Monday, August 5, 2013

Plastic Injection Molding Machines

Plastic Injection Molding Machines are becoming more and more advanced as the years go by. Touch screen controls, servo-hybrid machines, all electric machinery, and other new features are making a lot of waves in the industry.

While these new machinery features are great in a lot of respects, they are also driving up the price of all the new plastic machines. Many new machines are coming onto the market, but they are becoming increasingly expensive.

Some of the newer, brand-name molding machines are costing about six figures. Many of the injection molders are refusing to pay for these machines with that kind of ridiculous expenditure. They are saying it is just simply too expensive, especially when you can get multiple plastic injection molding machines for the price of that one new machine.

What do you think? Are they worth the high price because of the new features and innovations, or is that just too expensive regardless?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Harvard Scientist's Demonstrate First Controlled Flight of Insect Sized Robot

Harvard Scientists have made a revolutionary breakthrough in robotics. They have tested the first controlled flight of an insect sized robot. The robot, which is designed after a fly, has a 3 cm wingspan and is only about half the size of a paperclip, and weighs less than 1/10th of a gram! It took twelve years of hard work and dedication from researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard to make it to this point, and is the project, called RoboBee, is the culmination of the efforts of multiple groups at Harvard and the National Science Foundation.

The robot is very small indeed, smaller even than the diameter of a quarter, and can only fly for very a small time, a matter of seconds in fact. The robot must have a wire attached to operate it wings, but researchers say the next step is to make it wireless and then fully autonomous. It's wings are operated remotely in real-time, and each one individually operates thanks to the action of tiny piezoelectric actuators, which are thin strips of ceramic that expand and contract when an electric field is applied. This allows the small wings of RoboBee to beat at 120 times a second, which is so fast that it is almost invisible to the naked eye. This system allows RoboBee's wing action to closely mimic the flight muscles, and therefore the flight of an actual fly.

Issues concerning the manufacture of RoboBee were solved in a very ingenious way by the team. Because of it's extremely small nature, conventional means for producing new prototype units would not be practical or suitable for this small scale micro-robotics program. So the team had to invent a new way to manufacture the required parts, and took their inspiration from children's pop-up books. The pop-up book style of manufacture as it came to be called, used extremely thin, flat sheets of material which were layered on top of each other, and then folded into place in a manner almost resembling origami. The pop-up method of manufacture allows for extremely quick and efficient methods of constructing new prototypes, which was previously a very large and time consuming problem for the team. The body is made from carbon fiber, and tiny plastic hinges were used in the wings to allow for very precise rotational movement.

This might seem like a minor feat at first glance, but this is actually the start of something very important, possible revolutionary, in the scientific community. In fact, the technologies used in the manufacture of this robot are already in the process of being commercialized by Harvard's Office of Technology Development, in collaboration with Harvard SEAS and the Wyss Institute. The pop-up method is already expected to be a revolutionary new means of mass production for a wide range of applications, including optical systems, high power switching, and printed circuit boards. This new method is expected to be useful for producing any tightly integrated electromechanical devices that have parts on the scale of micrometers to centimeters.

The goals of project RoboBee are quite lofty, as the project was created with the aim of creating an entire hive of completely autonomous and independent robotic insects. The finished product could have practical applications in search and rescue operations and artificial pollination. It has also been hypothesized that small groups or individual RoboBee's could be used in covert surveillance and in hazardous chemical detection.

Because RoboBee is so small, it faces problems that are unique to this type of Micro-Robotics. It cannot use even the smallest encapsulated microchips, and therefore it cannot make it's own decisions and must rely on it's tethered connection to it's "brain subsystem" for interpretation of it's data transmissions. It also is too small to support a viable power supply system onboard, so it must remain wired to achieve power and to take directions for changes in flight and direction. The research team is working on ways to solve these two issues, such as specialized hardware accelerators so that they can enhance the design so that it is truly autonomous and wireless.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Do You Move An Injection Machine?

Injections machines can range in size from a bench-top injection press weighing only few hundred pounds to large industrial injection molding machine weighing in tons. Both in size (length, width, height) and in weight these machines are not to be handled lightly—no pun intended—as they can inflict serious damage if not dealt with properly.

First off, when moving on an injection machine, know the location in which it is being moved to with a predetermined set of considerations, including it’s footprint, workflow, ancillary equipment, and the tasks associated with finalizing the finished product.

Note: Reinforced footings may need to be placed if the flooring cannot hold the overall weight of the injection machine.

Next, bring all the required utilities, i.e. electricity and water, to the location before moving the injection press into position. Take care to make sure these utilities are functional. Then, buy either using a forklift or knuckle-boom crane, bring the injection machine to the desire location, attach the water-cooling system, the electrical power, and check that all the fluids and oils are at the appropriate levels. Finally, you are ready to turn on the machine and check that everything is working up to code.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Safety Precautions for Injection Molders

Working in an Injection Molding plant can be a hazardous job, with all of the fast moving parts in constant motion. It doesn’t have to be this way though, as simply following basic safety protocols can really make a big difference in increasing the overall safety of your facility.

