A new modular controller for hot runners reportedly yields an early return on investment by virtue of its accuracy, durability, and operator-friendliness. The Ion Series from Fast Heat Inc., Elmhurst, Ill., controls up to 24 zones. Its PID software takes temperature readings 30 times a second to maintain temperatures within narrow tolerances. The company claims that the software “removes many of the variables inherent in standard modular controllers,” and the operator interface is designed so that the user is never more than one click away from the main screen. The simple interface reportedly eliminates need for operator training and saves hours of troubleshooting by maintenance supervisors. Also, ruggedized circuit boards, triacs, and fuses are said to help prevent the module repairs that have plagued many hot-runner systems.
Other features include sequenced heatup that helps prevent damage to heater seals by heating the largest steel mass—the manifolds—first, and then the drops. Zones are slaved so that if one thermocouple fails, control of that zone can be switched manually or automatically to another zone. The “waterfall” arrangement of zones reduces peak energy demand by distributing power across all three electrical phase legs.