How to choose and use the right mold cleaners
Cleaning molds is a key part of running a successful injection molding operation. It starts with choosing
the right cleaner for the right cleaning situation:
Offline – when the mold is cold (at room temperature) and on the bench, ready to be placed into
Online – when the mold is warm and still in the press, about to be used with a different resin
for the next production run.
The determining factor is mold temperature. Using a solvent designed for the wrong mold temperature may
result in poor cleaning or excessive time to accomplish the job.
Offline solvents, for example, evaporate at a convenient rate, making them ideal for cleaning cold molds on
the bench. But if those solvents are used on warm molds, they're flashed off rapidly, preventing sufficient
contact time for cleaning to be effective.
Online solvents work well at higher temperatures, making them perfect for cleaning warm molds. However,
their aggressiveness and effectiveness diminishes at room temperature, making these solvents much less
effective for cleaning cold molds on the bench.
Following is a description of the solvents available for offline vs. online mold cleaning to help you choose
the one that works best for you.
Offline Cleaning Solvents
With their very fast evaporation rate, offline cleaners such as Slide
Mold Cleaner 4 readily dissolve resins, grease, oil, mold release and sometimes rust
simply by flushing the mold with a heavy spray from top to bottom. While chlorinated hydrocarbons are the
most effective, some non-chlorinated hydrocarbons and naphthas also work quite well.
In some situations, a cloth saturated with cleaner may be required to scrub mold release and resin build-up
off the mold. Pre-saturated mold cleaning wipes are now
available to make this job easier. They come packaged in a canister similar to baby wipes. Among their
advantages, wipes are:
- Guaranteed to be sterile, lint-free and clean
- Perfect for precision cleaning
- Pre-saturated with the ideal amount of solvent
- Easy-to-use, with non-hazardous disposal
Another option for offline cleaning is mold
polish and cleaning compound – a combination of solvents and mild abrasives that has proven
effective in removing contaminants from mold and die surfaces. It comes in a paste that must be applied and
removed manually. A side benefit is that it leaves a surface sheen or luster that serves as a natural
lubricant and mold release, minimizing the need for other products when the mold goes back into production.
Online Cleaning Solvents
Online cleaners such as Slide On/Cycle Mold Cleaner are
specially designed to remove mold release build up and light rusting from warm molds still in the press.
Their slow evaporation rate allows chemicals to remain on the mold surface for a longer period of time,
maximizing cleaning effectiveness.
One of the toughest cleaning jobs is removing acetals such as Delrin® and Celcon® or fire retardant
materials that adhere to warm molds. These build-ups can cause mold "plate out," impacting quality. This
build-up must be chemically removed from the mold surface in order to minimize potential part deformation.
Resin removers are designed to break down this
residue and help remove unwanted resin from the mold surface.
Test Slide Before You Buy
Using effective cleaning solutions from Slide Products will help you increase manufacturing efficiency and
decrease overall costs. The best way to know which products work best is to try them out. Trial samples of
all products are available at SlideProducts.com.
Not sure where to start? Our extensive network of local distributors
can help you with product selection. You can also contact us or call Slide at