Month: January 2017

Metals That Can Be Molded Like Plastics

We are used to plastics taking the places of things that were made from metal, but not normally the other way around. Metals that are more malleable like plastics exist though they aren’t used as often as you might think.

Many solids can exist in either a crystalline or a glassy state. If a molten material is frozen quickly, the atoms or molecules have less time to settle into an orderly arrangement before they’re out of energy, and have to freeze where they are. The resulting solid is more likely to be glassy. If frozen slowly, however, the atoms or molecules can find their “proper” places and settle into a regular structure. The resulting solid is more likely to be crystalline.
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The Life Cycle of a Plastic Injection Mold

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If you’re a molder, your injection molds are one of the most important pieces of equipment you use. Because your molds are so vital to you, it goes without saying that you want them to last as long as possible. Molds are expensive to replace, so knowing more about the life expectancy of your molds can help you plan ahead financially for when a mold will need replacement. Getting a new mold made to replace one that’s at the end of its life, but still in use, can help you keep production going. That way production can keep going, and a mold that breaks down doesn’t have to slow you down.

Plastic Injection Mold Lifetime

Truth be told, determining the lifetime of a plastic injection mold is easier said than done, as many factors contribute to the life expectancy of a plastic injection mold. Plastic injection molds operate under harsh conditions, and while a good mold should be built to last under the conditions it will be operating in, even the best mold will take some wear and tear.

Generally though, the lifetime of your mold will depend on a number of factors. Molds that have a faster turnaround can finish more cycles in a day than molds with slower cycle times. Because the life expectancy of plastic injection molds is measured in cycles – as opposed to measuring mold life expectancy by considering the time a mold has been operating – molds that can complete more cycles in a shorter amount of time will generally have a somewhat shorter life expectancy.

While a shorter life expectancy might seem like a bad thing, the difference between a mold with a fast turnaround and one that’s slow isn’t necessarily that big. If both molds can complete approximately 250,000 cycles before breaking down, both are equally good. What mold owners should understand is that the lifetime of a mold is measured in cycles rather than the time a mold was operational. This makes more sense, because knowing how many parts a mold can produce in its lifetime helps molders determine whether or not a mold will be able to cover its own costs.

How Many Cycles Can a Mold Complete?

It’s impossible to know exactly how many cycles a mold will be able to complete in its lifetime. As with anything in life, there’s no way to look into the future to foresee any and all things that could possibly go wrong. Just as no one knows when a car will break down, no one can tell you what the exact life expectancy of your plastic injection molds will be.

But for the purpose of keeping better track of your molds, you’ll need an estimate. The estimation of a mold’s lifetime will help you determine whether or not a mold lived up to its estimated performance. If the estimated life expectancy of a mold was 250,000 cycles and the mold only completed 180,000 before breaking down, your mold clearly didn’t come close to its estimated 250,000 cycles. The reason for this under performance could vary. It might be that the conditions the mold was operated in led to faster wear and tear, but the problem might also be the mold itself.

To ensure that your molds complete roughly the same amount of cycles you’d expect them to, the most important thing you have to do has nothing to do with how you take care of the mold. More importantly, you should see to it that you buy your molds from an injection mold maker that can deliver quality molds. Your plastic injection mold maker isn’t just a company you buy molds from. As a molder, your mold supplier should be your trusted business partner. A good mold making company will be able to tell you exactly how to take care of your molds to keep them running for longer. Your mold making company should also be able to tell you roughly how many cycles you can expect from a mold.

The estimated amount of cycles a mold can complete will vary depending on the molds you use, as well as the quality of those molds. Generally, a plastic injection mold could complete anywhere between a 100,00 to 1 million (or sometimes somewhat more than a million) cycles in its lifetime, so it’s important to learn about the life expectancy of a mold before buying it.

Maintaining Your Molds

If you want to get the most out of every mold, you should stick to a mold maintenance plan. Without proper maintenance, even the best mold won’t complete nearly as many cycles as you’d expect it to. The company you bought your molds from should be able to help you set up a mold maintenance schedule. This helps prevent downtime, where a mold breaks down unexpectedly and all the production you were expecting from it comes to a halt.

Mold maintenance schedules will usually be determined based on the amount of cycles a mold can safely run before needing to be sent off for cleaning and other maintenance. As a molder, you might sometimes end up overworking a mold to complete orders in time, unfortunately that’s almost sure to happen at some time or another.

To avoid damaging an overworked mold you should, however, get a good estimate from your mold supplier about how much will be too much. Overworking a mold a bit before finally sending it off for maintenance might not do much harm, but overworking it too much will almost surely lead to a breakdown. Most mold suppliers will tell you not to overwork your molds at all, as they can’t really accept responsibility for damage to molds that were overdue for maintenance, but asking them how many cycles similar molds typically run before breaking down could help you get a better idea of the risks levels of overworking your molds.

Employment Inside the Plastic Mold Industry

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There are always a range of different kinds of employees in the plastic industry, with each participating in a similarly important role in the change of plastic in to the parts and products that are desired. The three principal positions are: machine setters, machine operators, and tenders.

The Role of the Machine Setter, Machine Operator, and Tender

Machine setters, machine operator, and sensitive have the duty of establishing and maintaining the machines that convert plastic ingredients, such as pellets, natural powder, and syrup, inot products such as vehicle parts, toys, and tubes. Although a number of methods can be employed to improve the clear plastic into a good product, treatment molding is the most used method.

A typical injection molding machine has about 25 different handles, all can be adjusted. The machine setter is in charge of establishing these machines before they are being used to ensure all adjustments are where they have to be. The setter is usually in charge of mending any problems the machinery may have.

