Additional Takeaways

Additional tidbits from the SPI Western Moldmakers Trade Fair and first time conference.

Conformal Cooling

How does conformal cooling reduce scrap and cycle time? 

Answer: 

Reduced Warp: Thermal channels placed uniformly around a part allow it to heat and cool evenly.  The less difference in temperature a part has over its surface during molding the more it will hold its intended shape.

Reduced Defects: Uniform thermal line placement means the elimination of hot/cold spots that add to problems like sinks, voids, stress, shine, etc.

Dimensional stability: Even temperatures with no hot or cold spots will produce a part closer to CAD.

Reduced Cooling Stage: No need to wait on above 3 issues! Uniform temp means less cooling time.  The cooling stage is almost all about getting temps to even out.  In most cases, it’s a 90-percent waste of time!

How does conformal cooling reduce defects?

Answer: By identifying a hot spot and introducing a conformal cooling solution.

What are the “best fit” conformal cooling applications for injection molding?

Answer:

Structural Components – Parts normally designed with thick wall conditions and made from high melt temp engineered resins (Nylons, PBT’s, Etc.).

Handles – Most handle parts are good candidates because they are designed to withstand high load conditions.

High Scrap Rates: Existing production parts with existing issues like part defects, warp, and dimensional issues.

Cycle Time Issues: Existing production parts with higher than expected cycle times.

Long Cooling Cycle: Any part where the cooling portion of the cycle time is over 20% of the overall cycle would typically benefit from conformal cooling.

High Volumes: Parts with very high volumes (250K or more per year) make great candidates because even small cycle time, or quality improvements have a large impact on capacity and profitability. 

 

New Technology Investment

The five Ps of technology investment are: process, provider, people, profit and purpose.

Investment Focus should include:

People

  • Hard Skills
  • Cross Training
  • Advancement

Tooling

  • High Speed
  • Specialty

Programming

  • Macros and Templates
  • Faster Re-Use

Engineering

  • Macros and Templates
  • Standard Parts Libraries

Equipment

  • Mid-Size to Massive
  • Extremely Tight Tolerances

Products

  • Defined End User Base
  • Cross Application of Specialty Materials

 

Mold Maintenance

“The Level of organization, cleanliness, layout, design and flow will ultimately dictate the speed, accuracy, safety and motivation level of your technicians and the type of work they perform on a day to day, mold to mold basis.”

Thinks to improve in existing shops:

  • Shop position/layout of waste producing machines:
  • Steel cut-off saws, grinders, sanders, media blasters and other metal working machines
  • General organization level of hand tools (shadow boards)
  • Organized salvage tooling area
  • Improve/add shop mold handling (overhead hoist)
  • Improve lighting
  • Add underground utilities to benches
  • Implement good housekeeping  practices
  • Utilize new mold cleaning technologies
  • Adequately designed benches (bench cell technology)
  • Shop mold flow and bottlenecks 
  • Change-over tooling storage
  • Inspection (Metrology) area
  • Tool Crib—Spare component management
  • Special Tools Bins
  • Keep benches at least 10 ft. from:
    • Mills
    • Drill presses
    • Lathes
    • Chip producing machines
  • Keep benches at least 20 ft. from (perpendicular to waste stream):
  • Cut-off saws
  • Surface grinders
  • Snag grinders
  • Belt sanders