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Advanced Manufacturing Techniques


Plastics Extrusion
Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj College of Engineering, Shegaon

Advanced Manufacturing Techniques


Cross-section of a plastic extruder to show the screw

Plastics extrusion is a high volume manufacturing process in which raw plastic material is
melted and formed into a continuous profile. Extrusion produces items such as pipe/tubing,
weather stripping, window frames, adhesive tape and wire insulation.

In the extrusion of plastics, raw thermoplastic material in the form of small beads (often called
resin in the industry) is gravity fed from a top mounted hopper into the barrel of the extruder.
Additives such as colorants and UV inhibitors (in either liquid or pellet form) are often used and
can be mixed into the resin prior to arriving at the hopper.

The material enters through the feed throat (an opening near the rear of the barrel) and comes into
contact with the screw. The rotating screw (normally turning at up to 120 rpm) forces the plastic
beads forward into the barrel which is heated to the desired melt temperature of the molten plastic
(which can range from 200 °C (392 °F) to 275 °C (527 °F) depending on the polymer). In most
processes, a heating profile is set for the barrel in which three or more independent PID controlled
heater zones gradually increase the temperature of the barrel from the rear (where the plastic
enters) to the front. This allows the plastic beads to melt gradually as they are pushed through the
barrel and lowers the risk of overheating which may cause degradation in the polymer.

Extra heat is contributed by the intense pressure and friction taking place inside the barrel. In fact,
if an extrusion line is running a certain material fast enough, the heaters can be shut off and the
melt temperature maintained by pressure and friction alone inside the barrel. In most extruders,
cooling fans are present to keep the temperature below a set value if too much heat is generated. If
forced air cooling proves insufficient then cast-in heater jackets are employed, and they generally
use a closed loop of distilled water in heat exchange with tower or city water.

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Plastic extruder cut in half to show the components

At the front of the barrel, the molten plastic leaves the screw and travels through a screen pack to
remove any contaminants in the melt. The screens are reinforced by a breaker plate (a thick metal
puck with many holes drilled through it) since the pressure at this point can exceed 5000 psi (34
MPa). The screen pack/breaker plate assembly also serves to create back pressure in the barrel.
Back pressure is required for uniform melting and proper mixing of the polymer, and how much
pressure is generated can be 'tweaked' by varying screen pack composition (the number of
screens, their wire weave size, and other parameters). This breaker plate and screen pack
combination also does the function of converting "rotational memory" of the molten plastic into
"longitudinal memory".

After passing through the breaker plate molten plastic enters the die. The die is what gives the
final product its profile and must be designed so that the molten plastic evenly flows from a
cylindrical profile, to the product's profile shape. Uneven flow at this stage would produce a
product with unwanted stresses at certain points in the profile. These stresses can cause warping
upon cooling. Almost any shape imaginable can be created so long as it is a continuous profile.

The product must now be cooled and this is usually achieved by pulling the extrudate through a
water bath. Plastics are very good thermal insulators and are therefore difficult to cool quickly.
Compared with steel, plastic conducts its heat away 2000 times more slowly. In a tube or pipe
extrusion line, a sealed water bath is acted upon by a carefully controlled vacuum to keep the
newly formed and still molten tube or pipe from collapsing. For products such as plastic sheeting,
the cooling is achieved by pulling through a set of cooling rolls.

Sometimes on the same line a secondary process may occur before the product has finished its
run. In the manufacture of adhesive tape, a second extruder melts adhesive and applies this to the
plastic sheet while it’s still hot. Once the product has cooled, it can be spooled, or cut into lengths
for later use.


Typical materials that are used in extrusion molding include but are not limited to: acetal, acrylic,
nylon, polystyrene and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate.

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For products such as plastic sheet or film, the cooling is achieved by pulling through a set of
cooling rolls (calender or "chill" rolls), usually 3 or 4 in number. Running too fast creates an
undesirable condition called "nerve"- basically, inadequate contact time is allowed to dissipate the
heat present in the extruded plastic. In sheet extrusion, these rolls not only deliver the necessary
cooling but also determine sheet thickness and surface texture (in case of structured rolls; i.e.
smooth, levant, haircell, etc.).

Often co-extrusion is used to apply one or more layers to obtain specific properties such as UV-
absorption, soft touch or "grip", matte surface, or energy reflection.

A common post-extrusion process for plastic sheet stock is thermoforming, where the sheet is
heated until soft (plastic), and formed via a mold into a new shape. When vacuum is used, this is
often described as vacuum forming. Orientation (i.e. ability/ available density of the sheet to be
drawn to the mold which can vary in depths from 1 to 36 inches typically) is highly important and
greatly affects forming cycle times.

Thermoforming can go from line bended pieces (e.g. displays) to complex shapes (computer
housings), which often look like they've been injection moulded, thanks to the various
possibilities in thermoforming, such as inserts, undercuts, divided moulds.

Plastic extrusion onto paper is the basis of the liquid packaging industry (juice cartons, wine
boxes...); usually an aluminum layer is present as well. In food packaging plastic film is
sometimes metallised, see metallised film.


The manufacture of plastic film for products such as shopping bags is achieved using a blown
film line.

This process is the same as a regular extrusion process up until the die. The die is an upright
cylinder with a circular opening similar to a pipe die. The diameter can be a few centimetres to
more than three metres across. The molten plastic is pulled upwards from the die by a pair of nip
rolls high above the die (4 metres to 20 metres or more depending on the amount of cooling
required). Changing the speed of these nip rollers will change the gauge (wall thickness) of the
film. Around the die sits an air-ring. The air-ring cools the film as it travels upwards. In the centre
of the die is an air outlet from which compressed air can be forced into the centre of the extruded
circular profile, creating a bubble.This expands the extruded circular cross section by some ratio
(a multiple of the die diameter). This ratio, called the “blow-up ratio” can be just a few percent to
more than 200 percent of the original diameter. The nip rolls flatten the bubble into a double layer
of film whose width (called the “layflat”) is equal to ½ the circumference of the bubble. This film
can then be spooled or printed on, cut into shapes, and heat sealed into bags or other items.

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An advantage of blown film extrusion over traditional film extrusion is that in the latter there are
edges where there can be quality (thickness) variations.


In a wire coating process, bare wire (or bundles of jacketed wires, filaments, etc) is pulled through
the center of a die similar to a tubing die. Many different materials are used for this purpose
depending on the application. Essentially, an insulated wire is a thin walled tube which has been
formed around a bare wire.

There are two different types of extrusion tooling used for coating over a wire. They are referred
to as either "pressure" or "jacketing" tooling. The selection criteria for choosing which type of
tooling to use is based on whether the particular application requires intimate contact or adhesion
of the polymer to the wire or not. If intimate contact or adhesion is required, pressure tooling is
used. If it is not desired, jacketing tooling is chosen.

The main difference in jacketing and pressure tooling is the position of the pin with respect to the
die. For jacketing tooling, the pin will extend all the way flush with the die. When the bare wire is
fed through the pin, it does not come in direct contact with the molten polymer until it leaves the
die. For pressure tooling, the end of the pin is retracted inside the crosshead, where it comes in
contact with the polymer at a much higher pressure.


Extruded tubing process, such as drinking straws and medical tubing, is manufactured the same as
a regular extrusion process up until the die. Hollow sections are usually extruded by placing a pin
or mandrel inside of the die, and in most cases positive pressure is applied to the internal cavities
through the pin.

Tubing with multiple lumens (holes) must be made for specialty applications. For these
applications, the tooling is made by placing more than one pin in the center of the die, to produce
the number of lumens necessary. In most cases, these pins are supplied with air pressure from
different sources. In this way, the individual lumen sizes can be adjusted by adjusting the pressure
to the individual pins.


Coextrusion is the extrusion of multiple layers of material simultaneously. This type of extrusion
utilizes two or more extruders to melt and deliver a steady volumetric throughput of different
viscous plastics to a single extrusion head (die) which will extrude the materials in the desired
form. This technology is used on any of the processes described above (blown film, overjacketing,
tubing, sheet). The layer thicknesses are controlled by the relative speeds and sizes of the
individual extruders delivering the materials.

