The Up And Coming Changes In Plastic Manufacturing To Watch For In 2015

Plastics manufacturing is moving forward at a rapid pace. The economic recovery is paving the way for new innovations that will impact every manufacturing sector, including plastic injection molding. Coming off a strong year for the industry, it will be exciting to see what’s ahead. Below are three predictions for plastics manufacturing for 2015:

1. 3-D Printing Technology Will Become More Efficient and Accessible

In 2014, 3-D printing got its fair share of attention from both the media and consumers — and for good reason. It’s an exciting technology with significant implications for manufacturers. While it’s not necessarily a new technology (it’s been quietly around for decades), it is finally making a noticeable splash. From aerospace to medical, 3-D printing is revolutionizing industry after industry. In short, 3-D printing allows the manufacturer to use a digital model and physically replicate it by laying down layer after layer of plastic. In essence, it gives the manufacturer the ability to create almost anything, as long as it is in one piece and is self-supporting.

2. The Industry Will Benefit from New Reverse Engineering Methods

Reverse engineering methods have taken huge leaps and bounds in the last few years — mostly due to new scanning and imaging technology. Reverse engineering is a way to improve or reconstruct an existing part without having the original plan. In short, it means taking a close look at a part’s assembling — essentially guessing how it was constructed the first time. It’s a way to work out kinks in order to improve on an existing idea (a very useful tool for innovation) or simply replicating a discontinued part to save money. Previously, reverse engineering required a part to be dismantled in order to see how it was originally constructed. It often meant the destruction of the original part, so a manufacturer would have to weigh the risks against the possible benefits. In 2015, plastics manufacturers can expect innovation to pick up steam as a result, and they should brace themselves for new challenges and opportunities.

3. New Opportunities Will Emerge as Consumer Electronics Evolve

You might not know it from looking at the sleek shiny gadget you use to check your email, but plastic plays a key role in developing consumer electronics that are lightweight and affordable. As big name electronics companies are moving away from older heavy models with metal components, it’s creating an opening for the plastics industry — especially manufacturers with capabilities in precision parts. Everything from outer casings to internal components are being made from plastics and polymers. As we’ve observed during the economic recovery, consumers have more and more disposable income; they are itching to get their hands on the latest technology and more willing than ever to constantly upgrade as new devices become available. We’re at the front end of a consumer electronics movement, so in 2015, the plastics industry should prepare to take more risks when it comes to meeting the needs of this rapidly growing sector.