This article will discuss the regulations that must be followed when working with plastics films during manufacture. It will cover the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, laboratory glassware, supplies and containers, packaging regulations, endocrine modulators, 3D printing, plastic manufacturing processes, California's Rigid Plastic Packaging Act (RPPC), vacuum forming, reaction injection molding (RIM), and blow molding. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains a list of the most frequently cited standards for specific 6-digit North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes. For the manufacture of all other plastic products, use the NAICS code 326199 in the NAICS search box.
When it comes to laboratory glassware, supplies and containers, the federal government has asserted its authority to regulate food, drug and cosmetic packaging in order to preserve the safety and confidence of consumers. States or local jurisdictions have also introduced several regulatory programs to reduce the use and disposal of certain packaging materials and to require minimum recycling requirements. In recent years, there has been pressure on the United States Government to follow the example of France and prohibit the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in all food packaging. BPA is found primarily in plastic food containers and bottles.
A variety of plastic manufacturing processes have been developed to cover a wide range of applications, part geometries and types of plastics. For any designer and engineer working in product development, it is essential to be familiar with the manufacturing options available today and with new developments that indicate how parts will be manufactured in the future. 3D printing allows companies to easily create plastic parts and rapid prototypes in their own facilities. Compact desktop or desktop 3D printing systems for creating plastic parts are affordable and require very little space and require no special skills, allowing professional engineers, designers and manufacturers to accelerate iteration and production cycles from days or weeks to a few hours.
Softer thermosetting plastics require specialized tools to support the parts during machining, and filled plastics can be abrasive and reduce the life of the cutting tool. Vacuum forming or thermoforming is a manufacturing method in which a plastic is heated and formed, usually using a mold. A similar method, known as reaction injection molding (RIM), is used to manufacture thermosetting plastic parts. Unlike most other plastic manufacturing processes, CNC machining is a subtractive process in which the material is extracted using a rotating tool and a fixed part (milling) or a rotating part with a fixed tool (lathe). Blow molding is a manufacturing technique used to create hollow plastic parts by inflating a heated plastic tube inside a mold until it takes on the desired shape.