PT Blog

By: Garrett MacKenzie 6/5/2020

Fundamentals of Proper Press Shutdown

Fundamentals of Proper Press Shutdown

In the fast-paced world of injection molding, the key drivers of a plant’s profits are downtime, efficiencies and scrap. A company’s success relies heavily upon quick and efficient startups. Elimination and avoidance of unplanned downtime events also plays a critical part in profitability.

Press shutdown procedures have a significant effect on achieving smooth machine startups and restarts. Moreover, presses shut down poorly quite often lead to process failures and downtime. This article will outline potential downtime events that have a direct relationship with poorly performed press stops. It will also provide a solid approach based on time that will help to reduce, and in most cases eliminate, scrap and downtime associated with press shutdown.
 

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Recycled Resin Gains Molder a Green Niche

George Staniulis often encounters a certain skepticism about his company’s business model. He is vice president of custom injection molder AGS Technology Inc. in Batavia, Ill., which specializes in turning plastic waste into automotive components. Many aspects of the recycling industry have changed over the 25 years that AGS has been in business, but one particular concern from customers has not. “The question always comes up: ‘What happens if you can’t get the recycled material,’” Staniulis says. “So we say that, ‘If we can’t supply recycled, we’ll use virgin and there’ll be no cost penalty to you.’ And that—knock on Formica—hasn’t happened.”

 Staniulis and AGS co-founder Christopher Racelis have more than 70 years of combined experience in plastics recycling. Today, Staniulis and Racelis are injection molders, but they began life in the plastics industry as compounders. In fact, it was experience in compounding with recycled resin as a feedstock that pushed them to start AGS and deflect the “finger pointing” that often accompanied the use of recycled resin, particularly when it went awry.

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Molder Pushes Limits of Rapid Tooling in Coronavirus Crash Projects

Injection molders have probably all encountered customers that demand projects to be executed with impossibly short lead times. But an entirely different sense of urgency has galvanized plastics processors to devote every resource and stretch their capabilities to meet the need for protective masks and testing devices in the global battle against the novel coronavirus. One such molder is Harbec, Inc. in Ontario, N.Y., which relied on both its molding skills and moldmaking expertise to beat the clock in three COVID-19 related projects—and in the process accomplish new feats with 3D-printed tooling.

Harbec is a custom injection molder and moldmaker with additional metalworking business in aluminum aircraft parts and titanium surgical implants. “We started out as a machine shop,” notes company president Bob Bechtold, “and got into molding to give our tooling customers more confidence in our know-how.”

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EVCO Plastics Gears Up To Mold Coronavirus Test Kits

EVCO Plastics is a global custom injection molder with nine plants and 210 machines devoted to a wide range of markets. Its medical business, in particular, is humming with new projects aimed at combatting the coronavirus pandemic. The company has three plants and a Tech Center at its headquarters location in DeForest, Wis. Both people and machines were transferred from some of these to the EVCO Plastics MED (Medical and Electronic Devices) Plant, which has an ISO Class 8/Class 100,000 clean room, where the bulk of these COVID-19 related projects are underway. At the end of May, EVCO had 17 machines molding COVID-19 related parts, and orders were still increasing.

“We’ve been doing DNA test kits, used for criminal investigations and consumer ancestry analyses, for some time,” says EVCO president Dale Evans. “So we repurposed some resources from that to COVID-19 test components.”

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Fast, Simple, Low-Cost Method Unveils ‘True’ Melt Temperature

There is general agreement among processing specialists that melt-temperature control remains one of the “last frontiers” of injection molding process control. “You can’t control what you can’t measure” is a fundamental axiom, and the real problem here is the lack of an accurate, repeatable, practical, and generally accepted method of measuring the melt temperature inside the barrel or nozzle of an injection machine.

Methods tried in the past include inserting a sensor through the wall of the nozzle. Experts say the sensor reading with this method is overwhelmingly influenced by the steel temperature of the nozzle rather than the melt. Even if the tip of the sensor is exposed directly to the melt, it will measure only the cooler, slower-moving melt closest to the nozzle wall, due to the laminar-flow behavior of plastics. And it has proven impractical to insert the sensor near to the center of the flowing stream, owing to the dynamic forces on the fragile sensor.

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