The injection moulding technology is used for mass production of plastic products. Plastic material, in the form of granules, is melted and injected under pressure to fill a mould to create different types of rigid shapes.
Injection moulding is a popular way of manufacturing both industrial as well as household products. The most common examples of injection moulded products include PET bottle caps, plastic containers, parts of washing machine, cooler and agricultural pipe fittings.
The table below enlists a number of products that can be made through injection moulding.
The PET preforms and bottles/container segment is more crowded as compared to industrial/agri components. The quality specifications of industrial components are more stringent vis-a-vis household segment and therefore require more investment in machinery and experience in plastic technology.
The players in the injection moulding market can be divided into the following categories –
- Manufacturers who also market their products: For example, Plast-O-Pack India, Mumbai manufactures and markets various designer house hold products such as microwave containers, pencil boxes, fridge bottles, containers and corporate gift items. Bangaru Irrigation systems, Telangana manufactures and markets the sprinklers and drips and other irrigation system components.
- Contract manufacturers: These players manufacture goods or rigid packaging material for others. In contract manufacturing, there are two models: A) complete job work price model, and B) conversion only price model.
Under the conversion price model, the clients provide the raw material (resins/pellets) and they are billed only for conversions of resins to products, thus protecting injection/blow moulding companies from price fluctuations of the raw material. The clients in such cases usually demand stringent quality standards. However, this consumer segment is difficult to enter for a new injection moulding company as the clients specifically look for imported machinery, in house testing facility and large operational capacity.
Some of the Hyderabad based contract manufacturers include Baba Group of companies (clientele includes Asian paints, Berger paints). Innocorp Ltd. (clientele includes furniture brands such as Neelkamal and Polyset). Nano polymers (clientele includes Neelkamal, Wipro, HBL, Acme, Asian paints).
PROCESS & TECHNOLOGY
Figure 1: Process flowchart
Injection machine is the heart of the whole process, as it is responsible for turning resins into melted free-flowing liquid and injecting the same into mould cavities. The capacity of the machine is measured in terms of the pressure it exerts to inject the melted material into the mould and it is measured in either Tonnes or Kilo–Newton. The capacity of the machine may also be referred to as “shot weight”. Basically, Shot weight/ Injection rate of any machine is the grams of the melted raw material injected to the mould at one shot of pressure. The popular injection moulding machinery suppliers in India include Windsor Machines Ltd., Ferromatik Milacron India Pvt. Ltd., Haitian Huayuan Machinery (India) Pvt Ltd, etc.
Moulds are the most critical part of the process, apart from the injection machine. Mould designs are critical for the shape and texture of the output and also for ascertaining the required injection rate and consequently the capacity of the machine. Mould designs are typically mentioned in terms of cavities. As such, higher the cavity, higher the production speeds.
While minimum budget to start an injection moulding unit would be more than Rs 3 Crores, including land, building, and working capital, the overall cost of plant would depend on the quality standards and complexity of the final product. The cost of an injection moulding unit has four components: injection moulding machine, blow moulding machine, auxiliary equipment and working capital. Moulds are the costliest part of the plant, more so because for each different shape, a different mould will be required and the moulds are priced based on the number and complexity in design of the cavities.
The table below depicts a sample plant cost for making containers, the process involves injection moulding as well as blow moulding.
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