There are a variety of reasons a manufacturer may choose coextrusion over single layer extrusion.
One example is in the vinyl fencing industry, where coextrusion is used to tailor the layers based

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on whether they are exposed to the weather or not. Usually a thin layer of compound that contains
expensive weather resistant additives are extruded on the outside while the inside has an additive
package that is more suited for impact resistance and structural performance.


Extrusion coating is using a blown or cast film process to coat an additional layer onto an existing
rollstock of paper, foil or film. For example, this process can be used to improve the
characteristics of paper by coating it with polyethylene to make it more resistant to water. The
extruded layer can also be used as an adhesive to bring two other materials together. A famous
product that uses this technology is tetrapak.


A compound extrusion is an extrusion of composite materials. Usually twin-screw extruders are

used because they give better conveyance characteristics and production rates. They also give a
more uniform extrudate. When reinforcing fibers are mixed in a twin screw reduces screw wear
because the fibers can be introduced later into the melt. Single-screw extruders are used for
simple extrusions that have little variance in material formulation and viscosity.

Injection molding (British English: moulding) is a manufacturing process for producing parts
from both thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic materials. Material is fed into a heated barrel,
mixed, and forced into a mold cavity where it cools and hardens to the configuration of the mold
cavity. After a product is designed, usually by an industrial designer or an engineer, molds are
made by a moldmaker (or toolmaker) from metal, usually either steel or aluminium, and
precision-machined to form the features of the desired part. Injection molding is widely used for
manufacturing a variety of parts, from the smallest component to entire body panels of cars.

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Utilizes a ram or screw-type plunger to force molten plastic material into a mold cavity
Produces a solid or open-ended shape which has conformed to the contour of the mold
Uses thermoplastic or thermoset materials
Produces a parting line, sprue, and gate marks
Ejector pin marks are usually present

Injection molding is used to create many things such as wire spools, packaging, bottle caps,
automotive dashboards, pocket combs, and most other plastic products available today. Injection
molding is the most common method of part manufacturing. It is ideal for producing high
volumes of the same object. Some advantages of injection molding are high production rates,
repeatable high tolerances, the ability to use a wide range of materials, low labour cost, minimal
scrap losses, and little need to finish parts after molding. Some disadvantages of this process are
expensive equipment investment, potentially high running costs, and the need to design moldable


Most polymers may be used, including all thermoplastics, some thermosets, and some
elastomers.[7] In 1995 there were approximately 18,000 different materials available for injection
molding and that number was increasing at an average rate of 750 per year. The available
materials are alloys or blends of previously developed materials meaning that product designers
can choose from a vast selection of materials, one that has exactly the right properties. Materials
are chosen based on the strength and function required for the final part but also each material has
different parameters for molding that must be taken into account. Common polymers like Epoxy
and phenolic are examples of thermosetting plastics while nylon, polyethylene, and polystyrene
are thermoplastic.


It is important when designing products for injection molding that you consider how they will be
formed in the machine, how they will be taken out of the machine, and the structure of the final
product. Some important guidelines are:

Use approximately uniform wall thicknesses throughout your designs.

Keep walls thin - typically between 1/32" and 1/10". This allows for proper cooling and
reduces cost by minimizing use of material. Thin walls also reduce problems with material
shrinkage. Although some unevenness will occur due to shrinkage, walls as thick as 1/5"
can be used. Keep wall thickness at least wall length / 50. Keep 90 deg walls under 0.25"
high. Keep thickness of ejection pin surface wall at least .07".

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To strengthen parts, instead of using thicker walls, use additional structures such as ribs.
Use fillets at the base of ribs.
When using a rib make it about half the main wall thickness.
Round corners and edges wherever possible.
For easy release of the part from the mold, add a slight taper to the sides (typically ~ 2
deg) - especially for textured walls and walls higher than 0.25".
Avoid undercuts that are impossible to remove from the mold.
Lighter colors hide flow patterns better than dark colors.
Where walls meet at a 90 angle, round inside and outside to at least .05" radius - sharper
outside corners can create molding problems and sharper inside corners will increase
tooling cost.
Keep holes at least .015" from edges.[10]


Paper clip mold opened in molding machine; the nozzle is visible at right

Injection molding machines consist of a material hopper, an injection ram or screw-type plunger,
and a heating unit. They are also known as presses, they hold the molds in which the components
are shaped. Presses are rated by tonnage, which expresses the amount of clamping force that the
machine can exert. This force keeps the mold closed during the injection process. Tonnage can
vary from less than 5 tons to 6000 tons, with the higher figures used in comparatively few
manufacturing operations. The total clamp force needed is determined by the projected area of the
part being molded. This projected area is multiplied by a clamp force of from 2 to 8 tons for each
square inch of the projected areas. As a rule of thumb, 4 or 5 tons/in2 can be used for most
products. If the plastic material is very stiff, it will require more injection pressure to fill the mold,
thus more clamp tonnage to hold the mold closed. The required force can also be determined by
the material used and the size of the part, larger parts require higher clamping force.


Mold or die are the common terms used to describe the tooling used to produce plastic parts in

Traditionally, molds have been expensive to manufacture. They were usually only used in mass
production where thousands of parts were being produced. Molds are typically constructed from
hardened steel, pre-hardened steel, aluminium, and/or beryllium-copper alloy. The choice of
material to build a mold from is primarily one of economics, steel molds generally cost more to
construct, but their longer lifespan will offset the higher initial cost over a higher number of parts

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made before wearing out. Pre-hardened steel molds are less wear resistant and are used for lower
volume requirements or larger components. The steel hardness is typically 38-45 on the
Rockwell-C scale. Hardened steel molds are heat treated after machining. These are by far the
superior in terms of wear resistance and lifespan. Typical hardness ranges between 50 and 60
Rockwell-C (HRC). Aluminium molds can cost substantially less, and when designed and
machined with modern computerized equipment, can be economical for molding tens or even
hundreds of thousands of parts. Beryllium copper is used in areas of the mold which require fast
heat removal or areas that see the most shear heat generated. The molds can be manufactured by
either CNC machining or by using Electrical Discharge Machining processes


Standard two plates tooling – core and cavity are inserts in a mold base – "Family mold" of 5
different parts

The mold consists of two primary components, the injection mold (A plate) and the ejector mold
(B plate). Plastic resin enters the mold through a sprue in the injection mold, the sprue bushing is
to seal tightly against the nozzle of the injection barrel of the molding machine and to allow
molten plastic to flow from the barrel into the mold, also known as cavity The sprue bushing
directs the molten plastic to the cavity images through channels that are machined into the faces
of the A and B plates. These channels allow plastic to run along them, so they are referred to as
runners. The molten plastic flows through the runner and enters one or more specialized gates and
into the cavity geometry to form the desired part.

The amount of resin required to fill the sprue, runner and cavities of a mold is a shot. Trapped air
in the mold can escape through air vents that are ground into the parting line of the mold. If the
trapped air is not allowed to escape, it is compressed by the pressure of the incoming material and
is squeezed into the corners of the cavity, where it prevents filling and causes other defects as
well. The air can become so compressed that it ignites and burns the surrounding plastic material.
To allow for removal of the molded part from the mold, the mold features must not overhang one
another in the direction that the mold opens, unless parts of the mold are designed to move from
between such overhangs when the mold opens (utilizing components called Lifters).

Sides of the part that appear parallel with the direction of draw (The axis of the cored position
(hole) or insert is parallel to the up and down movement of the mold as it opens and closes)[19] are
typically angled slightly with (draft) to ease release of the part from the mold. Insufficient draft
can cause deformation or damage. The draft required for mold release is primarily dependent on
the depth of the cavity: the deeper the cavity, the more draft necessary. Shrinkage must also be
taken into account when determining the draft required. If the skin is too thin, then the molded

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part will tend to shrink onto the cores that form them while cooling, and cling to those cores or
part may warp, twist, blister or crack when the cavity is pulled away. The mold is usually
designed so that the molded part reliably remains on the ejector (B) side of the mold when it
opens, and draws the runner and the sprue out of the (A) side along with the parts. The part then
falls freely when ejected from the (B) side. Tunnel gates, also known as submarine or mold gate,
is located below the parting line or mold surface. The opening is machined into the surface of the
mold on the parting line. The molded part is cut (by the mold) from the runner system on ejection
from the mold. Ejector pins, also known as knockout pin, is a circular pin placed in either half of
the mold (usually the ejector half) which pushes the finished molded product, or runner system
out of a mold.

