A recent article from British Plastics has confirmed the use of all-electric manufacturing technology is significantly increasing. It highlights that in 2018, the UK injection moulding market was split 26% electric/74% hydraulic – and it’s been predicted that the UK industry’s adoption of all-electric machinery for 2019 will have risen to 30%. In addition, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag reports that over half of its new UK machine sales in 2019 were from its electric range.
So just why are injection moulders going electric? Benefits such as shorter cycle times, greater precision and lower maintenance costs have all been cited – which means the ability to add value to our customers whilst delivering an improved ROI. Not to mention the environmental impact. The drives on all-electric moulding machines only utilise electricity as and when required (compared to hydraulic machines which are ‘always on’). This means a significant reduction in energy use – and given that kinetic energy can be recovered and reused, there’s no competition when it comes to which process has a significantly lower environmental impact. We believe that there are plenty of compelling reasons why electrifying the industry is a positive move. In addition to the above, electric machines are much cleaner when in operation (there’s a lower likelihood of oil leaks, for example) and are therefore favoured by clients requiring plastic components to be moulded in a controlled environment; especially in medical and instrumentation. We have one all-electric machine and two hybrid machines that are a mixture of electric and hydraulic, enabling us to offer the best of both worlds.
But remember, there is one downside; although electric machines are more cost-effective to run than hydraulic machines, they cost considerably more to buy – so the buying decision has to be sound. Hymid took the leap three years ago and hasn’t looked back! So with all-electric machines, it is possible to deliver improved cycle times whilst maintaining part quality, as well as improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions – which can only be a good thing.