With another year making its way out the door, it’s a great time to reflect on where our industry is heading. Below are a few of the trends we believe will affect plastics professionals and consumers in the months ahead.
The Search Continues for Lighter Weight Parts
While not exactly a new trend, the search continues to find lightweight solutions for many of today’s top industries. Nowhere is this truer than in the automotive industry, where environmental concerns are making lighter weight products a must, while also requiring the same safety and durability of older, heavier vehicles. OEMs continue to explore new materials, including aluminum, plastics, carbon fibers, and others in their efforts to create lighter-weight automobiles.
What we expect to see in the coming year: Increasing automotive applications that use plastics and other fiber-reinforced materials for internal components, including seating and instrument panels.
Environmental Concerns Create Opportunities for Innovation
In recent years, consumers have become increasingly interested in finding more environmentally friendly options for products that have historically been created from plastic. At the same time, the plastic recycling the US has been outsourcing to China was largely halted when China’s recent ban on imported plastic went into effect. These shifts are opening up new opportunities for manufacturers to innovate with recycled, reclaimed, and renewable plastics vying for the attention of consumers and product manufacturers.
What we expect to see in the coming year: More manufacturers creating their own recycling plans for disposing of plastic scrap in environmentally responsible ways. We also expect to see continuing growth in demand for products that include recycled or renewable plastics.
Automation is Here and It’s Only Getting Better
The injection molding industry is hardly alone when it comes to the effects of automation, but its impact on injection molders is massive. From designing automation into the manufacturing process to the growing number of collaborative “co-bots” that are designed to work with humans, the sheer range of automation opportunities is something to behold. Automation has many benefits, from increased speed and accuracy to its ability to address some of the labor shortage issues that are happening across the industry. Automation can also take on some of manufacturing’s more repetitive and strenuous tasks. Here at KASO, our automation engineers are able to automate many of our injection molding and assembly processes, helping our customers reduce parts and labor costs and streamline manufacturing efficiency. That means a better workflow that improves part accuracy while reducing part cycle times and reducing waste.
What we expect to see in the coming year: The sky really is the limit when it comes to what automation has the power to do. Expect to see greater adoption across the manufacturing floor and supply chain, as more manufacturers find ways to harness automation to meet their particular needs. Learn more about the benefits of injection molding automation.
What are some trends you are excited about for 2020?