The standard method of cooling is passing a coolant (usually water) through a series of holes
drilled through the mold plates and connected by hoses to form a continueous pathway. The
coolant absorbs heat from the mold (which has absorbed heat from the hot plastic) and keeps the
mold at a proper temperature to solidify the plastic at the most efficient rate.

To ease maintenance and venting, cavities and cores are divided into pieces, called inserts, and
sub-assemblies, also called inserts, blocks, or chase blocks. By substituting interchangeable
inserts, one mold may make several variations of the same part.

More complex parts are formed using more complex molds. These may have sections called
slides, that move into a cavity perpendicular to the draw direction, to form overhanging part
features. When the mold is opened, the slides are pulled away from the plastic part by using
stationary “angle pins” on the stationary mold half. These pins enter a slot in the slides and cause
the slides to move backward when the moving half of the mold opens. The part is then ejected and
the mold closes. The closing action of the mold causes the slides to move forward along the angle

Some molds allow previously molded parts to be reinserted to allow a new plastic layer to form
around the first part. This is often referred to as overmolding. This system can allow for
production of one-piece tires and wheels.

2-shot or multi-shot molds are designed to "overmold" within a single molding cycle and must be
processed on specialized injection molding machines with two or more injection units. This
process is actually an injection molding process performed twice. In the first step, the base color
material is molded into a basic shape. Then the second material is injection-molded into the
remaining open spaces. That space is then filled during the second injection step with a material
of a different color.

A mold can produce several copies of the same parts in a single "shot". The number of
"impressions" in the mold of that part is often incorrectly referred to as cavitation. A tool with one
impression will often be called a single impression(cavity) mold. A mold with 2 or more cavities
of the same parts will likely be referred to as multiple impression (cavity) mold. Some extremely
high production volume molds (like those for bottle caps) can have over 128 cavities.

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In some cases multiple cavity tooling will mold a series of different parts in the same tool. Some
toolmakers call these molds family molds as all the parts are related.


The mechanical properties of a part are usually little affected. Some parts can have internal
stresses in them. This is one of the reasons why it's good to have uniform wall thickness when
molding. One of the physical property changes is shrinkage. A permanent chemical property
change is the material thermoset, which can't be remelted to be injected again.[30]


Tool steel or beryllium-copper are often used. Mild steel, aluminum, nickel or epoxy are only
suitable for prototype or very short production runs. Modern hard aluminum (7075 and 2024
alloys) with proper mold design, can easily make molds capable of 100,000 or more part life.


The most commonly used plastic molding process, injection molding, is used to create a large
variety of products with different shapes and sizes. Most importantly, they can create products
with complex geometry that many other processes cannot. There are a few precautions when
designing something that will be made using this process to reduce the risk of weak spots. First,
streamline your product or keep the thickness relatively uniform. Second, try and keep your
product between 2 to 20 inches.

The size of a part will depend on a number of factors (material, wall thickness, shape,process etc).
The initial raw material required may be measured in the form of granules, pellets or powders.
Here are some ranges of the sizes.

Method Raw Materials Maximum Size Minimum Size

Injection Molding (thermo-plastic) Granules, Pellets, Powders 700 oz. Less than 1 oz.

Injection Molding (thermo-setting) Granules, Pellets, Powders 200 oz. Less Than 1 oz.


Molds are built through two main methods: standard machining and EDM. Standard Machining,
in its conventional form, has historically been the method of building injection molds. With
technological development, CNC machining became the predominant means of making more
complex molds with more accurate mold details in less time than traditional methods.

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The electrical discharge machining (EDM) or spark erosion process has become widely used in
mold making. As well as allowing the formation of shapes which are difficult to machine, the
process allows pre-hardened molds to be shaped so that no heat treatment is required. Changes to
a hardened mold by conventional drilling and milling normally require annealing to soften the
mold, followed by heat treatment to harden it again. EDM is a simple process in which a shaped
electrode, usually made of copper or graphite, is very slowly lowered onto the mold surface (over
a period of many hours), which is immersed in paraffin oil. A voltage applied between tool and
mold causes spark erosion of the mold surface in the inverse shape of the electrode.


The cost of manufacturing molds depends on a very large set of factors ranging from number of
cavities, size of the parts (and therefore the mold), complexity of the pieces, expected tool
longevity, surface finishes and many others. The initial cost is great, however the piece part cost is
low, so with greater quantities the overall price decreases.


Small injection molder showing hopper, nozzle and die area

With Injection Molding, granular plastic is fed by gravity from a hopper into a heated barrel. As
the granules are slowly moved forward by a screw-type plunger, the plastic is forced into a heated
chamber, where it is melted. As the plunger advances, the melted plastic is forced through a
nozzle that rests against the mold, allowing it to enter the mold cavity through a gate and runner
system. The mold remains cold so the plastic solidifies almost as soon as the mold is filled.


The sequence of events during the injection mold of a plastic part is called the injection molding
cycle. The cycle begins when the mold closes, followed by the injection of the polymer into the
mold cavity. Once the cavity is filled, a holding pressure is maintained to compensate for material
shrinkage. In the next step, the screw turns, feeding the next shot to the front screw.This causes
the screw to retract as the next shot is prepared. Once the part is sufficiently cool, the mold opens
and the part is ejected.

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The time it takes to make a product using injection molding can be calculated by adding:
Twice the Mold Open/Close Time (2M)
Injection Time (T)
Cooling Time (C)
Ejection Time (E)

Where T is found by dividing:

Mold Size (S) / Flow Rate (F)

Total time = 2M + T + C + E
T = V/R

V = Mold cavity size (in3)

R = Material flow rate (in3/min)

The total cycle time can be calculated using tcycle = tclosing + tcooling + tejection[37]

The closing and ejection times, can last from a fraction of a second to a few seconds,
depending on the size of the mold and machine. The cooling times, which dominate the
process, depend on the maximum thickness of the part.


Although most injection molding processes are covered by the conventional process description
above, there are several important molding variations including:

Co-injection (sandwich) molding

Fusible (lost, soluble) core injection molding
Gas-assisted injection molding
In-mold decoration and in mold lamination
Injection-compression molding
Insert and outsert molding
Lamellar (microlayer) injection molding
Low-pressure injection molding
Metal injection molding
Microinjection molding
Microcellular molding
Multicomponent injection molding (overmolding)
Multiple live-feed injection molding

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Powder injection molding

Push-Pull injection molding
Reaction injection molding
Resin transfer molding
Structural foam injection molding
Structural reaction injection molding
Thin-wall molding
Vibration gas injection molding
Water assisted injection molding
Rubber injection
Injection molding of liquid silicone rubber

For more details about the different types injection processes.

Optimal process settings are critical to influencing the cost, quality, and productivity of plastic
injection molding. The main trouble in injection molding is to have a box of good plastics parts
contaminated with scrap. For that reason process optimization studies have to be done and process
monitoring has to take place. To have a constant filling rate in the cavity the switch over from
injection phase to the holding phase can be made based on a cavity pressure level.
Having a stable production window the following issues are worth to investigate:
The Metering phase can be optimized by varying screw turns per minute and backpressure.
Variation of time needed to reload the screw gives an indication of the stability of this phase.
Injection speed can be optimized by pressure drop studies between pressure measured in the
Nozzle (alternatively hydraulic pressure) and pressure measured in the cavity. Melted material
with a lower viscosity has less pressure loss from nozzle to cavity than material with a higher
viscosity. Varying the Injection speed changes the sheer rate. Higher speed = higher sheer rate =
lower viscosity. Pay attention increasing the mold and melt temperature lowers the viscosity but
lowers the sheer rate too.

Gate seal or gate freeze / sink mark / weight and geometry studies have the approach to
prevent sink marks and geometrical faults. Optimizing the high and duration of applied holding
pressure based on cavity pressure curves is the appropriate way to go. The thicker the part the
longer the holding pressure applied. The thinner the part the shorter the holding pressure applied.
Cooling time starts once the injection phase is finished. The hotter the melted plastics the longer
the cooling time the thicker the part produced the longer the cooling time.


