by Lushi-Molding  | September 20th. 2019  |  Tags:Molding Industry 4.0 | 3D printing

Injection molding tooling and molding in the future

The molding industry has experienced a lot of innovative trends over the past decades and like other units of production has been welcomed with more straightforward, intelligent and more cost-effective techniques.

To meet the higher demand for products in the future market, there are some new technological trends in the injection molding industry, such as intelligent integration, 3D printing, new materials and robotic automation.

more intelligent, more efficient for the molding technology 4.0

Intelligent sensors to control the molding process

Injection molding is a very delicate process, which needs an attentive controling. It will become more intelligent and more innovative in different units with sensors, ranging from in-mold parameters to Machine parameters, big data and quality control of produced parts. These intelligent sensors are expected to improve to solve the problems which is difficult to foreknow in the process. Below are some units it has started taking effects already and how.

Temperature controlling

Temperature sensors have had a lot of roles to play when it comes to In-mold melt temperature monitoring. This is a tedious task monitoring the material melts time during the injection molding process, since it is attached to the mold, making it very easy to know the phase lags and inaccurate melt temperature measurements. Temperature sensors are of two basic kinds, Infrared temperature sensors and surface-mount thermocouples.

Predicting possible product defects

Ultrasonic sensors are used to monitor melt viscosity in injection mold, this is because it has a lot to do with the flow and warpage of product as it influences molded part quality. Melt viscosity is essential in the injection molding process and sure needs to be taken seriously. This sensor is used to measure the melt front and velocity to analyze if there could be any possible end product defects.

Save raw data

Injection molding process needs lots of data to ensure the process going well, and most of this raw data are resident in the mold cavity, where all the manufacturing processes occur. However, with the help of sensors, this information can be retrieved and stored accurately, with the help of significant data storage, where all these manufacturing steps collaborate with cloud computing and internet storage facilities.

intelligent sensor system in application of molding process

Big data for molding technology

Using big data is a new technologies emerging in recent years in molding technology. It make the process more comfortable to track their molds in real-time. This process helps to monitor mold output as well as mold maintenance.

However, it is achieved by connecting molds to a central internet connection server. Below is a concise insight into how big data are applied in mold technology for mold maintenance and product output.

Mold Output Monitoring

Big data can be applied in mold output monitoring, and this process is achievable by installing a mold monitor into the injection mold, which helps record the production cycle of injection molding, after every completed cycle, as well as compute the average time a cycle takes to complete and is documented on weekly basis. With this, it is possible to keep tracking of the different molding process and comparing all the data, which can improve the production and shorten the cycle time.

Calling data flexiblly

A very viable way to apply information from big data is to call the data anytime and anywhere. And the most existing fact is that big data isn’t restricted to one plant, as it can be replicated to several production systems. You can use the data to from other plant to optimize your molding parameters, that can increace the productivity and accuracy. Big data technology gives manufacturers insight into their schedule mold maintenance and as well those planned for in the future real-time, which has a way to affect output and other decision-making processes.

Benefits from a 3D printer

Using the 3D printing for injection tooling has a vast interest, as this implies that it affects almost every aspect of mold and molded part manufacturing. Following are some advantages of tooling from 3D printer.

Easy Design of Custom Tool

This is one leverage 3D printing has over most manufacturing techniques, its flexibility when it comes to the creating intricate product designs and the capacity to produce objects in layers. Customers could efficiently respond to adjustments in their design where necessary.

However, 3D Printing enhances the design in a way that it promotes light-weighting, which is achieved by the production of minimal lattice structures that reduces the amount of materials applied in the production cycle.

3D Printing reduces wastage

The tooling process employed in 3D Printing is very economical and helps reduce the chances of wasting produced parts and scrap left over. Naturally, every manufacturing process uses the subtractive method to deliver molded parts, and this involves the removal of materials from a loaded object until the desired shape is achieved. But this is not applicable in the 3D printing process, instead, elements are added to create the desired form. And this makes it almost impossible to have wastes during this process. And its ability to cycle wastes into filaments added to other layers or used in the manufacture of other products; makes it most suitable for manufacturing.

Cost-effective for tool manufacturing

3D Printing helps reducing the cost of making multiple units of a product and in a faster way. And the essential part is the speed of producing these parts. In short time the clients can get his products, checking the performence and making modifications until satifaction

3D printing improve the tooling and molding process

New materials for molded parts

In the very few years, most high technological molds with being designed with highly efficient epoxy or carbon fibre which will enhance the quality and durability of the molded parts through faster development cycles and cooling times.

The production of molded parts has seen development in recent years and most definitely is expected to witness more innovations with time. Coolants like water had typically enhanced the cooling system of an Injection mold.

The application of automation and robotics in tooling and molding processes

The injection tooling and molding processes are an essential part of plastic manufacturing, and it is vital to get them right. The use of robotics and automation had earlier been initiated in the molding and tooling industry, because of its speed and accuracy over a long duration. And for this reason, the rate of its application has witnessed a drastic increase over the years.

However, it would be challenging for conventional injection manufacturer to stay business, as the use of automation and robotics would have revolutionized the molding industry by next few years, handling all the required processes from start to finish. Virtually, every part of the molding industry has and sure will be affected by this unusual trend soon.

Assist in CNC processing

CNC machine processing is an automated process and is programmed with a set of restricted information to high product quality parts. But the essential fact is that the extent to which these machines can work is restricted, they still need help to perform some functions like loading and unloading, polishing and other post-molding processes.

The integration of robotic arms to CNC machines will go a long way to improve on the speed and accuracy of the above-listed factors. This is because these robots don’t rest and at that will so much reducing on production cycle per product. Integration of Robotic arms to CNC- machine makes the tooling process a fully autonomous, with no help from a human operator. This is because these robots are highly programmed devices with no restrictions, and they can perform a wide range of functions at the same.

Loading and unloading

The integration of robotics to a CNC machine can help if with loading and unloading of materials and molded parts. Conventionally, the tooling and molding process will be operate by people with no ability to load and unload itself. However, a robotic arm can help the machine make loading and unloading process a fully automated process, because of their flexible and can easily pick and exchange parts during machining and molding processes. This has a huge impact on the work output, as it makes the work very easy.

robotic application in the mold CNC machining

Polishing with robotics

Robots with the help of a gripper can charge a part to a buffing wheel to ensure an excellent surface finish, while ensuring that all the sides are polished. And this process is highly time and energy-saving, which makes for high effectiveness with production in the future.

CNC machines are restricted to one single belt grit, and molded parts with complex shapes would need to be reloaded into the CNC machine after each, so integrating a robotic arm into this process can help to enhance the surface finishing process.

Post-Mold Processing

Robots can help CNC machine with different forms of molding processes and as well post-mold processes like quality control analysis and packaging, making every process around production very fast, easy and efficient, which increases the cell efficiency of CNC machines. This implies that workers would not have to handle most of the production cycles, as the devices can fully and autonomously handle every process.

In short, the molding industry will become more intelligent due to the emergence of new technologies in the next few years, and the development of new products will become more convenient and environmentally friendly.

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Jonas Zhan
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Blog Tags:

Injection Molding Tool

Plastic Injection Molding

Molding Technology

Mold Design

Injection Molding Process

Additive Manufacturing

Plastic Materials

Industrial applications

Chinese Tooling

Industry 4.0

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