Hazardous resins and oils from the machines can spill out onto the floor if their receptacles are not kept clear and clean, as well as the small plastic pellets that are used for injection molding. These can be easily kept clean with regular maintenance though.

Watch out for all moving parts, as there can be many on just a single machine, let alone in one cell of a plant. Many of these parts move at exceptionally high speeds, and can optionally have protective shields put in place to foreign objects from going places where they shouldn’t belong. Long hair should be tied up or kept in a hat or other protective clothing, and tight clothing should be worn to avoid getting it caught in moving parts.

Frequent and fast moving parts can also get quite hot, but these are usually kept behind a gate or separated in some way from where the operator would usually stand for obvious safety reasons. Nevertheless, extra care should be taken around these danger areas in order to avoid burns.

Most plants have rigorous safety measures in place to guard against injury, and in most plants these measures are strictly enforced. Injection molding plants are perfectly safe environments to work in, as long as safety measures are put in place, followed, and strictly enforced. With a little effort to keep the workplace clean and safe and sticking to the rules, working in a molding plant can be as safe a job as any.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Plastic Beads in Soap

I was reading through some news headlines on CNN's website today, and I stumbled over something that kind of took me by surprise. At first I thought "Wow, CNN must really have nothing to talk about today if they are reporting about this", but after reading the article, it was a lot clearer to me why they were writing about seemingly such a mundane and unimportant topic.

Many of us use soaps and lathers in the shower that contain those little scrubbing micro-beads to help get the dirt and grime of the day off. But where do those little beads go when you wash them off and they disappear down the drain?

Unilever, the company that makes many personal care products such as Dove soaps, Vaseline, and Ponds skin cream has decided to phase out their use of these "micro-plastics", which are just plastic pieces less than five millimeters in length, entirely by 2015. They have decided to do so because these plastic particles are somehow ending up in our oceans.

The main reason that this is a big problem, at least according to a small group of marine scientists, is that these particles can trap chemicals from their environments in them and then be eaten by marine animals. We don't really know what kind of effects that could have on animal populations and even humans who consume these animals. There have been virtually no studies done on this subject, so how they are certain that this is the cause of the plastic build up in the ocean's isn't exactly clear.

So it looks like you're just going to have to stick with sugar scrubs if you want that abrasiveness in your showering experience. Or just go with the good old fashioned wash cloth.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How Do I Get Started with Injection Molding Machines?

To get started with injection molding machines, use the power of the World Wide Web to find the best machine or machines for your needs. Since typical injection molding machines are big purchases, it’s important to do thorough research before putting down any money. By using a search engine to look for injection molding machines that are either fully-electric or hydraulic, you’ll be able to compare features, product guarantees, prices and other variables. In addition, you shouldn’t buy an injection molding machine without checking online product reviews. By seeing what other customers have to say about specific models, you’ll move closer to making a wise and informed decision that is truly right for you.

Injection molding machines are used to create plastic parts and products, such as kitchen utensils, tableware, and food containers. However, they are also used to create a range of other product packaging and products, including auto parts, computer keyboards, and video game accessories. In fact, almost any plastic product that you may imagine has been fabricated through some type of plastic molding process, such as injection molding, blow molding, or compression molding. Machines that produce these objects work by pressing plastic pellets into custom molds, which are then cooled and ejected from the molds.

Expect to pay between eighty and one hundred thousand dollars for your plastic molding machine. Used injection molding machines may be more economical; however, these styles may not have the same warranty protection as brand-new models. You may buy these machines online or at retailers in your own community.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Plastic Molding Methods and Techniques

Different plastic molding methods and techniques are used to produce a dizzying array of plastic parts, such as hollow plastic auto parts, computer keyboards, or kitchen implements. One of the most popular plastic molding methods is Injection Molding, whereby heated plastic pellets are pressed into a mold shape. After the plastic is cooled, the completed plastic part is ejected from the mold. Since the 1930s, the injection molding process has been used to create tons of everyday items, including product packaging or children’s playthings.

Another common plastic molding method and technique for creating hollow plastic parts is blow molding, which happens when heated, liquidized plastic is poured out of a barrel. This hot plastic is then trapped within a mold and pressed downwards to rest against in the inner edges of the mold. After cooling, the hollow plastic part is ready for usage. The cost of blow molding is significantly higher than the cost of injection molding.

A third example of plastic molding methods and techniques is compression molding, which happens when a chunk of hard plastic is squashed between a couple of mold halves. This type of molding requires vertical press accessories, rather than horizontal presses (which are commonly used for injection molding and blow molding).

As you can see, there are several options available when it’s time to consider processes for creating plastic parts from molds. By choosing the process that is best for you, you’ll gain access to efficient mold making that ensures a superior plastic part or product.

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