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Desktop injection moulding

Desktop injection moulding

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What is a desktop injection moulding machine?
Literary it is an IMM lightweight and compact enough to be placed on a desk or a workbench. However some manufactures use this term just in marketing purposes to highlight relatively small footprints of their machines.

Why would one need such a machine?
Apparently this is not about mass-production — this is rather about cottage industry or testing and prototyping activities. So it is for those who cannot afford to buy and maintain or simply do not need a big IMM. Oftentimes a desktop injection moulding machine is designed and assembled by its future user who customizes it according to his own needs.

Screenshot 2

APSX-PIM Desktop Electric Plastic Injection Machine

One of the most interesting concepts involving a desktop IMM was developed by two American engineers Rick Cevik and Kubi Kara. In 2002 they founded APSX, LLC in Blue Ash, Ohio, focusing on creation of simple yet smart compact machines making it easier for businesses to kick their new ideas around. Their APSX-PIM is a lightweight (113 kg), compact (1090mm x 254mm x 380mm) mains-powered device but still it is a “real” full-function IMM without any compromises, operating with repeatability and precision.

One of the main advantages of APSX-PIM is its ability to use 3D printed aluminum moulds. This feature makes prototyping process unprecedentedly quick and flexible and also very cheap. According to the innovators it is now possible to materialize a crude idea into an operating model just in one day.

Rapid prototyping is not the only segment to demonstrate the benefits of APSX-PIM. When it comes to small volume production, desktop injection moulding can show far better results than additive manufacturing due to its unparalleled repeatability and cycle times, not to mention much higher durability of moulded parts.

This innovation obviously has enough potential to become a milestone and who knows, maybe one day we will find ourselves in the new reality with desktop IMMs as common in households as desktop PCs.

Pictures: APSX, LLC

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