The systems covered by an American National Standard, ANSI/PLASTICS B151.27-2021: Safety Requirements For Robot / Injection Molding Machine Systems, enhance the efficiency of injection molding machines by pairing them with robotics.
Injection Molding Machines
Meeting a demand that spans numerous end-use industries—automotive, packaging, home appliances, electronics, medical devices, and more—the global injection plastics market is booming. In 2020, the market was valued at $265.1 billion.
Injection molding machines (IMMs), or machines that process plastic materials and inject them into a mold held closed by the acting clamp, yield durable finished products characterized by versatile features like better heat and pressure resistance.
Two IMM types are differentiated by the orientation of their clamping mechanisms in relation to the molds, but their safety considerations are identical. In fact, one of the primary changes made to the 2017 (and current) edition of the American National Standard for injection molding machines, ANSI/PLASTICS B151.1, was the inclusion of both horizontal and vertical injection molding machines, which previously had been designated as two separate standard documents.
ANSI/PLASTICS B151.1-2017: Plastics Machinery – Safety Requirements For Injection Molding Machines focuses on and supports the safety of IMMs by detailing their many hazards and user responsibilities. You can learn more about this standard in our post ANSI/PLASTICS B151.1-2017 – Safety Requirements for Injection Molding Machines.
Robotics in Injection Molding Machine Systems
Robot injection molding machine systems ensure the highest quality production by removing variability. Industrial robots, for example, can load plastic parts into the machine or place the finished pieces onto a conveyor belt.
The introduction of robots into injection molding machine systems offers numerous improvements to IMMs, but it can alter hazards. For example, when a robot is added, guards need to be extended beyond the placing area of the robot, and overhead guards may even be needed to accommodate top entry robot systems. Furthermore, IMM systems with robots may require catwalks or work platforms to provide access for maintenance.
To address these issues, ANSI/PLASTICS B151.27-2021 offers safety guidance.
About ANSI/PLASTICS B151.27-2021
In ANSI/PLASTICS B151.27-2021, a robot / injection molding machine (IMM) system comprises a robot system that operates within the volume of the mold area guarding an IMM. This standard specifies the safety requirements for the design, implementation, set-up, operation, maintenance, and modification of robot / IMM systems.
ANSI/PLASTICS B151.27-2021 revises the 2013 edition of the same American National Standard for robot / injection molding machines. In addition to changes made to the body of the standard, references were expanded. The new edition also harmonized definitions with referenced standards, and Informative Annex A was added to include illustrations of key concepts.
Please note that a robot system operating exclusively outside volume of the mold area guarding an IMM is excluded from the scope of this standard, as these robot systems are instead addressed in ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012. Since robot / injection molding systems are making use of both robotics and IMMs, the ANSI/PLASTICS B151.27-2021 standard calls for robot systems to comply with ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012, and for the IMM to comply with ANSI/PLASTICS B151.1-2017. In addition to requirements from the supplier, the installation of equipment should comply with NFPA 79-2018 and ANSI/ASSP Z244.1-2016 (R2020).
ANSI/PLASTICS B151.27-2021: Safety Requirements For Robot / Injection Molding Machine Systems is available on the ANSI Webstore.