Setting Up A Better Manufacturing Area

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Setting Up A Better Manufacturing Area

After a few members of our team were injured in serious accidents, I decided that it would be smart to take a closer look at our setup. Instead of ignoring some of the issues and forgetting about older equipment, we started thinking carefully about how each piece operated and how we could improve our workflow. We were able to identify several large issues with our procedures, and it really helped to boost productivity and safety in our workspace. I decided to make this blog for any business owner that is concerned about creating a safer environment for their employees and their clients.

Important Safety Measures For Plastic Injection Molding Machines

If you have recently invested in some plastic injection molding machines for your machine shop, then you will need to hire some injection molders to work the machines. Highly skilled recruiters can help you to find the talented individuals you need. However, before your employees start on the machines, you will need to make sure that safety is your number one priority. You can do this with the following tips.

Install A Fume Extraction System

Plastic injection molding machines utilize thermoplastic resins to create solid objects, and you will need to choose from a variety of different material pellets when making products. Thermoplastics have the unique ability to be melted and reformed. This requires a high heat process where the plastics are melted, forced into molds, cooled, and then released. Machines will also need to go through a purging process to remove plastic residue. High heat is used during this process as well, and the heat will cause fumes and hazardous vapors to be released from the molding machines. These fumes can be quite dangerous when they are inhaled. For example, PVC can cause respiratory distress that is similar to asthma. Eye and skin irritation can occur as well if your injection molder is exposed to fumes during the resin heating process. Plastics like polystyrene, polypropylene, and polyethylene can cause respiratory and eye irritation as well. 

To avoid hazardous fume issues, you should invest in a fume extraction system before any plastics are heated. Source-capture systems are often appropriate for most injection molding machines. These types of devices pull in fumes directly from around the molding machine and filter out fumes so they are kept out of the operator's breathing zone. A typical source-capture device will feature a flexible arm that can be moved to the source of the fumes. The fumes are pulled into the arm and moved to the filter where activated charcoal and a HEPA filter remove the contaminants. Clean air is then released from the air vents. 

After you purchase a source-capture filtration system, make sure the arm is placed near the feed hopper and barrel heater part of the injection machine. Since vapors are created when the plastics are heated, the source of the fumes will be around the barrel or band heater area of the machine.

Make Sure Guards Are Intact

Before anyone is allowed to use plastic injection molding machines, you will need to make sure that appropriate guards are secured on the machine. The machine should have a purge guard located above the injection molding nozzle that feeds melted plastic into the mold chamber. A hopper guard also should be installed around the throat or feeder part of the hopper where resin pellets are fed into the barrel heater. An Interlocking gate that closes when the operator uses controls and accesses the mold is needed too.

Along with these safety features that sit on the machine, you will need to purchase face shields for your employees. The masks help to prevent burns to the face if molten plastic is forced out of the molding machine for any reason. The best face shield is made out of polycarbonate. Polycarbonate will offer the most heat and impact resistance. When users wear their shields, they should fit tight when the headbands are adjusted. The shield should be centered over the face and sit about one-half to one inch above the eyebrows.

If you have recently added to your machine shop by purchasing plastic mold injection machines, then you will need to make sure that workers are safe at all times when using the devices. Purchasing a source-capture filtration system, inspecting for guards, and finding the right types of face shields before workers start are important things you should do. For more information about hiring workers and keeping them safe, contact a company like Molding Business Services.