Mold Maintenance & Repair

OCT 2013

Mold Maintenance & Repair

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Training the Tool Repair Technician "United Tool & Mold, Inc. is a mold shop with a niche specialty in mold repair, so we geared our apprenticeship more towards the tear down and repair side of moldmaking—incorporating hot runners, preventive maintenance and troubleshooting, as these are the things that we do on a daily basis. We don't build new tools, so there was no reason to stay with the standard apprenticeship model; however, we still have the traditional classes/ on-the-job training (OJT) hours for maUTM's apprenticeship program is chining fundamentals, geared towards the tear down and manual mills, lathe, repair side of moldmaking. grinding, etc,. We have classes for mechatronics (covers hydraulic and electrical), jig and fixture design and repair, hot runner basics (for repair/troubleshooting), preventive maintenance (machines), preventive maintenance (molds), troubleshooting molds, spotting, and polishing. Both our CNC Operator and Repairman apprenticeships have the same classes for the first three years, with the final year getting more intensive into their chosen path. We have worked with Tri-County Technical College for most of the education classes as well as setting up industry experts to teach our hot runner and polishing classes. On-the-Job Learning: During the Apprenticeship, the Apprentice shall receive work experience and job related education in all phases of the occupation, including safe work practices, necessary to develop the skill and proficiency of a skilled professional. Apprentices are rotated throughout the various work processes to ensure a well-rounded professional upon completion of the Apprenticeship. Job Related Education: The courses here supplement the on-the-job learning. It is through the combination of both the on-the-job learning and the related education that the apprentice can reach the skilled level of the occupation." Jeromy Arnett, Production Administration Manager United Tool & Mold, Inc. (Easley, S.C.) Raising Repair Techs videos/raising-repair-techs ViDEO: acceptable welds with minimal instruction right from the start. From an initial investment standpoint, the equipment is by far the most expensive. coupled with the ongoing cost of annual maintenance and the relative fragility of the equipment, you really need to do your homework before deciding to invest in this technology. laser welding equipment is not designed to be put in a truck and transported from work site to work site. rough handling may require a service call to have mirrors realigned. And bulbs have a limited life expectancy and may also require a factory trained technician to install. Additionally, laser welders have self contained cooling units, which depending upon the type, need di water changed out from 3 months to 2 years. These are not warnings, just factors to be aware of before making an investment. laser welders range in price from enclosed cabinet units suitable for welding small cores and inserts to portable units with extendable arms capable of in-situ welds done at the press. When you have a huge mold that requires hours to remove from or set up in a press—and even more time to be brought back up to heat after being cooled—in-press repairs have a double beneft when calculating return on investment. Plasma Arc Welding Plasma arc welding is not new technology, which makes me wonder why it is not more widely used in mold repair. The pulse feature seems to make it a viable option for mold repair yet even this does not appear to be a recent development. Plasma welding like laser welding is rather easy to learn. Plasma welds are done through a microscope with optics that provide ten times magnifcation and auto darkening lenses, so cumbersome helmets are not necessary. With that level of magnifcation accurate repairs can be made to fne details. A plasma welder comes in under $20,000, which may be an easily justifable alternative in a repair environment. Although laser welding, pulled plasma arc welding and pulsed Tig welding share the pulse feature, the technical aspects are vastly diferOctober 2013 17

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