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Rotational Molding Revolution: Unlocking the Full Potential of Your Production

Rotational molding is a manufacturing process used to produce hollow thermoplastic products. It is often used to produce large items like containers, tanks, and other industrial components. In this method, a plastic material is heated and rotated in a mold, ensuring uniform distribution of the material. It is then attached to the inside surface of the mold. When the plastic has cooled and solidified, the mold is opened to reveal the finished part.

This article will explore the fundamentals of rotational molding, including its process, advantages, and applications.

How Rotational Molding Works

The rotational molding (or rotomolding) process begins with a mold — typically made of steel or aluminum — and a powdered thermoplastic material, sometimes called resin. The first step is filling or “charging” the hollow mold. The pulverized or powdered thermoplastic is precisely measured and added into the mold. The mold is then heated and rotated along two perpendicular axes. This rotation ensures that the plastic powder evenly coats the interior to create a uniform layer. As it rotates, the plastic particles melt and fuse, conforming to the mold’s shape.

Controlled heating and rotation eliminate material deviations and enable the production of seamless products. Once the plastic has melted and adhered to the mold, the assembly is cooled, solidifying the material and forming the desired effect.Cooling may be done passively, at room temperature, use forced air, or even use water spray to speed up the cooling process. Some operations may also introduce air into the mold to help cool it from within. As with the heating phase, the cooling stage must be controlled to ensure the desired mechanical properties of the material are maintained. The final step is demolding. The cooled part is removed from the mold, sometimes assisted with pressurized air.

Rotational molding is particularly well-suited for creating large, one-piece items, as it eliminates the need for fusing joints and creating seams. The only constraint is space and the size of the equipment and processing chambers. Lerner Molded Plastics is capable of molding parts up to 25’ in length.

Unique Benefits of Rotomolding

The following benefits make this molding technique a preferred choice for various industries seeking durable and cost-efficient plastic products:

Seamless Design

One of the significant advantages of rotomolding is the ability to produce seamless items. Since the material coats the mold uniformly during rotation, there are no seams or joints in the final product. This unique design enhances structural integrity and minimizes weak points, making it ideal for applications requiring durability.

Complex Shapes and Large Parts

Rotomolding can produce large, intricate, and complex parts that may be challenging to manufacture using other methods. The process also accommodates various sizes and shapes without requiring additional assembly or joining of components. Textures and other surface features may also be included in the design, then using rotomolding. This versatility is beneficial in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and industrial equipment.

Material Efficiency

This manufacturing process uses only the necessary amount of plastic to create the desired product, minimizing waste. With rotational molding, there is little need for post processing steps such as trimming and deburring. Common materials used include high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE), and more.

Uniform Wall Thickness

Rotational molding ensures consistent wall thickness throughout the entire product. This uniformity is critical for maintaining structural integrity and product performance. It also enables precise control over material distribution, enhancing the overall quality of the final product. Rotomolding also allows for larger wall thicknesses, when compared to vacuum forming and pressure forming.

Cost-Effective Tooling

The molds used in rotomolding are generally less expensive than those used in other methods. This cost-effectiveness is especially beneficial for short to medium-project runs. The materials also have a longer lifespan, contributing to overall production cost efficiency. Multi-cavity molds also allow for several parts to be made simultaneously. This economic advantage is particularly helpful for industries that frequently undergo design changes or produce products in smaller quantities.

Applications of Rotomolding

Here are the most common applications of rotomolding in various industries:

  • Aerospace: ducting, satellite components, interior panels, and storage bins
  • Automotive: fuel tanks, bumpers, air ducts, fenders, and seating components
  • Construction and infrastructure: portable toilets, road barriers, and manhole chambers
  • Environmental protection: recycling bins, solar panel covers, and wind turbine components
  • Material handling and storage: bulk containers, pallets, handling bins, and storage tanks
  • Medical and healthcare: hospital waste bins, biohazard containers, and ice storage coolers
  • Outdoor garden: planters, compost bins, lawn decorations, and garden hoses
  • Recreational equipment: kayaks, playground equipment, and tanks for ATV sprayers
  • Waste and wastewater treatment: septic tanks, holding tanks, and aeration systems

Partner With Lerner Molded Plastics for Custom Molding Solutions

With over 35 years of expertise, Lerner Molded Plastics stands as a trusted leader in custom molding. We are committed to delivering top-tier custom components, and we serve the entirety of the United States! Our clients are guaranteed to receive exceptional-quality products and competitive pricing that aligns with their budgetary considerations.

Contact us today for more information, or request a quote now.