Plastic injection molding is a process of forming plastic, a durable, resinous material into just about any form or fashion imaginable. The first injection molding machine was invented and patented by brothers John and Isaiah Hyatt in 1872. It resembled a large hypodermic needle, with a heated cylinder through which a large plunger forced the gooey mass into a mold. Today the process is more complicated, although the basic principle of plastic being injected into a waiting mold is still the same. One of the biggest advancements has come by way of the materials used, and there are now thousands of different formulations available for making 'plastic.'
The first plastic injection molding process was used to produce hair combs, buttons and collar stays. Starting in the 1940s, when high demand existed for mass-produced products that were inexpensive to manufacture, the industry expanded exponentially. In 1946, at war's end, came the invention of the first screw-type injection machine, which provided for more precise control of a consistent shot, thereby improving the quality of the products being made. In a previous article we highlighted some key moments in a brief timeline that shows how much manufacturing has evolved.
Download our eBook "An Introduction to Plastic Injection Molding", a helpful resource guide for designers, purchasing manger and engineers.
Molds were being made for any variety of applications and what was once used to make buttons and combs was now being employed to produce a wide range of items for many industries, including:
- Consumer products
- Window and door
Fast forward to the 21st century. Its pretty much guaranteed that you have at least a few, if not many items in your home that were made using plastic injection molding. At The Rodon Group, we often comment on how its likely that many of our products are in peoples homes and they probably don't even know it. As a high volume, custom component manufacturer, the parts we manufacture are primarily used within a finished end product, however, they serve an equally important piece of the completed puzzle.
Here's a slideshow of some of our components parts that we've manufactured over the years. Some you might recognize right away, others maybe not so much. You can also check out our custom parts on the gallery page on our site.
Whether it's a snowboard or a vinyl window being produced, injection molding is efficient and economical, especially if large numbers of items are being made. The only real disadvantage is initial start-up costs incidental to obtaining the necessary equipment and the time, expertise and resources required for mold design.
If you stop to think about the role plastics play in our everyday lives, it's difficult to imagine a life without this ubiquitous substance. Plastics are now available that are actually stronger than steel, more durable than almost any substance on earth and relatively inexpensive to produce and reproduce a million times over and again.