Injection molding press machine

Plastic Injection Molding Trends That Are Changing the Industry

Since its massive boom in the 1970s, plastic injection molding continues to be a process that manufacturers rely on for repeatability, cost savings, and speed. But, despite plastic injection molding’s steadfast place in the world of manufacturing, there are still some challenges mold makers must overcome. These challenges include the continued push for sustainability and waste reduction, the fluctuating costs of resins, and the rising demand for more lightweight materials. 

As these challenges continue to evolve, the plastic injection molding process does too. In this article, we’ll explore the three most common trends we’ve seen in 2022, and what it means for injection molding in 2023.

Sustainability & Bioplastics

100% bioplastic, biodegradable, compostable icon

Increasing concerns about the impact of our carbon footprint have given rise to the use of renewable bioplastics. While bioplastics were once viewed as an expensive option, today, they’re seen as a cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastics. 

Bioplastics are plant-based resins that can be used to produce a wide array of products. The immediate benefits of using bioplastics in plastic injection molding include reducing the dependency on fossil fuels and reducing carbon output. Additionally, bioplastics do not contain bisphenol A (BPA), whereas petroleum-based plastics often do. BPA is considered to be an endocrine disruptor or hormone disruptor. These man-made chemicals are present in most polycarbonate plastics/resins and everyday consumer products.

Lastly, many manufacturers are looking to purchase and use recyclable materials. This increasing demand has caused plastic injection molding companies to prioritize offering materials that can be easily recycled and reused. 

Increase in Polypropylene Use

Polypropylene plastic used in packaging

In 2022, we not only saw an increase in bioplastic use, but also polypropylene use.

Although polypropylene is a petroleum-derived product, it is considered safer when compared to other resins because it does not contain BPA.

Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer resin used in multiple industrial and consumer applications. Polypropylene is typically used to create consumer products like water bottles, plastic containers, toys, and cups. It’s a tough and durable plastic with excellent heat resistance. It’s also the preferred plastic resin within the packaging industry. The continually increasing demand for high-quality packaging is one of the many reasons why polypropylene use is expected to grow by an astonishing 5.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2027.

Increased Demand for Lightweight Materials

Lastly, one of the more recognized plastic injection molding trends includes the increased need for lighter materials within the aerospace and automotive industries. For these industries, more lightweight frames, parts, subcomponents, and assemblies equate to fuel savings, better gas mileage, and longer battery life. 

In addition to the aerospace and automotive industries, the packaging, pharmaceutical, and medical industries are also focused on creating more lightweight components. Lightweight materials help the packaging industry reduce the costs of freight and transport, and in the pharmaceutical and medical industries, lightweight materials help manufacturers provide consumers with products that are easier to use, store, and handle. 

Learn More From Silver Basis Engineering

Founded over 20 years ago, Silver Basis Engineering is an award-winning plastic injection molding company specializing mold tooling and design, mold repairs, prototyping, two-shot molding, and so much more. To meet consumer and manufacturer demands, we always keep up with the latest industry trends. Contact us today to learn more about our commitment to sustainability, or for more information about our injection molding capabilities.