By: Matthew Danford 24. November 2014

Improving Hot Runner Performance


Successful moldmakers are always looking to improve, but that would be much more difficult if their technology suppliers weren’t doing the same thing. During a recent visit to Plastic Engineering & Technical Services (PETS), I learned about some major changes the supplier has made in the design of its hot runner systems, all of which are manufactured at its Auburn Hills, Michigan headquarters facility. “We’ve redesigned everything from top to bottom in the last three years or so,” says Steven Hinderer, global sales manager. “They’re smaller, they heat up faster, and the heating is more uniform.”

Hinderer attributes much of the gain to investments in camera and software technology for thermal imaging. As a result, determining how a hot runner will perform is a much faster and easier process compared to years past, when systems had to be probed. Faster thermal studies, in turn, enable the company to arrive more quickly at better designs. As one result of such studies, the company replaced previously used band-style nozzle heaters with systems that provide more uniform temperatures, as shown in the thermal map above. “We’ve been using these for a few years, and we haven’t had a single one burn out,” Hinderer adds.

That’s not the only type of heater that’s been replaced. The company has also switched from pre-bent manifold heaters to flexible models like the one shown below. These heaters can be ordered in the needed length and arranged as-needed to suit virtually any manifold geometry. The result? Less inventory, and reduced risk of delays associated with systems not fitting together properly. Additionally, the systems attach to channels via grooves machined with a special cutter, a configuration that makes them both easier to install and more stable than previous models.

By: Christina M. Fuges 21. November 2014

New Amerimold Expo Website

With the new year right around the corner, we want to make sure you have Amerimold 2015 on your travel calendars. We have revamped the website to more easily bring you the event details you need to make your plans, including a 2014 post show review, exhibitor list, floor plan, education, events, hotel and registration information. 

For 2015 the technical conference will continue with its Engineer, Build, Maintain focus, but we will be offering more session options to cover more technology topics as requested. New for this event will be the colocation of the Molding 2015 conference sponsored by Plastics Technology magazine, which coincides with our efforts to bridge the gap between the mold manufacturing and processing worlds. 

The Molding conference will focus on innovations in manufacturing technologies of consumer and industrial products. Industry leaders will present the latest development in various injection molding processes, hardware and controls.

Take a look at the new site today, but be sure to check back regularly for updates as we develop the programming. 



By: Christina M. Fuges 20. November 2014

VIDEO: Making Gun Parts

Okuma manufactures CNC machine tools, drives, motors, encoders, spindles and CNC controls, and its new video series demonstrates this technology in gun parts manufacturing. The videos showcase the machining of a custom-designed rifle stock mold on a vertical machining center; an AR15 Upper being machined on a horizontal machining center; a gun barrel extension being cut on a horizontal lathe, which uses a variety of cutting tools and operations; a commemorative gun-shaped plaque for a firearms event being milled a small vertical machining center; a 1911 trigger housing being machined on a vertical machining center equipped with a rotary table; and, a .50 caliber revolver cylinder being cut on a three turret horizontal lathe.

Note: Some of the videos were filmed without the use of coolant, to better show the cutting capabilities of the machine, without visual interference. CNC machine operation without coolant is not recommended.

By: Matthew Danford 19. November 2014

How Do You Compare with the Typical IMTS Attendee?

 IMTS attendees gather at the show’s emerging technology center, where an entire car was built from the ground up via additive manufacturing technology. (This was later featured on the "Today" show.)

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 2 months since the big show. By all accounts, IMTS 2014 was a hit. The fourth largest IMTS in history, its 114,147 registrants marked a 14-percent increase over the 2012 show and helped make the event the largest six-day show ever.

But just who were those 114,147 people? That is, what are their roles within their companies, how large are those companies, and what did attendees hope to get out of the event? The answers to these questions are featured in an infographic that appeared in a recent edition of the IMTS Insider e-newsletter. Visit to see it.

By: Christina M. Fuges 18. November 2014

Trade Fair Takeaways

(L to R) Glenn Starkey, SPE Mold Making and Mold Design Division Chair; Christina Fuges, MoldMaking Technology; Jill Brandts, SPI Western Moldmakers Division; and Cyndi Kustush, SPE Mold Making and Mold Design Division.

1. Anything with a handle is a candidate for conformal cooling.

2. When investing in new technology think B.R.A.I.N (Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition and No go).

3. Disorganization in the toolroom does lead to disaster.

These are just three of the many tidbits attendees walked away with from last week's SPI Western Moldmakers Division Annual Mike Koebel Trade Fair in Pomona, California. This year marks the fair's first time offering a conference track prior to the fair's late afternoon exhibit and networking event.

Click HERE for more takeaways.

MoldMaking Technology teamed up with Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Mold Making and Mold Design Division as well as the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) to select three of the top presentation topics from Amerimold 2014 in Novi, Michigan, to update  and then repeat to this west coast audience.

Lou Young from Livonia, Michigan's Linear Mold presented the dollars and sense of conformal cooling; Andrew Samrick of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Paragon D&E shared lessons learned from the company's profiting and pitfalls of new technology investment; and Steve Shannon of ToolingDocs out of Ashland, Ohio, discussed the impact of a truly organized toolroom.

A room of 30 attendees filled the seats for the first-time conference, while the fair drew in attendance numbers it has not seen in years: 150 attendees. A successful afternoon and evening; definitely a foundation to build upon for the Fair's 25th anniversary next year!

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