5 major news in plastic molding industry

Time:2019-03-04 10:57:56 / Popularity: / Source:

  • Will 3d printing replace traditional plastic molding manufacturing?
With development of Industry 4.0, development speed of China's manufacturing industry from "manufacturing" to "intelligence" has become more and more rapid in recent years. 3D printing technology has been widely used in China's manufacturing industry. 3D printers provide efficient, low-cost support for molding design and manufacturing. Even with rapid development of 3D printing technology, it has gradually begun to subvert mold technology and form a direct competitive relationship with it in some areas.
“Compared with 3D printing technology, traditional plastic molding manufacturing requires more steps and processes, and mold making cycle is longer. When a plastic molding company introduces a new product, it must pass strict international standards and certification before going on market. Certification of many components will take a long time. This will put new product in a very disadvantageous position in the time to seize market. 3D printing injection moulding are an efficient solution. Well-known plastic molding company are doing this by using 3D printing technology to make injection moulding in their open labs.” According to Luo Baihui, secretary general of International Mould Association, it usually takes several weeks to two months to produce a mold, while mold prototype can be completed in a few hours using 3D printing technology in a few hours and can be modified immediately according to test results. The final sample is then injected. These product samples can be sent directly for certification, while traditional plastic molding manufacturing may still be in production, and even before mold is determined, 3D printed product has been certified, greatly shortening development cycle. Only in mold making cycle, 3D printing technology has had a certain impact on plastic molding manufacturing.
However, industry experts said that although 3D printing technology has many advantages such as short production cycle, convenient raw materials, and uniform product pressure, 3D printing technology can not completely replace traditional plastic molding manufacturing method, because 3D printing technology still has some problems in injection moulding process. For example, 3D printing technology is a layer-by-layer processing of product, which will shorten production cycle of mold, but it will also lead to a step effect on surface of mold. Similar problems exist with directly printed molds, which require later machining or sandblasting to eliminate these small, toothed edges. In addition, holes smaller than 1 mm must be drilled, larger holes require reaming or drilling, and thread features require tapping or milling. These secondary treatments greatly reduce speed advantage of 3D printing dies. At the same time, in order to ensure good material flow performance, injection moulding needs to be heated to a very high temperature. Aluminum and steel molds typically experience temperatures of 500 F (260℃) or higher, especially when processing high temperature plastics such as PEEK and PEI materials. It is easy to produce thousands of parts with metal molds. It can also be used as a transition mold before final mass production mold comes out. Mold materials using 3D printing technology are typically photosensitive or thermosetting resins that are cured by ultraviolet light or laser light. Although these plastic molding are relatively hard, they are destroyed very quickly under thermal cycling conditions of injection moulding. In fact, 3D printing molds typically fail within 100 times in mild environments. For glass filled polycarbonate and high temperature resistant plastics, only a few parts can be produced.
In addition, a major reason for using 3D printing dies is their low cost. Cost of production-grade machining molds is typically $20,000 or more, while similar printing molds cost as little as $1,000. However, this analogy is unfair, and cost of printing molds is usually only considered for material consumption, without labor, assembly and installation, injection systems and hardware. For example, ProtoLabsd's aluminum molds cost $1,500 for production. If you need to produce more parts, use 3D printing molds, you need to reprint and assemble new molds for every 50-100 products. On the other hand, aluminum molds are still in good service after producing 10,000 parts, regardless of plastic used. Therefore, in terms of production cost, 3D printing is no more cost effective than conventional plastic molding manufacturing methods.
In addition, in product design, principle and practice of traditional plastic molding manufacturing has more than a century of history, industry is relatively thorough in its research, such as draft angle must be greater than or equal to 5 degrees to meet most aluminum mold requirements. 3D printing molds are challenging to mold plastic parts, and extra care is required for number and mounting position of plastic molding thimbles. 3D printing dies (especially high injection temperatures) are somewhat more flexible in terms of increasing cavity wall thickness and reducing pressure. Design of gate is also different, tunnel and dot gates should be avoided. Direct gates, fan gates, and wing gates should be increased to three times normal size. Flow direction of polymer in print mold should be consistent with 3D print line to avoid high packing caused by stickiness and low pressure. Cooling system can increase life of mold to a certain extent, but it does not significantly reduce number of cycles of printing mold, because heat dissipation capability of 3D printing mold is not as good as that of aluminum mold or steel mold.
In summary, 3D printing technology will not completely replace traditional plastic molding manufacturing industry. Because 3D printing molds have certain deficiencies compared with traditional plastic molding manufacturing in terms of finished product quality, product cost and molding design. Moreover, 3D printing is not suitable for mass production, and unit price for producing one piece and producing 10,000 pieces is basically close, and time required for 3D printing is also long. Current 3D printing technology can only produce tight mold production for small batch production cycles, and large-scale production is still based on traditional plastic molding manufacturing.
  • What kind of spark will RFID technology combine with mold?
Mold, as mother of industry, has become an essential basic industry with rapid development of industry. Mold market has been continuously breaking through in technology. Plastic molding industry is no longer just a simple machine like traditional one. Nowadays, mold needs to combine a lot of technologies, and it is moving toward trend of intelligence and networking. RFID mold electrode management system can better realize intelligent management of mold, reduce professional skill requirements and human error factor of mold operator.
