Rotational moulding, also known as rotomoulding, is a manufacturing process used to produce parts and products like tanks, containers, and toys. Rotational moulding involves filling a mould with powdered or granulated plastic and placing the mould in an oven. Heat is applied to the material, causing it to melt and flow into the cavity as the mould rotates around two axes. The finished product is removed from the mould after it has cooled.
Rotational moulding can create parts of different shapes, sizes, and materials. It is especially well-suited to producing large, complex parts with high structural integrity. It can also make parts with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability.
Rotational moulding is a relatively low-energy process compared to other plastic manufacturing processes, such as injection and blow moulding and is well-suited for producing parts with thick walls and complex shapes, as the material can flow evenly into all areas of the mould. The process can produce parts with a high degree of surface detail and a smooth, uniform finish. Still, it is relatively slow compared to other plastic manufacturing processes. However, it’s capable of producing large quantities of parts in a single run.
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What Products are made with Rotational Moulding?
Some common products made using rotational moulding include:
- Large plastic tanks, such as water tanks, chemical tanks, and septic tanks
- Playground equipment, such as slides and swings
- Outdoor furniture, such as chairs, tables, and loungers
- Traffic cones and barriers
- Kayaks, canoes, and other watercraft
- Agricultural products, such as feed bins and troughs.
What Materials are used for Rotational Moulding?
The most common materials used in rotational moulding include:
- Polyethylene (PE): Polyethylene is a thermoplastic polymer that is known for its high strength, flexibility, and resistance to impact and chemicals. PE is a popular material for rotational moulding because of its low cost and availability.
- Polypropylene (PP): Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer that is known for its high stiffness, high melting point, and good chemical resistance. PP is often used in rotational moulding for applications that require high mechanical strength.
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): PVC is a thermoplastic polymer that is known for its excellent resistance to chemicals, weathering, and impact. PVC is often used in rotational moulding for applications that require resistance to harsh environmental conditions.
- Nylon: Nylon is a thermoplastic polymer that is known for its high strength, stiffness, and resistance to wear and tear. Nylon is often used in rotational moulding for applications that require high mechanical strength and wear resistance.
- Other materials: Other materials that are used in rotational moulding include polycarbonate (PC), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and others. The choice of material will depend on the specific requirements of the product being manufactured, such as strength, impact resistance, chemical resistance, and more.
What are the Advantages of Rotational Moulding?
- Efficient use of materials: The process allows for efficient use of materials, as only the exact amount needed for the part is used.
- High strength and durability of products: Rotationally moulded products are known for their strength and durability, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.
- High tolerance for dimensions: The process allows for tight tolerances and precise dimensions, ensuring consistency in the final product.
- Low labour costs: Once the machine is set up, the rotational moulding process requires minimal human intervention, reducing labour costs.
- Low scrap rates: The process is highly efficient, resulting in minimal waste and scrap material, reducing costs.
- Ability to produce hollow parts with uniform wall thickness: Rotational moulding is particularly well-suited for producing hollow parts with uniform wall thickness.
What are the Disadvantages of Rotational Moulding?
- Quality control can be more difficult in rotational moulding: Quality control can be more difficult in rotational moulding, as the process can be affected by changes in temperature and humidity.
- Limited to low to medium volume production runs: Rotational moulding is unsuitable for low-volume production runs as the cost per unit is relatively high.
- Can be more complex and difficult to set up and operate compared to other moulding methods: Rotational moulding can be more complex and difficult to set up and operate compared to other moulding methods, requiring specialised expertise.
- Limited to specific types and sizes of products: Rotational moulding is not suitable for producing small, intricate parts or parts with thin walls.
- A higher initial investment in equipment and machinery: The cost of rotational moulding machinery and equipment is relatively high compared to other moulding methods.
How Can I Contact the Leading Rotational Moulding Companies in the UK & Ireland?
Click here to visit the PlastikCity website, where you can contact the leading rotational moulders in the UK and Ireland for advice, assistance or a quote for your rotational moulding project, free of charge.