MoldMaking Technology

NOV 2018

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moldmakingtechnology.com 19 ahead of the game and providing the tool room with the equipment it needed to sustain a preventive maintenance (PM) program was not a priority." Brian Finkel, manager of Repairs-Service of North America for Mold-Masters/Milacron (Georgetown, Ontario, Canada), says, "We see more customers requesting pre-scheduled PM runs on their molds and systems." Michael Muth, president of Slide Products Inc. (Wheeling, Illinois) concurs, saying that companies have become more proactive about using advanced mold-maintenance schedules and products. "They realize that an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure. Molders are using predictive pat- terns to help schedule their mold maintenance before the processing issues pop up and delay or slow down produc- tion," he says. "People recognize how the mold maintenance facet of their molding operations greatly impacts their overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) scores," Steve Wilson, Global Business Unit Director—Plastics, Rubber & Composites for Cold Jet LLC (Loveland, Ohio) says. "Traditional, manual, in-machine cleaning methods often are ineffective and have a negative effect on several OEE scores, including Quality Loss, Availability Loss and Performance Loss." He says that molders are looking to improve methodologies for cleaning the molds in-situ and at operating temperatures to improve overall plant-OEE scores. More Effective Cleaning Strategies Are Emerging Mold-cleaning strategies, like the molds themselves, take many forms and the array of options is wide. Suppliers understand that customers want ef•icient and effective meth- ods that will not affect surface treatments adversely or damage the critical-to-function areas of molds. Steve Wilson says that Cold Jet has developed dry-ice cleaning solutions that incorporate the use of –.—-millimeter dry-ice MicroParticles instead of traditional —.–-millimeter pellets. "MicroParticles are less aggressive and increase the area of coverage," he says. "In the dry-ice cleaning process, the kinetic energy of the particles delivers most of the cleaning effect. Enabling molders to adjust their cleaning levels is a big advantage for those who use surface treatments." He says that it takes less air to fully accelerate the MicroParticle to proper cleaning velocity, so systems connect using ½-inch or even —/š- inch air lines and consume around —– cubic feet per minute of air and –.› pounds per minute of dry ice, whereas —.–-millimeter systems typically require ¾-inch or ž-inch air lines, which often are not available near the molding press. "Additionally, using dry-ice cleaning is envi- ronmentally responsible and eliminates the use of chemicals that often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs)." Expanding on that, Michael Muth of Slide Products says, "In the United States, emissions of VOCs to the outdoors are regulated by the EPA and some states mostly to prevent the formation of ozone, a constituent of photochemical smog. Many VOCs form ground-level ozone by 'reacting' with sources of oxygen molecules such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight." California is the state that most heavily regulates VOCs at this point, Muth says, but it is expected that other states and regions in the United States will follow California's lead and start limiting the VOC con- tent of certain product categories, like spray mold cleaners and releases. Canada has already announced that it plans to Image courtesy of Slide Products Inc. Mold-cleaning products come in many forms, including wipes like these that are easy to use anywhere in the shop. While molders are becoming more and more proactive about preventive maintenance for their molds and tooling, products like this can be beneficial during and in between preventive maintenance programs.

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