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Plastic Processes

This PowerPoint presentation plastic processes that you are required to be familiar with in order to successfully complete Unit 3

Plastics Processing

Plastics are usually supplied as moulding powder, granules or chips which have to be processed.

Processing includes the thorough mixing of additives with the moulding powder, granules or chips to produce plastic compounds.
The use of additives allows a relatively small number of base plastics to be transformed into wide range of very versatile materials.

Types of Plastic Processing

Injection Moulding Usually for thermoplastics. Molten plastics are injected under pressure into a mould. The mould surface detail (profile of the product) can be accurately reproduced. Compression Moulding Usually for thermosetting plastics. Plastic is moulded under pressure before the polymerisation begins. Extrusion Usually for thermoplastics. The molten plastics are fed under pressure by a screw through a hole or a die. Long continuous lengths, such as sheets, rods and tubes, can be produced.

Types of Plastic Processing

Thermoforming (Vacuum Forming)- Heat-softened thermoplastic sheet is drawn or sucked over a mould. It can be used for a variety of products from chocolate box trays to acrylic baths. Blow Moulding An extruded thermoplastic tube is heated and air is blown into it to force the plastic to take on the form of the mould in which it is enclosed. Rotational Moulding Usually for thermoplastics. Powder is heated inside a closed mould which is then rotated around two or three axes. This forces the plastic to take the form of the surface of the mould. It can be used to make very large hollow articles.

Types of Plastic Processing

Calendering Usually for thermoplastics. Molten plastics are squeezed between hot rollers to form film or sheets.

Casting Useful for thermosetting plastics. Molten plastic is poured into a mould.
Bending Thermoplastics can be heated along a line using an electric strip heater and then folded to the desired angle. A bending jig is sometimes used to hold the plastic in position until it resets.

Types of Plastic Processing

Fabrication Plastics can be joined together using a variety of fixings and adhesives. Coating Powdered thermoplastic melts on the surface of a heated product giving it a thin film coating. Forming Layers of glass fibre (Glass Reinforced Plastic) matting and polyester resin can be formed over a mould. As the resin cures it will harden to give rigidity to this fibre/resin matrix. Thermoplastic can also be formed by heating the whole sheet in an oven until it becomes floppy. The sheet is then pressed between two formers.

Injection Moulding
Product Design

Injection Moulding
The Process
Injection moulding is one of the most important industrial processes in the mass production of plastic goods. The cost of machining the original moulds can be very high. Therefore it is necessary to sell large numbers of the products being manufactured to recover costs

Thermoplastic granules are heated until they soften. Then the material is forced under pressure into a mould. When cool, the mould is opened and a component which is the exact shape of the cavity is extracted

Injection Moulding
Typical Materials Used
Most thermoplastics can be processed by Injection Moulding. The table below lists some of the commonly used materials.
Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene ABS

Polyamide(Nylon) Polycarbonate Polypropene (Polypropylene) Polystyrene

PA PC PP GPPS

Typical Products Produced


Power-tool housings Telephone handsets Washing-up bowls Safety helmets Television cabinets

Identifying Features Sprue marks, draw angles, mould split lines, ejection pins marks. Webs are used for strength. High quality finish

Compression Moulding
Product Design

Compression Moulding
The Process

The process requires plastic to be placed into a mould cavity where it is heated and plasticised. It is then compressed into shape by a heated

punch.
The materials used - melamine formaldehyde phenol formaldehyde urea formaldehyde.

These materials can be formed into different shapes through applying


both heat and pressure, other plastics do no have these properties.

Compression Moulding
Uses

Plastic products made using this process can resist temperature increases. Uses include camera cases, electrical wall sockets, handles, knobs and light switches.

Identifying Features Walls of uniform thickness usually 3-6mm. Draft of 1 minimum required. Flashes on edges. Quality finish on female mould surface.

Extrusion
Product Design

Extrusion
The Process

A machine used to extrude materials is very similar to the injection moulding machine. A motor turns a thread which feeds granules of plastic through a heater. The granules melt into a liquid which is forced through a die, forming a long 'tube like' shape.

The extrusion is then cooled and forms a solid shape. The shape of the die determines the shape of the tube.

Extrusion
The Process
The extrusion process is used for products with long uniform cross section. A variety of metals and thermo-plastics are suited to the extrusion process.
heated billet die pressure pad Forward Extrusion Used for long continuous lengths. A heated billet is forced through a die. Complex shaped dies can be used.

ram die holder

Backward Extrusion Used for short lengths. A heated billet is extruded backwards by a smaller diameter punch.

Extrusion
Sections
Opposite are examples of the type of shapes (sections) that can be extruded using an extrusion machine.

