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Plastic products are used extensively around us our everyday lives, and the demand for it will only continue to grow. Learn how to stay safe whilst working with the materials and manufacturing equipment.
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Plastic Moulding Moulding is the process of shaping liquid or pliable material using a rigid frame called a mould or a matrix. There are several types of plastic moulding processes.
Rotational Moulding Liquid resin is placed into a metal mould which is then rotated until the inside of the mould is well coated. The process is great for producing large hollow items such as recycling bins, road cones, marine bouys and kayaks.
Injection Moulding Molten plastic is injected into a metal mould at high pressure, once it's cooled the mould is released to reveal the solid plastic form. This is commonly used for chairs, disposable cutlery, electrical switches and plastic bottle caps.
Blow Moulding Best used for hollowed, thin walled plastic parts that need a uniform wall thickness. Plastic is heated up and air is blown to expand and fit the mould. This is commonly use for bottles, plastic drums and water cans.
Extrusion Moulding Greats for making long continuous shapes. Similar to injection moulding the plastic is squeezed directly into a custom die rather than into a mould. This is commonly used for producing hoses, straws, PVC pipe and plastic gutters.
It all begins with plastic granules. The most common types of plastics are PVC, ABS, PP, & LDPE. We'll cover more about about the health hazards of working with plastic resins in the next lesson.
Plastic Manufacturing Hazards When compared to other industries, industrial manufacturing has seen an increase in its rate of accidents over the past 12 years.¹
The most common hazards identified² with injection moulding machine operations include: Crushing injuries due to clamp mechanism Burns due to hot plastic Limb amputation due to clamp mechanism or plastic feeding mechanism & scrape grinders Slips, trips and falls due to loose plastic pellets on the floor Electrocution due to failure to de-energize circuitry prior to maintenance operations Being pinned by a robot
Entrapment Hazards The rest of this lesson will focus on how to prevent the risks entrapment by heavy machinery.
Task: Closing the Mould Moulds close with several tonnes of force and can weigh up to several kilograms. Being trapped in between the parts during this process can lead to serious injuries.4
Entrapment can happen when an operator inadvertently activates the machine while another operator's hand is still working on the mould halves.
It can cause serious crush injuries to anyone caught in a decreasing gap.4 With this, you can implement the following safety controls:
Non-Mechanical Hazards Operators of plastic injection molding machines are often exposed to these three non-mechanical hazards: Plastic Dust Noise Slips, Trips, and Falls Learn more about them and the corresponding safety controls in the next few slides.
Plastic Dust As plastic has become integral to the manufacturing industry, the intensified production comes with a significant challenge: combustible plastic dust. It's particularly dangerous as it heats up, melts, then evaporates, creating a volatile flame that can endanger lives.¹
Hazards associated with heating plastics This lesson will cover the hazards associated with heating plastic and the controls measures that help mitigate exposure to respiratory sensitisers, irritants and carcinogens.
Composition of plastic granules Plastic granules are composed of a range of additives such as: fillers pigments fire retardants stabilisers When heated these granules produce fumes which can become respiratory sensitisers, irritants and carcinogens. Immediate side effects may include severe irritation to the eyes, nose & lungs. Learn about some common plastic resins and the associated hazards in the next few slides
Fume Control Use the machine's enclosures and local exhaust ventilation to help keep the airborne levels below the recommended exposure limits
What measures can you take to limit your exposure to fumes? Select all that apply