Modern industrial development has been reflected in many fields. Industry has always been an important hub for national economy. Plastic molding industry has been increasing in China in recent years, but there are still many management problems in plastic molding industry market. Mold is an indispensable processing tool and process equipment for mass production in modern manufacturing. It has same industrial status as all machined machine tools. Along with diversification of number of molds for enterprise products, processing of a mold often requires dozens or even hundreds of electrodes and electrode has become a huge number of key resources in plastic molding manufacturing industry. By installing RFID electronic tags on electrode holders, correlating electrode holder, electrode information and handheld RFID reader, it is expected to reduce copper raw materials by 15%~35% and reduce CNC operators by 15%~40%. CNC and EDM machine tools have a utilization rate of around 5%. For small and medium-sized plastic molding company, informationization is a good choice with less investment and quick results. It can be done by section. After automation technology is mature, it is easy to realize full automation by simply connecting various sections in series, adding robot arm and guide rail.
Traditional mold management registers mold number and position number through paper, mold storage can be found irregularly, storage operation is free to stack and delivery is not timely, and it is easy to cause registration errors, record loss, management confusion, and extremely inconvenient to find.
How to use high-tech means to strengthen safety and quality management of plastic molding industry market, supplier management, reduce operating costs, enable real-time and effective data collection and tracking, provide visual real-time data for management. It is an urgent problem for enterprise management molds.
RFID technology has characteristics of fast reading speed, non-contact, multi-target recognition, etc. In terms of physical characteristics, RFID technology has advantages of waterproof, high and low temperature resistance, bendability, no mechanical failure, long life, and resistance to harsh environments; In storage, RFID technology information storage capacity is large, data is readable and writable, can be updated at any time, and each label has a unique ID number. Technology with such characteristics is the most suitable mold management solution.
Mold management site installation is generally more complicated. To manage these molds well, you must choose a series of right hardware equipment as a support. Most of molds are made of metal. If you want to manage these molds well, electronic labels for metal environments are the most suitable choice;
Using unique ID number of RFID UHF tag, mold information is written into tag one by one, including mold type, number, production date, mold position, model inventory, processing materials and so on. RFID electronic tag on the mold can be read by RFID UHF multi-channel reader and transmitted to application system for verification. Then make judgment to realize rapid search of mold.
Benefits of using RFID technology to manage molds:
1. Provide storage status of molds in warehouse, such as available, to be repaired, and obsolete, to improve search efficiency.
2. Detailed records of history for use of mold, such as important number of total stampings, help analyze cause for loss of mold, and evaluate life of mold.
3. Record in detail repair data of each set of molds, precautions for use of mold, install mold conditions and mechanical use, etc., to quickly and accurately know matching molds needed to produce a product.
4. Quickly and conveniently count actual materials of each set of molds, cost of each process and cost of outward processing, strengthen control and improve work efficiency.
  • Is there a shortage of supply in precision injection molding market?
Prospect of plastic molding industry is broad, and demand for precision injection molding market is in short supply. However, proportion of high-end and low-end molds produced in China's plastic molding industry is extremely unbalanced, which is not conducive to development of China's plastic molding industry. There is an urgent need to speed up pace of structural adjustment, develop high-end market segments, and keep pace with international market.
Speed up structural adjustment
Compared with before, China's mold technology level has been greatly improved, but proportion of high-end and low-end products produced by domestic plastic molding industry is extremely unbalanced, which is not conducive to development of China's plastic molding industry. Although in recent years, China's plastic molding industry structure and system have made great changes, mainly in performance of: high-end molds, large, sophisticated, complex, long life. However, due to excessive demand for medium and low-grade molds in China, self-sufficiency rate of medium and high-grade molds is less than 60%. It is not difficult to see that it is unreasonable.
They are mainly manifested in following aspects: First, constraints of mold steel and other factors; Second, standardization level needs to be improved; Third, high-end mold talents urgently need to be cultivated; Fourth, accelerate pace of mold product structure adjustment; Fifth, increase investment to strengthen innovation capabilities; Sixth, promote joint restructuring among mold companies; Seven, overseas market development needs to be deepened.
Luo Baihui, a mold expert, pointed out that in addition to continuing to increase production capacity, China's plastic molding industry should focus on internal structural adjustment and technological development. Mainly enterprise structure to professional adjustment, product structure towards development of high-end molds, improvement of import and export structure, mold forming analysis and structural improvement of high-end automotive cover parts, multi-functional compression moulding and composite processing and laser technology in molding design and manufacture application, high-speed cutting, super-finishing and polishing technology, information technology development.
Facing world mold market, a promising cake especially high-end market, everyone will be heart-warming. In response to development status of plastic molding industry, develop related mold machine tools to seize market.
  • Enterprises that live in 2019 will surely become more and more vital.
Yao Xiaochun, president of Dongguan Machinery Mould Industry Association, said in an interview with "Brand China" column that Pearl River Delta industry peers face situation of international trade war and domestic economic downturn. Holding an exchange meeting is to provide a platform for dialogue, exchanges and cooperation to gain growth through endogenous opportunities.
In 2019, company has already prepared and planned to survive crisis. Next, through internal research and development benefits, process management improvement, enterprises that survived in 2019 will surely become more and more vital. Association will also focus on industry development and enterprise needs, strive to promote deep exchanges and cooperation in the industry, and exert efforts in finance, enterprise management, personnel training, and supply chain cooperation and cooperation to actively promote healthy and orderly development of industry.
  • World plastic molding industry will continue to maintain a good development trend?
According to statistics of China Die & Mould Industry Association, China, United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea and Italy are the world's major producers of injection moulding and stamping dies. Among them, China's mold production value is the highest in the world. According to data released by Luo Baihui, secretary general of International Mold Association, global plastic molding industry is in a steadily rising stage in 2008-2018. By 2018, market size has reached 1.8 trillion yuan. With implementation of industrial upgrading strategies of countries such as “Re-industrialization of United States”, “German Industry 4.0” and “Japan Industry 4.0”, it is foreseeable that world plastic molding industry will continue to maintain its good development trend.

Go To Top