When Do You Need a Hot Runner Mold?

 

Avoid Costly Runners

A hot runner mold is desirable in situations where you would have a large runner that would go to waste, thus raising the cost with excess material.  While the cost of a hot runner tool may be more than a standard cold runner mold, an economic analysis may reveal that the cost savings could pay for itself in a reasonable amount of time.  This would be especially true if the material is a costly specialty raw resin.  

Improve Geometrical Tolerances

In a hot runner mold, the material is injected directly into the cavity through a nozzle, rather than flow through the runner system.  This is done with more pressure than a cold runner tool, and can improve filling and packing into critical dimensional areas.   The pressure utilized in a hot runner tool can improve consistency in the molding process, thus improving the quality of the parts.

Improve Cycle Time

Due to the increased pressure, a hot runner tool may bring an improvement in cycle times.  All plastic processors know the value of an improved cycle time as increased efficiency equates to increased profits.   When applied to a multi-cavity tool on a high-volume project, the savings in cycle time alone could be quite significant, not to mention improving lead times with production parts.   The volume of production required from the tool is a big consideration when weighing the benefits of a hot runner tool versus a cold runner tool.

Flexible Gate Location

A hot runner tool allows for flexibility with the gate location, which can be placed in the most desirable area for consistent filling and packing.  In parts with high visibility, gate location is important to the aesthetics as well as function of the molded product.

There are two different types of gating mechanisms for hot runner tools, a thermal gate or hot-tip gating system, or a valve gate.  With a thermal gate the nozzle hardens at the tip, allowing the parts to disconnect from the nozzle prior to ejecting.

In a valve gating system, a valve slides over the nozzle tip prior to ejecting, assisting with ejection if the material does not solidify completely in the tip.  

Michiana Global Mold has knowledge and experience designing and manufacturing precision hot runner tools for customers demanding a high level of quality.  Contact Michiana Global Mold today for a free cost analysis of your next mold building project.  

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How is a Shuttle Mold Used?

 

 

A Shuttle mold is a mold system with one A side, and multiple B sides.  This is used in a vertical clamping press, as opposed to a horizontal clamping press.  A vertical clamping press is used for over molding, also referred to as insert molding.

 

Insert molding occurs when plastic is molded around an object such as a metal or even another plastic insert.  A shuttle mold system is used on a rotary table press so that there are two, three or sometimes four bottom sides, rotating around on the table allowing an operator or a robot to place the insert into the cavity in the mold.  When the bottom side spins around, the top half of the mold will come down vertically clamping onto the B side to mold plastic around the insert.  

 

This system can be labor intensive requiring an operator to load inserts, and unload molded product, unless the job is set up with automatic robots for this purpose.  This is different than most horizontal molding processes in which the there is one A and B side of the mold, sliding on a horizontal plane, coming together for the injection molding process, then the parts are automatically ejected with an ejector system falling into a desired location, usually a bin or box underneath the mold.  

 

Most horizontal injection molding jobs are fully automatic once the mold is set in the press, some can even run in a lights-out situation if automated auxiliary equipment is established.  A vertical molding press with a shuttle mold system typically employs an operator, although they can also be automated.  

 

Some examples of insert molding would be electrical wire harnesses that are partially encased in plastic, or even knives or silverware that have plastic molded around a metal object.   Shuttle molds are used in plastic injection molding for various industries including Electronics, Consumer Goods, Automotive, Aerospace and Military / Defense industries.  

Michiana Global Mold has experience constructing precision shuttle molds, and virtually any other type of plastic injection mold base used in various industries.  We are a valuable supplier to the Automotive industry with complex tools meeting tight geometrical dimensional specifications.  Contact Michiana Global Mold today, and ISO9001:2015 Registered mold maker.  

 

How a Prototype Mold Can Benefit Your Project

 

When engineers are designing new models of mass produced parts, you want to know if your new design will function as it should in the assembled product.  One way to verify your new part design is with a Prototype mold.

A Prototype mold can be constructed for less money than a full size standard mold to verify the functionality of the desired part.  Prototype molds are typically constructed with a less expensive material such as aluminum, non-hardened steel or P20, and usually contain just one cavity rather than multiple cavities, as only one part is needed to verify dimensions and part function.

