Plastic injection molds can be expensive, so it is important that companies using these molds protect their investment by practicing regular preventive maintenance. Companies are often tempted to skimp in this area and wait until their mold breaks down or has a serious problem before they call in maintenance and repair technicians. However, the truth is that trying to cut corners by skipping preventive maintenance usually ends up being less economical. Not only can preventive mold maintenance keep companies from ever having to pay for costly repairs to their molds, it can also greatly extend the working life of an injection mold. Perhaps more importantly, molds that are not regularly maintained will break down--but not before producing plenty of flawed or inconsistent shots. Mold maintenance is crucial because it affects the quality of the plastic component as well as a company’s bottom line.
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. Setting the schedule can be tricky, however because different molds age at different rates, conditions wearing them out differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. When figuring out how often a mold must be maintained, it is important to take into account the environment in which it is used-- how much moisture, pressure, and extreme temperature is it exposed to? Molds used with more abrasive materials will also need maintenance more often than those used with less abrasive polymers. Furthermore, how often a mold needs maintenance also depends on what kind of product it is being used for.
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. 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. While 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.
In addition to building custom injection molds for their customers, Crescent Industries provides documented preventative maintenance programs for all molds, helping to extend the life of your injection molding asset. From time to time the need arises when companies have problem molds, Crescent can help by providing quick modifications and repairs easily with our in-house capabilities and mold building expertise. For more information on Crescent Industries services and capabilities, click here.