MoldMaking Technology

NOV 2018

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Mold Maintenance & Repair 18 MoldMaking Technology —— NOVEMBER 2018 By Cynthia Kustush Cleaning molds, especially complex molds, can be labor-intensive and difficult, but using newer technologies like dry-ice blasting (shown here) can help a technician reach into tight places and alleviate a lot of frustration. Methods like dry-ice blasting also accelerate cleaning processes and preserve a mold's details and surface finish. As molds become more complex in design and function, the demand for advanced training and equipment for mold maintenance increases. Complex Molds Require Advanced Maintenance Strategies I n recently published roundtable discussions about mold- making trends and challenges, participants indicated that increasingly complex mold designs and functions have been central in driving industry advancements in services, products and technologies. MoldMaking Technology uncovered that the same forces drive mold-maintenance strategies. Professionals from a few supplier companies share their take on the topic. Maintenance Matters More Today Mold maintenance expert and MoldMaking Technology columnist Steve Johnson, president of MoldTrax (Ashland, Ohio), says that molds continue to advance in their design and build. The industry is seeing molds with higher cavitation, faster cycle times and more complexity in the use of hot runner sys- tems, in-mold functions, over-molding, process sensors, engineered resins, mold- monitoring devices, rotating, spinning plates and so on. Because of this, molds today require a higher level of shop maintenance skills and management strategies to safely and effectively run and maintain the molds. "Original equip- ment manufacturers (OEMs) continue to raise the bar as well, requiring their molds to run longer, more cheaply, faster and more reliably while molding quality parts," he says. "They want mold builders to go beyond the million-cycle warran- ties, which means that the molder must take better care of the mold to maximize tooling and mold life." Louis Bowler, executive vice presi- dent of sales at Die Sep (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin), shares Johnson's views, saying that the attitude of management toward mold maintenance is changing. "Up until about Š‹ years ago, mold maintenance was regarded as a necessary pursuit that often was too expensive. Everyone knew that the molds needed to be maintained, but getting This article is part of a series of roundtable discussions with industry suppliers addressing recent trends in moldmaking, the challenges moldmakers are experiencing and the latest solutions that are or will be available to resolve them. Image courtesy of Cold Jet LLC.

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