As part of the course “Introduction to Materials Processing” the students were able to visit three factories, Volar Plastics, Motoplast and Orion. The companies specialised in Thermoforming, Rotational Moulding and Injection Blow Moulding respectively. The following was observed:
Volar Plastics (Thermoforming)
Initially moulds are CNC cut from aluminium onsite.
The plastic sheet is then heated, layered over the mould and a vacuum is formed between the plastic and mould, producing the following item.
The item is then cut with a router or water jet, as seen below.
The products were then packed and distributed.
Motoplast (Rotational Moulding)
The granules are ground into fine powder using a large grinder before being stored.
The powder is then is measured and poured into the hollow mould cavity.
The mould is then rotated in a large oven on all three axes to allow even coating. The moulding process is temperature controlled via a thermometer inside the mould. On removal from the oven the mould is cooled using fans before the item is removed. See the process in the video.
Orion (Injection Blow Moulding)
Orion specialised in straight injection moulding and Injection blow moulding for pharmaceutical purposes, the factory was a huge clean room with a large selection of automated machines, unfortunately photography was not permitted inside the factory.
For more information, photos, further (and better quality) videos, please contact the author, Stuart Buddle.