Have you ever owned something and wondered how it’s made? If not, you have probably never owned anything. For those who have never worked in a manufacturing job, it can be confusing trying to figure out how things were created.
There are many different methods of manufacturing. Technology has developed so much that we have machines that can do just about anything. One common type of manufacturing is molding.
Molding simply involves using a predesigned mold and filling it with a material, usually melted plastic or resin, that will create your intended object. It’s a pretty simple concept, but there are many different techniques to use in molding manufacturing. This list is far from all-inclusive, but it touches on some of the most common types.
If this made you think of blowing glass, then you are on the right track. Essentially, blow molding is when melted material is put into a tube. The tube is then placed into a metal mold, and then air is blown into the tube causing it to expand to the shape of the mold. Once the plastic hardens and cools, you have your part.
Many bottles and plastic containers are made this way. It is a relatively simple process and does not require a ton of oversight to work effectively.
Injection molding may be the coolest of all the types, in my opinion. It involves having a mold and injecting the melted material directly into the mold and letting it harden and cool. Why do I think that’s cool?
The advantages of injection molding are really what make it awesome. It is such a simple process, and easily repeatable. Though simple, it is effective and can make thousands of identical parts, pieces, or whatever else at a low cost.
To imagine this type of molding, imagine when you are washing a big bowl in the sink. It is covered in soap, so in order to clean it off, you rotate the bowl to allow water to wash the soap away.
Rotational molding is similar. It involves material, it may be powdered, being placed in a mold, and then rotating the mold, letting the material stick to the sides. Once the mold is cooled, the plastic has formed to the mold and can be removed.
Many types of boxes and containers are formed this way, as it allows the sides of the container to be formed without filling in the entire box.
Compression molding uses, well, compression to do its work. A mold is made, matching the shape and size of the object. The mold is filled and then it is clamped between two metal pieces. Imagine making a waffle and you will get the idea.
Compression molding is beneficial due to its versatility in creating products. It can create things of vastly different shapes and sizes. It isn’t the quickest method, but it gets the job done well.
Molding is an extremely effective way of manufacturing products. It is usually fairly quick and cost-effective. Thank goodness we have molding technology as so many of our plastic and metal items are made through molds. So next time you wonder, “how was this item made?” it would be safe to assume it was done through molding.