Injection Molding Machines and Equipment
It is difficult for the average person to grasp the concept of how different it is to make a first shot figure from injection molded plastic than it is to make a urethane hard copy unless he knows what kind of equipment is involved in the former. Injection molding required a steel mold that will withstand tremendous pressure and heat involved in "shooting" or injecting molten plastic. Molding machines are big and heavy and their capacity is measured in tonnage. This describes the force that will hold the two halves of the mold together as the plastic is being shot into it. A 30 Ton press is relatively small and ones going up to 200 tons are not uncommon. That's a heck of a lot of force, folks! Many production molding machines are about 6 feet tall, 5 feet wide, and 12 feet long so you can guess that something of this magnitude isn't within the grasp of your average bootlegger. In addition to the machine itself, other equipment is involved such as dryers, regrinders, forklifts and hoists. The plastic material itself is also a huge part of the process. Plastic is sold in 1000 pound boxes and is nothing more than tiny pellets that look like very short bits of spaghetti. You need a hoist to get the mold into the machine because those things weigh several hundred pounds. The dryer uses a vacuum to suck the pellets from the box and move them into its hopper. The plastic will stay in the hopper for a pre-determined time in order to remove all moisture from the "virgin" material. Moisture in the plastic is a no-no in molding as the steam produced can cause major pressure (explosion, spattering, popping) problems.
Description: Chris Georgoulias