Injection molding is regarded as an ideal type because of its ability to produce products in masses. Once the initial injection molding cost is paid, the manufacturing cost becomes relatively low and keeps dropping as more parts are made. An injection machine has two main parts, the injection unit and the clamping unit. They also come in different types depending on the product being molded. These injection molding machines are also classified depending on the driving system they use. Apart from that, these machines have a working lifespan. How long one can last is determined by these factors.
The same way computers have evolved, so have machine controls. As a result of this evolution, some control parts are getting difficult to replace for older machines. An excellent operating molding machine can become useless because one part is faulty, and a replacement cannot be found.
Averagely, an injection molding machine's estimated lifespan is around 10 to 15 years. However, some injection molding machines can still work perfectly past this age. The only thing that may warrant a replacement after this age is the evolution of technology and the need for higher-level controls.
Maintenance plays a massive role in increasing the lifespan of these machines. If a machine is well maintained, cleaned, oil changed, and recalibrated, it is certain it will last longer or even a lifetime. However, if the maintenance is poor, some polymer injection molding machines will only last up to 7 years or less. This is if the machine is under 24/7 and has faster work cycles.
The environment where the injection molding machine is operated plays a significant role in its lifespan. If an injection molding machine is operated in a harsh and dirty environment, there is no doubt it won't last long, even if it is only a few months old. On the other hand, some injection molding machines can last up to 25 years because they are operated in clean environments or rooms.
Cycle Time and other Molding Conditions
The cycle time also matters as it determines how long the injection molding machine may last. If your machine is running long, slow cycles, then be sure it will last longer. However, if your machine is running high-speed cycles, you are looking at 3 to 5 years tops. This mistake can be avoided as it will send you back to the market for a new injection molding machine when you do not even have the return for a fast one.
Some injection molding machines are the largest in the market. This difference in size may be a result of cost. There can never be a justification for replacing a million-dollar machine with a smaller one, which costs around 100 thousand dollars. The bigger the machine, the more work it can do, and thus the longer it can last.
An old injection molding machine can still be refurbished or reconfigured to perform another task. This may involve fixing the simple issues to a complete frame-off restoration. Safety comes first; whenever you are handling an injection molding machine, make sure to handle it with care.