Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering - Leading Process and Product Improvement

Click here for most recent complete syllabus (.pdf format)

IME 5500 - Advanced Plastics Processing

Catalog Description:

Review of optimum machine components and systems. Identification of key process variables within injection molding and extrusion systems. Discussion of the causes of process instability. Determination of the process capability within injection molding and extrusion systems.

Prerequisites & Corequisites: Prerequisite: Recommended, IME 2500 or equivalent.

Credits: 3 hours

Lecture Hours - Laboratory Hours: (3 - 0)

Prerequisites by Topic:

  1. Knowledge of the elements of plastication
  2. Basic understanding of plastics equipment, tooling and process
  3. Understanding of the relationship between resins, additives and the extrusion and injection molding processes
  4. Ability to correctly differentiate independent and dependent variables

Note: It is the responsibility of each student to correct any deficiencies that they may have in prerequisite information. This may be done by taking the pretest and completing the corresponding reading assignments attached to questions missed on the test. In addition, other readings may be necessary. It is also recommended that students spend time in the plant to observe elements of the injection molding process and tooling that are not well understood.

Course Objectives:

At the end of the semester the student should be able to:

  1. Understand the function of the major systems within molding. [a & K]
  2. Identify process system design characteristics most likely to enhance product stability. [d & C]
  3. Differentiate among, independent process variables, dependent process variables, intermediate dependent process variables, and dependent product variables. [c & B]
  4. Define the causal relationship between independent, intermediate, and dependent variables for injection molding. [c & B]
  5. Identify a logical set of testable variables for a given process problem. [f & E]
  6. Understand basic and advanced measurement techniques for a current plastics process. [b & A]

Lower case letters in the parentheses at the end of each objective refer to the TAC of ABET 2001 criteria, upper case letters are EAC of ABET 2000.

Performance Criteria:

The student should be able to:

Objective 1

  1. Identify the most critical systems within injection molding, and describe their function. [3, 4]

Objective 2

  1. Identify the system components most likely to be the contributing factor for a given type of process instability. [3, 4]
  2. Describe changes to a process system that would enhance product stability. [3, 4]

Objective 3

  1. Correctly categorize specific process variables as independent, dependent process, intermediate dependent process, or dependent product. [2, 3]

Objective 4

  1. Define the four critical intermediate dependent process variables for molding and extrusion systems, and be able to discuss the intermediate nature of each one. [3]
  2. Explain the probable relationship between the role of input variables (independent and intermediate dependent) and the resulting output variables (dependent product) for a given process scenario. [2, 3, 4]

Objective 5

  1. List a group of variables that are both logical and independently testable for a specific process problem. [1, 2, 4]
  2. Determine to what extent a set of potential variables is testable, and what controls would need to be instituted to assure collection of sound data. [1, 2, 4]

Objective 6

  1. For a given process parameter, describe logical methods of measuring the variable. [4]

Numbers in brackets refer to the method of evaluation as listed in the previous section.


Engelmann, P. & Dealey, R. (2000). Injection mold design guidelines: Maximizing performance using copper alloys – Reprint of a nine part series. Modern Mold and Tooling. New York: Copper Development Association.


Rosato, D. V. and Rosato D. V. (1995). Injection molding handbook (4th Ed.). Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic.

Colby, P. N. (2006). Plasticating Essentials. Youngstown, OH: Spirex. (

Course Coordinator:

Paul Engelmann
Western Michigan University
F-259 Parkview Campus
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5336
Phone: 276-3350

Revision Date: Spring 2009


Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5336 USA
(269) 276-3350 | (269) 276-3353 Fax

Copyright © 2012 Western Michigan University, All Rights Reserved