Mold Maintenance & Repair

OCT 2015

Mold Maintenance & Repair

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F E AT U R E 6 Mold Maintenance & Repair Get the Wear Out An effective way to extend mold life and ease mold warranties is to better manage mold cleaning techniques. FIGURE 1: Four common contributors to mold wear are maintenance practices, process conditions, mold design and corrosion. Figure courtesy of ToolingDocs. Most would agree that the mold is the heart of the molding process. From those who make molds to those who use them, we all want them to last for as long as they were designed. A lot of work goes into striving toward that goal: good design, proper metallurgy selection, confgura- tion, coatings and much more. Taking all that into account, it's not surprising molders often want a warranty that ensures the mold will last as long as the desired, if not the quoted, asset life. So what's the problem with offering a mold warranty? The reality is that molds don't always last as long as they are supposed to, because each facet of a mold's life can affect its longevity— everything from its design to its maintenance plan. And the proper care of each mold falls to the molder, creating quite the dilemma for a mold builder who is asked to offer a warranty. Making the Case Today, expensive and often complex molds may be run and maintained in molding shops and toolrooms by workers with varying degrees of skill. For some, mold maintenance is an after- thought rather than a priority. A fairly recent industry poll conducted by the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) found the No. 2 concern for molders is fnding ways to improve their "operational excellence" (lean manufacturing, waste reduction, zero defects, higher throughput, continuous improve- ment, scrap reduction, effciency improvement). Mold maintenance can make a signi- fcant contribution towards such oper- ational excellence and the life of a mold, and one of the keys to mold maintenance is mold cleaning. The most commonly used methods for clean- ing plastic injection molds have been around for years and involve manual cleaning, however, they can be abra- sive and contribute to mold wear. By Steve Wilson VIDEO Access video at end of article.

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