Are you a business or entrepreneur trying to find a manufacturing process and material that will suit your product design?
If so, rotational molding may be exactly the solution that you are looking for.
Rotomolding has a number of benefits, including its customizable nature, durability, and ability to process extremely large products.
If you are interested in learning more about rotational molding, rotational molding applications, and whether or not it is a good fit for your brand or product, read on.
What is rotational molding?
Introduced in the 1950s, rotational molding is an innovative manufacturing process that uses a rotating mold to produce a wide range of plastic products.
The roto molding process relies on a hollow mold that is typically made of sheet steel or cast aluminum.
The rotational molding process
During the first step of the rotational molding process, the mold is filled with a plastic material which is most often in a powdered form.
The mold is then heated and rotated, which results in the plastic softening and forming to the wall of the mold.
After this process, the mold is cooled, which solidifies the plastic.
Once the product is cooled enough to release from the surface of the mold, the process of rotational molding ends.
The finished product is then removed from the mold using a method known as demolding.
Rotational molding technology
Like most manufacturing processes, rotational molding technologies have come a long way since their inception in the 1950s.
One of the greatest advances in rotational molding has been the ability to monitor the air temperature within the mold, which eliminates quite a bit of guesswork from the process.
Currently, mold pressurization is one of the most researched areas of rotational molding technology, due to its potential to eliminate bubbles from forming during the manufacturing process.
What type of plastic is used for rotational molding?
Due to the long heat cycles associated with the process, only certain types of materials can be used in rotational molding.
The main type of plastics used in the roto molding process are thermoplastics known as polyolefin.
These are also frequently called commodity resins.
The two main grades of polyolefin rotationally molded plastics are polyethylene and polypropylene.
Polyethylene is currently the material most commonly used in the rotomolding process, making up 97 percent of rotationally molded plastic products.
Rotational molding identifying features
Since the rotomolding process differs greatly from other plastic manufacturing, there are several distinguishing features that can help identify rotationally molded plastic products.
Some of these rotational molding identifying features include a lack of weld lines or seams, a hollow construction, and a uniform wall thickness.
Rotational molding applications
As rotational molding professionals, we often get asked: “What is rotational molding used for?”
According to the British Plastics Federation, “rotomoulding is used to make a very diverse range of products.
The process offers the product designer exceptional freedom as just about any shape can be produced.”
Plastic rotational molding is an extremely versatile manufacturing category with almost limitless product possibilities due to the customizable nature of the manufacturing process.
In this section, we will discuss some of the specific products that are commonly produced using rotomolding technology, and the many customizable options available to businesses and entrepreneurs through rotational molding manufacturers.
With such a diverse array of rotational molding uses, it can be overwhelming to explore the many products that can be made with the rotational molding process.
RotoWorld Magazine breaks the product offerings from rotomolding down into nine main categories, detailed below.
(However, as you review these products, keep in mind that there are other product options that do not fit into these categories.)
There are a diverse number of containers available for material handling and shipping from the rotomolding industry, including refrigerated boxes, drums and barrels, shipping containers, combo bins, and bulk plastic containers.
Tanks produced using rotational molding (which can be used for storing water, chemicals, sewage, fuel, and other liquids) can hold up to 50,000 liters.
Some types of plastic tanks produced with this process include fuel and oil tanks, septic tanks, water treatment tanks, and shipping tanks.
Toys & Leisure Products
Playground equipment, balls, and many popular children’s toys can be manufactured using rotational molding techniques.
Additionally, outdoor furniture, garden planters, rain barrels, and other essentials for enjoying outdoor spaces can also be created with rotomolding processes.
Oh, and you know those wacky yard flamingos?
You can add those to the list as well.
Recycling units, blower housing, and water filtration systems are a few of the industrial applications of rotational molding.
The durable nature of products produced through rotomolding makes it an ideal engineering process for products used in industrial fields.
The potential transportation uses for plastic rotational molding are vast, and include manufacturing of larger items such as diesel fuel tanks, tractor dashboards, wheel arches, instrument panels, and ducting.
This application of rotational molding is also perfect for crafting supermarket trolleys and mobility devices for the disabled, as well as plastic cones, road signs, and other roadway essentials.
When it comes to shipping and handling of materials, rotational molding can create a solution for almost any scenario﹣no matter how large the job may be.
Specialty products with durability are essential in the medical field.
Fortunately, rotational molding can create many of the commonly used products in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and labs, including stretchers, casing for medical specimens and samples, facial oxygen masks, and paramedic cases.
Marine Industry Essentials
In marine environments, durable and lightweight materials are critical.
As such, the rotomolding process creates ideal floats, buoys, dock floats, and pool liners, and even recreational watercrafts such as pontoons and kayaks.
As previously noted, the uses for rotational molding are extremely versatile and adaptable, hence the necessity of a miscellaneous category.
In recent years, rotational molding techniques have also been used in artistic design areas such as lighting, decorative products, and art.
Due to its adaptability, rotational molding can also be an excellent option for manufacturers and entrepreneurs that need unique parts and products.
Our custom molding services are best suited for large products that need to be crafted from a heavy, durable material.
We also suggest that customers in need of customized rotational molding come to us financed with a patent in place.
How to Know if Customization is a Good Fit for Your Product or Part
The entrepreneurs and business owners that approach us with a unique part or product in mind typically fit into three main categories.
- Many entrepreneurs or brands approach us with an idea for a part or product that needs to be engineered. In these instances, our experienced team can help engineer the product, build a customized mold, and make the idea a reality.
- Already have a mold for your product? Not a problem! At Fibertech, we also regularly assist individuals and businesses that already have a mold. In instances like these, we can use the existing mold with our equipment to produce the desired product or part.
- Do you have a product you are already manufacturing out of wood, metal, or another process (such as injection molding)? If you want to try engineering the product with the rotational molding process, we can help your company create a new mold in order to create your existing product in a more durable form that will stand the test of time.
Aside from the above three scenarios, we often work as a rotational molding manufacturer for large businesses that have other production specialists fulfilling most of their molding services.
In the event that they are in need of an additional mold or product that their current manufacturer cannot take on at the moment, we are happy to engineer and produce the rotomolding that their brand needs.
If you think customized rotational molding services might be a good fit for your business, or if you are interested in any of our current product offerings, feel free to contact us today to discuss how we can transform your idea from a vision to a reality.