Rotational moulding as a process started in mid-19th century with the use of biaxial rotation and heat used to create hollow metal artillery shells. By the turn of the century, the process of rotational moulding began to be used for the creation of various types of hollow products like hollow wax products and even chocolate. Further experimentation with materials such as Plaster of Paris and the like paved way for the use of plastics in rotational moulding, as it is known today. Once plastics were introduced almost a century after the process was invented, a variety of products from doll’s heads to marine buoys, all began to be made by the same process.
The latter half of the 20th century saw improvement in the products made, with focus on monitoring the steps of the process and their impact on uniformity and quality. This led to the creation of the Rotolog, to monitor and control the cooling aspect, providing direction for the growth of the industry.
Rotational monitoring machines as they exist today are being seen as a perfect solution, with more applications for the process being thought of, the rotational mouldings market is likely to grow in the foreseeable future
As a process, rotational moulding, the application of which are highly versatile as are increasingly being used in the manufacturing products across industries. However, the use of rotational moulding machines for the creation of containers such as tanks is likely to remain high while the drums and bins and similar objects are also gaining traction.
Based on the type of machine, rotational moulding machines can be classified as Rock and roll machine, clamshell machine, vertical or up & over rotational machine, shuttle machine, swing arm machine and the carousel machine. Of these machines, due to their operational efficiency, rock and roll machines are set to witness high demand in the foreseeable future. Though, vertical rotational moulding machines are set to see sluggish growth over the same period.
Strategic focus on Customization
Within manufacturing as an industry, the trend of customization has had an astounding influence on rotational moulding machines. Manufacturers are looking to capitalize on this trend by adding the production of tailor-made machines to cater to the consumer’s requirement, to their portfolio. This is being implemented as a strategy by key players looking to maintain their competitive edge in the market.
PLC Controlled Machines for Productivity and Performance
The overarching influence of advancement has led to the integration of programmable logic controller (PLC) with machine interfaces in order to simplify the process itself. With the introduction of PLC machines, along with overall operational efficiency, productivity rates also significantly improved, benefitting players in the business. Because every aspect can be monitored and controlled, including temperature, pressure and even the thickness of the product itself, they are being considered as a viable alternative to non-PLC machines.
Players in the industry are slowly but steadily getting into rotational moulding machines that are equipped with PLC to hold their advantage in the landscape.
Integrating Tech In Rotational Moulding Machines
The advent of advanced technology has had a pervasive impact on rotational moulding machines, as with every major manufacturing process. The integration of technology has been highly beneficial to players in the industry as they focus on increasing operational efficiency without sacrificing on the quality of the end product. With a better control on various components such as temperature and time, which has led to significant saving of time, energy resources and costs. This is being used to increase the quality quotient of the process and the product itself. Manufacturers, to cater to growing demand from end users are focusing on shorter process time with high efficiency.
One specific innovation in recent years that has changed the face of the rotational moulding machines market is real-time temperature monitoring. Rotational moulding machines that have real-time temperature control allow for the raw material placed inside to be effectively melted and used, for the creation of products that are uniformly aesthetical, with improved performance of finished product,
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Technology and Industry 4.0: The Future
With the influence of technology and advanced procedures being developed to ensure quality, the future of rotational moulding machines is set to lie in precision. The industry itself is moving towards smart machines and the industrial internet of things and the rotational moulding machines is also set to do the same, with PLC enabled machines quickly getting popular. This is in line with ‘Industry 4.0’ that is focusing on wireless connectivity and sensors, and is connected to a system that is capable of visualizing the process to make decisions themselves. And with aspects like customization and flexibility becoming a standard offered, manufacturing is set to get easier, safer and more efficient than ever before. With cloud computing, block chain and artificial intelligence and advanced tech already being implemented the future of rotational moulding machines is set to be in automation of processes