When filling a new or unfamiliar mold for the first time, where shot size for that mold is
unknown, a technician/tool setter usually starts with a small shot weight and fills gradually until
the mold is 95 to 99% full. Once this is achieved a small amount of holding pressure will be
applied and holding time increased until gate freeze off (solidification time) has occurred. Gate
solidification time is an important as it determines cycle time, which itself is an important issue in

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the economics of the production process. Holding pressure is increased until the parts are free of
sinks and part weight has been achieved. Once the parts are good enough and have passed any
specific criteria, a setting sheet is produced for people to follow in the future. The method to setup
an unknown mold the first time can be supported by installing cavity pressure sensors. To see how
much the cavities are filled the pressure in the cavity gives a good indication for. Once the mold is
set up the first time modern monitoring systems can save a reference curve of the cavity pressure.
With that it is possible to reproduce the same part quality on another molding machine within a
short setup time.


Injection molding is a complex technology with possible production problems. They can either be
caused by defects in the molds or more often by part processing (molding)

Molding Alternative
Descriptions Causes
Defects name

Raised or layered Tool or material is too hot, often caused by a

Blister Blistering zone on surface of lack of cooling around the tool or a faulty
the part heater

Black or brown
burnt areas on the
Air Burn/ Gas
part located at Tool lacks venting, injection speed is too
Burn marks Burn/
furthest points from high
gate or where air is

Masterbatch isn't mixing properly, or the

material has run out and it's starting to come
Color streaks Colour Localized change of
through as natural only. Previous colored
(US) streaks (UK) color/colour
material "dragging" in nozzle or check

Contamination of the material e.g. PP mixed

with ABS, very dangerous if the part is
Thin mica like layers
Delamination being used for a safety critical application as
formed in part wall
the material has very little strength when
delaminated as the materials cannot bond

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Mold is over packed or parting line on the

Excess material in
tool is damaged, too much injection
thin layer exceeding
Flash Burrs speed/material injected, clamping force too
normal part
low. Can also be caused by dirt and
contaminants around tooling surfaces.

Foreign particle Particles on the tool surface, contaminated

Embedded Embedded (burnt material or material or foreign debris in the barrel, or
contaminates particulates other) embedded in too much shear heat burning the material
the part prior to injection

Injection speeds too slow (the plastic has

Directionally "off
cooled down too much during injection,
Flow marks Flow lines tone" wavy lines or
injection speeds must be set as fast as you
can get away with at all times)

Deformed part by
Poor tool design, gate position or runner.
Jetting turbulent flow of
Injection speed set too high.

Caused by the melt-front flowing around an

object standing proud in a plastic part as
Small lines on the well as at the end of fill where the melt-front
backside of core pins comes together again. Can be minimized or
Knit Lines Weld lines or windows in parts eliminated with a mold-flow study when the
that look like just mold is in design phase. Once the mold is
lines. made and the gate is placed one can only
minimize this flaw by changing the melt and
the mold temperature.

polymer breakdown
Polymer Excess water in the granules, excessive
from hydrolysis,
degradation temperatures in barrel
oxidation etc

Holding time/pressure too low, cooling time

Localized depression too short, with sprueless hot runners this can
Sink marks [sinks]
(In thicker zones) also be caused by the gate temperature being
set too high. Excessive material or thick wall

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Non-fill / Lack of material, injection speed or pressure

Short shot Partial part
Short mold too low, mold too cold

Moisture in the material, usually when

Circular pattern hygroscopic resins are dried improperly.
Splash mark /
Splay marks around gate caused Trapping of gas in "rib" areas due to
Silver streaks
by hot gas excessive injection velocity in these areas.
Material too hot.

String like remain

Nozzle temperature too high. Gate hasn't
Stringiness Stringing from previous shot
frozen off
transfer in new shot

Lack of holding pressure (holding pressure

is used to pack out the part during the
Empty space within holding time). Also mold may be out of
part (Air pocket) registration (when the two halves don't
center properly and part walls are not the
same thickness).

Mold/material temperatures set too low (the

Knit line / Discolored line
material is cold when they meet, so they
Weld line Meld line / where two flow
don't bond). Point between injection and
Transfer line fronts meet
transfer (to packing and holding) too early.

Cooling is too short, material is too hot, lack

of cooling around the tool, incorrect water
Warping Twisting Distorted part
temperatures (the parts bow inwards towards
the hot side of the tool)


Molding tolerance is a specified allowance on the deviation in parameters such as dimensions,

weights, shapes, or angles, etc. To maximize control in setting tolerances there is usually a
minimum and maximum limit on thickness, based on the process used.[41] Injection molding
typically is capable of tolerances equivalent to an IT Grade of about 9–14. The possible tolerance

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of a thermoplastic or a thermoset is ±0.008 to ±0.002 inches. Surface finishes of two to four

microinches or better are can be obtained. Rough or pebbled surfaces are also possible.

Molding Type Typical Possible

Thermoplastic ±0.008 ±0.002

Thermoset ±0.008 ±0.002


Obviously, the mold must be cooled in order for the production to take place. Because of the heat
capacity, inexpensiveness, and availability of water, water is used as the primary cooling agent.
To cool the mold, water can be channeled through the mold to account for quick cooling times.
Usually a colder mold is more efficient because this allows for faster cycle times. However, this is
not always true because crystalline materials require the opposite of a warmer mold and lengthier
cycle time.

The power required for this process of injection molding depends on many things and varies
between materials used. Manufacturing Processes Reference Guide states that the power
requirements depend on "a material's specific gravity, melting point, thermal conductivity, part
size, and molding rate." Below is a table from page 243 of the same reference as previously
mentioned which best illustrates the characteristics relevant to the power required for the most
commonly used materials.

Material Specific Gravity Melting Point (°F)

Epoxy 1.12 to 1.24 248

Phenolic 1.34 to 1.95 248

Nylon 1.01 to 1.15 381 to 509

Polyethylene 0.91 to 0.965 230 to 243

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Metal inserts can be also be injection molded into the workpiece. For large volume parts the
inserts are placed in the mold using automated machinery. An advantage of using automated
components is that the smaller size of parts allows a mobile inspection system that can be used to
examine multiple parts in a decreased amount of time. In addition to mounting inspection systems
on automated components, multiple axial robots are also capable of removing parts from the mold
and place them in latter systems that can be used to ensure quality of multiple parameters. The
ability of automated components to decrease the cycle time of the processes allows for a greater
output of quality parts.

Specific instances of this increased efficiency include the removal of parts from the mold
immediately after the parts are created and use in conjunction with vision systems. The removal
of parts is achieved by using robots to grip the part once it has become free from the mold after in
ejector pins have been raised. The robot then moves these parts into either a holding location or
directly onto an inspection system, depending on the type of product and the general layout of the
rest of the manufacturer's production facility. Visions systems mounted on robots are also an
advancement that has greatly changed the way that quality control is performed in insert molded
parts. A mobile robot is able to more precisely determine the accuracy of the metal component
and inspect more locations in the same amount of time as a human inspector.

Transfer molding, like compression molding, is a process where the amount of molding material
(usually a thermoset plastic) is measured and inserted before the molding takes place. The
molding material is preheated and loaded into a chamber known as the pot. A plunger is then used
to force the material from the pot through channels known as a sprue and runner system into the
mold cavities. The mold remains closed as the material is inserted and is opened to release the
part from the sprue and runner. The mold walls are heated to a temperature above the melting
point of the mold material; this allows a faster flow of material through the cavities.

Transfer Molding. This is an automated operation that combines compression-, molding, and
transfer-molding processes. This combination has the good surface finish, dimensional stability,
and mechanical properties obtained in compression molding and the high-automation capability
and low cost of injection molding and transfer molding. Transfer Molding is having a "piston and
cylinder"-like device built into the mold so that the rubber is squirted into the cavity through small
holes. A piece of uncured rubber is placed into a portion of the transfer mold called the "pot." The
mold is closed and under hydraulic pressure the rubber or plastic is forced through a small hole
(the "gate") into the cavity. The mold is held closed while the plastic or rubber cures. The plunger
is raised up and the "transfer pad" material may be removed and thrown away. The transfer mold
is opened and the part can be removed. The flash and the gate may need to be trimmed. Another
key point is that a premeasured amount of thermosetting plastic in powder, preform, and even
granular form can be placed into the heating chamber.

