Polyurethane has emerged in recent decades as a highly useful material found in a wide assortment of consumer products and construction work. Polyurethanes are used as spongy foam or rigid foam or even plastic-like formations, and can be used for nearly anything from foam padding to refrigerator lining to clothing and beyond. This material is not found in nature, however; polyurethane injection molding is needed to get this material in place for a finished product, even something as large as vehicles or machines. The molding process may vary, but encapsulation molding, structural foam molding, and more can be used for this material. What is there to know about polyurethane and polyurethane injection molding?
On Polyurethane and Injection
Polyurethane injection molding may be done in any factory or other work place, and workers may use injection guns or automated systems to add polyurethane to a product as needed. According to Romeo Rim, this organic polymer can be found in either thermoplastic or thermoset varieties, based on need, where thermoset materials do not melt when heated. Otto Bayer developed this material back in Germany in 1937, and it was used in the production of that nation’s military aircraft. Today, though, polyurethane has many uses beyond that, and many manufacturing plants use polyurethane injection molding in their production processes.
Polyurethane is fairly lightweight compared to other materials such as metal or wood, which makes it attractive to manufacturers. Compared to steel and aluminum, polyurethane products may be up to 60-80% lighter, and that can make quite a difference. Being light makes it easier to shape and flex according to manufacturing needs, and this is great for insulation padding for foam padding applications. This is not to say that polyurethane is fragile, however; in fact, this material is rather tough, and this is why polyurethane injection molding is done so often. This material tends to be impact-resistant and it can often bear heavy loads in everyday use, and it often performs well in crash tests. And finally, it should be noted that during polyurethane injection molding, this material can flow smoothly and easily, and this allows it to be made into a variety of geometric shapes as needed during manufacturing.
Polyurethane injection molding may also be done because this material has some other attractive properties in a finished product. It is highly resistant to abrasion and wear against other solid surfaces and objects, and it won’t easily warp or rust like wood or metal might. On top of that, polyurethane does well with a wide variety of temperatures. Until a piece of polyurethane actually reaches its melting point, it can endure nearly any temperature and retain its shape and integrity. This may make it useful for machinery or vehicles that are expected to function in very high or low temperatures, making it a rough analog for temperature-resistant metal alloys. Water, grease, stains, and more don’t easily degrade or mar the appearance of this material, which makes it useful for building spas, watercraft, and even medical equipment such as MRI scanners. Finally, one should note that polyurethane injection molding is a safe process. It is efficient in terms of labor, cost, and materials, and it does not ever produce any harmful styrene fumes. It has a fairly low in-mold curing time as well, so it can be used to produce great quantities of items in a relatively tight time frame.