Injection molding is an energy-intensive process, between heating plastic to the melting state and using high-powered injection tools to fill the cavities. Because high energy usage leads to higher financial and environmental costs, which can drive up your per-unit costs, we’re exploring ways to increase the energy efficiency of injection molding.
Update Injection Molding Equipment
If you’re using 20-year-old hydraulic machines, you’re using about 25 percent more energy than a hydraulic injection molding machine manufactured and purchased today. It’s not surprising that newer equipment is more energy-efficient than older equipment, but what may be surprising is the jump when you switch to an all-electric machine. These oil-free, all-electric options are up to 80 percent more energy efficient than a hydraulic machine made in 2000.
While you may feel that new equipment is impossible, it’s important to look at the energy costs required to run a plastic injection molding machine over a period of 10 years. Rarely is the cost of the machine less than the cost of 10 years of energy costs. Choosing to invest in more efficient equipment will save you a significant amount of money, allowing you to lower costs or increase profits.
Check and Change Hydraulic Oil
While one of the lowest operating costs of an injection molding company is from the hydraulic oil used in the machines, it often gets overlooked. However, just like a car needs regular oil changes and top-offs, so does the injection molding machine.
Compression, heat, and shear stress break down the oil at a molecular level or cause oxidation, so your equipment is having to work harder and is more likely to break down. Switch to an oil with a high viscosity index that can extend the life of the oil and minimize maintenance.
Hydraulic machines with a fixed-speed motor and variable volume pump require the most care as the oil is used at a higher rate than machines equipped with a servo motor drive which operates with a smaller base energy load.
Insulate the Barrel
Heating and maintaining the temperature of the barrel uses up to 25 percent of the energy input. By fitting proper insulation around the barrel, you can significantly minimize heat loss and reduce the start-up time, thus decreasing energy usage by up to 50 percent.
Choose the Best Machine for the Products
Trying to manufacture multiple parts from one single machine may save money on overhead at first, but this method of production can quickly increase costs. If you’re using a part size or machine whose press tonnage is too large or small for the product, it’s impossible to maximize energy efficiency when producing the part. Too much energy will be expended to keep within the machine’s capabilities.
Reduce the Shot Size
It’s not uncommon for injection molding companies to simply default to the largest shot size. However, a lower volume can improve how the application nozzle pulls color and works the check ring fully. Consider reducing by just 10 percent in order to make cleanup faster and reduce material waste as well as reduce energy usage.
Contact Us for a Free Quote on Injection Molded Plastics
If you are seeking injection molded plastics or plastic components, reach out to Advanced Plastiform, Inc. Our injection molding company specializes in efficient injection molding that ensures low per-unit pricing and quick lead times. We provide custom plastics across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.