I want to introduce you not only to a new column that we are beginning this year, but to the man behind the concept. He is an industry colleague with whom I’ve had countless conversations over the years on everything from hot runners and thermography to kids and politics. Lately, our phone calls have focused on a new engineering approach that has the potential to transform your business: “Thinking in plastic first, then steel.”
This approach can help ensure that your moldmaking adds even more value by solving or improving plastic injection molding problems. In order to do that, you must understand the injection molding process. This series of articles is here to help you do just that, breaking down the path a plastic pellet takes as it transforms into a part. Hence, the series name: Pellet 2 Part (P2P).
The man who helped develop the concept for this series is Rich Oles of Stone Plastics & Manufacturing Inc. in Zeeland, Michigan, where he has been director of molding and currently is tooling manager. Prior to joining Stone Plastics, Rich was the VP of engineering at P.E.T.S (Plastic Engineering & Technical Service), and prior to that he served as president and CEO for North America of PSG Plastic Service Group Inc., a German-headquartered OEM of hot runner manifold and hot runner control systems. Rich’s plastics-related resume of employment, training and education reaches back further, but I’d rather spend this page telling you about the origin and purpose of this new series.
While brainstorming with Rich on this series, he relayed this story to me: “A friend once told me, ‘You need to think in plastic, not steel.’ This was during my transition from moldmaker/mold designer to hot runner manifold supplier/OEM designer, and he was right. I am a moldmaker/mold designer/modeler first. The rest of my experience supports and advances the plastic injection molding process. That is why MMT is the right vehicle for this series. The mold builder of today needs to consider every aspect of the plastic injection molding industry in the never-ending pursuit of adding value to the end customer.”
Within this series of articles, we will introduce you to people and companies that are interested in sharing their expertise and experience, in the hopes of helping you better understand plastic injection molding and therefore add value to your mold manufacturing operations.
Our 2015 topics will include: raw material and what every moldmaker should know about it; the melt delivery system (screw, valve and end cap); hot and cold runner systems; hot runner controllers (standalone and HMI); mold cooling optimized by design; plant water basics and how it impacts performance; and automation in handling the post-molded part.
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One way to properly manage the moldmaking supply chain is to implement ISO guiding principles that govern every activity within a mold shop or molding facility.