Robotics and Industrial Robotics in Plastic Injection Molding: Enhancing Efficiency

Robotics And Industrial Robotics In Plastic Injection Molding: Enhancing Efficiency

Plastic injection molding is a manufacturing process that involves injecting thermoplastic materials into a mold cavity. The process is widely used due to its efficiency, precision, and high productivity. However, the process can be complex and time-consuming, requiring skilled personnel to operate the machinery and ensure that quality standards are met. In recent years, robotics and industrial robotics have revolutionized the plastic injection molding process, enhancing efficiency, and reducing waste. In this article, we’ll explore the role of robotics in plastic injection molding, how it works, and its benefits.

What is Robotics in Plastic Injection Molding?

Robotics in plastic injection molding is the use of industrial robots to automate the process of manufacturing plastic parts. The robot’s movements are programmed to pick, place, and assemble parts or tools within the robotic work cell. These machines are incredibly reliable, efficient, and precise, performing repetitive tasks with a high degree of accuracy. Robotic automation has enabled the plastic injection molding industry to produce parts faster, more cost-effectively, and with a higher level of consistency than before.

Robotics in the plastic injection molding industry usually involves a collaborative robot or “cobot” that works side by side with human operators. These cobots can work independently, with specific tasks designed in advance, or in unison with human workers. Cobots are designed to work in hazardous, dirty, or hard-to-reach areas that are unsafe for human operators. They’re also ideal for tasks that require precise control, speed, and accuracy, such as picking up and placing small parts or tools in the mold cavity.

Robotic automation has transformed the plastic injection molding industry, providing several advantages over traditional manufacturing methods. Robotic systems are more reliable than human labor, consistently producing high-quality products with minimal downtime. They’re also more efficient, reducing waste and increasing productivity by working faster and with a higher degree of accuracy.

How Does Robotics Work in Plastic Injection Molding?

The basic process of robotic automation in plastic injection molding involves the use of a robotic system alongside a molding machine. The robot receives programming and control instructions from an off-machine computer, or an operator using an intuitive human-machine interface (HMI) system. The HMI system provides the operator with an interface to visualize the manufacturing process, monitor vital statistics, and diagnose any issues with the robot or machine.

The robot’s programming includes instructions on how to manipulate the molds, move tools, handle parts, and other activities to meet the manufacturing requirements precisely. The robot’s movements and parameters are adjusted to suit different injection molding configurations, such as single or two-shot molding operations. The robot’s arms can be equipped with various end effectors, such as grippers, vacuum cups, or other tooling devices, to handle parts at different stages of the process.

In addition, the use of sensors and vision systems that are integrated into the robot’s software ensures that the robot has full awareness of its surroundings. These sensors help the robot to identify the position of the parts, mold cavities, and other objects relating to the manufacturing process, ensuring precise movement, handling, and placement.

The Benefits of Robotics in Plastic Injection Molding

1. Improves Efficiency

Robotic automation enhances the efficiency of the plastic injection molding process by reducing cycle times through faster and more accurate manufacturing. The use of robotics can also minimize manufacturing errors, as robots operate more accurately, consistently, and reliably than human operators. This results in increased productivity and reduced labor costs, leading to a quicker ROI for the manufacturer.

2. Offers High Precision and Accuracy

The robotic system’s ability to execute precise movements, fine-tuned to the injection molding process’s unique parameters, makes them ideal for handling small, intricate parts and complex molds. The robotic system ensures uniformity in the final product’s surface finish, reducing the chances of defects and improving the product’s quality. The robots can also perform intricate operations such as mold temperature monitoring and control, part ejection, and handling, which were once done by skilled human operators, with increased accuracy and repeatability.

3. Increases Quality

The use of robotics in the plastic injection molding process reduces the chance of manufacturing defects, resulting in a higher quality of the final product. The robots’ precise movements make sure that various components are correctly placed, reducing the likelihood of joint malformations, and facilitating quality control checks for consistency.

4. Reduces Downtime and Waste

The robotic system’s capacity to operate autonomously translates to less downtime in the injection molding process. The robots can work non-stop without deteriorating or getting tired, generating less waste in operations and conserving the material costs related to the manufacturing process. Additionally, due to its high level of precision, the robotic system goes a long way in reducing scrap waste, ensuring the manufacturer’s money is well spent.

5. Boosts Safety Standards

The integration of robotics in the plastic injection molding process helps to improve safety standards in the workplace. The robots work in environments where it would be dangerous for human operators, providing a safer working atmosphere and reducing the frequency of accidents that are common in injection molding factories.

Real Life Examples of Robotics in Plastic Injection Molding

1. Fanuc Robotics

Fanuc Robotics is a leading global supplier of robotics for the plastic injection molding industry. Their robots are designed to integrate into automated systems that reduce the cycle time of manufacturing processes while improving the quality and consistency of the final product.

Fanuc’s robots are equipped with precision sensors and built-in diagnostics to reduce downtime, while the advanced software’s interface provides customizability and ease of configuration. Fanuc’s robots’ precision makes them ideal for mold-temperature monitoring, ensuring that parts are properly ejected, and facilitate quality control checks for consistency.

2. Yushin Automation

Yushin Automation is another leading provider of robotic automation solutions for the plastic injection molding industry. Yushin’s robots are designed to be versatile and flexible, working in a wide range of machines and production lines. These robots can perform various tasks, from loading and unloading inserts to handling the finished product and everything in between.

Yushin’s automation solutions are designed to integrate with existing manufacturing processes, minimizing disruption and maximizing efficiency. Yushin’s robots are known for their advanced processing capabilities and self-diagnostic software, making them ideal for injection molding applications.

The Future of Robotics in Plastic Injection Molding

The use of robotics in the plastic injection molding process is more than a trend; it’s the future of manufacturing. With its advanced technology capabilities, robotics is continually evolving, changing the manufacturing industry’s landscape in this sector for the better. The pace of technological advancements has been accelerating even in these pandemic times, with increases in efficiency and automation driving change in the industry.

As the adoption of robotics continues to increase, it’s expected that injection molds will become more complex and sophisticated, requiring even more precise movements and high processing speeds. Innovations in robotics technology will drive efficiency while new software tools will allow design engineers more significant freedom to explore material rationing and new part designs.

Moreover, advancements such as augmented and virtual reality (AR & VR) technology and digital twinning technology when integrated with robotics and computer numerical control (CNC) machinery, carry the potential of becoming the next generation mold manufacturing platforms. Additional developments in artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to disseminate throughout the manufacturing sector, playing a significant role in the integration of various equipment into complex manufacturing systems.


The use of robotic automation in the plastic injection molding industry represents a paradigm shift in manufacturing processes. With ever-improving technology and sophisticated designs, the benefits of using robotics in plastic injection molding are far-reaching. Robotics enhances manufacturing processes by improving efficiency, precision, quality, reducing waste and downtime, and increasing safety. This will drive the adoption of robotics in the industry, leading to new and exciting innovations that enhance performance, reduce cost, and improve quality. See you again in another interesting article.

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