roto moulding machine

What is Rotational Molding and Custom Molding?

Roto-molding is essentially a very simple four-step process.  Plastic resin in a powder form is placed in a hollow steel or aluminium mould and rotated co-axially so that the powder can reach all parts of the mould. During rotation, the mould, when in the oven, is heated so that the plastic becomes molten and layers up on the walls of the mould.  It is then cooled slowly and carefully, and the mould is opened; the product is de-moulded, and the mould is reloaded, ready to repeat the process.

Path Plastics’ current product line, produced from moulds that have been designed and developed by Path, includes a variety of bulk bins or tubs, crates, smaller bins, boxes and containers for use in food and beverage processing, materials handling, fishing, wine and agricultural industries, as well as crayfish traps, pallets, carts, drums & tanks, floats, mobile packing units, plus an extensive range of innovative and very robust plastic lockers.  Path Plastics constantly strives to identify viable products for markets in which they are active to enhance and expand on current business, which results in the design and development of such items for selling and distribution by Path Plastics.

Apart from these proprietary products, Custom moulding is also done in a big way at Path Plastics.  When we talk about Custom Molding, it can be interpreted in more than one way, but it is always a case of the resultant product and design being made exclusively for the particular client, and that client then supplying the product to the market through their sales, marketing and distribution efforts.

 Path Plastics may approach clients to solicit their business, where the client already has a set of rotational mould tooling from which products may be produced.  And whether it is Path who made the first approach or the other way around, in that the client made overtures to Path Plastics for making their product, it is often a case of the client with the tooling not being happy with their current rotational moulder and wanting to allow another manufacturer to better the product and service that they are getting.  When this is the case, Path Plastics will take the opportunity to look at the current tooling and, more often than not, be able to modify same to end up with a far better quality product.  It also often happens that the design team at Path can suggest meaningful improvements to the client’s product to make it more cost-effective and frequently desirable for use in whatever industry it is being employed in.

Another way of describing Custom Molding by a rotational moulder is when the client approaches the company to assist in bringing an idea for a product to fruition.  Such a product could either be something already available in the market but manufactured from another substance- not plastic- or something unique and for which the rotational moulding method of plastic manufacturing is deemed the ideal process. In such instances, Path Plastics would enter into a Non-disclosure Agreement with the client before proceeding with the project.

Proceeding with the project would involve working from (in many instances) a concept sketch only, with rough dimensions, or a sample of a similar product not in rotationally moulded plastic. In constant consultation with the client, Path Plastics’ design team would explore and elaborate on this concept to the point where a viable product can be put on the table.  A rendering and detailed technical specifications and mould drawings would be the basis on which the tooling would follow to produce the end product, and these would be signed off and approved by the client before commencing on manufacturing of the tooling.  The moulds or tooling can be manufactured out of steel or aluminium, or sometimes both, especially if a product has various parts that make up a whole.  The client would thus contract Path Plastics to project-manage the mould manufacturing process, where a lot of it can be done in-house by Path and the rest by highly qualified specialists in the field, to have the tooling at the end with which to commence production of the required units for distribution into the market.  This would result in the tooling being the sole property of the client, but with a Manufacturing contract in place for Path Plastics to be the exclusive manufacturer.

And lastly, when it comes to Custom Molding, it often is a case of the client being active and having a good track record in a specific market, with the necessary market share for the selling and distribution of a particular product, but not the funds or expertise to enter into the mould design & manufacturing phase.

In instances such as this, dependent on financial restraints, it sometimes results in Path Plastics designing and developing the required tooling at their cost entirely and, in the end, being part-owner of such tooling but not involved at all in the selling and distributing of the end product- but ensuring that a permanent and exclusive manufacturing contract for the product is in place.