Injection molding is widely used in the manufacture of plastic parts ranging from simple, everyday items to complex products requiring precision tooling and process optimization equipment. During a typical cycle, the plastics pellets are melted in an injection unit and then the molten polymer is forced into a mold which shapes and cools the material. When the part is solid, it is removed from the mold and the next cycle begins.
The Department of Plastics Engineering has laboratories containing nine machines for thermoplastics and two machines specifically designed thermoset elastomers. The laboratories also contain an inventory of injection molds and the Department has machine shop facilities to repair and maintain them. Many of the molds are instrumented with sensors (temperature, pressure, force) and the labs are equipped with different acquisition units, which are frequently wired to machine signals.