Investing in an injection mold to support high volume production is often the largest purchase to get an injection molding program off the ground. With the exception of the molding press, the injection mold itself is usually the highest up-front cost. If a press requires maintenance, however, the mold can be moved to another press to continue production. If the mold goes down, production stops. Just like capital equipment requires maintenance, the injection mold itself requires a regular maintenance program to keep the mold in optimum condition.
A properly constructed, quality mold is the key to quality parts. Adhering to a regular preventive mold maintenance regimen is a matter of necessity to consistently produce quality parts within customer specification.
Preventive Mold Maintenance Vital to Production
Performing preventive mold maintenance, before the mold requires repairs, is vital to supporting high volume production. Determining the proper maintenance regimen for injection molds is not a one size fits all scenario. Each mold is unique to the parts it produces and can be simple or complex, single or multi-cavity, cold or hot-runner, and any other number of distinct factors that exist in injection molds.
It is important to evaluate the condition of your tool after a set amount of cycles to formulate a preventive mold maintenance plan. Some tools can run 50,000 cycles before they require maintenance, while others will need to be taken apart and cleaned thoroughly after only 25,000 cycles. The plastic resin used in the molding process has impact on the wear and tear on the tool as a glass filled nylon, for example, will place greater wear on the tool than non-glass filled material.
Once your maintenance interval is determined, the extent of preventive maintenance (PM) can be determined and adjusted to fit your production schedule. If a mold is supporting high volume production that does not allow for much down time, PM can actually be performed right there at the press without taking the mold apart. This may satisfy intermediate cleanings, but a full PM where the mold is taken apart and cleaned thoroughly is still necessary at regularly determined intervals.
A process monitoring system or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can accurately keep track of all cycles, and automatically signal a PM work order to your mold maintenance department, for automatic PM scheduling. This is ideal for high volume production runs when you cannot afford to allow your tool to get dirty and produce sub-standard parts that require repair, rather than preventive maintenance.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is entirely true with injection mold maintenance. A preventive maintenance program will support your production to consistently produce the precision parts it was designed for.
Michiana Global Mold is a full-service injection mold making company, supporting high volume requirements for various industries. We are a valuable supplier to the Automotive industry, providing complex, precision molds with our ISO9001 Quality Management System. Contact us today to learn about our rebate program and to see how we can save you money on your injection mold requirements.