Many of the things you use day-to-day are created in an injection molding process. From your phone case to your toothbrush and everything in between, injection molding gives structure to the world around us. However, before this revolutionary injection molding process can be used, workers in this industry will undoubtedly be confronted by a crucial, unavoidable part of the process.
The Mold Setup Procedure
Without a proper setup, your molds will become disfigured, faulty, or won’t come out at all. This vital aspect of injection molding will require the one performing the setup to follow a series of basic steps to ensure that the system is set up correctly so it can then go on to whip out those ever-so-popular products.
Step 1: Reduce idling during the pre-stages of the injection mold change procedure.
In the world of business, time is money. Therefore, if you let the injection machine finish its current job, you will be wasting valuable time that could be spent pre-setting up the new mold. Allowing the changeover crew to perform some of their duties while the job is finishing will undoubtedly save you time and money.
A mold change cart is a must for a speedy and efficient mold setup. This will provide the changeover crew with all of the tools needed to remove the old mold and set up the new mold. These tools include wrenches, impact drivers, mold clamps, mold bolts, nozzles, cleaners, and anything else that will help.
The changeover crew should also schedule and stage their cart and new molds to ensure they are prepared to start the setup process as soon as the job finishes. A mental checklist may be memorized, or they can simply attach the list to their cart, but routine is everything when attempting to minimize time.
Step 2: A little organization goes a long way
Having an excellent method to store your molds will play a considerable role when trying to perform quick setups. This means the way you organize and inventory your molds and tools is absolutely crucial. If you are searching for your molds or tools, then that is time that is wasted.
A mold storage rack is handy to have. This rack can be staged right next to the press. This allows for quick retrieval when setting up the mold. In addition to the storage rack, organizing the molds by most frequent usage to least will save you time.
Step 3: Train more people to handle the mold setup procedure
If you only have one or two employees who can perform the mold setup procedure, then you may encounter longer idle times within your shop. Training more of your employees to perform these steps will allow you to pull from other positions in your company if need be.
Having a team of two operators can also increase the speed and efficiency of the job. With two-employee teams, each can have predetermined responsibilities when setting up the molds or can work on each side of the molding machine.
Step 4: Consistent communication is crucial
Having a production meeting every day will help keep everyone who is part of the molding process on the same page. This will cut the stress of rushing and figuring out last-minute details about a mold change. Not only will the pressure be reduced, but also the chance of an error in the setup process.
These daily meetings should incorporate everyone who will be involved in the setup process. They should discuss concerns about prior or future setups, rank the top priority jobs, and anything else that can expedite the process.
Step 5: Maintenance is key
The key to ensuring that all of your future jobs are run in a smooth, efficient manner is frequent maintenance. This is not just maintenance of the molds and machines but also the changeover carts, tools used, and storage racks. Any minor mishap with a faulty tool or rack could result in large amounts of idle time.
Now that you have all of the pertinent information to create your own mold setup checklist, you should do so. It is now time for you to put this information into action within your own shop. By adhering to these tips and steps, you will be able to keep your machines up and running with little to no idle time.
PFA manufactures many parts that assist and manage your molding and die machines. Both off-the-shelf and custom solutions are available to make your application a success. Give us a call at 262-250-4410 to determine which of our products best fits your needs!