Are Hydraulic Machines Going the Way of the Dinasour…?

A friend asked my opinion about the state of hydraulic molding machines the other day…

When do you think hydraulic molding machines will go the way of the dinosaurs?
My Response
In my experience, the plastics industry is relatively slow to adopt the latest technology. Four of the biggest factors in adopting a new technology are:
1) Significant Increase in Performance
2) Demonstrated Reliability
3) Ease of Use
4) Lower Cost
As you may know, the earliest all-electric molding machines were very delicate, and did not provide significant value. As the years have progressed, and technology has improved… these machines have begun to outperform hydraulic machines in virtually all these four areas. It is only a matter of time before all-electric molding machines have dominance in all demographics of the injection molding industry… especially as the costs of all-electric molding machines decrease far below the cost of hydraulic machines.
That being said, there will always be injection molders who will prefer to mold with hydraulic molding machines… or have older machines which are still functioning properly. I recently spoke with one molder who said ‘I hate electric machines, they are so quiet it just doesn’t sound busy around here’.
Additional Thoughts
I have watched the slow adoption of closed-loop process controls over the past few decades. At first, the controls were confusing, complicated, unreliable, and very expensive. Now this technology dominates the market… yet, there are still manufacturers who will sell you a brand-new injection molding machine with an old-fashioned open-loop process controller ~ if you really want one.

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