By: Randy Kerkstra 4. September 2015

The Designer's Edge: Hydraulic Pressure

Hydraulic pressure can have a negative impact on your mold components. On the set position,  if your component is relying on hydraulic pressure to overcome plastic/cavity pressure then you typically need your pressures high. However, if your component is locked in place with a lock angle on the stationary half then you do not need to use excessive hydraulic pressure. You just need enough to move your component.

With the pull position you only need enough hydraulic pressure to pull it back. I have seen hundreds of failures with the root cause being excessive hydraulic pressure use. In most cases this occurs with the pull position as the attachment point of the cylinder rod and component get stretched/stressed. Whereas in the set position they are compressed.  Also, when using T-slot couplers it is important not to have sharp corners on the T or the slot, as they will increase your chance of failure from stress.

You must understand the hydraulic pressures that are required for movement or to overcome cavity/plastics pressure. The latter case is when pressures are needed, but this is often misunderstood by setup technicians, which results in pressures higher than necessary. The reverse can also occur—a lack of hydraulic pressure that causes issues.

I am also guilty of having a limited understanding of these issues when I was building “robust” tools. This came from the gap between tool shops and those molding. The material being used, flow lengths and wall stock can have a huge impact on plastic pressures, and this is not always understood fully by most tool shops.

Another area to examine is cylinder sizing versus cavity pressures. This is when the cylinder is being used to resist plastics pressure. This does not need to be a consideration if the component is using a locking angle with the stationary half. In that case, you just need the cylinder to move the component.

On September 18th, I will take a look at determining cylinder size. 

By: Christina M. Fuges 3. September 2015

Making a Change

I have been serving as secretary for the SPE Mold Making and Mold Design Division for the past couple of years, and one important item on our to-do list has been to change the Division name to one that is more fitting of our updated mission statement and membership profile. We can now check that off of the list. The new name is the Mold Technologies Division.

The new mission statement is: “To be the leading industry resource for technical information to advance plastic mold engineering technologies, while fostering industry growth, education and leadership."

Glenn Starkey, Chair of the Division and President of Progressive Components, explains, “When originally formed it was a division geared towards mold makers and mold designers, but over that period of time the industry has developed, specialized, and changed to include a wider range of professions. Today, our industry has grown to include a high number of hot runner support personnel, mold maintenance repair technicians, mold buyers at OEMs, 3D printing and additive manufacturing personnel, and other specialty products and services that encompass mold manufacturing.”

The Division has also already stepped up involvement in the industry to increase visibility and advocacy for its members and for the mold technologies sector at large.

“While there are trade organizations for mold shop owners and for owners of molding companies, there is a wide range of industry professionals that can benefit from being an SPE member,” says Starkey. “We’re becoming more active at trade shows, providing technical presentations at industry events, and planning an SPE event of our own that can provide information and the latest methodologies to assist tomorrow’s toolmakers.” 

In fact, this November we are continuing our partnership with MoldMaking Technology and the SPI Western Region Moldmakers Division for the 25th Annual Mike Koebel Western Moldmakers Trade Fair.  For the second time, this year’s event includes a free technical workshop and educational program that precedes the trade fair. The program provides moldmaker-specific technical and economic perspectives from industry leaders. Check back for details.



By: Matthew Danford 2. September 2015

Another Look at a Compelling Succession Story

Stacey Bales (left) and Sarah Mortenson took over Bales Metal Surface Solutions in 2009. (Image courtesy of Bales.) 

A few weeks back, I wrote a blog post on what’s been going on the past few years at Bales Metal Surface Solutions, a company that offers a particularly compelling succession story. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that our sister publication, Products Finishing, has also gotten in on the act.

Written by chief editor Tim Pennington, this coverage outlines how Stacey and Sarah Bales took over their father’s company in the wake of his tragic and unexpected passing. Whereas my own blog focused on how the company’s sales, capacity and capabilities have all increased markedly since then, Tim’s story provides a great look at the human side, detailing the trials, tribulations and eventual triumphs of the sisters’ journey. It’s well-worth a read.  

By: Christina M. Fuges 1. September 2015

Let's Talk Water Conservation

"The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs states that water scarcity affects every continent and that about 1.2 billion people live in areas of physical scarcity,” says Frigel Global Marketing Manager, Al Fosco. He continues, "The United Nations’ World Water Development Report warns that the world could suffer a 40 percent shortfall in water supply by 2030 – and that global water demand for the manufacturing industry is expected to increase by 400 percent from 2000 to 2050."
In a recent survey, conducted by Frigel, water conservation was ranked a top concern by nearly two-thirds of respondents and 30 percent said that process cooling accounts for more than half of their plant's overall water usage. This, according to Frigel, drives the need for continued awareness about the positive impact advanced process cooling systems can have on water savings and the ability to achieve operational efficiencies. 
According to the survey, many companies look to advanced closed-loop process cooling systems to deliver pragmatic business results. Process cooling is extremely or quite important to plant efficiencies to 58.6 percent of respondents. It’s also clear that companies appreciate how the technology contributes to sustainability initiatives.  
Survey respondents said they chose the technology to improve costs, increase machine uptime and produce higher quality products. Yet they also chose it to conserve water, which is in line with the growing concern over the importance of water use and the care needed to preserving it. The goal is to continue to ensure that people understand that closed-loop process cooling systems can be part of the solution to smarter water use, in addition to plant efficiencies.
Click here for survey summary.

By: Matthew Danford 31. August 2015

3D Scanning Offers Wide-Ranging Benefits

Scanning electrodes helps detect errors prior to burning any geometry into the mold. (Image courtesy of Versatile Mold and Design.) 

As detailed in this case study, Versatile Mold and Design reports savings of $150,000 in one year alone since the addition of the Laser Design Survey 3D, a 3D scanning system from Laser Design Inc. Largely, that's because the system provides an easier, faster and less error prone method for inspection than CMM. This goes for not just molds and components, but electrodes too.

Yet, there's more to the story than that. It also details an application that provides an ideal example of the system's capability to accelerate product development through reverse engineering. Read the case study to learn more. 

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