The Robotic Future in Injection Molding

Jul 24, 2013

Injection molding workcells are now performing sonic and laser welding applications. The robots in injection molding cell help to reduce cycle time and increase the overall productivity.

Injection molding machine tender

Injec­tion mold­ing robots pro­duce parts by inject­ing var­i­ous types of mate­ri­als into a mold. With their long reach (hor­i­zon­tal­ly and ver­ti­cal­ly) and their high degree of flex­i­bil­i­ty, these robots are becom­ing more fre­quent in many indus­tries. They are designed for sev­er­al process­es, like load­ing com­po­nents into the injec­tion mold­ing machine, and fin­ish­ing and assem­bling injec­tion mold­ed parts. They can even per­form sec­ondary process­es like in-mold dec­o­rat­ing and label­ing. Robots used for injec­tion mold­ing are cost-effec­tive and time-efficient.

Injec­tion mold­ing work cells are now also per­form­ing son­ic and laser weld­ing oper­a­tions. Using the injec­tion mold­ing cell to weld reduces cycle times, which is crit­i­cal in the injec­tion mold­ing indus­try. Fur­ther, injec­tion mold­ing work cells can pre-treat plas­tic or rub­ber parts. This is use­ful before apply­ing adhe­sives or paint­ing the part.

One of the main types of sec­ondary robot­ic injec­tion mold­ing is insert load­ing. With­in the cycle time, robots can insert met­al or plas­tic parts into the machine for the mold­ing process. Then they can unload the machine, take the mold­ed part and insert it into anoth­er machine for the over-mold­ing process. 

Dur­ing the over-mold­ing process, two mate­ri­als are merged to form one cohe­sive com­po­nent. Not only can the robot remove the part from the injec­tion mold­ing machine, but it can do sec­ondary appli­ca­tions as well. While the injec­tion mold­ing machine is work­ing, the robot can take advan­tage of its valu­able free time by per­form­ing trim­ming, de-gat­ing, or oth­er sec­ondary process­es. This leads to increased effi­cien­cy and output. 

There are in-mold label­ing work cells avail­able, where a robot pulls down labels into the injec­tion mold­ing machine to become inte­grat­ed with the part. This ensures the label is per­ma­nent on the part and can­not be removed or damaged.

A wide range of robots with vary­ing pay­loads can be used for automa­tion on injec­tion mold­ing machines. 3‑axis robots are used for hor­i­zon­tal plas­tic injec­tion mold­ing machines and high-speed process­es, where­as 6‑axis robots are flex­i­ble in both hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal injec­tion mold­ing machines, allow­ing a larg­er work enve­lope. They are also suit­able for floor space con­straints. SCARA robots pro­vide a cir­cu­lar work enve­lope and are ide­al­ly used for loading/​unloading ver­ti­cal injec­tion mold­ing machines. Side Entry robots, tai­lored to a spe­cif­ic appli­ca­tion, are per­fect for in-mold label­ing and dec­o­rat­ing. Ser­vo Sprue Pick­ers are used for sprue removal in injec­tion molding.

What­ev­er the type, robots are being increas­ing­ly used as an option for injec­tion mold­ing. They are the future of the process. Robots​.com remains com­pet­i­tive by pro­vid­ing var­i­ous new and used, but recon­di­tioned, robots for cus­tomers to choose from. Con­tact us today at 8777626881.

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