Plastics Innovations in Consumer and Industrial Applications

Posted by Matt Bishop on Aug 24, 2016 9:20:00 AM
Matt Bishop
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The diversity in consumer and industrial applications is vast, but offering a wide array of products that keep pace with – but don’t differentiate you from – the competition doesn’t necessarily translate to sustained success.

However, advancements in a number of industries are increasing interest in how plastics contribute to innovative solutions, and how experienced injection molders like Kaysun can help you get those solutions to market faster for a distinct competitive advantage.

What are plastics delivering in consumer and industrial products? Plenty. Here are a few examples of fresh approaches to applications that are, in short, making business boom and the world a better place. 

Robotic Manufacturing

  • The UNEEK robotic cell has given an outdoor and lifestyle footwear company a stronger manufacturing foothold. The dexterity of the industrial robots make them ideal for intricate, custom work that produce shoes in half the time of current processes without compromising the unique construction and weave integrity inherent to the UNEEK brand. 
  • The Creo Arm, a type of Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA), is lending a mechanized hand to applications requiring quick and flexible horizontal movement coupled with vertical strength and rigidity. SCARA robots like the Creo Arm are ideal for pick-and-place tasks and fabrication jobs that aren’t subjected to side-loading stress, like high-temperature cutting or welding.

Environmental Friendliness

  • WyoComp (formerly Heartland BioComposites) was the first company to introduce composite material that blended agricultural byproducts (wheat straw cellulose) and recycled plastic to produce an incomparably strong, sustainable lumber substitute for fencing, decking and other construction. The pelletized material can be used in any plastics process to produce any product form.
  • Fibercon, in conjunction with Australia’s James Cook University and PhD student Shi Yin’s research, has successfully reduced the environmental cost of poured concrete by incorporating plastic. Improved melt spinning and hot drawing processes produce recycled polypropylene fibers from industrial plastic waste that are strong enough to replace steel mesh in concrete footpaths – that’s a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions and fossil fuel usage.

Next-Gen LED Lighting

Molded plastics are further diversifying the opportunity-rich LED lighting industry with next-generation advancements in:

  • Combined LED primary and secondary optics that encapsulate semiconductor chips in high-power LED fixtures that are subjected to high temperatures and UV radiation
  • Multi-layered, thick-wall polycarbonate lenses that resist impact, retard flames, enhance dimensional stability, prevent yellowing and improve quality without negative impact on cycle times
  • Substituting high-ticket components with economical, high-performance plastic parts to cut overall costs, reduce fixture weight and provide greater design freedom

Retail Applications

A retail game-changer is Milacron’s revolutionary Klear Can®, the first-to-market clear plastic can that allows brand owners to provide consumers with a window into their high quality ingredients. Klear Can® is the first truly transformational innovation in the canned food preservation industry’s nearly 200-year history, replacing antiquated metal cans for fruits, vegetables, soups, meats and other products.

What’s on the horizon?

The 2016 International Design Excellence Awards’ top winners all boast significant plastics content. They run the gamut from cutting-edge computer and communications products like keyboards, microphones and routers to practical home & bath applications like outdoor equipment and fading task lights. There’s also a smattering of sports, recreation and leisure innovations including helmets and bicycles as well as entertainment products like TVs and floating record players to round out the offerings. 

No doubt about it, plastics provide new opportunities for consumer and industrial applications – and new challenges for manufacturers. Experienced injection molders like Kaysun help you thoughtfully incorporate plastics and get ahead of the competition by innovating for the future.

For more on assessing injection molders for industrial or consumer new product development, download our What Type of Injection Molder Do You Need? tip sheet. Click the button below for your free copy!

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Topics: Industrial / Consumer, Technology