The twentieth century saw drastic changes in the automobile industry. The industrial revolution allowed car manufacturers to make fortunes. Ford revolutionized the manufacturing process by introducing the concept of an assembly line. New technological advancements are constantly helping in making the manufacturing process more efficient.
Initially, cars were only made out of metal. This made this loud, heavy, and expensive to make. In the mid-1900s the market erupted with a supply of plastic. Engineers began to incorporate more plastic parts into cars. At first, the plastic parts were merely decorative. Later, more functional parts like headlights were made with plastic. At the start of the twenty-first century, manufacturers began using plastic parts not just as decorative but structural components in cars.
Such components are made with the innovative manufacturing process called injection molding. This process is not just great for working with plastic. It makes the process of making metal parts very effective as well. The precise designs that injection molding made possible can help cut down on the weight of the final product. Injection molding has penetrated several different fields and continues to grow. Let us look at some advantages this process provides.
Economies of Scale
Although, when production is low, injection molding can be an expensive process. However, because of the sheer number of parts produced, economies of scale are achieved and the process becomes relatively cheap. This means that the demand for these products is very high in number so a lot of these parts are produced. This increases the profit margin quite a bit. The production process becomes cheap compared to the profits it brings in.
While manufacturing automobile products, accuracy is absolutely crucial. The dimensions and design have to be precise. Injection molding allows for practically identical products. The firm metal molds and injecting the liquid are almost the only two factors involved. The injecting liquid temperature and viscosity have to be kept constant. However, in general, the process is highly accurate and can be repeated to make thousands of identical parts. Injection molding is best suited for high production for complex designs.
The close, accurate molds eliminate the need for costly finishing processes associated with other methods of manufacturing. The finishing quality is high and comes relatively cheap. While using plastics, there is also a plethora of different finishing options that manufacturers can use.
The plastic or metal injection molding process also allows for quick and cheap manufacture of prototypes. This allows for companies to introduce and design new products then get them on the production line at unbelievable speeds.
One of the most important advantages of injection molding is the different materials that can be used to form the final product. Flexible plastics to rigid metals can be used in this process depending on the functionality of the final process. If the parts need to withstand high pressures it is a good idea to use a high boiling point steel. If you need flexibility in the components, a rubber product is the best choice.
Injection molding allows manufacturers to produce parts of several different finishes and colors easily. This allows manufacturers to customize the colors according to the needs of the client, to fit the color scheme or aesthetic of the car. Color pellets can easily be mixed with the raw liquid material that is injected into the molds. For other processes, colors have to be separately painted onto the components after production. The final product from injection molding is consistent in color without the need for any finishing.
Researching and constantly improving such processes takes a lot of work. Engineers and analysts work tirelessly to optimize and reduce costs on such manufacturing processes. Companies like immould.com are dedicating resources to research and development projects that are researching different applications of injection molding in various fields.
The continued globalization of the automobile industry makes it an extremely competitive one. However, the awareness about the injection molding process still remains relatively low in the industry and in general. This causes the potential of Injection Molding to not be fully explored.
There is still a vast variety of components out there that can be manufactured using this efficient process, which will significantly reduce manufacturing costs in the long run. These cuts in manufacturing costs allow companies to spend more in other sectors of the organization. For example, more money can be put into employee healthcare or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans.
Of course, there are switching costs that must be kept in mind while switching to a completely new manufacturing process. But think of it as an investment and an opportunity to explore even more efficiency in the production process.