Mold maintenance, refers to the cleaning and repairs that are needed to keep an injection mold in the best working order. Maintenance is performed routinely over the life of the mold, and also when any problems arise.Mold maintenance is crucial because it affects the quality of the plastic component as well as a company’s bottom line.
The condition of the injection mold affects the quality of the plastic components produced. Your molds and tools are critical assets to your company, yet many buyers overlook mold maintenance when making sourcing decisions. In fact, how your supplier maintains your molds is a critical aspect of a successful long-term business relationship.
What problems does mold neglect cause?
Injection molds undergo a lot of stress in the course of carrying out the molding process. Depending on the design of your mold, factors like temperature fluctuations, opening and closing of the mold, ejector pin action, and other movements can all cause natural wear and tear on a mold. A good injection mold will be designed to handle this wear and tear, but unpredictable situations can still arise as a result of these numerous stresses and the nearly innumerable permutations in which they can interact.
Temperature fluctuations, for instance, can cause both internal and external stress on the mold. Especially if the mold is not designed in such a way as to allow for more uniform cooling, molds can expand and contract in response to heating and cooling, and can weaken from the stress — and potentially even crack.
The moving parts of the mold are susceptible to friction, rough points of contact, and mechanical breakdown. A mold that doesn’t open and close smoothly, for instance, may be subject to impact stress as the two halves meet each other. Ejector pins may not function properly after a certain number of molding cycles. What’s more, the friction of the moving parts, in addition to creating extra heat, may eventually wear away at critical parts of the mold, creating unintended cavity shapes or compromised contact points.
Aside from the aspects inherent to the mold itself, there are also maintenance issues related to the material injected into the mold. As the mold completes more and more cycles, minute amounts of material residue can begin to collect inside the mold cavities. Over time, these deposits can accumulate and affect the interior shape of the cavity — and thus, the shape of the finished part. Deposits in mold runners or the mold cavity can also affect cycle time and, left unchecked, can even begin to prevent the substrate from reaching areas of the mold.
If a mold is used with different materials, these deposits might also create unintended interactions, depending on the chemical makeup of those materials. This, in turn, can affect the structural integrity of the finished product.
What does injection mold maintenance involve?
The most important part of mold maintenance is creating a maintenance schedule and sticking to it tightly. Molds must be maintained regularly if their lifespan is to be prolonged. Ideally, manufacturers should perform cleanings, inspections and maintenance on molds after they have undergone a set number of cycles. However,Setting the schedule can be tricky, because different molds age at different rates, conditions wearing them out differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.
One way to begin figuring out how often a facility should perform maintenance on each type of mold is to keep a log of all mold maintenance and repairs that become necessary. Be sure to keep track of the data and information you collect in a centralized log for easy reference.Knowing how often a given type of mold will break down without maintenance can help factories determine how often it needs to be inspected. The manufacturers of the injection mold will also be able to provide information on how often the mold will likely need maintenance. Advice from manufacturers will of course be more helpful if they have adequate information about the environment in which the mold will be used.
Regular mold maintenance and cleaning can improve shot quality, as molds will be in a more uniform state of cleanliness and wear and thus produce more uniform results. The most important factor in making sure molds are always in good condition is the regularity of maintenance, it is also essential that the right kind of maintenance is performed. It is especially important to pay attention to hot runners and water lines, as they often cause mold performance problems. Mold maintenance should also of course include lubrication, cleaning and tightening of all parts. Finally, rust prevention sprays must be applied to a cool, dry mold if they are to work.
Working with a reliable injection mold supplier as a strategic partner can help reduce many of the risks and costs. OK industry has served the injection molding industry for over 15 years and has a team dedicated to providing you with the most cost effective solutions for design and manufacturing injection mold.Please visit us at :okmolding.com or contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.