4 Industries That Wouldn’t Survive Without Plastic Injection Molding

blue plastic pots moving down a conveyor belt in an automated plastic injection molding factory

Plastic injection molding is the manufacturing process of converting elastomers, thermoplastics, and thermosetting polymers into parts by injecting molten material into a mold. Although this process was invented in 1868, it wasn’t revolutionized until 1946 during World War II. By the late 1970s, many household items, consumer goods, and industrial products that were previously constructed from metals or glass are now produced faster and with less overhead costs by using plastic resins. 

It’s safe to say that just about every industry benefits from plastic injection molding. In this article, we’ll explore the top four industries that benefit the most from this process.

1. Food & Beverage

the inside of a plastic processing factory. Dozens of yellow-colored beverages in plastic bottles are being processed through a conveyor belt

Flexible packaging, plastic containers, plastic trays, plastic bottle caps, and plastic tubs are all components that the food and beverage industry relies on. These components are usually responsible for holding consumable perishables.

Additionally, stringent FDA regulations and non-toxic guidelines in the food and beverage industry would not be attainable if not for the BPA-free, non-toxic, FMA-safe (food hygiene) properties of the materials that are used in the plastic injection molding manufacturing process. Using plastic injection molding to produce food-safe plastic packaging also ensures that the plastic material stays inert and non-reactive throughout the food or beverage’s life cycle.

2. Automotive

Close up of a black plastic car engine air filter box surrounded by pipes and other components

As previously mentioned, the plastic injection molding process wasn’t always a popular manufacturing process. But in the 1970s, when it overtook steel production, it completely revolutionized the manufacturing industry, especially for automobiles and heavy-vehicle (interiors).

Today’s vehicles are less clunky and more lightweight because at least half of the entire dry mass of the vehicle may use plastics in one form or another. There simply isn’t a modern vehicle that doesn’t have plastic injection-molded components.

Of the hundreds of plastic components in a car, many of them are used for interior finishes and convenience features, but the injection molded components also add improved handling and greater fuel efficiency, along with much more attractive interiors.

The plastic injection molding process allows automotive manufacturers to improve repeatability, ensuring consistent quality components every time. And, it goes without saying that plastic injection molding has kept the automobile affordable for the great majority of the global population.

Just a few of the applications of plastic injection molding in the automotive industry include side mirror housings, center console components, headlight and tail light lenses, radiator components, bumpers, glove boxes components, and interior door panels.

3. Medical/Pharmaceutical

a close-up image of translucent medical beakers and other plastic laboratory equipment

Medical and pharmaceutical companies rely on plastic injection molding manufacturers for high-volume and high-quality products like syringes, surgical equipment, device housings, packaging, and more.

Additionally, these components require medical-grade plastics that are durable, rigid, and resistant to impact and radiation.

Flexible medical applications also rely on the use of medical-grade plastic materials like polyethylene (LDPE and HDPE) and polycarbonate due to their high molecular weight, excellent mechanical properties (high tensile strength), and exceptional resistance to chemicals and heat. 

Consumer Goods

image of plastic food containers of varying sizes on a white background. There is a large blue container with a smaller hot pink container stacked on top. Just behind is one large neon yellow food container with a smaller orange container stacked on top

Lastly, another industry that relies on plastic injection molding manufacturing is the consumer goods industry.

As you most likely already know, products manufactured by the consumer goods industry are in high demand. Consumers want their products to look nice, be durable yet inexpensive, and most importantly—they want them as soon as possible. 

This is why cost-effective and highly-efficient plastic injection molding with assembly is needed. It’s one of the fastest ways to produce prototypes (for market testing), one-off custom designs, and the high-volume final production of consumer goods.

Finally, because plastic molding manufacturers can use a wide range of plastics in an injection mold, consumers can enjoy the amazing appearance and functionality of products such as toys, kitchenware, patio chairs, and more.

Additional Thoughts on Plastic Injection Molding

When compared to other manufacturing processes like machining, and casting, plastic injection molding is one of the most economical methods.  And, the process is adaptable to accommodate a huge number of materials, which helps to produce an immense range of injection molded components.

For example, the versatility of injection molding makes it possible to produce common consumer goods like coffee makers, precise automotive parts, and heavy-duty components for industrial and agricultural equipment. 

And, plastic injection molding companies are projected to produce even more components in the following year. A recent report by market research firm Mordor Intelligence stated that “the market for plastics injection molding was valued at around 134,240 kilotons in 2021 and the market is expected to register a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of more than 3.5% during the forecast period 2022 to 2027.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand the hard work that goes into manufacturing plastic components, but if you take a look around you, you’ll see dozens of plastic-injection molded components that were made by highly skilled workers. There’s no other manufacturing process that has added more value to industries that affect our lives. If plastic injection molding companies didn’t exist, the world would produce more waste, products would have longer lead times, and the overall cost of products would be higher.

MSI Mold Helps All Types of Industries

MSI Mold is a USA plastic injection manufacturing company that uses 6S lean manufacturing techniques to reduce waste. We provide custom part designs, rapid prototyping, and fast lead times for production plastic injection molding to help clients in all types of industries. 

We would love to help you save time and improve the quality of your products—contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or to request a quote.