Plastic bottles on an automated manufacturing machine

Plastic Injection Molding Trends For 2020

By Carter Kho

What are some plastic injection molding trends you should watch out for?

  1. High-grade Recycled Materials
  2. Environmental Responsibility
  3. Automation Software
  4. Stronger Plastics


Plastic injection molding is one of the most commonly-used plastic formation methods in the world. This formation technique has dominated various industries ever since it was commercialized, and with good reason. You get to achieve quality and consistent products to compete with the evolving market. There are tons of plastic injection molding trends that continue to expand the range of applications for injection molding. Current trends involve various industries such as healthcare and construction. Here’s what you need to watch out for in 2020.


High-grade Recycled Materials

A car's plastic part

There’s currently a high demand for various plastic injection molded items. There are lots of concerns alongside this such as raw material prices and environmental concerns. However, the value of the plastic injection molding market just reached over $250 billion in 2019 and will possibly grow further in the future. In particular, one of the trends is the use of high-grade and high-performance materials. The evolving needs of society call for upgrades in manufacturing methods. This all starts with the materials used. There are tons of plastics that can be blended to create a lasting, corrosion-resistant, and temperature resistant material.

Automotive industry manufacturers have been using these types of plastics for years to ensure the longevity of components. This can increase the efficiency of the vehicle when it comes to fuel usage. These properties shouldn’t be limited to just the automotive industry. Food service, industrial, medical, and the cosmetics industry can benefit from components with these quality performance properties.

High-grade materials can also mean that there’s a shift towards eco-consciousness. Lots of manufacturers are considering the consequences of production towards the environment. As the earth continues to change, so should manufacturers to successfully adapt. There are materials and plastics that are developed to be biodegradable and eco friendly. This can be integrated into industries that produce a lot of plastic waste to help reduce the impact of plastic materials.


Environmental Responsibility

White plastic beads

In relation to eco-friendly materials and production, more companies are leaning towards recycling to reduce the hazardous effects of waste on the health of the general population. Most developed countries send most of their plastic waste to China. This has been going on since 1992 and the amount is around 106 million metric tons of plastic waste. However, China passed a policy to ban plastic waste imports back in 2018. It’s currently a trend for manufacturers to generate a recycling plan for plastic scrap to reduce the environmental impact of their waste.

In fact, plastic injection molding can take plastic waste and melt it for recycling. A surplus of plastic material for one mold can be used for another. All it needs is to be melted, blended, and injected back into the mold to ensure that the waste is properly reduced. Companies may also opt to have recycling facilities open to facilitate the movement of plastic scraps towards this endeavor.


Automation Software

An engineer controlling automation software

Automation is one of the main contributors to fast production and low labor costs. Tons of upgrades and updates are being made to enhance the entire manufacturing process. What this can do for multiple manufacturers is to improve the quality and accuracy of the parts from the beginning to make sure that costs are as low as possible and future savings are in motion.

New programs have the ability to simulate how plastic flows into the injection mold so any manufacturer can easily predict and prevent product defects. A software upgrade can help designers evaluate and modify each part to increase the manufacturability even at the earliest stages of the plastic forming and designing process.


Stronger Plastics

Close up of an airplane's design

Plastic composites are usually made with one material in varying thicknesses to improve strength. However, fibers such as fiberglass, aramid, and carbon can be included in the composite to further increase the strength without sacrificing the weight. This can be useful for the construction, automotive, aerospace, and power industries. These materials are appealing due to the lower per-product costs it introduces while integrating strength. Industries such as aerospace and automotive can increase their fuel economy and aerodynamics with this stronger yet lighter plastic.

Combined with the previously mentioned automation software, manufacturers can design and predict the outcome of aerodynamic and automotive products for a successful product yield each time.


Key Takeaway

These plastic injection molding trends will continue to evolve as new technology and finer materials are developed. Innovative ideas created by researchers ensure that the general population receives quality products that satisfy various needs and demands for today’s society. If you’ve been looking to upgrade your plastic injection molding process, these trends should be kept on your watch list. You can increase the efficiency and quality of the products you create while reducing costs in the future. The future of plastic injection molding continues to move forward in 2020 and so should you.