The very basis of the plastics industry is, and are the pelletized materials that are manipulated, combined, synthesized, heated, injected, extruded and blown into the myriad number of molds and auxiliaries that the industry has to offer.
It seems that almost every month someone is improving the materials, the processing of the materials and even the delivery systems of those plastic materials. With some of those advances, manufacturers, mold makers and machinery companies alike, are often looking to capitalize on these advances to improve their existing process and products or to open up new opportunities.
However, before exploring new injection/extrusion/blow molding technologies, processes or even plastics, the fundamental question of “do you know your materials”, still needs to be considered and answered. While your initial response to the aforementioned question might be an emphatic yes; have you told anyone else what your materials are? Have you changed materials? Do your machine and auxiliary suppliers know your current or even future material choices? Not all machines are the same and not all machines will run different materials the same way. As mentioned in our October edition along the lines of the potential monetary and time savings of early and often communications between manufacturer, mold maker and machine builder; your understanding the materials and their application requirements is only the first step. Sharing those requirements and more importantly the changes in those materials can again save you time and money in the configuration or retrofitting of your machinery and molds for newer plastics and plastic processing.
So, who do you talk to about these changes or need for change? Start with the sales engineer, processing engineer or application engineer at your machine and mold manufacturer.