The consumer market is vast. Injection molding plays an important role in determining the type, quality, and quantity of parts that go to market in various subsets of this industry. However, not all injection molders are up to the task.
Automotive plastic components aren’t limited to sleek dashboards, seats, floor mats, and other automotive plastic design details that attract buyers. These features may provide a degree of protection, but a vehicle’s overall safety and performance are largely dictated by often unseen under-the-hood plastic car parts.
Generally speaking, Design for Manufacturability (DfM) is the process of consciously and proactively designing products to optimize all facets of manufacturing.
DfM methodology aligns engineering and production in the design phase, ensuring cost and time efficiencies, superior quality, regulatory compliance, and end-user satisfaction.
Central to maximizing these DfM benefits is prioritizing Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) within the larger plastic part analysis to assess risk probability. Identifying and addressing problems early in the product development process prevents costly issues that could impact manufacturability such as plastics selection, tight tolerances, and secondary operations.
As Hurricane Ida unleashed its Category 4 fury on the state of Louisiana, plastics industry professionals kept a wary eye on the storm’s path. The repercussions of Hurricane Laura and Winter Storm Uri upended the resins market, which is still struggling. As the fifth strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the continental United States1, Ida could have easily wiped out any progress made toward market restoration.
But, for the most part, Ida spared the plastics industry from further devastation. The hurricane veered away from the hub of resin production facilities in western Louisiana and eastern Texas, some of which were just coming back online.
Consumer applications are diverse. Simply having products on the market isn't enough to build a customer base or keep pace with the competition.
Understanding the latest injection molding industry trends and partnering with a custom injection molder to apply them in creating highly differentiated products more readily translates to sustained success. It also gives you greater control over quality, cost, and time to market.
Injection molding industry trends suggest that a number of factors influence applications within the consumer market, such as:
An estimated 80% of a project’s costs are determined within the design phase.1 For injection molded parts, tooling often consumes a good share of the budget and decision-making, but it’s not the only consideration.
Value-added services (also known as secondary operations) are essential and sometimes overlooked during design because of their injection molding post-processing status. However, identifying the proper value-added services early in the project timeline can help eliminate injection molding defects that could ultimately lead to costly fixes.
On the whole, the global plastics market value topped out just shy of $580 billion in 2020. Of that revenue, the injection molding application segment held the largest share at just over 43%1 — a strong indicator of how plastics are fast becoming manufacturers' primary solutions to weight, sustainability, and compliance challenges.
But, injection-molded components are only reliable solutions if they perform to the expectations of industries that increasingly depend on plastics such as the automotive, electronics/electrical, and construction sectors. Performance is largely dictated by the resin chosen for a specific injection-molded part, but which material is the right one?
For an accurate answer, manufacturers turn to Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of plastic components and custom injection molders experienced in all aspects of testing.
There’s no denying that pandemic-related, weather-influenced, and manmade disruptions have caused chaos within the plastics industry. For OEMs, finding injection molding solutions during these turbulent times is problematic. Finding knowledgeable molders to take on complicated design, engineering, injection molding, and other challenges that less skilled molders can’t handle is equally as difficult.
From excessive energy consumption and scrap to general resin use, the injection molding process has historically raised some ecological concerns. The alarm is neither surprising nor unique to injection molders or the industries they serve.
However, as some experts project that the earth may be mere decades away from environmental collapse1, there are important choices to be made.