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The Value-Add of Automation for Plastics Injection Molding

Automation has taken on a new persona for plastics injection molders that helps achieve production and quality standards, better cycle times, along with other factors such as effective use of raw materials, smart maintenance, all while boosting uptime and reducing downtime.

The advent of automation is driven by the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution or “Industry 4.0.” Automation, more than ever before, is used to measure, monitor, predict, and prevent outcomes—usually at the machine level as well system level.

As Industry 4.0 has taken a firmer grip on overall manufacturing, plastic injection molding manufacturers continuously seek ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and maintain the highest quality standards in their production and operations.

Precise automation engineering in plastic injection molding helps integrate advanced systems that can accurately perform tasks such as handling raw materials all the way to the finished product or component from the mold. This can include the integration of standalone machines or systems directly connected to molding presses. Quality automation not only helps streamline production processes but also addresses critical concerns shared by molders, including risk mitigation, scheduling, budget, equipment footprint, and ease of use.

Critical Concerns Addressed by Quality Automation

Risk Mitigation

Automation technology is a significant capital expenditure for plastic injection molders and manufacturers. Summit Engineered Automation is an automation engineering partner with a comprehensive understanding of the injection molding process and potential risks such as inferior quality, wastage, rework, poor throughput and other risks.

A trusted partner brings an ability to deliver tailored solutions that hone in on prevailing risks and help mitigate them. It is essential to collaborate with an automation partner with a proven track record who can not only develop systems that meet specific production needs but also ensure that these systems are reliable and adaptable to future changes in production requirements.

Meet Scheduling Needs

A perennial challenge in plastics manufacturing is meeting tight production schedules without sacrificing quality. Accurate and precise automation engineering plays a pivotal role here by streamlining production processes, reducing cycle times, and ensuring that projects stay on track.

Advanced planning and simulation tools allow engineers to predict potential bottlenecks and adjust processes, ensuring that even the most ambitious schedules are met. Automation also does all of this with respect to quality standards, ensuring that defects, rework, and anomalies are all minimized while achieving schedule adherence and customer deadlines.

A Return-on-Automation?

While initial costs for automated systems can be high, the long-term benefits—such as increased productivity, reduced labor costs, and minimal waste—justify the investment.

A partnership with an automation engineering provider should be based on the value and return on investment that their solutions provide; hence a return-on-automation in dollars and cents. Automation engineering can offer cost-effective solutions that foster profitability, without compromising quality, ensuring that molders get the most out of their investment.

This all gives way to a new way of thinking about investments in automation and control engineering for plastics injection molders: a return-on-automation. With smart engineering and excellent partners and collaborators, automation is no longer a costly capital investment, but one that pays dividends over and over.

Footprint Optimization

In some industries such as medical device manufacturing, or where cleanroom operations are standard, the utilization of expensive floor space is crucial; optimization is key.

Automation engineering can contribute significantly here by designing compact yet efficient systems that are in concert with overall operations. Whether standalone machines or integrations with existing presses, these solutions can fit seamlessly into limited spaces, maximizing the use of valuable cleanroom areas.


The complexity of custom automated machinery cannot be understated; each system is programmed specifically for the process it will perform. However, complexity should not hinder usability.

A well-designed automated system offers an intuitive user interface, straightforward fault recovery, and minimal downtime. Engineers focus on creating machines that are not only accurate and efficient but also user-friendly, ensuring that operators can manage them effectively without extensive training.

The Strategic Advantage of Automation Engineering

Accurate and precise automation engineering offers plastic injection molders a strategic advantage in a competitive market. By addressing key operational concerns, molders can significantly improve their production processes, reduce costs, and maintain high-quality standards. The benefits of such an approach extend beyond immediate operational efficiencies to long-term sustainability and growth.

Accurate and precise automation engineering goes beyond a mere technological upgrade. It represents a strategic investment in the future of plastic injection molding processes, performance, and overall operations. By choosing the right engineering partner and embracing innovative automation solutions, molders can address their most pressing concerns and position themselves for success in the rapidly changing landscape of plastics manufacturing.

Discover more about the Summit’s automation capabilities or check out our plastics automations case studies.