The molds in both compression and transfer molding remain closed until the curing reaction
within the material is complete. Ejector pins are usually incorporated into the design of the
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molding tool and are used to push the part from the mold once it has hardened. These types of
molding are ideal for high production runs as they have short production cycles. Transfer
molding, unlike compression molding uses a closed mold, so smaller tolerances and more intricate
parts can be achieved. The fixed cost of the tooling in transfer molding is greater than in
compression molding and as both methods produce waste material, whether it be flash or the
material remaining in the sprue and runners, transfer molding is the more expensive process.

Transfer molding (TM) (or resin transfer molding, RTM) differs from compression molding in
that in TM the resin is inserted into the mold (or tool) which contains the layers of fibres or a
preform, whereas in compression molding prepregs or molding compounds are in the mold which
is then heated and pressure is applied. No further pressure is applied in TM.

In RTM the resin is injected or drawn into a mold, which contains the fibres, from a homogeniser
under low pressure. The mold can be made from composites for low production cycles or with
aluminium or steel for larger production. The differences between the two types being that metal
has better heat transfer, hence quicker cycle times; metal lasts longer and deforms less, but at a
higher cost. The main problem with this production route is that air can be trapped in mold and
hence a method must be incorporated for allowing this air to escape. A number of solutions to the
problem exist including extending one level of reinforcement beyond the cavity (with a 25% resin
loss), appropriate vents and creating a vacuum in the mold (which also improves quality). Larger
structures, better properties (less movement of fibres), increased flexibility of design and lower
cost are some of the advantage this process has over compression molding due mainly to the low
pressure injection. Other benefits include rapid manufacture, not labour intensive, ability to vary
reinforcements easily or include cores such as foam and produce low and high quality products.

In the semiconductor industry, package encapsulation is usually done with transfer molding due to
the high accuracy of transfer molding tooling and low cycle time of the process.

However, the drive to introduce "Green" manufacturing is becoming a mandatory process in most
semicon assembly operations. New transfer mold designs integrated with suitable surface
treatments like CrN, MiCC and H Cr plating are becoming more popular in the industry.

Some common products are utensil handles, electric appliance parts, electronic component, and
connectors. Transfer molding is widely used to enclose or encapsulate items such as coils,
integrated circuits, plugs, connectors, and other components.

Blow molding, also known as blow forming, is a manufacturing process by which hollow plastic
parts are formed. It is a process used to produce hollow objects from thermoplastic.

In general, there are three main types of blow molding: extrusion blow molding, injection blow
molding, and stretch blow molding.

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The blow molding process begins with melting down the plastic and forming it into a parison or
preform. The parison is a tube-like piece of plastic with a hole in one end in which compressed air
can pass through.

The basic process has two fundamental phases. First, a preform (or parison) of hot plastic resin in
a somewhat tubular shape is created. Second, a pressurized gas, usually air, is used to expand the
hot preform and press it against a mold cavity. The pressure is held until the plastic cools. This
action identifies another common feature of blow molded articles. Part dimensional detail is better
controlled on the outside than on the inside, where material wall thickness can alter the internal
shape. Once the plastic has cooled and hardened the mold opens up and the part is ejected.


A blow molding renaissance is occurring in which engineers and designers are discovering and
promoting blow molding for a wide variety of industrial or technical application. Toy wheels,
automobile seat back, ductwork, surf boards, bellows, fuel tanks, flower pots, automobile
bumpers, double- walled tool cases, and cabinet panels are just a few examples of the many
creative design being developed.


In extrusion blow molding (EBM), plastic is melted and extruded into a hollow tube (a parison).
Blow molding is the forming of a hollow object by “blowing” a thermoplastic molten tube called
a parison in the shape of a mold cavity. Extrusion blow molding is the most widely used of many
blow molding methods. This parison is then captured by closing it into a cooled metal mold. Air is
then blown into the parison, inflating it into the shape of the hollow bottle, container or part. After
the plastic has cooled sufficiently, the mold is opened and the part is ejected. There are two
extrusion blow processes: continuous and intermittent.


Continuous and Intermittent are two variations of Extrusion Blow Molding. In Continuous
Extrusion Blow Molding the parison is extruded continuously and the individual parts are cut off
by a suitable knife.

EBM processes may be either continuous (constant extrusion of the parison) or intermittent.
Types of EBM equipment may be categorized as follows:

Continuous extrusion equipment

rotary wheel blow molding systems

shuttle machinery

Examples of parts made by the EBM process include dairy containers, shampoo bottles,
hoses/pipes, and hollow industrial parts such as drums.

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Intermittent extrusion may be also called shot extrusion. Parison shot extrusion is accomplished
by means of a reciprocating screw almost identical to those used in injection molding machines.

In Intermittent blow molding there are two processes: straight intermittent is similar to injection
molding whereby the screw turns, then stops and pushes the melt out. With the accumulator
method, an accumulator gathers melted plastic and when the previous mold has cooled and
enough plastic has accumulated, a rod pushes the melted plastic and forms the parison. In this
case the screw may turn continuously or intermittently.

Intermittent extrusion machinery

reciprocating screw machinery

accumulator head machinery


Control of wall distribution is the heart of blow molding. There are two primary techniques in
extrusion blow molding for controlling wall distribution: Programming and die shaping.
Programming is the control of the wall thickness, from top to bottom, of the parsion as it emerges
from the die head tooling during extrusion. In die shaping, sectors of the die bushing or mandrel
are machined to thicken the parison longitudinally in those areas where the part being formed
requires greater thickness. The diameter of the die tooling is very important, for it determines the
parison diameter. Too small a parison will rupture or “blow out” because of too much stretch. Too
large a parison will result in too much flash, and cause trimming problems.[10]


The injection molding phase consists of injection molding a thermoplastic material into a hollow,
tube-shaped article called a preform. The preform is transferred on a metal shank, called the core
rod, into a blow mold.

The process of injection blow molding (IBM) is used for the production of hollow glass and
plastic objects in large quantities. In the IBM process, the polymer is injection molded onto a core
pin; then the core pin is rotated to a blow molding station to be inflated and cooled. This is the
least-used of the three blow molding processes, and is typically used to make small medical and
single serve bottles. The process is divided into three steps: injection, blowing and ejection.

The injection blow molding machine is based on an extruder barrel and screw assembly which
melts the polymer. The molten polymer is fed into a manifold where it is injected through nozzles
into a hollow, heated preform mold. The preform mold forms the external shape and is clamped
around a mandrel (the core rod) which forms the internal shape of the preform. The preform
consists of a fully formed bottle/jar neck with a thick tube of polymer attached, which will form
the body.

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The preform mold opens and the core rod is rotated and clamped into the hollow, chilled blow
mold. The core rod opens and allows compressed air into the preform, which inflates it to the
finished article shape.

After a cooling period the blow mold opens and the core rod is rotated to the ejection position.
The finished article is stripped off the core rod and leak-tested prior to packing. The preform and
blow mold can have many cavities, typically three to sixteen depending on the article size and the
required output. There are three sets of core rods, which allow concurrent preform injection, blow
molding and ejection.

Each thermoplastic resin has its own set of tooling design parameters. Hot melt density, shrink
factors, stretch ratios, blow pressure, venting criteria, and surface area of the tooling must all be
known prior to designing any tooling.


With the commercial introduction of containers, stretch blow molding became a common term in
the blow molding industry. Stretch blow molding is the method of producing a plastic container
from a preform or parison that is stretched in both the hoop direction and the axial direction when
the preform is blown into its desired container shape. Stretch blow molding is possible for various
thermoplastic materials such as acrylnitrile(AN), polystyrene (PS), Polyvinyl chloride (PVC),
polyamide (PA), polycarbonate (PC), Polysulfone, acetal, polyarlyate, polypropylene (PP), surlyn,
and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Amphorous materials such as PET. Etc.

In the stretch blow molding (SBM) process, the plastic is first molded into a "preform" using the
injection molding process. These preforms are produced with the necks of the bottles, including
threads (the "finish") on one end. These preforms are packaged, and fed later (after cooling) into a
reheat stretch blow molding machine. In the SBM process, the preforms are heated (typically
using infrared heaters) above their glass transition temperature, then blown using high pressure air
into bottles using metal blow molds. Usually the preform is stretched with a core rod as part of the
process. In the single-stage process both preform manufacture and bottle blowing are performed
in the same machine. The stretching of some polymers, such as PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
results in strain hardening of the resin, allowing the bottles to resist deforming under the pressures
formed by carbonated beverages, which typically approach 60 psi.The main applications are
bottles, jars and other containers.

