Plastics and Metal Machinery
Plastics and Metal Machinery are used in any process that cuts, shapes or otherwise forms a plastic or metal material into an end product. These end products can be anything from car parts, toys, food storage containers, rigid pipes, electronic products, building siding, plastic film, connectors, displays, medical components, plastic optical lenses, luggage, IT equipment, TVs, computers and other widely used daily necessities. The major benefit to machining tools such as Injection Molding machines, Blow Molding machines, Extrusion Molders, Lathe machines is the exceptional uniformity and precision they deliver when manufacturing these plastics and metal machinery.
Plastic machinery can mainly be divided into four types which are plastic molding machinery, plastic compounding machinery, plastic processing auxiliary machinery and plastic secondary processing machinery.
- Plastics compounding machinery are used to manufacture many forms of plastic compounding materials which include kneaders, plastic mixing machines, screening machines, pelletizers, crushers and grinders, etc.
- Plastics molding machinery which are the main processing machines and used for the molding of plastic products which include injection molding machines, extrusion molders, blow molding machines and others.
- Plastics secondary processing machinery include thermoforming machines, welding machines, flocking machines, printing machines, heat sealing machines, hot stamping machines, vacuum evaporation machines and others.
- Plastics processing auxiliary machinery used to streamline the plastic processing process include automatic injection molding product removal device, injection mold quick replacement device, injection molding cooling machine, automatic metering and feeding device, automatic thickness measurement device and raw materials transportation and storage equipment amongst others.
Some of the most commonly used plastic fabrication machines include the following:
Injection Molding Machines
Injection molding machines use a manufacturing process for producing parts by injecting molten material into a mold where it cools and hardens. These machines come in many tonnage capacities with the larger tonnage machines applying more force in order to keep the molds closed. Injection molding machines use raw materials such as thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers. Injection molding machines are used to create end products such as packaging, musical instruments, car parts and components, toys, chairs, tables to name a few.
As described on Wikipedia, “…Parts to be injection molded must be very carefully designed to facilitate the molding process; the material used for the part, the desired shape and features of the part, the material of the mold, and the properties of the molding machine must all be taken into account. The versatility of injection molding is facilitated by this breadth of design considerations and possibilities.”
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Extrusion Molding Machines
Extrusion molding machines use a process where plastics like acrylic, polyester, polystyrene, polypropylene, polythene and ABS are heated until they become liquid. The resulting material is then passed through a die to get it’s shape and cooled slowly to maintain it.
As detailed in efunda.com
, “…Extrusion is one of the most widely used manufacturing processes across many industries. Essentially, it is not much different from squeezing tooth paste out of the tube. Anything that is long with a consistent cross section is probably made by extrusion. Common examples are spaghetti, candy canes, chewing gums, drinking straws, plumbing pipes, door insulation seals, optical fibers, and steel or aluminum I-beams. The plastic extrusion molding process usually begins with a thermoplastic in the form of pellets or granules. They are usually stored in a hopper (a funnel-shaped receptacle) before they are delivered to a heated barrel. The molten plastic is then forced through a shaped orifice, usually a custom steel die with shape of the cross section of the intended part, forming a tube-like or rod-like continuous workpiece. Cooling of the workpiece should be as even as possible
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Blow Molding Machines
The blow molding machines process melts down plastic and forms it into a parison which is then clamped into a mold and heated until almost melted and then filled with air. The air pressure pushes the warm and soft plastic out to fill the mold just like a balloon. Under air pressure the plastic is then quickly cooled until it hardens and retains the shape of the mold at which time the mold opens up and the part is ejected. The blow molding machines process is used to create plastic bottles, lids to name a few.
See visual example of the process below:
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Shredders and granulators are used for shredding and recycling plastics as well as other materials such as tires, wood, plastics to name a few. Shredding machines are used to resize plastic waste to smaller and much more controllable sizes.
Granulators are essentially rotary grinders that are used to grind scrap plastic parts into small sized granules for reprocessing. This allows for the reduction of waste and produce more components.
Routing machines are used to manufacture many types of products but also for machining plastics. They are used for cutting most types of plastic sheets. CNC routers can be used to create shapes, holes, engrave flat sheets and thermoformed materials into end products.
“…A CNC router can be used to produce items such as door carvings, interior and exterior decorations, wood panels, sign boards, wooden frames, moldings, musical instruments, furniture. In addition, they see use in industry in the thermoforming of plastics by automating the trimming process. CNC routers can help ensure part repeatability and sufficiently efficient output for production, or allow one-off designs to be made
Thermoforming is an process where plastic is warmed to a malleable framing temperature, framed to a particular shape in a form, and managed to make a usable item. The sheet, or “film” when alluding to more slender checks and certain material sorts, is warmed in a broiler to a sufficiently high temperature that grants it to be extended into or onto a form and cooled to a completed shape. Its improved rendition is vacuum shaping.
In its least difficult structure, a little tabletop or lab size machine can be utilized to warm little cut areas of plastic sheet and stretch it over a form utilizing vacuum. This technique is frequently utilized for test and prototype parts. In unpredictable and high-volume applications, huge creation machines are used to warmth and structure the plastic sheet and trim the shaped parts from the sheet in a ceaseless high velocity measure and can deliver a huge number of completed parts every hour relying upon the machine and form size and the size of the parts being framed.