Extrusion
Features
Materials
Plastic is easier to extrude than metal as less force is required. Plastics - Polythene, PVC and Polypropylene Metals - Lead, Copper, Brass, Bronze, aluminium alloys, magnesium alloys and steel.

Uses

curtain rails, drainpipes, electric cable sheathing, fluorescent light covers. Smooth-walled long sections with uniform thickness Line texturisation may be evident, particularly on extruded metal products.

Identifying Features

Vacuum Forming
Product Design

Vacuum Forming
The Process

Vacuum Forming
The Process

Clamping The clamp frame ensures the plastic sheet is held firmly in place during the forming process. Heating Radiant heaters are normally used to heat the sheet which has been positioned over the aperture of the vacuum forming machine. For thicker sheet both surfaces may need to be heated and more sophisticated machines allow this. Heaters move into position both above and below the sheet. Pre-stretch Is used to achieve "even" wall thickness. Air is introduced to blow a small "bubble" and the mould is then raised into the pre-stretched sheet. Vacuum A vacuum is applied, the sheet is drawn into intimate contact with the mould and the mould detail is picked up. Plug Assist Where a deep draw is required a top "plug" may be used to push material into the mould during the forming process. Cooling and Release The material is allowed to cool. The cooling process may be shortened with blown air or even a fine water spray. The moulding may then be released from the mould by introducing a small air pressure. Finishing After moulding, any mould finishing may be performed, trimming, cutting, drilling, polishing, decorating etc.

Vacuum Forming

Materials Most of the common thermoplastics polythene, PVC, high density polystyrene, ABS and acrylic are suited to the vacuum forming process Identifying Features Thin material normally. Patterns/textures transferred from the mould. Pips formed by venting holes. Tapers quite pronounced. Thinning on side surfaces. Uses Packaging items with complex deep shapes are made in this way. Other examples are trays, dishes and margarine containers

Blow Moulding
Product Design

Blow Moulding
The Process

The process is similar to injection moulding and extrusion. 1. The plastic is fed in granular form into a 'hopper' that stores it. 2. A large thread is turned by a motor which feeds the granules through a heated section. 3. In this heated section the granules melt and become a liquid and the liquid is fed into a mould. 4. Air is forced into the mould which forces the plastic to the sides, giving the shape of the bottle. 5. The mould is then cooled and is removed.

Injection Blow Moulding


Softened thermoplastic is forced on to the mould surfaces using compressed air. There are several variations of the process, producing articles of different sizes. The finish is never of the same standard as that of injection moulding but good mould enables products of uniformed thickness, complex shape and good quality to be produced. Blow moulding is fast and the process involves very little waste.

Typical Materials Used

Typical Products Produced


Polyethylene (Low Density) Polypropylene Polyethylene Terephthalate Polyvinyl chloride Polyethylene (High Density) LDPE, LLDPE PP PET Bottles Jars

PVC Roll-on containers HDPE

Rotational Moulding
An Overview

Rotational moulding is a process used for producing hollow plastic products. By using additional post-moulding operations, complex components can be produced enabling the process to compete effectively with other moulding and extrusion practices. Rotational moulding differs from other processing methods in that the heating, melting, shaping, and cooling stages all occur after the polymer is placed in the mould, therefore no external pressure is applied during forming. This provides the following advantages: Economically produced large products Minimum design constraints Stress-free products No polymer weld lines Comparatively low mould costs

Rotational Moulding
The Process
The Rotational Moulding process is essentially split into four operations Charging Mould A pre-determined amount of polymer powder is placed in the mould. With the powder loaded, the mould is closed, locked and loaded into the oven. The powder can be pre-compounded to the desired colour. Heating & Fusion Once inside the oven, the mould is rotated around two axis, tumbling the powder the process is not a centrifugal one. The speed of rotation is relatively slow, less than 20 rev/min. The ovens are heated by convection, conduction and, in some cases, radiation. As the mould becomes hotter the powder begins to melt and stick to the inner walls of the mould. As the powder melts, it gradually builds up an even coating over the entire surface. Cooling When the melt has been consolidated to the desired level, the mould is cooled either by air, water or a combination of both. The polymer solidifies to the desired shape. Unloading/Demoulding When the polymer has cooled sufficiently to retain its shape and be easily handled, the mould is opened and the product removed. At this point powder
can once again be placed in the mould and the cycle repeated

Rotational Moulding
Typical Materials Used Typical Products Produced

Polyethylene (Low Density) LDPE, LLDPE

Manhole inspection chambers

Rainwater tanks

Polypropylene PP

Slides and climbing frames

Diesel fuel tanks

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate EVA

Childrens playhouses

Traffic cones

Polyvinyl Chloride PVC

Canoes and kayaks

Pallets