Injection molding is a versatile manufacturing method that can help save money and deliver a higher product value to customers, and it’s used in the production of a huge variety of products and parts. One fact about injection molding that most people aren’t aware of is that electricity accounts for 90% of the operating costs of an injection molding facility.
With this in mind, a primary concern is how to reduce the use of electricity at your operation with the goal of significantly lowering overall production costs. While many people involved in manufacturing consider energy costs as a necessary, unavoidable expenditure, you can get an edge on your competitors by taking steps to reduce energy usage.
The savings obtained by increasing energy efficiency of an injection molding operation can be reinvested into other areas of a company. Here are six different energy saving methods that can be used to help reduce the amount of energy needed.
Insulating the Barrel
Installing the proper insulation around the barrel of a machine will help reflect heat that radiates from it while in operation. This will lower operating costs while at the same time decreasing startup time and helping to maintain operating temperatures that are much more consistent and far less wasteful.
100% Electric Machines
Because the power in injection molding machines that are 100% electric is provided by a direct electrical drive there is no longer a need for hydraulic oils to be used. These machines are also able to execute numerous operations at once through electric servos which reduce cycle times and energy efficiency. Another huge benefit of using an all-electric machine is that the power consumption during the startup process is much lower which results in maximum demand requirements that are far lower overall.
Use a Variable Speed Drive
One alternative to using an electric servo drive is a variable speed drive. Variable speed drives reduce power loss while improving process control and reducing wear and tear that accumulates on the motor.
Calculating Life Cycle Costs
One way to increase energy efficiency is to think ahead and calculate the entire life cycle cost of a machine. By totaling a machine’s initial purchase, operation, and energy costs, you can determine its life cycle. Knowing this is valuable because as your efficiencies improve you should be able to see actual costs reduce when compared to your previously calculated life-cycle costs.
Use the Correct Machine for the Product
Some manufacturers attempt to produce a wide range of parts (related to size) in a single machine size. While this may seem to save money upfront on overhead it won’t be cost-effective long-term. If the part size and press tonnage don’t align you’ll either be overusing of underusing that machines capabilities. This means that an unnecessary amount of energy is being consumed during the manufacturing process. These inefficiencies and resulting costs can bleed into other areas of the business and be passed on to customers at part price.
Leverage Automation to Optimize Cycle Times
To increase the speed and reliability of production, while decreasing energy consumption costs, many sophisticated molders have adopted automation into their molding processes. Automation allows the optimization of cycle times as well as reducing non-value added labor, two of the biggest contributors to part price. Coupled with Scientific Injection Molding techniques automation can also be used to divert suspect parts and alert technicians when the manufacturing process is experiencing issues. This streamlines the production process which means streamlined energy consumption.
The best strategy for improving energy efficiency in the injection molding process is to dedicate yourself to best practices, smart management, and investment in a future that is sustainable.
By optimizing your cycle times and process parameters, matching the proper machine to your project, using all-electric machines, insulating the barrels of machines, calculating the life cycle cost of a new machine, and using variable speed drives you can effectively maximize energy efficiency and save a whole lot of money in the process. Partnering with an injection molding company is a smart idea and will almost always provide a better value for your dollar, but just picking any company won’t ensure you the best deal.
If you go with a company like New Berlin Plastics that uses the best techniques to maximize energy efficiency, you can be sure that you’re doing everything possible to provide yourself and your company with the best service around.
© 2018 NEW BERLIN PLASTICS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED