How Water flow Monitoring Optimizes Mold Production
MoldMaking Technology Editorial Director, Christina Fuges, spent some time with Progressive Components’ Rebecca Hamstra to discuss why monitoring water flow in injection molds is important, and how having the ability to monitor and control the temperature flow and pressure in each water line can help optimize mold production.
A transcript of the interview is provided below.
Christina Fuges: I’m Christina Fuges with MoldMaking Technology Magazine, and I’m here at Amerimold with Rebecca Hamstra of Progressive Components. Rebecca, why is monitoring water flow important?
Rebecca Hamstra, Regional Sales Manager: The cooling portion of the injection molding process is 60 to 80 percent. Having that optimized can increase production as well as take care of our product asset of our molds.
Fuges: Why or how is it different, monitoring water flow, to the OEM, to the molder, and to the mold builder. How do they compare?
Hamstra: For the OEMs, having a good baseline of what our cooling flow and temperature through a mold is going to give us a good optimization into the next supply chain for the injection molders. As far as the mold builders are concerned, having good flow through each circuit and having a good pressure leak test that they can perform is an advantage, so as a mold moves through the supply chain it is not only optimized but it is also making sure that it is performing at what they expect it to perform as. And as for the molders, making sure that they have a good baseline of cooling pressure and temperature in each one of the cooling lines and being able to monitor cooling lines throughout production runs, knowing that we’re not seeing scaling or debris in the lines or leakages. This can really prevent mold stoppages and also help with preventative maintenance moving forward with that tool and production.
Fuges: Progressive has a production manifold and a test rig, correct? So how do you know which is the best approach?
Hamstra: Sure. So the production unit offers a manifold, a four-zone, an eight-zone, and a 12 zone, that can be daisy chained in and accommodated for every tool and machine mix. So being able to monitor the temperature flow and pressure in each line on one screen and then being able to set those alarm limits, it can notify you if you start to see any issues. If the water is not turned on, if the water lines are mixed up, or if you start seeing some scaling we can do trending issue some trends graphing over time. As well as being able to connect it to like a light tree or a part inverter or stop the machine or notify you that there are any issues with your cooling so you can immediately identify which cooling line it is. It’ll notify you so when you move that tool if you are seeing issues into your maintenance area, they can quickly identify what the problem is. There’s a lot of ways that the production unit can help molders as well as mold builders when they’re PMing the tools in production to optimize that portion of the process, which, like we mentioned, is 60 to 80 percent of the process. So if we can really dial that in it’s going to help reduce cycle times, scrap rates, and also preventative maintenance by identifying things quickly.
The test rig is on a cart, and it’s typically used in tooling maintenance departments for molders or mold builders. If they don’t have a water source, or a thermolater or central cooling lines, [the test rig] offers a 20-gallon tank inside of this cart, as well as a pump. What it will do is move a mold up to this cart and it has a sink in it and the water tank and pump will pressurize the tool. It will run pressure all the way through it, hold it for two minutes, and then print out a report, a certificate, that says I have good flow going through this tool. It will also show you the turbulent flow (Reynolds numbers) so we can take in through the orifice of the diameter of the circuits on each line and it will tell you what your actual Reynolds number is per circuit. Oftentimes, a lot of our customers require that we know what that Reynolds number is.
Fuges: Thank you, Rebecca.