Mold Maintenance & Repair

OCT 2013

Mold Maintenance & Repair

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Photo courtesy of Tech Molded Plastics. exactly to the existing part, rather than re-texturing or attempting to blend into the existing texture. once we have that texture mapped digitally into a solid model we can then use our process settings library to apply that texture to the mold in a very precise manner." When it comes to considerations for 24/7 tool repair, dale Pringle, Tooling division Manager for Tech Molded Plastics (Meadville, Pa.) says, "repair and protection are likely the two primary issues that encompass uptime contribution. it's part of our everyday experiTech Molded Plastics, Inc. has on-site preventative maintenance, mold repair and technical support from ence. As far as mold repair, journeymen toolmakers 24 hours a day to ensure production up-time is maximized when tooling issues occur. which involves breakage, we use either spare tooling texturing) more efcient." to replace it or a micro-welding process. Then When it comes to laser engraving and we stress-relieve it and fash chrome it aftertexturing within mold repair, nelson adds that wards to increase the life of the core. This is the challenges they face come in the form of necessary because the process of welding can re-creating or matching the existing laser-prochange the properties out of the steel. since cessed features when they generally do not we have 24/7 production, we always have toolhave engineering documentation. However, he makers ready to repair 24/7." notes that they are well ahead of the curve in When addressing steel conditions that multiple areas. require repair, the solution depends on several "For laser engraving, we are working to factors including the remaining expected life of re-create the laser engraving that is pre-existing the product, according to Pringle. "in our expeand undamaged. With this scenario we have to rience, plating over areas of concern can mask consider the material make-up, hardness and the issue, which could become an unrecognized surface fnishes. Fortunately, with our experiliability at a later time. Welding becomes one ence we have created libraries documenting of the few longer-term cost-efective solutions. these process parameters. These documents rebuilding the steel can be expensive and time along with other reverse engineering techconsuming especially when production downniques allow us to reverse engineer that time may be afected. Popular thought has the pre-existing tool and match the undamaged belief that the welded area may be stronger portions very well," explains nelson. after welding, but that may not be entirely acHe continues, "laser texturing is a very curate. reworked conditions are rarely as good similar situation. Here we are working with the as new. original steel properties, in most cases, latest texture mapping software and vision are the best that they will ever be. if fragile systems, which allow us to match the textures tooling and conditions exist where breakage, October 2013 19

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