Thermoforming contrasts from injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding and different types of preparing plastics. Slender check thermoforming is principally the assembling of disposable cups, compartments, covers, trays, blisters, clamshells, and different items for the food, medical, and general retail industries. Thick-check thermoforming incorporates parts as assorted as vehicle entryway and run boards, fridge liners, utility vehicle beds and plastic beds.
In the most widely recognized strategy for high-volume, nonstop thermoforming of meager check items, plastic sheet is taken care of from a roll or from an extruder into a bunch of ordering chains that join pins, or spikes, that puncture the sheet and transport it through a stove for warming to framing temperature. The warmed sheet at that point records into a structure station where a mating mold and pressing factor box close on the sheet, with vacuum at that point applied to eliminate caught air and to maneuver the material into or onto the form alongside pressurized air to frame the plastic to the definite state of the shape. (Fitting helps are normally utilized notwithstanding vacuum on account of taller, more profound attract framed parts request to give the required material circulation and thicknesses in the completed parts.) After a short structure cycle, an explosion of converse pneumatic force is incited from the vacuum side of the shape as the structure tooling opens, regularly alluded to as air-launch, to break the vacuum and help the shaped parts off of, or out of, the form. A stripper plate may likewise be used on the shape as it opens for launch of more nitty gritty parts or those with negative-draft, undercut regions. The sheet containing the framed parts at that point files into a trim station on a similar machine, where a bite the dust cuts the parts from the leftover sheet web or files into a different trim press where the shaped parts are managed. The sheet web staying after the shaped parts are managed is normally wound onto a take-up reel or took care of into an inline granulator for reusing.
Most thermoforming organizations reuse their piece and waste plastic, either by compacting in a baling machine or by taking care of into a granulator (processor) and delivering ground drop, available to be purchased to reprocessing organizations or re-use in their own office. Regularly, scrap and waste plastic from the thermoforming cycle is changed over once more into expelled sheet for framing once more.
Vacuum forming is essentially a simplified version of thermoforming which uses molds to create shapes from heated plastic. The Vacuum holds the plastic sheet in place until it hardens thus retianing it’s shape. Vacuum molding can be used to create masks, plastic signs, toys and a wide variety of other parts.
Rotational Molding involves a heated hollow mold which is filled with a charge or shot weight of material. It is then slowly rotated, causing the softened material to disperse and stick to the walls of the mold.
“…In order to maintain even thickness throughout the part, the mold continues to rotate at all times during the heating phase and to avoid sagging or deformation also during the cooling phase. The process was applied to plastics in the 1950s but in the early years was little used because it was a slow process restricted to a small number of plastics. Over time, improvements in process control and developments with plastic powders have resulted in a significant increase in usage.
Industrial chillers cool process fluids. Process fluids (typically water or a water/glycol mix) are used to cool machinery, equipment, food, etc. The process fluid absorbs heat from what is being cooled and then goes through the chiller where the heat is removed from the fluid and transferred to the ambient air .Even when water cooled, the chiller is often cooled by an induced or forced draft cooling tower.
Metal fabrication refers to the process that cuts, shapes, or molds metal material into an end product. These machine fabrication processes create an end product from raw or quasi-finished materials. The customized end product is produced from a wide range of metals and their alloys.
The most often used metal types include aluminum, brass, copper, gold, iron, nickel, silver, magnesium, tin, titanium, and various grades of steel. The fabrication process starts with metal components such as sheet metal, metal rods and metal bars to create a new product.
Some of the most commonly used metal fabrication machines include the following categories:
Drilling machines or drill presses consist of a fixed drill that is mounted to a stand or workbench. Drill presses are used like handheld and power drills although the stationary nature of drill presses requires less exertion and offers more stability in achieving the correct drilling. The angle of the drill’s spindle can be also be fixed to allow repeated and consistent drilling.
A lathe consists of a rotating piece which metal object is placed resulting in the symmetrical and custom shaping of the product. As the lathe rotates, various tools are used to cut, bump, drill resulting in altering the metal object. The rotation causes friction and provides a simple mechanism for delivering a uniform result around the entire area of an object which makes lathes a good choice for products that are symmetric around an axis.
Milling machines use a steady rotating cutter to machine a piece of metal and therefore allowing more versatility by also allowing sideways cuts. Some modern milling machines have a mobile cutter while others have a mobile table that moves about a fixed cutter to complete the desired finishing product. Most common milling machines include plain milling machines, hand milling machines, universal milling machines. All milling machines come in vertical and horizontal configurations.
A press brake is a machine pressing tool for bending sheet and plate material, most commonly sheet metal. It forms predetermined bends by clamping the workpiece between a matching punch and die.
Grinders are machining tools that use an abrasive wheel to create fine finishes or small cuts. Depending on the type of grinder, the abrasive wheel or the product is moved from side to side to achieve the desired finish. Types of grinders include surface grinders, belt grinders, bench grinders, cylindrical grinders and jig grinders.