Mold Maintenance & Repair

OCT 2015

Mold Maintenance & Repair

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F E AT U R E 14 Mold Maintenance & Repair Janler's legacy of high-production molding lives on in its approach to PM and in its four in-house presses, which the company uses to qualify every tool it builds and, as shown here, to perform production runs. ponents to minor steel adjustments to basic cleaning, are also recorded and scanned. With an investigative mindset, visual checks of some items on the list aren't enough, nor is it ever enough to check features of one cavity and as- sume the rest are in similar condition. Each and every vent is inspected with a mechanical gage, every gate with a pin gage, every parting line lock with a CMM. The point is, only the right kind of data will do—data that paints an accurate, verifable picture of the mold's condition at that particular point in time, Klingler says. At the beginning of every round of PM, per- sonnel review reports from previous work on the tool and direct their activities accordingly. Collect enough data over enough PM cycles, he explains, and patterns begin to emerge. These patterns make wear predictable. "A good pre- ventive maintenance program creates a living document, a diary of the mold," he says. "You start seeing the same kinds of issues at the same time intervals." Consider venting. With every cycle, the steel settles slightly, and a collapsing vent will ul- timately lead to plastic burns, erosion, splay or any number of issues. If the mold is built well and all cavities are consistent, this usually happens at the same depth every time. In many cases, that depth is shallower than what's called for in the specifcations, Klingler says. Knowing exactly when problems will occur—information that would never emerge without a thorough, accurate history of the mold's life—can lead to fewer, easier PMs and more time in the press without affecting part quality. Beyond just main- tenance intervals, the ability to predict wear can affect everything from inventory levels of spare parts to the next design iteration of the mold. Predicting wear in this way also opens the door to a feedback loop of continuous improvement. On one end of this loop is Janler, which can leverage lessons learned to improve designs and build better molds. In one recent case, engi- neers made a parting line slide easier to move, thereby avoiding the need for complete disassem- bly to clean wear plates located deep within the tool. Such innovations are often applied to future designs, Klingler says. On the other end of the loop is the customer, which benefts from fewer surprises and often substantial, ongoing improve- ments in productivity. The more PMs, the more predictable the tool. The more predictable the tool, the greater the potential to fnd savings, whether through changes in procedure or changes to the mold itself. In one case, an elec- tronics industry manufacturer improved overall uptime from about 65 percent to 98 percent after transitioning PM to Janler, Klingler says. "We've improved plenty of customers' bot- tom-line profts. Even with an increased dollar cost per maintenance, they ended up with substantial overall savings in the end." Preserving the Craft Despite the advantages of this approach to maintenance, Klingler says plenty of manufac- turing operations tend to do little more than

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