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HOW DOES PLASTIC INJECTION MOLDING WORK?

What many people don’t realize, is just how often plastic injection molding affects their daily lives, or how it works. There’s a lot more to it than just shooting plastic into a mold. First, we create a mold in the shape and specifications of the product the client wants. Once the customer has decided on what they’re trying to make, they contract UPM to design and build the mold, also called the tooling. UPM can even create prototypes for entirely new products!

Once the mold has been built, it’s time to start the plastic injection process. There are typically three basic parts that make up your plastic injection molding machine. These are your hopper, your reciprocating screw, and a heated barrel. First, the plastic material (often in a pellet or granular form) is fed into the hopper. The hopper then transfers the plastic to the heated barrel. While the plastic is in the heated barrel, it is shifted and rotated by the reciprocating screw and additional heating elements. The movement by the reciprocating screw evenly distributes the heat throughout the plastic and creates a uniform consistency in the material. Once the plastic has been melted down, the reciprocating screw injects the molten plastic into the mold. The resin or plastic then cools, hardens, and solidifies to the specified shape. It is then ejected from the mold, prepped, and delivered to the customer.

Plastic injection molding machines come in all sizes with varying degrees of clamping force to create a wide variety of products. UPM is proud to have machines as small as 240 tons and as large as 2,000 tons to ensure that we have the right equipment to fit your plastic injection molding needs.


WHAT GETS MADE WITH PLASTIC INJECTION MOLDING?

The applications for plastic injection molding are myriad and permeate nearly every aspect of our everyday lives. Today, plastic injection molding is a vital part of all kinds of industries ranging from toys and consumer products to medical equipment, automotive parts, and even aerospace components.

There’s almost not a day that goes by where you don’t come in contact with some item that was created through the process of plastic injection molding. Does your child enjoy playing with connecting blocks or action figures? Those were created using a mold. Do you use a water bottle when you exercise or take a drink from a cooler during a sporting event? Those were also made from a mold. Even parts of your car’s instrument panel and other important controls, knobs, and buttons are all crafted through the use of plastic injection molding.

And one of the best things about this innovative practice is how it can be managed with minimal waste while using recycled products for a more efficient and environmentally sustainable industry.


ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY & RECYCLED PLASTICS

At UPM, we have a strong focus on being conscious of our impact on the environment in everything we do. We know that customers are aware of the environmental impact that they make by the products they buy. Now, there is a certain level of appeal present in products made from recycled materials. We at UPM are the largest post-consumer and industrial recycled plastics consumer in the Western United States. We have extensive experience creating forward-thinking, eco-friendly products with our innovative plastic injection molding services. We also handle a variety of conversions from normal plastic to recycled plastics and blend operations, as well as metal to recycled plastic conversions. Our view is that if there’s an easy way to do our part in taking care of the environment that lets us give back, why not do it?

LEAN MANUFACTURING & INNOVATIVE LOGISTICS

The volatile worldwide marketplace of today requires that companies quickly adapt to rapid fluctuations in demand without choking on excessive inventory that can quickly strangle cash flow. Previously, companies accepted outsourcing manufacturing as an all-in-one silver bullet to lowering costs, increasing margins, and boosting competitive advantage. For a while, this was true, but now, “insourcing” is becoming the new outsourcing. UPM’s large facility has fully-integrated inventory management and warehousing on-site. We specialize in converting bulky and inefficient programs into lean and just-in-time production programs, making us 3PL experts.

When it comes to production lead times, speed is everything. When you choose a production facility within the U.S., it gives you the advantage of speed by means of decreased shipping times, and choosing UPM gives you the advantage of value. We have several injection molding machines in each size category, allowing us to have redundancy in machine capacity. We create specialized automated manufacturing work-cells to handle production efficiently in a manner that can quickly scale up or down with your real-time market demand. Customers’ order lead times are typically decreased from six to ten weeks overseas down to just days with UPM. This eliminates the need to overbuy large quantities of product based on forecasting demand, which keeps your company’s cash flow moving in a difficult-to-predict economy. We give you the freedom to order the exact quantities you need when you need them. No more tied up cash flow from poor forecasts and excess inventory. UPM gives you the ability to adjust production requirements faster and more accurately based on current sales figures. To add even more efficiency, we can also handle full assembly down to the retail box and direct shipping to customers and retail stores.


Agile & Efficient Injection Molding Solutions

UPM is committed to providing you with a nimble, efficient solution to your production needs. With a Kanban program, we eliminate hassles and carrying expenses incurred by overseas container shipping, warehouses, container unloading and loading, inventory management, and more. In a blended manufacturing scenario, we can utilize our customers’ overseas production to produce the smaller subcomponents that are inexpensive to ship, while manufacturing the large parts and assembling the product in the U.S. By utilizing this strategy, we synergize the strengths of both overseas and U.S. manufacturing. This achieves lower landed costs than strictly China-based overseas manufacturing. That’s why UPM provides the plastic injection molding services of choice for many thriving Fortune 500 companies.

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