Rotomoulding, or rotational molding is the process of forming a hollow object using a closed split mold. Plastic pellets are placed into the molding chamber, then heated and mounted on a rotational station. The rotational molding machine spins around, first slowly than faster as the pellets inside the mold melt. This causes the melted plastic to coat the entirety of the mold evenly. The heat is then turned off, and the machine continues to rotate until the plastic hardens. The product can then be removed from the mold.
In the world of furniture design it seems the possibilities for combining material and usability are endless. In my home alone there are wooden chairs, leather couches, and glass table-tops. But there is a type of furniture that seems to be making a comeback: plastic furniture, once thought to be more for snickering at than sitting on, is proving to be a popular home decorating staple. When once plastic furniture meant those hand-shaped chairs so popular in the 70’s, designers are taking plastics more seriously now, as their versatility and durability are in high demand.
My father loves to garden; he even has his Master Gardener certificate. I am not exactly sure what that means, but I think it is probably indicative of his ability to make anything grow anywhere. He is capable of growing tomatoes so large they split their own skin. His back yard is practically a jungle with green growing everywhere. Sadly, I do not think I inherited a genetic disposition for growing anything, so when I visit I just stare at all the greenery in awe.
Last year I spent a lot of time with my best friend and her two children. Her son is four and her daughter is now two, and when I was at their home during the summer we would spend a long time in their back yard. We could sit and chat and the kids could play; it worked out perfectly. They have two favorite back yard toys: one is what they refer to as their “back yard park,” and the other is their water table. Both of these toys provide the kids with seemingly endless hours of entertainment and exercise. After all, they have a lot of energy to burn.
One of the best processes to create bulk plastics is rotational molding. Because roto moulders keep the plastic resin within it in nearly constant motion, the plastic takes shape evenly. Of course the benefit of evenly shaped plastic pieces is that you do not have to worry about the product coming out of the mold malformed, which in turn saves both time and money. The other money saving element of using roto moulders is that you can meld various parts together very easily; roto moulders are capable of creating seamless products, so combining pieces is not difficult.
If plastics make the world go ‘round, then rotational molding makes the world spin even faster. Rotationally molded plastics are an ever-present aspect of our daily lives, from the gas can you keep in your garage for your lawnmower, to the giant tanks of water you see on the backs of semi-trucks, rotationally molded plastics are a staple of those products that make our lives easier. One question you may stop to ask yourself is, why plastic? Or, a more specific question, why rotationally molded plastic? There is not just one answer to these questions that will serve as a catch-all for all of the reasons companies choose rotationally molded plastics, but it is certainly an interesting question to investigate.
With all the different methods of plastics moldings available within the industrial sector, roto moulding is one of the most cost effective and versatile means around. Roto moulding is great for plastics because of the way the mold processes the material. With roto moulders the entire plastic molding process is made easier because the mold is always in motion—hence the name roto moulding.
The plastics industry is perhaps the most important industry we deal with, however indirectly, on a day-to-day basis. Take a moment and think about all of the things you use every day that are made of plastic; it is a staggering thought. What is even more overwhelming is to imagine our world without plastics. One of the best processes the plastics industry employs to provide us with the products we rely upon so heavily is rotational molding.
There are a number of different kinds of machines used in the rotational molding industry. The most prevalent kind of rotational molders are the clamshell, the vertical, the up and over, the swing arm, and the carousel machine. Each rotational molder, while different from the rest, performs important duties. These different duties will vary according to the machine’s ability as well as the needs of the industry employing the machine.
One of the benefits of employing the rotational molding technique is that you have the ability to create more complex designs for products than you would with more traditional molding methods. This translates into more options for consumers who would like custom rotational molding products. Rotational molding allows for more options in design specifications because of the way in which rotational molding dies function.
Casting materials is done in a variety of ways, though the most common method is done with a die, where the material to be molded is poured into the die and the die then presses the material into its intended shape. Another means manufacturers will use to cast metal is the rotational molding method.The way rotational molding works is rather simple: the mold is filled with the material it will shape, such as aluminum, and then it rotates. The mold itself is heated, so over the duration of the slow rotations, the metal heats up and begins pressing into the shape of the mold. While not as popular as other casting methods such as injection molding, rotational molding companies employ the rotational molding method because it does have certain advantages over more commonly used molding processes.
