As with the production of many things, environment plays a huge role in a quality outcome. For our plastic injection molding facility, located in Florida, two of these environmental factors include temperature and humidity. Temperature and humidity can both have a negative effect on the plastic material during processing if not handled well. Our quality control protocol constantly monitors the temperature and humidity, ensuring that our facility remains lower than 85 degrees Fahrenheit (not a small task for a factory in Florida), and below 60% humidity. Temperature and Humidity affect the plastic material in the following ways:
Importance of Temperature Control for Plastic Injection Molding:
Ambient temperature can affect the molding process also. Although thermoplastic are less affected by most temperatures that we would consider “room temperature” in Florida, the heat inside of a large factory can get well beyond a typical “room temperature” if not managed well. High heat can have a negative impact on the plastic material both in storage and the material being molded at the current time. Regulating the temperature can help the injection molding process by improving:
- Stability of the plastic material
- Production rates
- Machine maintenance
Although not directly related to the plastic or injection molding process itself, my favorite reason for regulating the temperature in our facility is for the comfort of our employees. Our employees work hard to make sure our machines are running properly and the products we are producing are high in quality. A work environment that is too hot can keep our employees from performing at their prime.
Importance of Humidity Control in Plastic Injection Molding:
Higher humidity can have a negative impact on the machinery, the molding process, and the material itself. Some materials, like Nylon is sensitive to water absorption. Other materials also have a strong sensitivity to hydrolysis – thus, humidity in the environment can have chemical effects on the plastic that can make it unstable for injection molding.
For our machines and molding process, higher humidity can cause condensation in the mold between shots, in which case you will be pushing a lot of water into the weld-line. Maintenance on our machines is easier to control when humidity conditions are mild to dry. Humidity in the air can also cause fog and condensation elsewhere on the machine affecting the product flow rate and quality of the finished product.
Conversely, controlling the humidity of the environment for plastic injection molding can have benefits that include:
- Faster production cycles
- Quality production consistency year round
- Improved product appearance
- Lower maintenance costs
- Avoidance of rust
- Longer mold life