High Duty Plastics Mold Monitoring

High Duty Plastics Mold Monitoring
High Duty Plastics Mold Monitoring

Though some plastic raw materials can be inexpensive, the molds are always costly, irrespective of the product. The high precision, intricate and high-duty plastic molds are orders of magnitude more costly.  Damaged molds are very costly and production down time is a cause of reduced profits. Preventing damage or avoidable wear is therefore a top priority.
The most common cause of damage occurs when a product is not fully ejected from the mold before the next cycle begins.  Push-pins and other methods of ejecting the product from the mold are not always 100% reliable.
Conventional CCD cameras have been used to detect the presence of un-ejected components but are adversely affected by ambient lighting and variations in product color, resulting in false readings that stop operation and hold up production. Thermal imaging cameras do not depend on lighting, and are only marginally affected by color variations. Thermal imaging cameras detect un-ejected components, causing the mold machine to pause operation until the condition can be remedied. The additional cost of thermal imaging over conventional cameras is easily justified by savings in mold replacement and reduced down time.
Dozens of Process Sensors’ Model PSC-400 IMMS Thermal Imaging Cameras, together with a custom engineered data acquisition and logic interface system are currently being used successfully by a leading high-duty plastics manufacturer in 24/7 operations.

The market

Plastic materials and products are many and varied. They range from soft and pliable to rigid and durable high-impact materials. The applications for plastics are just as diverse: from the Styrofoam coffee cup to the hard materials used in weapons, automobiles and even furniture.
There also is a huge application area for molding of small precision electronics connectors, medical devices and military components. The product specifications are exacting, and they are almost always costly to produce. Small intricate parts as well as some plastic types being molded tend to stick in the mold cavities.

The application 

Most plastic products are made either by injection molding, where the molten plastic is propelled into a mold under very high pressure, or press forming by filling the mold with powder of a slug material and then applying mechanical pressure.

About The Author

Scott Nagle is the IR Division Manager / Application Specialist and IR Temperature Measurement Expert with Process Sensors.

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