Advantages of blow molding include: low tool and die cost; fast production rates; ability to mold
complex part; produces recyclable parts. Increase the material’s tensile strength, barrier
properties, clarity. Reduce weight stretch blow molding produces a container from less raw
material and with improved economics and bottle properties.

Disadvantages of blow molding include: limited to hollow parts, wall thickness is hard to control.

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Coextrusion is used extensively in small bottles and containers, but increasingly also for large
blow molded parts (18.92 liters or 5 gallons and larger). Its growth, however, is very healthy and
will accelerate in the coming years because of the need for recycling of plastic and the application
of this technology to manufacture of products requiring improved barrier properties.


The three-dimensional blow molding concept was developed several years ago in Japan. The most
successful of these technologies is the Placo X-Y machine which moves the mold under the head.
There are many advantages to three-dimensional blow molding, including minimal flash, seamless
parts, and sequential extrusion. Many complex shapes can be easily produced using the three-
dimensional blow molding process. At this time, process options for three-dimensional molding:
X-Y process, suction blow molding, and curved blow molding are offered by Krupp.


It has been shown that a combination of various materials imparts specific properties to a part in
extrusion blow molding. Here, the extruded parison is built up in a radial direction by several
overlaying layers (traditional or radial coextrusion). New in practical application, however, is the
use of various materials in the axial direction, that is, specific article sections may be provided
with specific properties by choosing corresponding materials.


The use of short-glass-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics (mainly PA 6, PA 6.6, and PP) with

medium fiber lengths between 0.2 and 0.4 mm (0.007 in. and 0.0156 in.) has been known for
some time. Unfortunately it was impossible to realize improvements in tensile strength, modulus
of elasticity, and deflection temperature under load in the order hoped for by using glass fibers.
The reason was the insufficient length of the fibers, which was reduced substantially from its
original length as a consequence of the shearing action in the extruder.


Krupp Kautex, Borealis, and OBG Design introduced foam technology, based on a patent held by
leading equipment manufacture Krupp Kautex (Patent Number US 4.874.649). A special-recipe
mastermix from Borealis, a major polylefin producer, allows highly reliable processing and
consistent results.

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High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

High impact strength

Low temperature toughness,
Excellent resistance to chemicals,
Good electrical insulating properties, and
Poor ultraviolet resistance.

Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS)

ABS is a hard, tough material;

Good impact resistance;
Good electrical insulation properties; and
Versatile additive, filler, and reinforcing agents acceptance;

Polycarbonate (PC)

Excellent resistance to heat,

Hard, tough material,
Good impact resistance, and
Excellent transparency.

Polypropylene (PP)

Good impact strength (poor at cold temperatures),

Good chemical resistance,
High abrasion resistance,
High melt strength.

Polyphenylene Oxide (PPO)

Good flame retardancy,

Good chemical resistance,
Good impact resistance, and
Retains mechanical properties in high heat environments.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

Used in injection blow molding, produces clear amorphous preforms. Since there is less
orientation, the impact strength is reduced.

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There are six kinds of PET Blow Molding Machineries:

Single Stage Blow Molding Machine

Two Stage Blow Molding Machine
Integrated Two Stage Blow Molding Machine
PET Blow Molding Machines
Automatic PET blow molding machine
Semi Automatic PET blow molding machine


All one-stage injection stretch blow molding machines derived from this original Stretch Blow
design are referred to as classic one-stage machines, as the concept has long since been extended
into other PET developments. The classic one-stage machines design is extremely versatile in that
the same basic machine design can be used to make a wide variety of bottles and jars in all shapes
and sizes, which was the standard single-stage machine in the early years, had eight cavities for
1.5 liter bottles.


In the early developments, preforms were made by continuously extruding a PET Blow Molding
tube. To make these preforms, a preform manufacturing machine that took a continuously
extruded PET tube, heated and closed one end, and then heated the other and formed a thread
finish by blow molding. This process had a faster output rate, at 12000 preforms per hour, than
the early injection molding routes of 8 and 16 cavity moulds. Being extruded, the preforms could
be multilayered with barrier materials. The system was overtaken by injection molded preforms as
the cavitations increased to 32 and beyond. The quality of the injection molded (IM) neck, adding
for example vent slots, made the IM finish preferable. Moreover, IM technology is available from
more than one company, giving customers greater technical and commercial choice. Two-stage
technology machine with six blow moulds operating at around 4000 bottles per hour. Subsequent
mould and cooling development increased the output to 6000 bottles per hour.

Two stage PET processing includes: Making preforms by Injection Molding Blowing bottles by
Stretch Blow Molding

Because it is more flexible than one step processing, it is widely accepted in Plastic packaging


In Integrated Two Stage approach the preforms were made by more conventional injection
molding routes (with the number of cavities optimized to match the required output) and then,
while still hot, were carried to a separate blowing machine with the optimized number of blow
moulds to suit the required output. This was the first integrated approach to PET bottle making.

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Here the equipment had the same number of injection cavities as blowing molds. This was a more
compact approach and proved ideal for small batch output with excellent glossy surfaces.


PET Blow Molding Machineries are suitable for small and medium sized bottle makers and drinks
manufacturers worldwide to produce their own bottle. The machine starts with the preform, heat
it, and then stretch-blow the heated preform in the blow mold into oriented PET container.
According to different requirement, PET Blow Molding Machine has the ability to produce PET
bottle from narrow neck finishes to wide mouth finishes in the size from 5 ml to 20,000 ml. The
wide applicability for both narrow and wide neck, reliable capability make PET Blow Molding
Machine become popular and attractive to medium and small size bottle and drink manufacturer
all over the world. PET bottles and containers are widely utilized in food and drink industry. PET
has the advantages of virtually unbreakable, easy to handle and transport, low cost and easy to
manufacture and recycle.

There are two type of Pet Blow Molding Machine:

Automatic Pet Blow Molding Machine

Semi-Automatic Pet Blow Molding Machine


Automatic PET Blow Molding Machine is a new generation of fully automatic and versatile
machine for mass production of PET bottles and jars. Ideally suitable for large scale factories and
for applications where stringent quality requirements have to be met. Substantial reduction in
operating cost is achieved by saving of manpower.

There are two types of Automatic PET Blow Molding Machine

One Stage Automatic PET Blow Molding Machine

Two Stage Automatic PET Blow Molding Machine

Full-automatic PET stretch blow molding machine is the most stable two-step automatic stretch
blow molding machine. It has one to four cavities. It can blow bottles in shapes such as
carbonated, mineral, pesticide, cosmetics, wide-mouth, hot filling, and other packing containers,
which is made of plastic of crystalline type such as PET and PP etc.

Features (Automatic PET Blow Molding Machine)

Runs stably, whether voltage is 200V or 240V, or whether room temperature is 0C or

Conveying preforms automatically with conveyor.
Strong penetrability and good and swift distribution of the heat by letting the bottles rotate
by itself and revolute in the rails simultaneously in the infrared preheater.

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Minimum parameter settings through touch LCD, normally only temperature settings
should be regulated, no need to play with time settings; Multi-language interfaces
Easy installation and starting
Satisfaction with different atmospheric pressure for blowing and mechanical action by
dividing the blowing and action into three parts in the air pressure diagram of the machine.
More mechanical & synchronized design to reduce fault to minimum level.
Low rejection rate
Air recycling unit to save compressed air 20~25%, Reduced heating power, Driving is
mostly done by motor directly, instead of compressed air.
200% more efficient than traditional one.
Adopts Aluminum mold, lighter to be installed or unloaded; 10 molding data memories to
make mold changeover quicker.
High safeties with security automatic-locking apparatus in each mechanical action, which
will make the procedures turn into a state of safety in case of a breakdown in certain
Safe, reliable, and unique design of the position of valve to make the air pressure diagram
of the machine easier to understand.


SEMI-AUTO PET blow molding machines are the most cost-effective solution for mass
production of jars and bottles for small and medium scale factories. The machines are also
designed for the production of big jars and containers.

