CYCLE TIME OPTIMIZATION: The Importance of Why
Cycle time plays a significant role in the injection molding process, including the quality of the parts produced, but especially the impact it makes on a company’s financial bottom line. Further optimizing a molding cycle can improve the production process, lower energy and labor costs, while also increasing profits. An additional two seconds on a given cycle may require extra hours of production, in turn taking away expected profit, and lessening the return on investment. Eliminating seconds from a cycle time can lead to an increased number of parts produced in the same or less time, as well as increased profits by the thousands. However, reducing cycle times is not always a ‘one size fit all’ concept for mold makers when evaluating their production process and performance. Reducing cycle times may also lead to mold damage or compromise a part’s quality, therefore should be carefully gauged and adjusted.
There are many areas to consider when trying to reduce cycle times during an injection molding process.
A few to consider are:
- Cooling time optimization of mold
- Reducing nozzle force, instead of retracting the nozzle completely
- Strategically setting pause time just enough to drop the part – no more, no less – to eliminate excess movement
- Eliminate unnecessary movements
- Setting appropriate pause time to drop the part
- Open a mold only as far as needed