Industrial robots are widely utilized in the plastics sector in all production phases, including activities connected to injection molding, driven by the constant desire for more adaptable solutions.
By using a pick-and-place robot to load plastic components into the machine or to place the finished products onto a conveyor belt, industrial robots can automate the injection molding process. The employment of robots in the process also ensures the creation of the highest quality, precisely cut, shaped, and measured finished goods every time. In contrast, human-operated injection molding leaves an opportunity for variances.
Robotics use gives manufacturers the much-needed competitive edge with observable boosts in production and the quality of the components produced. This article will discuss their use in various manufacturing and post-processing phases, highlight the benefits of robots, and contrast the procedure with a conventional injection molding method.
Robotics in Injection Molding Applications
Industrial robots are useful in this operation because they can carry out these incredibly repetitive jobs around the clock. In that view, plastic injection molding is a fabrication method for producing plastic parts in huge quantities where the same items are being created repeatedly.
Machine tending is one of the most popular ways that robots are used in injection molding. Due to the labor-intensive nature of this activity and the molded heat-sensitive material, a robot can perform it and spare humans from repetitive effort and injury risk.
Robotic machine tending results in increased production capacity and product uniformity overall. Pneumatic grippers or vacuum-equipped robots can guarantee the delicate handling of freshly injected mold pieces and prevent damage. They rely substantially on doing insert molding as well. Inserts are typically metal, such as a blade, threaded rod, or pin.
Six-axis robots are frequently used to load and unload an injection molding machine and add inserts to the molding since inserts can be added to plastic molded parts during and after the injection process. In addition, robots are frequently employed in plastic overmolding processes, which merge two or more independent molded components to create a single completed product.
Furthermore, they are frequently employed to pull molded parts out of one molding machine and set them onto another for the over-molding process since overmolding can be automated to varying degrees to allow for quick and precise positioning of components. The quality, integrity, and dependability of the final product can all be improved because of this automation, which can also save labor and assembly costs.
Robotics for Sustainability
Recycling has been increasingly important in recent years as environmental concerns have surely grown. Materials like thermoplastic are recycled and used repeatedly in plastic injection molding. The plastic cools and solidifies in the sprue, runners, gates, and cavity portions when the mold is opened after the process. The sprue or runner is quickly removed from the plastic injection molding machine using sprue picker robots of the most recent generation. The robot will also load the materials into the granulator for additional recycling.
Robotics in Post-Processing Applications
The post-processing of plastic injection molding also heavily utilizes robotics. Since a robotic trimming cell offers superior repeatability to a human worker carrying out the same activity, many firms choose to use one. The productivity and flexibility of the entire process are undoubtedly increased by carrying out many actions at once.
The industrial robot will continuously apply the same quantity of sealant or adhesives in a highly predictable pattern, increasing shot accuracy, cycle times, and waste reduction.
The Benefits of Injection Molding Robotics
Automating the manufacturing process is essential to guarantee your end clients that your business will produce the highest-quality product at a competitive price. Additionally, robotic injection molding in the plastics sector offers many application advantages.
The plastic resin is manually fed into an injection molding machine in the conventional manner of injection molding, after which it is gradually melted. Liquid plastic is injected through a nozzle into a mold under pressure for the duration of the cooling process. Robotics can be used in various manufacturing and post-production steps, resulting in much faster production and assembly times at lower costs for plastic molding.
Rapid and Adaptable
One thing is certain: robots are becoming a more popular alternative for injection molding operations. 3-axis robots are utilized for horizontal plastic injection molding machines and high-speed processes, while 6-axis robots are flexible in both vertical and horizontal injection molding machines.
It should be no surprise that robotic automation provides many benefits for many applications, including plastic injection molding. Since you are now fully aware of how robotics are used in injection molding operations, be sure to at the very least ask how they may help you take your plastic injection molding production to the next level.