There are two types of Semi Automatic PET Blow Molding Machine

One Stage Semi Automatic PET Blow Molding Machine

Two Stage Semi Automatic PET Blow Molding Machine

Two Stage Semi Automatic PET Blow Molding Machines are fit to blow carbonated beverage
bottles, mineral water bottles, cosmetics bottles and hot-filling bottles. With microcomputer
controlling system, it controls various technical parameter needed more accurately and more
steadily. It can operate easily without any special training and more safely.


Simple installation & startup adjustment. Two Stage Semi Automatic PET Blow Molding
Ensures extremely uniform heating for PET preforms, superior molding performance and
minimum product defects.
Offers two functions in a single machine by simply changing the mold from single to
double cavity mold.
Heating zones can be adjusted to meet production variations.
Equipped with special designed air storage unit.
Heating tubes are adjustable in any direction such as up or down, forward or backward to
suit various preform sizes and shapes.

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Full-time stabilized heating system. Heating temperature and speed are adjustable
according to sizes and features of preforms. Independent Temperature Control for
different heating lamp to get ideal preform heating results.
Steady operation, negligible trouble and easy maintenance.
Operated easily without special training.
Requires little base space, suitable for small to medium size factories.
Negligible waste rate of finished bottle.

Blow Molding Applications

Milk bottles
Pharmaceutical bottles
Antifreeze bottles
Polypropylene bottles
Coliseum seats
One-piece chair
Ice chests and coolers
Double-wall player case
Garbage cans
Fuel tanks


There are several ways to decorate blow molded products, they include:

Labels- both post-molding and in-molding

Screen printing
Hot stamping
Pad printing


Finishing of a blow molded part should be considered in product design, mold engineering, and
process planning stages.


Extruded aluminium with several hollow cavities; slots allow bars to be joined with special connectors.

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Extrusion is a process used to create objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile. A material is

pushed or drawn through a die of the desired cross-section. The two main advantages of this
process over other manufacturing processes is its ability to create very complex cross-sections and
work materials that are brittle, because the material only encounters compressive and shear
stresses. It also forms finished parts with an excellent surface finish.[1]

Extrusion may be continuous (theoretically producing indefinitely long material) or semi-

continuous (producing many pieces). The extrusion process can be done with the material hot or

Commonly extruded materials include metals, polymers, ceramics, concrete and foodstuffs.

Hollow cavities within extruded material cannot be produced using a simple flat extrusion die,
because there would be no way to support the center barrier of the die. Instead, the die assumes
the shape of a block with depth, beginning first with a shape profile that supports the center
section. The die shape then internally morphs along its length into the final shape, with the
suspended center pieces supported from the back of the die.


Extrusion of a round blank through a die.

The process begins by heating the stock material. It is then loaded into the container in the press.
A dummy block is placed behind it where the ram then presses on the material to push it out of
the die. Afterward the extrusion is stretched in order to straighten it. If better properties are
required then it may be heat treated or cold worked.

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The extrusion ratio is defined as the starting cross-sectional area divided by the cross-sectional
area of the final extrusion. One of the main advantages of the extrusion process is that this ratio
can be very large while still producing quality parts.


Hot extrusion is done at an elevated temperature to keep the material from work hardening and to
make it easier to push the material through the die. Most hot extrusions are done on horizontal
hydraulic presses that range from 250 to 12,000 tons. Pressures range from 30 to 700 MPa (4,400
to 102,000 psi), therefore lubrication is required, which can be oil or graphite for lower
temperature extrusions, or glass powder for higher temperature extrusions. The biggest
disadvantage of this process is its cost for machinery and its upkeep.

Hot extrusion temperature for various metals[1]

Material Temperature [°C (°F)]

Magnesium 350-450 (650-850)

Aluminium 350-500 (650-900)

Copper 600-1100 (1200-2000)

Steel 1200-1300 (2200-2400)

Titanium 700-1200 (1300-2100)

Nickel 1000-1200 (1900-2200)

Refractory alloys up to 2000 (4000)

The extrusion process is generally economical when producing between several kilograms
(pounds) and many tons, depending on the material being extruded. There is a crossover point
where rolling becomes more economical. For instance, some steels become more economical to
roll if producing more than 20,000 kg (50,000 lb).

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Cold extrusion is done at room temperature or near room temperature. The advantages of this over
hot extrusion are the lack of oxidation, higher strength due to cold working, closer tolerances,
good surface finish, and fast extrusion speeds if the material is subject to hot shortness.

Materials that are commonly cold extruded include: lead, tin, aluminum, copper, zirconium,
titanium, molybdenum, beryllium, vanadium, niobium, and steel.

Examples of products produced by this process are: collapsible tubes, fire extinguisher cases,
shock absorber cylinders, automotive pistons, and gear blanks.


Warm extrusion is done above room temperature, but below the recrystallization temperature of
the material the temperatures ranges from 800 to 1800 °F (424 to 975 °C). It is usually used to
achieve the proper balance of required forces, ductility and final extrusion properties.[3]


There are many different variations of extrusion equipment. They vary by four major

1. Movement of the extrusion with relation to the ram. If the die is held stationary and the ram
moves towards it then its called "direct extrusion". If the ram is held stationary and the die moves
towards the ram its called "indirect extrusion".
2. The position of the press, either vertical or horizontal.
3. The type of drive, either hydraulic or mechanical.
4. The type of load applied, either conventional (variable) or hydrostatic.

A single or twin screw auger, powered by an electric motor, or a ram, driven by hydraulic
pressure (often used for steel and titanium alloys), oil pressure (for aluminum), or in other
specialized processes such as rollers inside a perforated drum for the production of many
simultaneous streams of material.

Typical extrusion presses cost more than $100,000, whereas dies can cost up to $2000.

[edit] Forming internal cavities

There are several methods for forming internal cavities in extrusions. One way is to use a hollow
billet and then use a fixed or floating mandrel. A fixed mandrel, also known as a German type,
means it is integrated into the dummy block and stem. A floating mandrel, also known as a French
type, floats in slots in the dummy block and aligns itself in the die when extruding. If a solid billet
is used as the feed material then it must first be pierced by the mandrel before extruding through
the die. A special press is used in order to control the mandrel independently from the ram. The
solid billet could also be used with a spider die, porthole die or bridge die. All of these types of

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dies incorporate the mandrel in the die and have "legs" that hold the mandrel in place. During
extrusion the metal divides and flows around the legs, leaving weld lines in the final product.

Direct extrusion

Plot of forces required by various extrusion processes.

Direct extrusion, also known as forward extrusion, is the most common extrusion process. It
works by placing the billet in a heavy walled container. The billet is pushed through the die by a
ram or screw. There is a reusable dummy block between the ram and the billet to keep them
separated. The major disadvantage of this process is that the force required to extrude the billet is
greater than that need in the indirect extrusion process because of the frictional forces introduced
by the need for the billet to travel the entire length of the container. Because of this the greatest
force required is at the beginning of process and slowly decreases as the billet is used up. At the
end of the billet the force greatly increases because the billet is thin and the material must flow
radially to exit the die. The end of the billet, called the butt end, is not used for this reason.

Indirect extrusion

In indirect extrusion, also known as backwards extrusion, the billet and container move together
while the die is stationary. The die is held in place by a "stem" which has to be longer than the
container length. The maximum length of the extrusion is ultimately dictated by the column
strength of the stem. Because the billet moves with the container the frictional forces are
eliminated. This leads to the following advantages:

A 25 to 30% reduction of friction, which allows for extruding larger billets, increasing speed, and
an increased ability to extrude smaller cross-sections
There is less of a tendency for extrusions to crack because there is no heat formed from friction
The container liner will last longer due to less wear
The billet is used more uniformly so extrusion defects and coarse grained peripherals zones are
less likely.

The disadvantages are:

Impurities and defects on the surface of the billet affect the surface of the extrusion. These
defects ruin the piece if it needs to be anodized or the aesthetics are important. In order to get
around this the billets may be wire brushed, machined or chemically cleaned before being used.

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This process isn't as versatile as direct extrusions because the cross-sectional area is limited by
the maximum size of the stem.