This is advantageous in many industries such as the Automotive industry, where new model year automobiles combine new parts with current parts on the same vehicle.  In some designs, not all parts are updated or replaced yet all parts in any particular assembly must function perfectly together. A Prototype tool will give you the flexibility to test out and alter if need be, a newly designed part that will function to your specifications.  

Advantages of Prototype Molds

Since Prototype tools are constructed with less expensive, and less sturdy steel, it can only be used to produce short lots for testing purposes.  The material would not hold up for any large or standard production runs.  

This can still be a very worthwhile investment, however, especially if you are uncertain as to how the dimensions on one part will fit with your application, or if you just want to test it out prior to building the production mold.  Since the Prototype tools is quite economical, it could be advantageous to start here if you have any questions about a new project.

Michiana Global Mold has the resources, the experience and the experts on staff to build your Prototype tool to your specifications, allowing you to test your products prior to investing in standard mold bases.

Michiana Global Mold has vast experience helping engineers and designers achieve their geometrical and dimensional goals with design assistance and Prototype Mold Construction.  Contact Michiana Global Mold today to see how we can assist you with your project development goals.  

 

Press Considerations for Injection Mold Design

 

 

When constructing plastic or rubber injection molds, in addition to the part design the molding environment that the tool will run in is of the utmost importance.  A mold designer must be aware of the injection molding process that the tool is designed for, the press it will run in including the clamping system and whether or not it is a vertical or horizontal clamping press.

 

Each injection molding press will have a particular clamping pressure that is either delivered in an electric or hydraulic system.  Some molders prefer to use all hydraulic presses, while some have a mix of hydraulic and electric, while other molders use only electric machines.  There are some benefits to both, but the mold designer must be well aware of the power and pressure utilized in the press of choice prior to designing and constructing the injection molds.

 

A mold designer, and mold builder will need to know the tonnage of the press, the clamping orientation and clamping pressure whether it is electric or hydraulic, and they will also need to know the barrel capacity of the press.  This will determine how much material will be able to flow into the mold, and based on cycle times and cavitation, will determine whether or not the tool is designed to meet projected production volume requirements.

 

Each injection molding press will also have a certain type of mounting system to secure the mold in the press.  A toe-clamping system is most common, although a skilled mold designer can adapt the tool to fit even a custom designed mounting system.  The platen must be large enough to hold the mold but it must also allow enough room to pass through the tie-bars when loading or unloading the mold.  The tie bars hold the mounting platens in place which securely hold the mold in the press, and also contain the ejection system allowing opening and closing of the mold.

 

Michiana Global Mold has vast experience designing complex, precision molds for various industries, meeting all requirements of our customers molding environment.  We are valuable addition to any supply chain, providing proven solutions with high performing quality steel molds.  Contact us today for a free design consultation, and to learn more about our discount and rebate programs.  

How to Find a Qualified Mold Builder

 

Experience

There are at least three very important factors when looking for a qualified mold builder:  Experience, Technology, and Resources.  Experience is crucial when designing and building complicated, precision injection molds.  An experienced mold designer and mold builder will have encountered many situations that enhance even the most skilled and experienced mold designer.   As in any other situation, one continues to draw form their experiences.   Even with technology and resources, nothing can provide you with the knowledge and ability to recognize solutions like experience.  

At Michiana Global Mold, we have been supplying the automotive industry with precision complex tool designs and injection molds for over 52 years!  We have a combined experience of over 600 years with our skilled designing engineers and journeyman mold makers.

Technology

Technology is a very important factor in any design, construction or manufacturing operation and is no different for injection mold making.  Gone are the days where the journeyman mold maker will carve out the steel cavities by hand, meeting tight tolerances within a thousandth of an inch, (the width of a human hair)!  Journeyman mold makers possess a great mathematical mind that is necessary to build precision tools, but the technology is ever changing, aiding and assisting with complex tool designs.

Michiana Global Mold has an impressive line-up of technologically advanced machinery and equipment, including several EDM and CNC machines, Milling Centers, Wire EDM, Saw, Drilling equipment, Grinders, and many more new and impressive machines giving us the capability meet your tight deadlines with precision tools delivered in spec, and on time.

Resources

Having enough manpower and equipment is necessary to meet tight deadlines on multi-tool projects.  A large capacity tool shop with various milling centers and technologically advanced software programs is vital to timely injection mold construction.  Global resources are also important in the mold making industry, as many OEM’s and manufacturers want the cost effectiveness of offshore molds.  It can be tricky to find a mold builder with offshore resources, that can still manage your project with clear communication in a timely manner.