Following the machine has been setup by the machine setter, the device operator displays the gauges. They’re in charge of making any changes which may be essential to maintain quality, such as changing the inputs, the rates of speed, and the pressures. Following the product being created and cooled within the injection-molding machine, the tender cleans the merchandise and puts it into its product packaging.

Work Environment

Generally, those working within the plastic molding industry like a clean, well-ventilated, and well lit working environment. The working job does, however, require standing a lot of the day and include average to heavy lifting also. Furthermore, the machinery could be very dangerous and, therefore, strict safety rules must be honored.

Nearly all staff in the plastic material molding industry must wear earplugs and safe glasses to safeguard themselves from the noisy sounds created by the machines and from soaring pieces of plastic. Modern machines, however, are enclosed. This decreases the employee’s contact with noise and dust particles. Regardless of the modern equipment, some staff in the plastic molding industry also must wear face masks or special self-contained respiration apparati if the plastic they use emits dangerous fumes.

Most employees in the plastic material molding industry work 40 hour weeks. During cycles of increased creation, overtime is common also. Most plastics shops work several shifts.

Education

Generally, there are no special educational requirements for a person to be used as a plastics machine setter, machine operator, or tender. Most employees on the market learn face to face. This is accomplished by having the trainee observe and assist experienced employees usually. Formal training programs, however, are also sometimes used to teach new employees. Generally, the tender is the entry-level position, accompanied by the operator, and the setter then. Ultimately, the employee will become in charge of all aspects of the machine.

Earnings

The money earned by a worker within the plastic molding industry is dependent largely on how big is the company, the individuals experience, and whether or not the company is unionized. Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the median hourly salary in May 2004 for model makers was $21.28. Rolling machine providers and tenders acquired $14.33 each hour, while heat tending operators and tenders attained $14.26, and multiple machine setters, providers, and tenders acquired $14.06 Molding setters, providers, and tenders attained $11.63 throughout that same timeframe.

6 Simple Machines Modern Making Can’t Live Without

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Modern manufacturing has come quite a distance. It now uses CNC machining for milling and turning, and lasers for 3D printing. However the most elementary machine types, as defined by Archimedes more than 2000 years back, are still found in today’s production shop if you look all over the place. A few of these simple machines haven’t any moving parts but will be the foundation for all your complex machines that came after.


wooden wedge

The Wedge

This shape is familiar to any child who’s ever before played with a couple of toy wood blocks. The wedge is amazing in its flexibility, because it’s part of four different but related machine types, combined with the inclined plane, screw and lever.

The wedge is actually a triangle, with both long attributes assembly at a razor-sharp viewpoint we call the border. This edge pushes against an object, and the opposing pressure is dissipated along the true face allowing the wedge to minimize.Where is a wedge within a machine shop? Just about everywhere. Every chopping tool is a wedge of some sort, wherever an angled face complies with the workpiece to shave off organic material. Cutlery, scissors, axes, data, drills – even the fine abrasive allergens on milling rocks and sandpaper – they are all types of wedges.


various tools such as pliers and clamps

The Lever

A wedge can become a pivot point, called a fulcrum, as the lever is any bar or rod that pivots at the fulcrum. When one end of the bar moves in one direction, the corresponding opposite end of the bar moves in the other direction. What’s the goal of that?

If both ends are a similar length, there is absolutely no mechanical advantage, but it can help move the location where in fact the strong make is applied. If the length is increased by you of the bar at the input end, you multiply the force applied at the contrary end, which is very convenient indeed. Levers are located on every pair of pliers, scissors, sketch pubs, and clamps for possessing parts set up, among a lot more examples.


Wood Axe

The Inclined Plane

A different type of wedge or triangle, this time around with one 90 degree angle assisting to form basics. The potent pressure applied moves up the inclined face, distributing area of the load and part horizontally. Splitting the load up this real way makes it more manageable to slowly but surely move a heavy weight a great distance.

Inclined planes with stepped notches cut into them are ideal for holding clamps, commonly used on CNC machines. You also find them on loading ramps of course, where wheeled trolleys move heavy loads into and out of the shop.


Series of Gears

The Axle and Wheel

It had been a red letter day for the people when someone thought this out. We all really know what axles and wheels are, but the important things to keep in mind here from an executive perspective is that fundamental machine exchanges linear action into rotational action, and vice versa. And it proficiently does so very, with little frictional damage.

The applications are endless. Every content spinning and turning procedure over a mill, lathe or grinder – CNC or manual – depends on perfection bearings that transfer lots with amazing accuracy and repeatability.


Pulley

The Pulley

A kind of axle and steering wheel, the pulley transmits the powerful pressure of lots while redirecting that power, and divides the weight being transferred through every pulley in a string. Minimizing the potent make this way requires that the strain be migrated a larger distance, an acceptable bargain.

Pulleys are being used in mechanical and electrical winches, to hoist very heavy tools and mold bases into and out of plastic injection and pressure die casting machines, or to off-load raw materials in a warehouse.


Screw with nuts around it

The Screw

A combination of the wheel and axle and the inclined plane, screws help to transmit force and motion both rotationally and linearly at the same time.

As we all know, screws have threaded shafts, and these threads interface with an opposing force to either redirect it or hold it in place over a large surface area.

So, screws are used in all kinds of fasteners, to drive plastic into injection molding machines, to move vice jaws in and out, to calibrate inspection equipment and a million other places. One less obvious place is with the ball lead screw. This wondrous invention lets a linear actuator move smoothly – and very quickly – along a threaded rod with great accuracy and repeatability, making CNC machines as reliable as they are.


And we rely on these basic machine types every day to make parts for rapid prototypes, industrial and consumer products every day. Interested in how we can make them work for you? Contact us today for a free quotation!