Polymers are the metaphorical clay that forms the backbone of the plastics industry. The long chains of molecules are open to chemical tailoring, meaning a chemist can add many desirable characteristics and use this polymerization process to create specialised plastics. The materials are thus customised to match customer requirements, at which point they’re employed in a plastic moulding process to shape the malleable liquid into a marketable product. Let’s explore the different varieties of polymers used in this high-volume industry.
A series of gates and runners inject the popular polymer into a series of plastic moulding stations. The equipment delivers the thermoplastic commodity in its base form or sources denser forms of the molecule, varieties of polymers that target specific chemical and physical properties.
If industrial applications need a beyond-tough plastic moulding medium, then polyurethane is the default choice. The material is durable, flexible, and chemically neutral. Wrap these properties in a healthy coating of anti-abrasive strength and we have the ideal material for mining applications. Varieties of polymers simply don’t come tougher. For example, TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) is a highly versatile material, one that finds applications in cellphone cases, industrial-grade structural panels, automotive side mouldings, and many other usage areas. Additionally, the chemical structure can be further modified before the moulding stage to target other properties, including elasticity and chemical resistance.
The legion of moulding materials continues, this time with an acronym. ABS is a thermoplastic with shock-resisting talents. The affordable thermoplastic is tough, used as a source plastic in countless injection moulding processing environments, and the wide-spectrum usage domain of the popular polymer sees ABS-imbued housings and discrete components enter countless applications, everything from a humble household appliance to a state-of-the-art medical instrument.
Thousands of thermoplastics, elastomers, and even some thermosetting plastics are used in moulding environments. The plastic is sourced and matched against customer-defined material specifications, leaving only the moulding process to shape the plastic into its final form.