Mold Maintenance & Repair

OCT 2013

Mold Maintenance & Repair

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You're often thought of as a necessary evil in the overall manufacturing scheme of things. The plastic part gets all the glory while you open and close, rotate and spin, slide and lift, collapse and unscrew, heat up and cool down— thousands of times each working day. injection molds work very, very hard. They are the navy seals of the plastic molding world—the envy and the idol of thermoform, compression, blow, and extrusion molds and dies. Maintaining the optimal condition of the tool steel is critical to this marathon performance. every successful injection molding operation understands the value of a well planned and managed mold maintenance and preventive maintenance program. in order to experience the greatest amount of productive uptime, an injection mold must have regularly scheduled downtime for proper evaluation and diagnostics, cleaning, and any required refurbishment, replacement, or repair. A systematic and well documented approach to mold care ensures long-term performance. This article will focus on the activities of one phase of the preventive maintenance sequence—mold cleaning as part of a scheduled maintenance cycle. i suggest you visit MoldMaking Technology magazine's website ( and access a great article on mold cleaning by my friend, steve Johnson of Tooling docs. "cleaning Molds: Part i and Part ii" (oct. and nov. 2004) discusses the various techniques and technologies in use. Preventive Maintenance: Steady on the Steel it is impossible to defne the universal frst step in mold PM because this is not a "one size fts all" scenario. is it a newly constructed mold that has only been functionally sampled? is this a fully qualifed mold ready to kick of 5000 hr-per-year production? is the mold part of a transfer package from another molding facility? Has it run in production for several years and is now slated to run in a diferent press and different facility? is it a new mold but a duplicate of one already in production? is it a new mold creating a newly designed part without any past history to draw from? Are we running simple polypropylene, or glass-flled nylon with its abrasive and gassing characteristics? each set of circumstances provides its own set of challenges and the resultant need to plan, execute, and document a comprehensive preventive maintenance plan. The following procedures are based on the day-to-day activities of the Mgs Mfg. PM shop in germantown, Wis. our team is stafed with Parting-line PM does not necessarily occur with the mold in the press. It also involves more than a simple wipe-down. As part of the MGS PM tool shop's best practices, some molds require partial disassembly for an appropriate P/L PM, including removal of any slides and other moving components. 12 toolmakers; many of them came through the ranks of our tool-build shops. They are experienced mold makers. The shop has its own section of our production molding facility to call home, where, just like in every great tool shop, it is always sunny and 72°. They have the equipment and technologies they need to keep molds rocking. We have over 2000 injection molds in our production inventory. Those molds are so important to us that we make sure each one October 2013 9

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