By: Randy Kerkstra 27. November 2015

The Designer's Edge: Let's Talk Lifters

Shows a lifter in the eject position releasing the undercut on the molded part.

Today I’m moving to the topic of lifters in the hopes of providing an understanding of these components and their impact on tool maintenance, repair and molding.

A lifter is a component that travels with the ejection and moves on an angle to slide/pull the cavity steel away from undercuts or details not in the die draw, and where slides or other mechanics are not an option.

There are many aspects of lifters to cover, including design considerations, materials used, wear surfaces, buddy/helper pins, deflection, round versus square, part sticking issues, fitting/spotting and timing/pre-load. In this series, I will discuss the reasons lifters are used, angles/travel and a couple design considerations in relation to the angle/travel.

I manage thousands of PMs and repairs each year, which consist of a wide variety of mold designs from all over the world running various plastic materials. This experience has helped me gain knowledge about tool design and how it can impact the manufacturing environment, namely failures and processing issues.

I use the phrase “red flags and sirens” to label concerns or issues, and the component that jumps out the most when it comes to tool maintenance and repair concerns is the lifter. Typically, those involved with tool maintenance prefer slides as an option for tool designs, but they are not an option when lifters are used. This is important to mention because there have been times when slides could have been used instead of lifers. However, in most cases lifters are used.They are a necessity and have advantages when it comes to real estate versus slides.

The design, angle and materials used with lifters can have a big impact on the tool and cause failures when running the mold. I have had many tools run flawlessly with zero lifter issues over millions of cycles, but with other tools I’ve experienced nightmares. The lifter stands out as the one component in a mold design as needing a little extra attention with regards to angles, timing, shut-offs and unsupported length.

Some of you may be saying that you don’t have issues with lifters, but I would suspect you are running parts with lessons learned involved or using low-draft lifters with shallow undercuts. I use "lessons learned" meaing from the knowledge gain from previous failures with design.

Next month, I will dive into lifter angles, travel and unsupported length.

By: Christina M. Fuges 26. November 2015

What Are You Thankful for Today?

What better day to take stock of all you are grateful for than Thanksgiving Day. So, as you gather around the table with family and friends, be sure to count your blessings and offer a word of gratitude to those who've had an impact on your life. For me that not only includes my own family and my work family, but you ... my moldmaking family.

That may sound corny, but it's true. I've been working within this industry for the past 18 years and so many of you have made an impact on my life.  The stories you have allowed us to share on the pages of MoldMaking Technology, on its website and at Amerimold have allowed me to get to know you and your companies. 

Your passion, your drive, your commitment, your support and your courage through the good and bad years have inspired me to be better, to try harder, to work smarter, to not give up and to keep on improving. To put it simply, I'm thankful for the opportunity to serve this industry!

What are you thankful for?



By: Cynthia Kustush 25. November 2015

AMBA Chicago Announces Second Supplier Night

The Chicago Chapter of the AMBA has just confirmed it will hold a second annual Supplier Night fundraising event to help further support its Education Committee’s efforts to bridge the ever-present skills gap and attract new, young talent into the mold building industry.

On Wednesday, April 20, 2016, suppliers from across the mold building spectrum will gather to showcase their products and services in the ballroom of Medinah Banquets in Addison, IL. At its first Supplier Night event, the Chicago AMBA attracted more than 30 exhibitors and 170 attendees overall, raising over $13,000. The AMBA Chicago Education Committee expects its 2016 event to surpass these numbers as those who attended the first event committed enthusiastically to participating again.

MoldMaking Technology was among the exhibitors this year and will be represented again in 2016 to promote the “Mold Making Matters” video series and support local mold builders. I’m a proud volunteer on the AMBA Chicago Education Committee and hope to meet many more Chicago area suppliers and mold builders at the 2016 Supplier Night.

If you are a supplier or mold builder who attended the inaugural event last April, please take a moment to share your comments about Supplier Night right here! 

By: Christina M. Fuges 24. November 2015

What's Out West?


MoldMaking Technology (MMT) once again sponsored the annual SPI Western Moldmakers Mike Koebel Trade Fair earlier this month in California. Senior Editor Cyndi Kustush and I headed out to Pomona for a week of customer visits, shop tours, an SPE Mold Technologies Division (MTD) Board meeting and the 25th anniversary of SPI's Moldmakers Trade Fair, which had more than 200 visitors from local moldmaking and molding facilities and educational/training organizations.

For the second year, MMT along with SPE MTD helped organize a free afternoon technical workshop (click links for PDFs of the presentations), which included Stratasys Applications Engineer Mark Bashor discussing plastic injection molding with 3D printed tooling. The program also offered a session on ultra-thin film coatings by Don Corbett, a product manager at Oerlikon Balzers Coating USA. Corrosion-resistant stainless steels was another hot topic. Bohler Uddeholm's Technical Manager Jim Kaszynski, and John Merlino, Regional Manager, broke down various mold steel grades. And last but not least, was how to build a well-designed maintenance plan by Progressive Components'  Jose Flores.  

The afternoon continued with the trade fair, and the room was bustling with wall-to-wall activity around the buffet-style dinner and supplier tabletops showcasing tooling and molding technology, products and services. The annual raffle prizes were a hit once again. The event happens each fall, so mark your calendars.

Click the image below for a slideshow.

By: Cynthia Kustush 23. November 2015

Don't Miss Carbon Fiber 2015

Moldmakers and molders who supply the automotive, aerospace, energy and high-speed transportation industries, among others, should not miss the chance to attend Carbon Fiber 2015, which will be held December 8 – 10 in Knoxville, TN. There is still time to register and save $150, compliments of MoldMaking Technology (use code: MMTDEAL).

Presented by our sister publication, Composites World, Carbon Fiber’s conference program is stocked full of the latest market data, application trends, advanced material development and technologies for using the lightweight yet strong composite materials.

While aerospace dominates the carbon fiber market now, there’s strong evidence to support the prediction that automotive will be the next leader in the use of the material. How will it affect the supply chain? What will be the impact on future business models and investment opportunities? Find out this and more at Carbon Fiber 2015.

Click HERE to register.

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