We have had a summer of record temperatures which is causing problems in many industries, especially the agriculture industry. Farmers are faced with the challenge of keeping their fields healthy and alive and their animals well watered. Often in drought weather the fields that farmers rely on for keeping their animals fed are too dry to support grass, which makes it a problem with keeping animals healthy. They also rely on streams and ponds to provide water to cattle and sheep who are wandering in the fields. This becomes a problem when the warm weather prevents the streams and ponds from retaining water and they become dry and empty.
One of my favorite toys while I was growing up was this little tyke “car” that had wheels and an open bottom. The wheels were essentially just for the purpose of decoration, because I had to power the car all by myself by pushing against the driveway with my feet. My parents were thrilled that I was so obsessed with that toy, because every time I used it I was getting exercise and spending time outdoors. I was in love with the car’s sleek shape, red color and open design. It just worked. I felt so cool driving around in my ride.
Summer is finally here and that means beach days, outdoor barbeques and trips to the zoo. If you are lucky, you have an outdoor space in which to enjoy those beautiful summer evenings. If you are like me, you have a 5 x 5 deck that barely fits a table and chairs comfortably. Not to be discouraged, we try year after year to find a good table and chair combination that will provide us with the most comfort and space possible. Lucky for us, there are a million different varieties of chairs to go on the porch or lawn. They come in all different shapes, colors and sizes and there really seems to be one to fit every need. This makes choosing one incredibly difficult because of the number of choices, but it is quite interesting just how many there are. Despite being incredibly different in appearance, all lawn chairs are actually made the same way.
When I was in college, I dated a guy that told me (quite proudly) that his dad owned the company that made all of the orange traffic cones used on the roads during construction. I’m not sure if this young man was trying to impress me, but unfortunately for him it did quite the opposite. Anyone who lives near a major city knows that summer is the dreaded “construction season” and slightly takes away from the joy of sunny skies and warm weather. Just the site of those orange cones in early spring is enough to send shivers down my spine.
I’m sure most of you are well versed in what rotational molding is, even if you don’t quite know it yet. Rotational molding is what makes things like kayaks possible. Besides the obvious fun benefits that come from rotationally molded products, they also have a long list of benefits that occur in the manufacturing side of things. Rotational molding manufacturers have long been aware of the benefits of using rotational molding to create products.
Spring is finally here and I can finally partake in one of my favorite activities when I go up north to my Grandparents’ cabin. It’s now warm enough to go kayaking on the river near the cabin. This is my favorite time of year to kayak because the downed trees from past storms still litter the river. This makes for an exciting adventure because I have to navigate through all the trees and logs, attempting to squeeze through small openings and duck under logs. I relish the moment when I get to ram and scoot over logs just barely sticking out of the water. However, sometimes I do have to perch on top of a log and hull my kayak over to the other side. This may sound frustrating but I weirdly enjoy the struggle down the river compared to a nice and easy time riding the current.
Industrial storage bins, water tanks and… lawn flamingos? What do these three products have in common? They all can be produced by rotational molding companies. If rotational molding could be described in one word, that word would be “versatile.” Rotational molding can be used to meet the needs of all kinds of different industrial and commercial operations. Rotomolding can be used for the creation of heavy-duty industrial storage tanks and bins, and it can be used for the creation of novelty lawn decorations. It can be used to construct plastic furniture, and it can be used to construct kayaks. The possibilities abound.
It’s easy to grasp how the rotomolding process works. An open casting is made, plastic is inserted, the casting is closed, the plastic is melted, the casting is rotated, the plastic forms around the contours of the casting, the plastic cools, the casting is opened, the product is finished. Simple, right? Well, maybe. Goodness knows if someone told me, “Make a rotomolding casting!” I wouldn’t know where or how to start. But I don’t want to talk about the actual molding part of rotomolding in this post. I want to talk about how all of those specializations – the imprinting of text, texturing, dimpling and other surface embellishments – come into being during the rotational molding process.
If you ask a producer of rotomolded products why you should choose rotational molding over another plastic forming process, you’re likely to be in for a long talking-to. Rotational molding companies all seem to share in common their recognition of the efficiency and economy of the rotational molding process. Ask a handful of rotomolding companies and you’ll probably hear the same points over and over again: high product integrity, environmental sustainability, low tooling cost, product strength, easy customization, short lead time, better material distribution and so on.