As the automotive industry continues to focus on sustainability and alternative materials, the use of lightweight, high-strength plastics and composites in developing car parts is becoming increasingly popular as manufacturers look for ways to reduce weight, improve fuel efficiency and decrease emissions.
One manufacturing process where this is applied is known as blow molding, which is a process for forming hollow plastic parts where the raw plastic material is melted, put in a mold and then shaped by the compressed air blown into it.
JVIS is at the forefront of this manufacturing innovation, so we sat down with one of our resident experts, Jon Mandziara, Program Manager at JVIS, to learn more about blow molding and its impact on the design process for automakers and their manufacturing partners.
What is blow molding?
Mandziara: Blow molding is a process for manufacturing car parts using plastics to help make vehicles more lightweight, which in turn enables better fuel efficiency. The process starts by heating a tube of resin – or parison – at a desired length, and then releasing head tooling – or a nozzle – between an open mold cavity. The mold is then shut, pinch bars cut off the parison to create the seal, and air is blown into the mold to create the car part from the mold cavity.
What are JVIS’ blow molding capabilities? What types of machinery does it require and what’s the length of the process?
Mandziara: JVIS has a multitude of blow molding presses in various tonnages to service any need that our customers may have, and the appropriate secondary tooling – deflash dies, leak trim and punch dies to assembly equipment – to support our customers’ requirements.
Specific press and mold size and cavity are required for blow molding. This is dependent upon the design of the product, the material used and its size. Once that is determined, we create designs for the mold and secondary tooling required to produce the product or part for our customer.
What blow molding products does JVIS create?
Mandziara: JVIS creates a variety of different blow-molded products including HVAC ducts for small vehicles to large commercial trucks, seatbacks, dust shields for shocks and brake cooling ducts.
What sets JVIS apart from others? How do its processes and program support for blow molding projects demonstrate the company’s commitment to quality?
Mandziara: JVIS is a leader in this space because we are able to design and produce a product from start to finish as well as jump in and take over the production of an existing product if a customer needs support. We also have a highly skilled team and continue to invest in our blow molding capabilities. Two new presses just went online in 2023 at our Benton Harbor facility led by General Manager Kevin Eldridge, who is an expert in the blow mold process, and last year contracted with a blow mold engineer with more than 30 years of experience.
In addition, JVIS continues to train our process technicians, tooling technicians and other team members on the blow molding process and new advancements and equipment. Even one of our plant managers took the blow molding courses. Our customers look to JVIS for expertise and solutions for their blow mold product needs, so it’s important for our people to be knowledgeable and trained on the latest technology and advancements in the process.
In what ways does blow molding connect to the rising EV market? Have there been any advancements in technology and manufacturing when it comes to blow molding?
Mandziara: Products we produce like blow-molded seatbacks, dust shields and HVAC and cooling ducts, help reduce weight in vehicles which is critical to improving performance and efficiency, especially in EVs. Like any other automotive technology, the blow mold process is ever-evolving to meet the goals of automakers today, especially when it comes to sustainability. That’s why all the products JVIS currently produces are 100% recyclable.
Learn more about JVIS’ industrial design and vertically integrated solutions at jvis.us.