Hydrostatic extrusion

In the hydrostatic extrusion process the billet is completely surrounded by a pressurized liquid,
except where the billet contacts the die. This process can be done hot, warm, or cold, however the
temperature is limited by the stability of the fluid used. The process must be carried out in a
sealed cylinder to contain the hydrostatic medium. The fluid can be pressurized two ways:[6]

1. Constant-rate extrusion: A ram or plunger is used to pressurize the fluid inside the container.
2. Constant-pressure extrusion: A pump is used, possibly with a pressure intensifier, to pressurize
the fluid, which is then pumped to the container.

The advantages of this process include:

No friction between the container and the billet reduces force requirements. This ultimately
allows for faster speeds, higher reduction ratios, and lower billet temperatures.
Usually the ductility of the material increases when high pressures are applied.
An even flow of material.
Large billets and large cross-sections can be extruded.
No billet residue is left on the container walls.

The disadvantages are:

The billets must be prepared by tapering one end to match the die entry angle. This is needed to
form a seal at the beginning of the cycle. Usually the entire billet needs to be machined to
remove any surface defects.
Containing the fluid under high pressures can be difficult.


Most modern direct or indirect extrusion presses are hydraulically driven, but there are some
small mechanical presses still used. Of the hydraulic presses there are two types: direct-drive oil
presses and accumulator water drives.

Direct-drive oil presses are the most common because they are reliable and robust. They can
deliver over 35 MPa (5000 psi). They supply a constant pressure throughout the whole billet. The
disadvantage is that they are slow, between 50 and 200 mm/s (2–8 ips).

Accumulator water drives are more expensive and larger than direct-drive oil presses, plus they
lose about 10% of their pressure over the stroke, but they are much faster, up to 380 mm/s (15
ips). Because of this they are used when extruding steel. They are also used on materials that must
be heated to very hot temperatures for safety reasons.

Hydrostatic extrusion presses usually use castor oil at pressure up to 1400 MPa (200 ksi). Castor
oil is used because it has good lubricity and high pressure properties.

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Surface cracking - When the surface of an extrusion splits. This is often caused by the extrusion
temperature, friction, or speed being too high. It can also happen at lower temperatures if the
extruded product temporarily sticks to the die.
Pipe - A flow pattern that draws the surface oxides and impurities to the center of the product.
Such a pattern is often caused by high friction or cooling of the outer regions of the billet.
Internal cracking - When the center of the extrusion develops cracks or voids. These cracks are
attributed to a state of hydrostatic tensile stress at the centerline in the deformation zone in the
die. (A similar situation to the necked region in a tensile stress specimen)


Metals that are commonly extruded include:

Aluminium is the most commonly extruded material. Aluminium can be hot or cold extruded. If it
is hot extruded it is heated to 575 to 1100 °F (300 to 600 °C). Examples of products include
profiles for tracks, frames, rails, mullions, and heat sinks.
Copper (1100 to 1825 °F (600 to 1000 °C)) pipe, wire, rods, bars, tubes, and welding electrodes.
Often more than 100 ksi (690 MPa) is required to extrude copper.
Lead and tin (maximum 575 °F (300 °C)) pipes, wire, tubes, and cable sheathing. Molten lead may
also be used in place of billets on vertical extrusion presses.
Magnesium (575 to 1100 °F (300 to 600 °C)) aircraft parts and nuclear industry parts. Magnesium
is about as extrudable as aluminum.
Zinc (400 to 650 °F (200 to 350 °C)) rods, bar, tubes, hardware components, fitting, and handrails.
Steel (1825 to 2375 °F (1000 to 1300 °C)) rods and tracks. Usually plain carbon steel is extruded,
but alloy steel and stainless steel can also be extruded.
Titanium (1100 to 1825 °F (600 to 1000 °C)) aircraft components including seat tracks, engine
rings, and other structural parts.
Tungsten carbide this is one of the most commonly used extruded metals due to its extreme
toughness and ability to withhold its own form.[citation needed]

Magnesium and aluminium alloys usually have a 0.75 μm (30 μin). RMS or better surface finish.
Titanium and steel can achieve a 3 μm (125 μin). RMS.

In 1950, Ugine Séjournet, of France, invented a process which uses glass as a lubricant for
extruding steel.[10] The Ugine-Sejournet, or Sejournet, process is now used for other materials that
have melting temperatures higher than steel or that require a narrow range of temperatures to
extrude. The process starts by heating the materials to the extruding temperature and then rolling
it in glass powder. The glass melts and forms a thin film, 20 to 30 mils (0.5 to 0.75 mm), in order
to separate it from chamber walls and allow it to act as a lubricant. A thick solid glass ring that is
0.25 to 0.75 in (6 to 18 mm) thick is placed in the chamber on the die to lubricate the extrusion as
it is forced through the die. A second advantage of this glass ring is its ability to insulate the heat
of the billet from the die. The extrusion will have a 1 mil thick layer of glass, which can be easily
removed once it cools.
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Another breakthrough in lubrication is the use of phosphate coatings. With this process, in
conjunction with glass lubrication, steel can be cold extruded. The phosphate coat absorbs the
liquid glass to offer even better lubricating properties.


Plastic extrusion commonly uses plastic chips or pellets, which are usually dried in a hopper
before going to the feed screw. The polymer resin is heated to molten state by a combination of
heating elements and shear heating from the extrusion screw. The screw forces the resin through a
die, forming the resin into the desired shape. The extrudate is cooled and solidified as it is pulled
through the die or water tank. In some cases (such as fibre-reinforced tubes) the extrudate is
pulled through a very long die, in a process called pultrusion.

A multitude of polymers are used in the production of plastic tubing, pipes, rods, rails, seals, and
sheets or films.


Ceramic can also be formed into shapes via extrusion. Terracotta extrusion is used to produce
pipes. Many modern bricks are also manufactured using a brick extrusion process.


Macaroni is an extruded hollow pasta.

Extrusion has found great application in food processing. Products such as pastas, breakfast
cereals, Fig Newtons, cookie dough, Sevai, Idiappam, jalebi, french fries, baby food, dry pet food
and ready-to-eat snacks are mostly manufactured by extrusion. In the extrusion process, raw
materials are first ground to the correct particle size (usually the consistency of coarse flour). The
dry mix is passed through a pre-conditioner, where other ingredients are added (liquid sugar, fats,
dyes, meats and water depending on the product being made), steam is also injected to start the
cooking process. The preconditioned mix is then passed through an extruder, and then forced
through a die where it is cut to the desired length. The cooking process takes place within the
extruder where the product produces its own friction and heat due to the pressure generated (10–
20 bar). The cooking process utilizes a process known as starch gelatinization. Extruders using
this process have a capacity from 1–25 tonnes per hour depending on design.

Use of the extrusion cooking process gives the following food benefits:

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Starch gelatinization
Protein denaturation
Inactivation of raw food enzymes
Destruction of naturally occurring toxins
Diminishing of microorganisms in the final product


Extrusion through nano-porous, polymeric filters is being used to manufacture suspensions of

lipid vesicles liposomes or Transfersomes for use in pharmaceutical products. The anti-cancer
drug Doxorubicin in liposome delivery system is formulated by extrusion, for example.

The design of an extrusion profile has a large impact on how readily it can be extruded. The
maximum size for an extrusion is determined by finding the smallest circle that will fit around the
cross-section, this is called the circumscribing circle. This diameter, in turn, controls the size of
the die required, which ultimately determines if the part will fit in a given press. For example, a
larger press can handle 60 cm (24 in) diameter circumscribing circles for aluminium and 55 cm
(22 in). diameter circles for steel and titanium.

Thicker sections generally need an increased section size. In order for the material to flow
properly legs should not be more than ten times longer than their thickness. If the cross-section is
asymmetrical, adjacent sections should be as close to the same size as possible. Sharp corners
should be avoided; for aluminium and magnesium the minimum radius should be 0.4 mm
(1/64 in) and for steel corners should be 0.75 mm (0.030 in) and fillets should be 3 mm (0.12 in).
The following table lists the minimum cross-section and thickness for various materials.

Material Minimum cross-section [cm² (sq. in.)] Minimum thickness [mm (in.)]

Carbon steels 2.5 (0.40) 3.00 (0.120)

Stainless steel 3.0-4.5 (0.45-0.70) 3.00-4.75 (0.120-0.187)

Titanium 3.0 (0.50) 3.80 (0.150)

Aluminium <2.5 (0.40) 1.00 (0.040)


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