Are your molds requiring maintenance or causing production issues sooner than they should? Are they getting damaged prematurely leading to unanticipated costs and downtime? We understand that time is money, especially in the molding industry. While molds are arguably the most critical and one of the expensive elements of the molding process, they shouldn’t need to be taken out of service and reworked month after month.
We have highlighted six of the simplest strategies to prevent your molds from being damaged or requiring premature maintenance. While they may seem small, proper care and techniques go a long way. Follow these steps to save your dollars and keep your molds running smoothly for as long as possible.
Using the right material
Every mold has preferred applications that produce the best results. Different plastic material types require specific temperatures, pressures and working conditions and therefore should be chosen carefully. To attain the maximum service life of your mold, use plastic material that will perform best within the molding permeameters. By matching the material’s specifications to the mold’s, your molding process will create the least amount of mold damage possible.
Mold cleaning and care
Planned, regular maintenance, as well as cleaning, is essential for the longevity of any piece of equipment. Always inspect, clean and grease molds that are used in production a minimum of once per shift and be sure to fix any damage right away. Even small issues can reduce productivity and take years off a mold’s life span.
To prevent outside sources from infiltrating the mold, excess and unwanted resins, grease, oil and other contaminants should be removed regularly. When doing this, using the proper mold cleaning materials and techniques is very important. Slide provides a variety of mold cleaning products such as Resin Remover, Mold Cleaner Wipes, and Quick Injection Mold Cleaner, and our expert sales team is always available to discuss what formula would work best for you.
While clamp speeds play a big role in cycle time, faster speeds are not always better because of their tendency to wear and damage tools. It is important to frequently monitor the closing and opening speeds of the moldclose/fast speeds for signs of lunging. Over time, even minor transition issues can cause major misalignment and mold damage.
Regularly testing the opening and closing of a mold ensures maximum productivity on all levels. Finding a clamp speed that is efficient but doesn’t cause damage will do wonders within a molding process.
Applying protective coatings
The proper mold coating makes all the difference when running cycle after cycle. A protective coating can not only make tooling materials harder, but also shield against corrosion and rust. This in turn decreases the yield loss and downtime due to worn valve gates or other mold components.
Rust preventives are one of the most common mold coatings. Because even the smallest contaminants can cause rust, these sprays protect molds and dies against numerous outside threats. By combating the solution at its origin, protective rust preventive coatings allow for your time and attention to be focused on other production areas.
Proper startup and shutdown methods
As explained in our recent blog, establishing proper shutdown and startup practices will keep equipment in the best shape possible. Doing so can decrease downtime and waste which ultimately saves both time and money.
Taking the time to perform the proper steps when using a mold has outstanding effects on its performance over time. Molds can be temperamental and therefore need to be taken care of even after they’re done producing parts. From proper testing and prepping to proper purging and storing, going the extra mile can dramatically extend the mold’s life span.
Paying attention to temperature
High and uneven mold temperatures tend to have a negative effect on a mold’s life. Therefore, it is important to monitor mold temperatures as much as possible during production. When in cycle, the temperature should never go higher than the mold specifications and should stay rather constant. For the best results, choose to use mold materials that can safely handle the desired temperature and balance the cooling process.
By following these six steps, you are sure to get the most bang out of your molding bucks. Don’t settle for procedures, molds, or equipment that constantly needs to be replaced and instead take the best procedural practices into your own hands.
Here at Slide, we hope to use our decades of plastics processing knowledge to help our customers get the most out of their molding processes. Our goal is to save you money and time without sacrificing the quality of your work. Our factory experts and distributors are always eager to answer questions and provide support to help you run your molding operations with the highest efficiencies.