Injection Molding Waste –
Like any other manufacturing process, the glorious injection molding method also excreates a lot of waste, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Injection molding waste is evident and obviously can’t be eliminated. But I ask myself a question that can it be reduced by a substantial level?
The answer is a big YES!!. There are many legitimately proven ways to reduce injection molding waste, not instantly, of course, but it will surely help over time in the long term.
Below are the best ways to identify and reduce injection molding waste.
Methods to Reduce Injection Molding Waste –
#1 3D Printing –
Now, I accept this has nothing to do with injection molding itself, but 3D printing is both the talk and need of the hour.
3D printing is one of the most talked-about technologies right now and can substantially reduce wastage from your shop floor.
The method has tremendous potential and is already making its way to mainstream manufacturing.
The applications are uncountable, and the ability to manufacture accurate quality products with complicated designs makes 3D printing a reliable method.
The method mostly utilizes lasers to fuse layers upon layers of different materials on one another, comprised of powders, liquids, and sheet materials.
Mainstream manufactured products using 3D printing include medical devices, toys, mannequins, kitchenware, showpieces, electronics, etc.
The only drawback of 3D printing is its limitation of not producing on a large-scale like injection molding. For that reason, injection molding is still the most preferred method among manufactures.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom as 3D printing steadily is increasing its chunk on the shop floors, and partial migration to 3D printing would work wonders fr any manufacture to promote diversification and moving the sophisticated and low-volume production part to 3D printing.
#2 Transportation –
Transportation-related injection molding waste can be of many types. It can be contained or very macro in its size. The “contained” waste happens within your shop floor, which can be reduced significantly by streamlining the entire manufacturing process.
From the new material area to where the final product is kept, an employee should monitor everything to intransigence the shop floor’s supply chain.
Taking a few simple steps like this can minimize waste substantially.
Now, coming to the more crucial part where the wastage occurs within our more comprehensive supply chain, for, ex. Your distributors, geographic location of all the partners.
In such a scenario, two things should be taken care of,
1) Transportation of goods or people farther than required.
2) Tragedies by unnecessary transportation and relocating. Accidents or damaged goods or materials.
So, what can be done to avoid those things at any cost?
REVIEW EVERYTHING. Having a check on the entire process and churning the inefficiencies. Having a holistic approach towards the entirety of the shop floor. Monitoring the moment of goods, people, and even raw material can be an excellent start.
Check that the shop floor follows a smooth process or not? Any tiny tweaks would heavily pay off in the long run.
Taking these steps seriously would decrease your wastage production and also help in saving time and money.
#3 Low Scrap Rates –
A low scrap rate can have a daunting effect on your injection molding waste percentages. Comparing injection molding with CNC machining, which cuts away a huge chunk of your plastic block, injection molding has low scrap rates.
Let me give an example of the sprue; It guides the molten plastic disbursed by the nozzle to the injection holding tool’s entry point.
It is separate from the mold and therefore creates a minimal amount of waste.
Talking about the runner system connects with the sprue and guides the molten plastic within all the mold’s cavities.
A runner system is divided into two parts, Hot and cool runners. Hot runners are extremely handy when there’s a need to manufacture high-quality products with complicated geometries. Hot runner is so crucial as it ensures a smooth flow of molten material into the mold cavity.
On the contrary, the cold runner system comprises two or three plates present within the mold. When the molten plastic is injected through the mold, the runners filter it into the mold cavity parts.
Cold runners are also significant as they are suitable for a wide range of polymers, are inexpensive, easy to maintain, allows quick color changes.
Both hot and cold runner gates are famous for their minimum wastage.
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#4 Inventory –
Inventory waste lies on your shop-floor. All the things lying idle for a long time are to be seen ( except the machinery, of course ). Packaged items, unfinished products, raw materials, finished products which e to be shipped.
A lot of this can be removed and relocated depending on your needs for that particular time or the future.
If any of those items can be monetized, it shouldn’t be considered waste, but if it can’t be monetized, it should b considered as waste.
I would suggest looking at your entire inventory and getting rid of everything that isn’t needed. If you’re able to find out any inefficiencies or breakdown in the system, then you’ve succeeded.
#5 Overproduction –
The name speaks for itself; overproducing components are often overlooked to produce injection molding waste. A lot of times, production overruns can be unavoidable.
The reason for producing more component than required are mostly because of anticipation of more orders, or your mold contains more cavities than the number of components produced.
Overproduction waste can be countered by understanding your customers’ production needs and the fact that excess production can do more damage than good.
This issue co-relates with excess inventory, as we discussed above. Tailoring the process to become more efficient and producing only the required quantity is the key to minimize wastage.
#6 Waiting –
Waiting also adds a lot of injection molding wastage if overlooked. Waiting waste can occur for multiple reasons, such as waiting for the material to be injected into the machine.
Idle machines waiting for employees to operate them is also one of the prime causes, also shutting off the process because of the damaged mold or machine.
As a solution, a few things can be done. First of all, dividing employees into rotational shifts with every next change begins immediately after the previous one, so there is no time wasted.
Everything on the shop floor needs to be taken care of as a whole rather than looking at the “smaller concerns.”
The Takeaway –
So, those were my insights on injection molding wastage. I hope you would appreciate my little effort by commenting your thoughts in the comment box.