Robotic injection molding is an automated manufacturing process in which a robot is integrated with a dispensing tool to inject molten materials into a mold in order to produce parts. Robots such as the Yaskawa Motoman MH12 are ideal candidates for injection molding applications due to their long reach and flexibility allowing them to work either vertically or horizontally. Injection molding robots are designed to work with materials such as metals, glass, polymers, and confections. Due to their adaptability to work with a number of materials they are becoming a popular addition to production lines for automotive, toy, and beverage industries among many others.
Adding a robot like the FANUC M-20ia to productions for injection molding is helping manufacturers save on not only time, but also costs. Robots are more productive than humans and are designed to work autonomously. Work does not have to stop because it is the end of the day, unlike with human workers. Workers also require breaks during the day, especially when tasks are physically and mentally demanding. Due to the precision required and lifting of heavy molds and materials, injection molding is often a laborious job for workers. Integrating injection molding robots eliminates production delays due to workers while decreasing the cycle time needed to manufacturer products.
Injection molding robots are able to provide an increased level of precision that cannot be matched by humans. An ABB IRB 2600/20 is capable of repeatedly dispensing the same quantity of material into the mold every time. This eliminates the need to stop productions in order to correct errors and materials are no longer wasted, resulting in cost savings. Dispensing materials accurately means products are less likely to develop defects which also saves time by not having to perform finishing applications such as grinding to remove them. Injection molding robots help manufacturers turn out uniform high-quality products consistently. Cost effective robots such as the FANUC M-16ib make automating this application with robots affordable and effective.
Not only do these robots perform injection molding applications with precision and speed, but they can also be programmed to perform secondary processes such as removing parts from the mold and positioning parts for any remaining production steps. Production efficiency is significantly increased because one robot can do the same amount of work that would take several humans to complete. Robots can be easily programmed to adapt to any changes in the production process further increasing efficiency.
Manufacturers can choose from a variety of robot types to automate their injection molding applications. These types include: