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IMM Review: Plastic part technology

As prefaced, Ed Muccio's Plastic Part Technology is designed to serve as a primer for people who design, inspect, manufacture, purchase, and use plastic products. It is written at a level that assumes the reader has little or no experience in working with plastics, with the focus on the technology rather than the engineering aspects of plastic part design. 

Muccio bases his book on the premise of plastic part quality. That is, to design and manufacture high-quality plastic parts, one must understand how part design, mold design, processing, materials, and the customer relate to one another. 

The book begins with a brief look at the evolution of the plastics industry, some early history, and the historic commercial importance of plastic's substitution for metal products during World War II. Chapter 2, which discusses materials, defines the two major types of plastics—thermosets and thermoplastics—and covers the development of custom plastic formulations to create specified end-use applications. 

Chapter 3 reviews and defines such processing types as injection molding, compression molding, transfer molding, extrusion, blowmolding, thermoforming, and composite processing. Chapters 4 and 5 emphasize the economics of material selection. Much detail is given to mold design considerations applicable to the various processes available today. 

In Chapters 6 and 7 Muccio covers proper wall thickness transitions and how melt flow is affected by gate sizing, style, venting, and part geometry. 

Chapter 8 relates part quality to the quality of the design, showing that in order to enter the market successfully, the quality of the initial design is critical. Various statistical tools for effective, continued quality monitoring and improvement must be used to stay competitive. 

Muccio discusses finishing and decorating techniques plus assembly in Chapters 9 and 10, which include an excellent table of plastic machining guidelines, material selection charts of plastics properties, and comparisons of common decorating methods. 

Plastic Part Technology concludes with a first-rate appendix of the relevant formulas and conversion factors used in plastics processing, plus sample tolerance guidelines. I found Muccio's work to be well done, easy to understand, and in general an excellent background source for gaining a well-rounded understanding of plastic part technology.—Reviewer: Rich Allen, MGI International, Dallas, GA. 

Plastic Part Technology is one of many books selected for injection molders that are offered through the IMM Book Club. For more information on this or other books, call Renee Barker at (303) 321-2322; fax (303) 321-3552; e-mail; or visit

Muccio, Edward A. Plastic Part Technology, (1994), 320 pp., illus., tables, appendix, references, index, $97.00.

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