A Collaboration to Put “Collapse” on the Rise
“The idea behind Demo Day was let’s not just talk about the benefits of c-core technology, let’s build a mold so people can see up close the true capabilities of the DT Core as it molds a typical cap.”
Collapsible core technology has been in the marketplace for many years; however, skepticism on the part of contract manufacturers, injection moldmakers and OEMs remained a barrier to its growth in the caps and closures market—until now. Because of a unique partnership, companies are now able to realize the cost savings the technology allows through fast cycle time, simplified mold design, and improved part performance.
Combining Dove Tail Collapsible Core (DT Core) technology from Roehr Tool, a four-cavity mold and use of the technology center at Westminster Tool, and a hot runner system from Mastip, a high-performance mold was created to demonstrate the capabilities of this technology. Once the system was in place and up and running, it was show time.
Customers, prospects, and industry experts were invited in for a visit to see the mold in action and to discuss in person the real possibilities for it to be used in caps and closure applications. Students from local colleges and technical high schools also took part in this industry event. This gave the students a glimpse not only at the technology itself, but the importance of collaboration between companies in order to achieve innovation. The event drew more than 100 eager participants to the Westminster facility in Plainfield, CT, on October 3, 2012.
“The idea behind Demo Day was let’s not just talk about the benefits of c-core technology, let’s build a mold so people can see up close the true capabilities of the DT Core as it molds a typical cap,” explains Al Hickok, who is Roehr’s Technical Sales Manager. “Realizing the potential impact of this endeavor, we pursued collaboration with other companies.
“Mastip and Westminster wanted to participate in the project for different reasons,” Hickok adds.
Westminster VP of Sales & Marketing, Mark Ypsilantis describes, “We wanted to find out more about the technology and be able to present it as an alternative solution to customers. Westminster is not content with providing just conventional injection mold design solutions; we strive to leverage new technology like the DT Core.”
Mastip’s motivation for involvement was not only the prospect of being part of something new and innovative in the market, but also to boost the company’s efforts to become a premier source for hot runner solutions in the US market. “Gaining exposure and building a solid presence in the U.S. market as a world-class hot runner supplier has been at the core of our marketing efforts this year,” Dave Shirley, North American Regional Sales Manager for Mastip explains. “When the opportunity to be part of the DT Core collaboration was presented, we jumped at the chance to align ourselves with two well respected companies which also place a high value on technological advancement and performance.”
“The suppliers’ willingness to spend time and money on the Demo Day concept, which hadn’t been done before, really impressed me,” comments Dave Helenius, Roehr’s Engineering Manager. “It shows how much faith each supplier has in its own product or service and how much they believe in Roehr’s DT Core product.”
“Positive feedback from Roehr’s customers that provide high-volume molding utilizing DT Cores made Westminster a firm believer in the technology,” states Ypsilantis.
The Collapsing Core
Roehr Tool Corporation was founded in 1965 to build and sell the patented collapsible core. The company also manufactures expandable cavities and minicores, which are mini collapsible cores, designed to mold parts as small as 0.425 inch.
Despite its years on the market, for some, c-cores are a new technology. For others, rack and gear unscrewing systems, for all their complexity and high maintenance, have been too embedded in the mindset for molding threaded parts. But there are two reasons c-cores are seeing a resurgence of interest.
One is the introduction in 2009 of the mechanical DT Core. Two is the economy. When it took a downturn, people started looking for more cost-effective ways to build unscrewing molds.
Compared to the original 12-segmented, spring/flexing steel type “RT” Core, the DT Core has six segments and offers the benefits of variable collapse, split plate actuation and simplified sequencing.
Hickok explains that while the draw at Demo Day was DT Cores, there was also an opportunity to add other technologies and companies to the mix to maximize the value for attendees spending half a day out of the office to learn a new approach to molding caps and closures.
“Progressive Components contributed its new Z-Series alignment locks, the CVe Monitor and Plate Locks for the demo tool, which generated high interest on the part of attendees,” Hickok states. “It should also be noted that the four-cavity demo mold was built using Roehr’s ProtoBridge System, which was reworked by Westminster for this project.”
“The rework included a complete new cavity plate, cavities and gate inserts in order to interface with the new hot runner system,” Ypsilantis explains. “It also included the installation of Progressive’s Z-Series alignment locks and a CVe monitor. Modification of stripper rings to accept the new DT Core retention sleeve, and replacement of all ancillary mold components rounded out the facelift.”
The mechanical design features within the dove-tail core technology is what attracted the attention of Westminster to this project from a tooling standpoint. Westminster has been designing and manufacturing precision injection molds since 1998. They have extensive experience in the caps and closures market. Westminster provides manufacturing solutions, ranging from research and development studies, to complete production solutions for customers. Committed to being a leader when it comes to technology development, they make bold investments in technologies in an effort to offer plastic and composite processing and injection mold and tooling innovations.
When Westminster opened its technology center three years ago, its primary purpose was to provide injection mold validation as well as research and development services to its customers. Ypsilantis describes, “Our philosophy is to be continually seeking out technologies that will separate us from other suppliers—in doing so we offer our customers a solution that will in turn separate them from their competition. It’s a win-win scenario.”
As a part of this philosophy, the 3,000-square foot technology center at Westminster was poised to become the home-base for collaboration with Roehr to build and demonstrate the sustainability of this cutting-edge mold technology.
Ypsilantis admits, “The up-front costs for customers to build a mold with DT Core technology versus using conventional unscrewing methods are higher. However, the customer sees the ROI through reduced cycle time, lower mold cavitation, less mold complexity and a smaller injection molding machine overall. The ultimate cost savings for the customer is in the design simplicity and improvement in performance of the parts.”
He continues, “The features of C-core technology with the dove-tail design combined with Roehrs’ warranty allowed it to be used within an SPI class 101 mold. This is an arena meant for high production molds—now the technology has an entry point into this important part of the market.”
Veterans of the caps and closures moldmaking market, Westminster quickly realized the game-changing aspects this technology could bring to the industry, and wanted to be a part of that innovation.
The Hot Runner
The importance of the hot runner system in a high-performance mold working at an increased cycle rate is obvious. Mastip is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative hot runner solutions for the plastics industry worldwide. They excel at working with each customer to understand their exact molding requirements and deliver solutions to fit each specific application. Through their well-established global sales network Mastip provides complete support from initial specification requests through to post-sales service for all systems across the globe. Mastip brought this expertise in service, as well as their extensive caps and closure experience, to the equation when joining the collaborative efforts underway with Roehr and Westminster.
Mastip continues to invest in building their North American presence. Seeing an opportunity to participate in a collaborative effort based in North America, Mastip contributed a complete four-drop hot runner system for this project. According to Ypsilantis, “This was the first Mastip system in place on a Westminster project. Both the performance of the system and the level of service and support provided throughout development and into the production phase were impressive.”
A Collaborating Success
“We now have a ‘tool’ to put in front of customers who have been reluctant to try
C-core technology in the past. We are slowly eliminating the excuses for not giving this technology a try,” comments Helenius. “The huge cycle time advantages are now not just rumors, they can be shown first hand. From the attendance numbers and the positive feedback we have received from the visiting customers, I think future Demo Day events will be accepted and well attended.”
“Incredibly, the genesis of this collaboration happened merely eight weeks before the Demo Day event took place,” Ypsilantis points out. “If not for the synergy between these three forward-thinking companies, the collaboration would not have met with such success. We are already responding to serious quote requests using this technology and look forward to incorporating it into our portfolio of mold solutions.”
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