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Best IBC Blow Mold Machine

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Best IBC Blow Mold Machine

What machine is used for blow molding?

Blow molding is a specific process used to manufacture hollow plastic parts. Similar to inflating a balloon, this process begins with heating the plastic materials, then filling them with air to expand and conform to the shape of the mold. The process starts with injection molding: the plastic is melted and shaped into a preform mold. Once the part is preformed, it is transferred to a blow molding machine where it is installed in another mold or “injection box”, heated again to soften, and air is blown into it, pushing the now soft and elastic plastic outward to match the “mold”.

What are the disadvantages of blow molding?

Only suitable for hollow parts.

Low strength.

Although capable of producing complex shapes, the thickness of the products may vary at different parts, affecting the overall quality and performance.

Material limitations: Limited to thermoplastics (rotational molding can be used with thermosets). Blow molding generally requires specific types of thermoplastics such as polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), limiting the use of other types of plastics.

High energy consumption: Blow molding involves heating the plastic above its melting point and then cooling to solidify, consuming a significant amount of energy.

Environmental impact: To enhance barrier properties, multi-layer parisons of different materials are used. As blow molding is mostly used for producing single-use plastic products, the disposal of these products can strain the environment, especially if not properly recycled.

Cost issues: For low-volume production, blow molding may not be the most cost-effective option due to the high costs of equipment, molds, and initial setup.

Accuracy and consistency issues: While blow molding can produce complex shapes, the thickness of the product may vary in different parts, potentially affecting the overall quality and performance.

Post-processing requirements: To allow wide-necked tanks to rotate, trimming is necessary. Products produced by blow molding may require additional processing such as cutting, grinding, or other surface treatments to meet final specifications.

Differences between blow molding and rotational molding:

Blow molding requires more expensive tooling as it operates at higher pressures.

Aluminum is often used due to its high thermal conductivity and excellent machinability. While extrusion blow molds rarely use steel, injection blow molds sometimes use pre-hardened steel or stainless steel. Most rotary molds are made from aluminum castings, but some are made from steel or aluminum sheet metal. Rotary molds are less expensive, but blow molds last longer.

Compared to rotational molding, the cycle time for blow molding is significantly shorter. Rotational molding can take more than 30 minutes, but blow molding can produce parts in a minute or less. Although blow molding has higher tooling costs, it is more cost-effective for production volumes over 3,000 parts per year. While blow molding is not cost-effective in low-volume production, it tends to have a lower cost per piece. Both processes support the use of inserts and in-mold graphics.

Application differences between blow molding and rotational molding

Since blow molding encompasses three different processes, it has a variety of applications. For example, extrusion blow molding is used to produce components such as HVAC ducting and lawn mower seats. The primary applications for injection blow molding are bottles, jars, and other containers with simple geometries. Stretch blow molding is particularly suited for producing large volumes of milk jugs, water bottles, and soda bottles.

Like extrusion blow molding, rotational molding can produce plastic piping for HVAC systems and parts for lawn and garden equipment. However, rotational molding is typically not used for disposable containers. For fluid storage and handling, rotational molding can produce large, durable storage tanks for water, wastewater, fluids, and fuels. Because it supports stronger, thicker products, rotational molding is also used for hollow plastic parts and products such as ships, barriers, boxes, pallets, trolleys, and containers.

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