If you are in the plastic industry and have been using a different type of polymer to manufacture products, then you may want to think again. Polylactic acid (PLA) has numerous benefits, which makes it a much safer and smarter option as compared. It is versatile enough to be used as packaging material, building material and even medical uses.
Many of our customers are choosing to replace their standard plastics with Polylactic Acid (PLA) . This is a bio-based, renewable material that is a good fit for many applications including food and water bottles, automotive parts and various packaging applications.
PLA is a new type of renewable biodegradable material. The material is made from a renewable resource and can be processed into products like food containers, medical devices and packaging. It is biodegradable in landfills, so it will not contribute to plastic pollution in the environment.
PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic substance. It is one of the most bio-friendly plastics available and has numerous benefits when used within an application that requires injection molding.
The benefits of PLA injection molding are numerous and include:
Non-toxic, Environmentally Friendly “Green Material”
PLA is a bioplastic made from lactic acid, which comes from plants such as sugar cane and corn. This makes PLA a non-toxic, environmentally friendly material that can be recycled.
PLA is a bio-based material that can be composted at commercial facilities and recycled into new products. It is manufactured from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane and has a significantly lower carbon footprint than petroleum-based plastics.
Non-toxic – PLA is completely non-toxic and safe to use in any situation, even with food and water
Environmentally Friendly – PLA has a high degree of biodegradability, which means it breaks down naturally into water, CO2, and plant nutrients over time when exposed to natural conditions (sunlight/moisture).
PLA is made from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots and sugar cane. This makes it a very sustainable material to use. Not only is it renewable and biodegradable, but it can be recycled! It can also be reused in the 3D printing process to make new products.
PLA is one of the easiest materials to recycle because it does not contain any hazardous additives or binders like other plastics do. The only thing that needs to be done is separating PLA from other plastics using magnets or water. PLA can then be melted down and reused as a new product!In fact, some companies are already manufacturing products from recycled PLA. It can also be incinerated in an industrial facility to produce energy.
Durable and Flexible
PLA has a high tensile strength (1.5 MPa) and low elastic modulus (0.1 GPa) compared to most thermoplastics used for injection molding such as polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS). This means that parts made with PLA tend to be more durable than parts made with PP or PS.
The benefits of PLA injection molding are durability and flexibility.
Durability: PLA is a very strong plastic that can withstand high temperatures, making it ideal for use in toys, household items and even medical devices. It’s also heat-resistant, which makes it great for applications that may require frequent washing. And because it’s non-toxic and biodegradable, the chances of it posing a threat to the environment are very low.
Flexibility: Flexible polymers are often used in packaging applications because they can be reshaped after being formed into their final shape. When you need something lightweight yet durable, flexible polymers like PLA can come in handy.
Low Melt Temperature
Another benefit of using PLA is its low melt temperature of 140°C-150°C (284°F – 302°F). This means it takes less energy to melt the polymer than other materials used for injection.
The low melt temperature of PLA makes it ideal for injection molding. The material can be molded at a lower temperature than most other plastics, making it easy to use in an inexpensive machine that may not be able to handle the higher temperature requirements of other plastics.
Because of this, there is less risk of warping or distortion in the finished product.
PLA has excellent chemical resistance and retains its strength even when exposed to chemicals such as oils and fuels. It’s also resistant to acids and bases, making it an ideal choice for food packaging applications.
PLA can decompose fully within 180 days without leaving any residue in soil or water environment, so it doesn’t need to collect garbage after use like other plastic products.
The first drawback of PLA injection molding is that it has less strength than ABS and polycarbonate. This means that it is not ideal for applications that require high tensile strength, such as automotive parts. It also has a lower melting point than other plastics, which can be problematic if you are using your product in an environment where there are extreme temperatures
The price of the raw material is a determining factor for the cost of the final product. For example, PLA is more expensive than fossil based plastics. The price of PLA is influenced by the quality of raw materials, the ability to source them and whether they are certified as food safe. The price also depends on its application; for example, tubing applications are more expensive than sheets.
Long-lasting break down
Compostable PLA is a bioplastic made from corn and other plant sources. It can be used to make products that are composted, but it’s not a fast process. Composting is the process of breaking down organic matter in the presence of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and worms. Compostable PLA takes anywhere from six months to two years to break down in a commercial composting facility.
poor strenght ,heat or chemical resistance
PLA is not recommended for applications requiring high heat or chemical resistance. It does not provide adequate strength, stiffness and thermal stability for most structural applications. PLA is not recommended for outdoor applications, but it can be used in indoor environments such as display cases or storage units. It is not suitable for environments with direct sunlight exposure or high humidity conditions.
PLA has a low melting point and is not suitable for high temperature environments, nor can it be mixed with other plastics for recycling.
How To Set Up A Plastic Injection Molding
These materials require careful drying to avoid moisture related problems. The most common problems are mold and mildew.
In many cases, the only way to prevent these issues is by using a dehumidifier.
Drying is recommended at 120C for 6 hours.
Moisture content should not exceed 0.015% (150 parts per million).
Dried material should be used within 24 hours of opening the drying hopper to minimize moisture absorption from the air.
For large or thick sections, mold temperatures should be in the range of 50C to 80C for optimal part shrinking and dimensional stability.
Mold temperatures above 100C will cause degredation of the PLA.
The melt flow index is an indication of the ease with which the material can be processed through an extruder or injection molding machine.
PLA is all around us and it’s been steadily evolving over the past few years. Many people are embracing it and finding success with it. The future of injection molding looks very promising as more companies are taking notice of the benefits that PLA offers.