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What is plastic injection molding?

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Quick Answer

Plastic injection molding is a process in which plastic is melted, mixed and then injected into a mold cavity where it cools to the configuration of the cavity. Then the object is released and the process is repeated as many times as needed.

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Full Answer

Jons Jacob Berzelius produced the first condensation polymer, polyester, from glycerin and tartaric acid in 1847. In 1861, Alexander Parkes invented the first man-made commercial plastic. Parkes demonstrated it to the public at the International Exhibition in London in 1862.

Various materials can be used to perform injection molding including metals, glasses, elastomers, confections and more commonly thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers. An industrial designer or an engineer usually design the product and then the molds are made by a mold maker from metal such as aluminum or steel and are precision machined to form the desired product. The material used, the desired shape and features, the material of the mold and the properties of the molding machine must be taken into account when designing the parts to be molded.

The injection molding process is used to produce many things such as packaging, bottle caps, one-piece chairs, musical instruments, automotive dashboards, small tables, storage containers, mechanical parts and many more products available today. Injection molding is ideal for producing high volumes of the same product and is the most common method of producing manufactured parts.

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