Michiana Global Mold has a large capacity tool shop in the heart of the mid-west in the United States, and has a partnership with Modular Mold in China, offering our customers the best of both situations.  If you need globally sourced injection molds, Michiana Global Mold has the solution for you, providing offshore molds with domestic pricing.  Our US location is also fully staffed with expert design engineers, and journeyman mold makers, giving you decades of experience.  This experience, combined with our technologically advanced equipment and vast resources allows us to provide the most cost effective solution to your mold building requirements.

Contact Michiana Global Mold today to learn how we can assist you with your ever changing, and demanding supply chain requirements.  We have the experience, technology, and the resources to give you the best mold building solution available, whether from our domestic or offshore location.

Ejection Systems and Lifters in Injection Molds

 

The ejection system is a very important part of an injection mold design.  The ejection system must correspond to the stroke of the press, and work in perfect harmony with any auxiliary equipment utilized in the press.  The ejector pins must also be placed where they will eject the part without causing any damage to the part.  This can be tricky with small intricate molded product, it may be difficult to find the right angle to eject an oddly shaped part with critical dimensions or thin walls.  In some cases, lifters must be used just for this purpose, to eject the parts properly and without causing damage.

If lifters are required this must be apparent prior to building the mold.  This is where an experienced mold designer will determine the best placement of any required lifters in the ejection system.  A lifter is part of the ejector plate, activated during ejection.  They are usually angled and slide up when required during ejection, allowing the part to mold all dimensional features properly.  

If auxiliary equipment is attached to the press such as sprue pickers, the ejector system, whether it includes lifters or not, must always accommodate any automated auxiliary equipment.  Sprue pickers are automatic robots that reach into the mold when it opens to grab the sprue, also called the runner, and move it out of the way usually dropping into a bin or grinder to grind up and re-use the material.  A two-stage ejection system is sometimes used with a robot grabbing the sprue, and the parts falling onto a conveyor or into a bin below.  

Utilizing the latest technology with CAD/CAM software, Michiana Global Mold can design your complicated precision injection mold with an ideal ejection system.  We have experience designing and building precision molds requiring complex ejection systems, utilizing lifters, and accommodating the injection molder’s press specifications.  

Contact Michiana Global Mold today for an expert mold design and injection mold construction with quality steel and components.  We have been an integral supplier of injection molds for over 50 years, employing skilled designers and journeyman mold makers.   Michiana Global Mold is registered to ISO9001:2015, adhering all processes to our strict quality policy.  Contact us today for a free design consultation of your next mold building project.

Designing and Building Complex Three-Plate Tools

 

 

Experienced mold designers must know how to adapt to challenging geometrical dimensional specifications.  Employing a three-plate tool can be a solution when searching for an ideal gate location, or when multiple gate locations are necessary.  

 

A three-plate tool has an additional stripper plate acting as a buffer between the injecting plate containing the multiple gate locations, and the B plate housing the cavities to mold the parts.  With this precision design, the sprue is ejected in between the first and second plates, and parts eject in between the second and third plates.  This allows for the parts and runner to separate, and is easily adapted with any automated auxiliary equipment just like any other mold and ejection system.

 

A Three-plate tool design can provide a more consistent flow to cavities with multiple gates, without the need for a hot-runner tool.  In most cases a three-plate tool will be less expensive than a true hot-runner tool, but still provide the increased pressure to fill and pack critical dimensional areas with an even flow of material.  This is beneficial in areas containing thin walls or tight tolerances.  

 

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Michiana Global Mold has vast experience designing and building complex three-plate tools for various industries, including the demanding quality standards of the Automotive industry.  We have experience building three-plate tools, hot-runner tools, hot-to-cold tools, MUD units, Prototype Tools, Shuttle Molds, and more.  

Our vast resources allow us to provide you with complete service from design to mold construction and even product sampling.  We follow a strict quality policy, adhering all processes to our ISO9001 registration.  Our experience and resources allow us to provide quick turn-around on single or multi-tool projects.  

Contact Michiana Global Mold today for a free design consultation, and to learn more about our innovative and technologically advanced mold building capabilities.  We have what it takes to be an integral part of your valuable supply chain, providing solutions to your mold building projects with quality built tools, delivered on time and to your specification.