custom injection moulding in prototype and production quantities for all types of industries? Baytech Plastics is on the cutting edge of technology and environmental responsibility in manufacturing and materials. We welcome partnerships with companies in the automotive field. Just contact us to see if we can offer our engineering expertise and custom injection moulding services.