For any manufacturing facility, having a routine preventative maintenance schedule helps to preserve machinery and mitigate the risk of costly system repairs. This is particularly true for hot runner systems in injection molding machines, as residue buildup can clog the nozzles or manifolds to a degree that forces a shutdown. Oversight on scheduling routine hot runner cleaning creates potential for untimely system repairs that disrupt manufacturing timelines and supply chain flows.
In complex injection molding machinery, it can be difficult to judge when it’s time to perform machine maintenance and how to effectively do so. Salespeople will often give an estimate of when and how to clean their systems, but engineers know that it takes about 1 million cycles before those details become clear.
That said, and regardless of the system, one superior method for hot runner cleaning has emerged – purging solutions. There are plenty of purging solutions for injection molding machines, however it is important to only use solutions specifically designed for hot runners. Purging solutions that are not specified for hot runners may actually further clog the hot runner!
Below are a few of the many benefits purging solutions provide.
Faster Maintenance Times
Injection molding systems contain a labyrinthine setup of nozzles, bolts, casings, and manifolds, among other intricate parts. The primary step in performing traditional preventative maintenance and cleaning on these systems is the precise and time-consuming process of disassembly. After taking apart the machine, cleaning personnel next need to chip away at residue by hand in the different cavities, a process that could take hours depending on the number of cavities in the manifold.
This is an avoidable and lengthy process that can’t compare to the efficiency of purging solutions. Depending on the size and capacity of the machine, hot runner cleaning will only take a fraction of the time traditional cleaning (including disassembly and reassembly) takes. Purging is performed with the machine still intact, after all.
Less Risk for Error
In traditional maintenance and cleaning, the hardest and riskiest work comes after the cleaning has finished. Reassembly of injection molding machines is tedious labor that requires high-accuracy measurements. Only an experienced repair person would be able to assemble such as a misplaced screw or loose bolt can create cracks or leaks that severely damage the machine.
Errors in this kind of maintenance frequently occur under time constraints, where management or high demand puts pressure on maintenance staff to work too quickly. Sometimes these issues compound, where an assembly mistake causes the need for machine repair, thus slowing production and forcing expedited (and risky) repair work.
Rather than risk spending money and time on costly repairs, manufacturers should schedule timely preventative maintenance on their injection molding machines. By using purging solutions, hot runner cleaning will no longer be a laborious and risky process.