Manufacturers in the plastics and rubber products industries create goods by processing plastics materials and raw rubber into usable products for businesses and consumers. While plastics are increasingly used as a substitute for rubber, the production processes are generally separate and distinct. This means that a product is either made out of plastics or rubber.
The manufacturing processes of plastics and rubber can differ greatly. Plastic is manufactured mostly through molding and casting while rubber is manufactured through molding and extrusion. However, every process can be improved using a document management system or DMS like eFileCabinet. This article explores how document management can enhance your manufacturing operations.
Plastic Manufacturing Processes
The manufacturing processes for plastics usually include either molding or casting. Whether molding or casting is used depends on the shape of the end product as well as the desired volume of final products.
One of the most commonly used processes for manufacturing products using plastics is called blow molding. Blow molding allows the shaping of tubular or hollow shapes into one complex shape. The production process is popular because the cost is relatively low and the products can be produced in rapid succession.
Other types of molding processes can also be used to manufacture products with plastics materials. For example, injection molding is most popular for high-volume production of complex pieces of any shape. However, the limitations for injection molding include high setup costs. This makes injection molding economically impractical for small production runs.
Plastics can also be manufactured by casting. During casting, a mold is filled with liquid plastic and heated to cure. While the process is easy to set up and products are inexpensive to produce using casting, there are certain limitations to this process. For example, it’s not possible to produce very complex shapes with casting. Additionally, casting cannot easily be used for high-volume manufacturing.
Plastic manufacturing processes have to meet a variety of challenges. Processes must be appropriately documented and implemented, quality control must be performed after each step in the process, and important information has to be made accessible to the right people at the right times. A document management system like eFileCabinet can increase the efficiency of your plastic manufacturing processes by offering a central location for all of your important documents. Not only can we keep your documents safe, but we can also help you improve the workflow of your manufacturing operations.
Rubber Manufacturing Processes
The manufacturing processes for rubber include molding and extrusion. The most popular molding processes are injection molding and compression molding.
The most common form of molding for rubber materials is injection molding. During the injection-molding process, a plasticizing screw rotates to force the injection of the pre-plasticized rubber compound into the mold. Afterwards, the material has to be cured for a certain amount of time. After the cycle is completed, an operator may trim excess rubber and package or assemble the final product.
Compression molding is another way to shape rubber materials into a desired product. Compression molding uses hydraulic presses. Unlike injection molding, compression molding is not suitable for molding complex shapes. Compression molding is also more suitable for low-volume production.
The extrusion process is often used for the fabrications of items that are too large or too long for injection and compression molding. Extrusion is also used to create the production of blanks for compression molding.
Manufacturing rubber materials involves different machines and processes similar to plastic manufacturing. In order to increase efficiency throughout, it’s necessary to document the steps appropriately. A document management system can be helpful in encouraging employees to follow the required workflow. It also increases accountability by providing you with an audit trail. The audit trail shows when your documents are altered and by whom while also allowing you to store multiple versions of a document.
Industry Challenges and Solutions
The plastics and rubber products manufacturing industries are required to meet some of the same challenges as other manufacturing industries. In addition to creating and managing manufacturing protocols, it’s important to optimize the workflow of necessary documents through the company.
Here are some of the processes that our document management system from eFileCabinet can improve for your company:
- Ability to share documents within the company
- Ability to send documents to suppliers, customers, and contractors
- Security of your documents with user-based access controls
- Ability to search files quickly and efficiently
- Ability to track document alterations and deletions
- Automatic management of documents
Using document management to increase traceability of your processes throughout your organization is incredibly beneficial to your productivity, efficiency and organization. In fact, document management systems often enhance manufacturing processes considerably. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about ensuring compliance with manufacturing standards or audits because you always have the documents available at your fingertips.
Are you ready to take the next step and find out how eFileCabinet can help your business? Fill out the form on this page and start your 15-minute demo right away.