The production of auto parts is the main pillar of the industry itself. The moving parts are always subject to wear and tear; when the time comes, they must be replaced. The auto parts sector is all about profit in the long term. In the modern car industry, the quality of parts and their production speed are hard to negotiate. From year to year, manufacturing technology continues to develop, and the peak is automotive injection molding technology. This technology is widely used in manufacturing complex components such as door handles, dashboards, intake manifolds, and small components under the hood.
What is automotive injection moulding?
Automotive injection moulding is a manufacturing application based on injecting liquid materials into a mould. It was the core of automotive moulding technology, although, in turn, it developed into several ”sub-technology like this custom injection moulding technology. This manufacturing technology is highly recommended for mass production and “intricately designed parts.”
The liquid material used is usually a plastic material which is melted and fully injected to fill all the mould cavities. The injection process is carried out under very high pressure. After the liquid material is injected 100 per cent, cooling starts to get the desired product.
Several decades ago, only a few factories used this injection method. Most of the parts manufacturers chose metal stamp technology. Unfortunately, the technology required large inputs, and as the demand for parts increased, it became irrelevant, so it was slowly replaced by injection molding technology.
The injection moulding method has been applied since the 50s, but it didn’t dominate until, in the mid 70’s70, suddenly many parts manufacturers adopted it and abandoned metal stamping. But in that era, the liquid material used was almost completely metal before being replaced by plastic in the early 2000s. Plastic lightens the car’s weight as a whole, which significantly reduces fuel consumption. On the other hand, plastic is cheaper than metal. But of course, some parts do have to be cast from metal.
For good reasons, the automotive injection moulding method dominates the auto parts industry today. Of course, the reasons in question can be represented by the following advantages:
– Accommodates complex shapes
The plastic (or metal) liquid can completely enter all the mould cavities. So depending on the mould made, the resulting product can be planned as detailed as possible. The metal stamp method can only achieve the details that the automotive injection moulding method can achieve. For example, producing auto parts with Rapid Direct allows for nearly impossible details to accommodate by other methods.
Nothing matches the speed of liquid entering the mould cavities, even if it is coupled with the cooling process. Therefore this method is more practical for mass production, such as producing spare parts. Thousands of identical products can be produced in quite a short time.
– Cheaper plastic material
It has been mentioned above that using plastic liquid materials is more profitable economically because it is cheaper than metal. Not only that, but plastic also benefits the efficiency of car operations by reducing fuel consumption. Older cars tended to be heavier and more fuel-guzzling because most of their parts were made of metal.
Plastic Materials for Automotive Manufacturing
The types of plastic materials commonly used can be explained as follows:
It is the material most frequently encountered in injection molding-based production processes. Polypropylene is synonymous with its resistance to chemicals, water, and UV. For this reason, it is commonly used to produce “outside-mounted” parts such as bumpers.
* Polyvinyl Chloride
Commonly shortened to PVC, this material makes up around 20% of all plastic components in today’stoday’s cars. The dashboard is a car component made mostly of PVC.
This type of plastic is very flexible, making it suitable for making products such as insulation panels, foam seats, seals, and so on.
This plastic material is hard and resistant to changes in environmental temperature. Usually used to make car bumpers.
This type of plastic is wear-resistant, so it is recommended for making bearings.
*Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
Abbreviated as ABS, this type of plastic looks shiny. Most wheel covers use this material.
This material is lighter and more impact-resistant, commonly used for door-coating plastic components.
The automotive injection molding method is generally superior to other methods commonly used to manufacture auto parts. Its speed, accuracy, and relatively low cost are why most parts manufacturers rely on this injection method. This method also accommodates the needs of mass production much better. However, this method may be less effective for the production of components that are replaced very infrequently (with low replacement rates). After all, it doesn’t look like the auto industry will be turning its back on the injection molding method soon.