The term automation covers a wide range of scenarios, from simple de-moulding cells to complex assembly lines. Within the plastics sector, the majority of automation is designed to reduce labour costs, prevent damage to parts and provide consistent production rates. This is achieved by replacing machine operators with programmable robots that are controlled and synchronised by the production equipment.

Automation is now extensively used in injection moulding, as it usually involves 24/7 production.

The top ten rating is the view of the team at leading plastic industry resource, PlastikCity. All companies have been verified as follows:

  • Supply premium-quality equipment
  • Established a minimum of two years
  • Provide UK based, reputable service support
  • Financially sound

To acquire comparative quotes from these companies, visit here.

In alphabetical order:

ARBURG

Warwickshire
Arburg offers an extensive range of automation solutions including their Multilift range of robots and IPV integral servo pickers. They can cater for all customers requirements from simple pick and place robot systems through to full turnkey, tailor-made automation cells to customers specific designs. All their robots are integrated into the machine’s controller making life very easy for the technician.
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ARBURG logo

Design & Automation Solutions

Oxfordshire
Design & Automation Solutions provide a factory automation consultancy and equipment service to global clients. Their concept to completion service includes robotics, special-purpose machinery, systems integration, and engineering support to clients in a diverse range of industries.
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ENGEL

Warwickshire
With the most comprehensive product range of any machine and automation manufacturer, as well as a UK service organisation that operates 7 days per week, ENGEL UK leads the market in terms of both the number and the value of injection moulding machines imported.
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Kawasaki Robotics

Cheshire
Kawasaki Robotics is a leading manufacturer of industrial robots. From 2 KG to 1500 Kg, they offer a range of robots that suit all applications. An experienced sales, service, training and spares support is available in the UK. Specialist areas include plastics, palletising , welding, painting, cleanroom, handling applications and automotive with over 2,600 robots installed in the UK.
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KUKA

West Midlands
KUKA is setting the pace of production in the manufacturing world that is required for Industry 4.0; highly efficient, flexible systems specifically adapted to your operational needs. KUKA has a wealth of experience in the provision of automated manufacturing solutions to the plastics industry.
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PC Moulding & Automation

Yorkshire
PC Moulding & Automation specialises in the automation of injection moulding equipment. We can design and manufacture bespoke systems using Solidworks, CAD CAM and our in-house CNC machining facility. Within the automation umbrella, we can integrate lasers, routing systems and ultrasonic welding.
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Plastech Solutions

Staffordshire
From concept, specification and cost analysis, through to supply, installation, commissioning and training and service, Plastech will find the best production and automation solution for your needs. They specialise in single items and turnkey systems in the plastic packaging, medical, caps & closures, technical, automotive and PET market sectors.
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Protech

Leicestershire
Protech Automation are a UK company that provide in-mould labelling (IML), high-speed side-entry robots, vision systems, downstream handling and packing systems. They also offer repair and service for injection moulding automation and robotics, including fault finding, servicing, repairs, and programming.
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Wittmann

Northamptonshire
Wittmann are one of the worlds leading providers of injection moulding robotics and automation. They offer a complete range of linear robots, sprue pickers and IML solutions. Full project management support, installation, training and service is managed from their UK showroom and factory.
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Wood Automated Systems UK

Northamptonshire
Wood are a global supplier of automation and robotics solutions. They deliver projects with a proven blend of creativity, confidence, and control. Through the design, installation, and support of automation solutions, they drive the production lines, supply chains and service delivery of many leading companies. They work in the pharmaceutical, medical device, automotive, aerospace, white goods, food and beverage, industrial assembly and general manufacturing sectors.
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To acquire comparative quotes from these leading automation suppliers, visit here.

Supporting Information

The term automation covers a wide range of scenarios, from simple de-moulding cells to complex assembly lines. Within the plastics sector, the majority of automation is designed to reduce labour costs, prevent damage to parts and provide consistent production rates. This is achieved by replacing machine operators with programmable robots that are controlled and synchronised by the production equipment.

Automation is now extensively used in injection moulding, as it usually involves 24/7 production.

There are two traditional ways that injection moulding machines are operated:

Running ‘fully auto’
In some cases, it is possible for moulded components to be ejected into free air, causing them to drop into the machine well, an open area directly below the production tool. (See below image). Components can either be collected in a suitable container or fall onto an inclined conveyor system that brings components up to working height. After part ejection, the machine starts the next production cycle without interaction from an operator. Damage to components, such as scratching, can occur in these situations.

Running ‘semi-auto’
When it is not possible for a part to free fall, as this could cause it to be damaged, then it will need to be physically taken from the mould tool. Before the widespread introduction of robots, or in cases where production runs are particularly short, this would involve a machine operator.

  • Tool opens
  • Operator opens the machine door
  • Operator removes the moulded component
  • Operator closes the machine door and manually starts the next cycle
  • Operator waits for the next moulding to be produced / tool to open

In some cases, the operator will carry out secondary operations during the moulding phase, e.g. adding a label, adding the component to a jig or assembly.

For more information on the different types of robots & automation used in injection moulding, visit our knowledge base.