Mold Maintenance & Repair

OCT 2014

Mold Maintenance & Repair

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F E AT U R E 18 Mold Maintenance & Repair Whether the data is downloaded locally or from thousands of miles away, monitoring a mold's activity helps ensure that regular preventive maintenance is being performed and that production targets are being met. CONTRIBUTOR: Tom Knight is a systems monitoring development engineer at AST Technology. For More Information: AST Technology / tom.knight@asttech.com / 847-487-1000 / asttech.com The manufacturer noted that, as a mold aged, its cycle times consistently increased. In one instance, it also found that the amount of curing time required to keep the molded part within tolerance also increased as the mold aged. Upon further examination, the molder discovered that the cooling system in the plant "contained a lot of junk." As molds cycled, their cooling systems became impeded by corro- sion, which impacted the molds' ability to cool. In response, the molder simply increased cure times for the molded parts. After the problem was correctly identifed and addressed through a maintenance pro- gram, cycle times for each mold were greatly reduced; in fact, many of the molds achieved cycle times they had not reached since their initial runs. In the end, this OEM instituted a waterline maintenance program that has driven real productivity gains and, in at least one case, decreased the need to build additional molds. Another way a company may want to cap- italize on the data provided by a monitoring system is to simply monitor its assets. For example, a mold asset manager may need to track the condition and PM needs for a large feet of molds for which he is responsible. Complicating this task is the fact that these molds may be spread throughout the country, requiring a lot of time to review their status and conditions. With a mold monitoring sys- tem in place, this job can be done much more effciently. A remote mold monitoring system enables a shop to view the condition of a feet of molds by logging into a website that pro- vides real-time transparency, decreasing the need to travel to the location of each mold. Big Data Moving Forward Early adopters of mold monitoring systems are already tracking their molds in real time to determine maintenance needs and monitor output, and therefore ensure that production requirements are being met. This en- ables them to proactively address issues before they become major problems that impact the supply chain. They are afforded this increased visibility of their molds through an Internet connection. The need to collect and analyze injection mold data is a concept that is here to stay. Molding press manufacturers are promot- ing their presses' monitoring capabilities, and the use of integrated ERP systems is increasing. A mold monitoring system offers the benefts of real-time monitoring of injection molds. Images courtesy of AST.

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