How robotics operate in the plastic molding industry

  • In today's plastics industry, industrial robots are widely used in all areas of production, including related operations for injet molding, due to the ever-increasing demand for more flexible solutions.

    Industrial robots can be used to automate the injection molding process with a pick-and-place robot for loading plastic parts into the machine.

    And since human-operated injection molding gives way to changes, robots are used in this process, and the production of finished products always ensures the highest quality, are precisely cut, formed and measured.

    The use of robotics offers producers the much-needed competitive advantage, with significant productivity and quality increases for the manufactured parts.

    We shall discuss their application in the following article in several phases of production and post-processing, point out the advantages of robotics and compare the process with a traditional form of injection molding.



    Injection Molding Robotics Application

    Plastic injection molding is a process of manufacturing large volumes of plastic parts, where identical products are repeatedly manufactured and industrial robots are employed, as they perform these extremely repetitive tasks 24/7.

    The machine tending is one of the most common uses of robotics in the injection moulding. Given that this job requires a lot of work, a robot is able to relieve operators of repetitive work and risk of injury, thanks to its hot-mounting substrate.

    In machine tending, the use of robotics creates enhanced product consistency and overall production capacity. Robots with pneumatic grippers or vacuum can ensure that newly injected molded parts are handled carefully and prevent damage.

    They also depend heavily on moulding inserts. In most cases metal objects like a blade, threaded rod or pin are inserts.

    As inserting devices are often used for loading and unloading an injection molding machine and inserting, both during and following the injection process, six-axis robots are used.

    Robots are also usually used in plastic overmolding applications where the production of a single finished product is made up of two or more separate parts.

    Since overmolding for the fast and accurate placement of components can be automated to varying degrees, the robots are massively employed to remove a moulded part from one moulding machine and place it on the other for overmolding.

    This automation can reduce labor and assembly costs, improve finished product quality, integrity and reliability.

    In-mold labeling is another common area for robotic automation. The process is used during the injection moulding cycle to mark or decorate plastic injection molded pieces.

    Manufacturers may load robots directly into the open plastic-injection mold to load prepressed labels or decorated films. The labels and decorations are then permanently embedded in the molded parts and become an integral part of the end product.