Nylon plastic injection moulding is well-known and highly prized for its versatility and durability. Not to mention the attractive finish that makes the products that come out of the moulding machines suitable for a wide range of applications. The process can create many different textures, strengths and sizes, all tailored to very precise specifications, for components and products used across multiple industries and sectors. From clothing, ropes and textiles to automotive and industrial, nylon plastic injection moulded products can be found all around us.
What is nylon?
Technically, speaking, nylon is a thermoplastic, synthetic linear polyamide, first produced in 1935 and now one of the most common variants of plastic and synthetic products in use today. It became especially popular during the Second World War when natural products such as rubber, silk and latex were in more limited supply around the world. This was partly due to its versatility and availability compared to other products, partly down to its undoubted robustness and partly because of its pleasing aesthetic when it hardens, due to its shiny surface and ability to be fashioned into intricate patterns and shapes.
Nylon is extremely strong and durable and offers good resistance to abrasion, chemical exposure, extreme temperatures and moisture absorption. It is long-lasting, has a high melting point and is easy to keep clean. Nylon can also be produced in lots of different colours to match corporate branding, help it blend into its surroundings (its natural colour is an off-white or beige) or increase its visibility when it needs to stand out from everything else (e.g. for maritime guide ropes or high-vis clothing).
Where is nylon plastic injection moulding used?
Some common uses for nylon products include automotive engine parts and fashion items. Nylon plastic injection moulding is also ideal for strengthening points of impact in furniture and fittings. Sports clothing containing nylon offers excellent moisture-wicking properties and is light and airy to wear. Nylon is used to make very strong, lightweight lines and nets for fishing, as well as toothbrush and hairbrush bristles.
The versatile material is ideal for reinforcing rubber car tyres and creating moulded components for plastic injection moulded dashboard and engine parts, as well as strengthening ropes, threads and textiles for fabric bags, protective covers and storage solutions.
In addition to all of the above, nylon can be combined with other materials to create composite components, for example when extra strength is required for industrial machinery parts, or in creating mixed textiles for the fashion industry. Nylon’s low-friction properties and tough resistance to wear and tear also make it ideal for use in gears, bushings and plastic bearings, which are increasingly being created using nylon plastic injection moulding techniques.
Finally, nylon can also be seen in parachutes and vehicle airbags for the reasons mentioned above, like lighter weights, enhanced resistance to moisture absorption and durability in extreme conditions and temperatures. It has the ability to stand up to sudden, immense forces too, which is, of course, the most essential part of the design process for airbags and parachutes that must do the life-saving jobs they were designed for the moment they are deployed.
What other advantages does the process offer?
Nylon plastic injection moulding is a relatively quick manufacturing process when compared to other, similar methods. Once the mould is designed and the injection moulding machines set up, nylon products can be produced, cooled and quality checked in a matter of hours. Other product manufacturing processes can take far longer to complete – several days or even weeks in some cases.
These longer periods of time tend to hold up the supply chain, use more energy and increase production costs. Nylon plastic injection moulding, on the other hand, is very straightforward to set up and quick to complete, while offering a more sustainable way to create custom moulded products.
Thanks to the nature of the thermoplastic materials involved, nylon will melt into a liquid state when exposed to a hot enough temperature, meaning that nylon products can be reused and recycled several times over. They do not need to be thrown away into a landfill straight away. Nylon is also biodegradable, unlike plastic made from petroleum products, so it breaks down over time, rather than remaining forever, contributing to long-term pollution and waste.