innovative plastic injection

The year of 2023 was a period of major transformation for a number of industries, including injection molding. Advancements in AI and automation drove innovative plastic injection molding manufacturers to new levels of productivity and precision, and this growth is expected to continue throughout 2024. This is great news for OEMs and manufacturers that rely on the production of high-quality plastic components for their own products. But what, exactly, can we expect to see from the injection molding industry in 2024? Here are 5 trends to keep an eye on.

Changing Demands in the World of Packaging

In recent years, sustainability initiatives have taken center stage on an almost global level. As a result, companies are looking for more biodegradable and eco-friendly options wherever they can, particularly when it comes to packaging. For those that aren’t prioritizing this yet, regulations from both the EU and the United States government may soon make it a non-option.

The prevalence of flexible packaging in the food & beverage industry is also expected to rise. This is partly due to the fact that flexible packaging generally uses less material, and therefore supports sustainability initiatives. Lightweight packaging also helps contribute to less energy and water consumption overall.

In any event, expect to see innovative plastic injection molders taking new approaches to not only the materials they work with, but their processes and procedures as well in order to meet these initiatives and satisfy consumer expectations.

Increased Focus on Lightweight Parts

Closely related to the topic of sustainability are the emissions regulations that are currently impacting, or will soon impact, the automotive and aerospace industries. Emissions reduction has become a hot topic in recent years, which is driving automotive and aerospace OEMs to seek out new ways of improving fuel efficiency and reducing weight.

One overwhelmingly effective strategy is to partner with innovative plastic injection molders who can provide lightweight parts and enhanced part performance. As a result, injection molders will likely continue to develop new ways of achieving this, whether it’s through new technologies, refined processes assisted by automation and AI, or more advanced data collection.

3D Printed Steel Tooling

One of the most exciting developments in the world of innovative plastic injection molding is that of 3D printed metal mold and die inserts. This is spearheaded by Mantle, a startup out of San Francisco that has developed a proprietary 3D printer built specifically for tooling.

At Westec Plastics, we’re fortunate enough to have been in on this early. We invested in one of Mantle’s production unit and use it to print steel cores and cavities when it makes sense for our customer’s production run. With 3D printed steel tooling, we can significantly reduce lead times and provide fast, precise, and domestic injection molding solutions for our customers.

Smaller Parts for BioTech

Finally, the evolving needs of the biotechnology industry are expected to have an impact on the injection molding industry. Wearable and implantable devices are becoming increasingly miniaturized to improve the experience of the patient or user. However, this sophisticated technology requires smaller parts at tighter tolerances.

That’s where innovative plastic injection molders will come in, particularly those with micro-molding capabilities. We expect to see more advancements in how injection molders approach the challenges of micro-molding while maintaining precision and performance.

Meet the Demands of 2024 with Innovative Injection Molding from Westec Plastics

At Westec Plastics, we are a locally-owned and operated injection molding company based in Livermore, CA. For 50 years, we have provided injection molding solutions for businesses in a wide range of industries, including medical, electronics, consumer products, aerospace, industrial, and food & beverage. We got our start in tool and mold making, but today our facilities are fully equipped with 23 injection molding machines from 28 to 610 tons, enabling us to provide micro-molding and medium-sized part production.

We also offer secondary operations, stringent quality control, and clean room molding, with DNA-free molding available.

Are you ready to partner with an injection molder that stays ahead of the trends? Connect with our team of experts today to get started.