An injection molding machine, sometimes called an in-line machine, is a mechanism for manufacturing large plastic items by means of the in-line injection molding technique. It consists of an injection unit, an injection mold unit and a clamp's unit. The parts are typically made of polystyrene or polyurethane foam and can be made in different sizes depending on the need of the client. Sometimes they are used in the production of carbonated beverage bottles, ceramic components, ceramic tiles, metal parts and even in air conditioning systems.
Most injection molding machines operate with the use of a robotic arm. This robotic arm is fitted with the required materials to be molded into the mold and clamps on the parts in the desired manner. A hose connected to the in-line machine supplies water for the melting process. There are three basic types of machines - automated, semi-automated and manual. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The fully automated injection molding machine is the most widely used type of machine. It includes all the above mentioned components and also contains the clamping unit and the injection unit. This fully automated machine works on the principle of a CNC, which stands for "Computer Numerated Control". The machine supplies the required materials in a desired manner and controls the process on the basis of pre-programmed instructions.
The semi-automatic injection molding machine is another type of machine that offers a cost-effective alternative to fully automated production. It uses automatic feed systems and provides the necessary plastic for the mold cutting and pressing processes. The plastic is supplied in smaller quantities and the process is completed faster.
Manual injection molding machines are much cheaper than fully automated machines. They are useful when the operating costs are less. They use manual power to operate the machines. A "CNC" (Computer Numerated Control) press is an automatic machine which controls the process and produces a precise plastic product. These machines are available as stand alone units or as automated machines in the form of hydraulic presses. Hydraulic presses are capable of producing a larger volume of plastic at a lower cost than manual presses.
All Injection molding machines work on the same principles and use the same techniques. They require two parts - a source of water and the mold cavity. The source of water supplies, the molten plastic and the mold cavity collect the molten plastic. The hydraulic press or the hydraulic machines control the pressing process.