Mold Maintenance & Repair

OCT 2015

Mold Maintenance & Repair

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F E AT U R E 10 Mold Maintenance & Repair Regular mold cleaning is the simplest defense against issues that cause unscheduled pro- duction interruptions. However, incomplete or incorrect cleaning procedures, such as leaving behind residue or using the wrong cleaning solution, can damage molds and cause produc- tion problems or require more frequent cleaning, which increases maintenance costs. Ultrasonic cleaning can help eliminate these possibilities. An ultrasonic cleaning system produces cav- itation bubbles within a non-toxic solution. This helps extend mold life by cleaning the molds thoroughly without damage, regardless of the shape, size or complexity of the mold, contami- nant or mold material. The right combination of heat, detergent and time is key. The ultrasonic cleaning process itself is straightforward and virtually hands-off. The operator frst chooses the proper cleaning solution, and selects the appropriate tempera- ture and the amount of time the molds will be cleaned, which is typically between 30 and 60 minutes. Then, the operator submerges the mold into the bath, activates the machine and can tend to another task until the cleaning pro- cess is complete. The mold can then be moved to a rinse bath and, if needed, to a dryer. Although the machine does all the work, there are some basic rules to follow to achieve optimal results and to keep the ultrasonic sys- tem operating effciently. DO Use the right size cleaning unit/tank. Consider the size and number of the molds to be cleaned and the type of contaminants to be removed. Eliminate Unexpected Production Delays By Frank Pedefous Smaller-capacity units cost less than those with bigger tanks, but may crowd parts and clean less effciently, which can result in still-dirty molds or longer running times to get the molds clean. A correctly sized tank allows enough space around the mold for proper ultrasonic cleaning to occur while conserving energy and cleaning chemicals. Choose a water-based cleaning solution. Different solutions excel at cleaning different contaminants in ultrasonic cleaners. They gen- erally are categorized as descalers, enzymatic detergents, low-pH cleaners and specialty detergents. Almost always, a high-pH cleaning detergent is ideally suited for cleaning produc- tion molds. Consider the material the molds are made of and the types of contaminants to be removed, and always use water-based detergents. They cost less and are safer to use and dispose of than solvents, which also Basic rules for getting optimal results from an ultrasonic cleaning system. Here, a dirty injection mold is placed into an ultrasonic cleaning unit. This system produces cavitation bubbles within a non-toxic solution that helps prevent damage to the mold, extending mold life regardless of the contaminant, mold material, or mold shape, size or complexity.

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