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Lubricants for Rotational Moulding

In this article, we explore rotational moulding and the speciality lubricants helping to power the process.

Table of Contents

rotational moulding

What is Rotational Moulding?

Rotational moulding, or roto-moulding, is a method of manufacturing hollow plastics. It is a low-pressure, high-temperature process that can make simple or complex-shaped objects seamlessly.

Common rotational moulding materials include polypropylene, nylon, polycarbonate, plastomers, thermoplasticsPVC, and foams.

The global rotational moulding market is estimated to reach a value of £6.7 billion by 2031, growing at a rate of 2.1%. The increasing demand for biodegradable materials in automotive, agricultural and construction industries accounts for this growth. As a result, manufacturers are looking for more innovative and sustainable solutions for optimised rotational moulding processes.

Where is Rotational Moulding Used?

Manufacturers use rotational moulding for the following products;

  • Cooler tanks
  • Storage tanks
  • Kayaks
  • Automotive components
  • Litter bins
  • Floats
  • Road signs and cones
  • Playground equipment
  • Furniture
  • Toolboxes
  • Dashboards
  • Ducting

And much more.

Benefits of Rotational Moulding

Benefits of rotational moulding range from:

  • Uniform wall thickness ensures high product strength and durability.
  • High-quality finishes with no sharp edges and great aesthetics.
  • Low tooling costs ensure high production volumes.
  • Complex or simple shapes 
  • No limit on the size of moulded products makes it great for large structures.
  • Allows for simultaneous moulding of different products, thus increasing production rate.
  • Highly stable products due to lack of exposure to high pressures.

The Rotational Moulding Process

The following steps comprise the rotational moulding process;

  1. Mould loading: Loading a hollow metal mould with a predefined quantity of powdered plastic resin equivalent to the weight of the end product.
  2. Mould heating: The mould starts to rotate in an oven. As the mould rotates, the entire surface of the heated mould has a melted plastic resin coating. 
  3. Mould cooling: Removing the hot mould from the oven begins the cooling cycle. The mould continues to rotate even in this phase, during which it is usually exposed to high-velocity air jets and, in some cases, nebulised water.
  4. Part ejection: Once sufficiently cooled, the product is removed from the mould. The resin powder is placed in the mould again, beginning the repeat cycle.

Lubricants for Rotational Moulding

Lubrication plays a crucial role in the rotational moulding process. Through proper lubrication of the rotational moulding machinery using high-performance lubricants, manufacturers achieve the following benefits:

  • Reduced wear and friction improve durability, safety and efficiency.
  • Resistance to humidity and water avoids water damage and repairs.
  • Smooth, noiseless operation reduces rattles and squeakiness.
  • Corrosion and rust protection avoids maintenance and repairs.
  • Increased lifespan of components ensures less requirement for repairs and maintenance.
  • Effective thermal regulation resists extreme temperatures, preventing damage.

Molykote D-321R is a dry, air-curing lubricant used on rotational mould clamping pliers without contaminating the surfaces in contact. It provides life-long lubrication, compatibility with other lubricants and anti-friction properties.

Molykote P-74 is a metal-free, solid lubricating paste that is used on threaded connections, shafts, guides and bearings in rotational moulding. It is particularly well-suited to high-temperature applications, providing low dispersion of clamping forces and crack prevention.

Molykote Separator Spray is a silicone lubricant that can be used as a release agent in particularly complex points in rotational moulding. It offers a wide temperature range and excellent release properties.

Krytox 227 is a special infusible grease based on PFPE/PTFE technology that is used for arm lubrication in rotational moulding. It operates effectively at high temperatures (above 200°C) and for long relubrication intervals.

In addition to rotational moulding, our lubricants have been used effectively in managing vibrational loadsreducing thread failurelubricating bearingsavoiding micro-welding of pipes, and sealing industrial furnaces, proving their reliable performance in extremely challenging environments.

We also provide solutions for other methods of plastic manufacturing including; injection bondingresin transfer moulding and silicone rubber mouldmaking, in addition to solutions for plastic bonding.

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