Like all processes in product manufacture, injection moulding involves a number of potential risks and hazards.
What Is Injection Moulding?
Injection moulding is a largely automatic process, whereby a machine moulds plastic into a desired shape. It’s used extensively in product, automotive and packaging manufacture. Despite being mainly automated, individuals are often appointed to overlook the operation of the machine. It’s therefore imperative that workers operating the machine are protected from any dangers.
The Press Process
The plastic is typically moulded between metal platens, which come together to form the mould. A potential hazard is a finger getting caught in the press, which can lead to fractures or, worse, an amputation. Hair, jewellery and loose clothing are also risk factors. Make sure staff are fully trained in using the equipment and are wearing suitable personal safety clothing, have their hair tied back and are not wearing jewellery.
In order to mould plastic it needs to be melted. That means that the machinery will heat up the plastic and can therefore reach temperatures of up to 350 degrees C. Both the heating element and the melted plastic are a potential danger to humans. This means that heat-resistant gloves, eye protection and a first aid kit are essential. Make sure your first aid kit either contains burn aids or that you purchase an additional burns kit. Also make sure you have a sufficient number of staff trained in first aid.
Keep the Area Tidy
Someone slipping or falling near the machinery is a risk factor and one which increases if the area around the machinery is messy. Most injection moulding machines collect up any waste plastic and deposit it safely, but there is always the risk of a build-up of waste around the machine, which could cause a trip. The unmelted plastic must also be stored safely. This normally comes in pellet form and can also cause a trip hazard if spilt on to the floor.
Old or worn parts are hazardous in many ways. When you replace parts look for the high-quality options, including rubber injection moulding components from established manufacturers such as https://www.meadex.co.uk/rubber-moulding/.
As with any machinery, be sure to complete and follow a risk assessment for use of this type of machinery, which will help keep workers safe.