valid No Comments

3 Reasons Why You Need a Vision Mold Protection System for your Injection Molding Machine

3 Reasons Why You Need a Vision Mold Protection System for your Injection Molding Machine

On a regular basis, we hear from customers that they damaged their molds, which causes significant headaches, loss time and money.  When the mold goes down, it’s a race to fix or replace the mold since downtime can jeopardize your project and program.  It is important to be proactive in protecting your molds before any issues occur.  Below are 3 reasons why you should have a vision mold protection system for your injection molding machines.

1. Eliminate Mold Damage

The important factor in investing in a vision mold protection system is to protect your mold. The Sigmax system integrates directly into the I/O signal system controls of the injection molding machine with no lag.  The unit will monitor and detect improper positioning of slide cores and ejector pins and virtually eliminate catastrophic damage of these parts as well as the need for unnecessary ejections.  When there is a problem (e.g. detection failed ejection of part) system will show an error and prevent production from moving forward.  The system will require the operator to open the safety gate door and check for any sticking parts and all codes need to be cleared before restarting the machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Insert Molding

Insert molding is a process in which a preformed part, typically metal, is loaded into a mold and plastic is molded around this part.

The Sigmax vision system will be able to detect the following:

  • Missing insert(s)
  • Misaligned insert(s)
  • Double insert(s)

3.  Part Inspection – Short Shot

The Sigmax vision system will be able to detect short shorts, which is basically an incomplete part.  The Sigmax vision system will be able to detect sizes down to 0.001 inches or 0.25mm.  With this feature, our system will eliminate defects and crushed parts and in turn will be able to forecast shortages in production.

Every injection molder should have a vision mold protection system, but it would have to make financial sense.  There is a stigma that these vision mold protection systems are expensive, complicated to operate and setup is difficult.  The Sigmax vision mold protection system is easy to setup and operate and relatively inexpensive when compared against having to fix or even replacing your mold.

The ROI on a vision mold protection system is easy to determine: How much it will cost if a mold needs to be fixed or replaced?

Sigmax Vision Mold Protection continuously improves and innovates their products to be the best vision mold protection created specifically for injection molding machines and the plastics industry.

If you have any questions regarding Sigmax or any plastic process equipment, please contact any of the Hirate America team members to provide an automation solution tailored to your requirements.

valid No Comments

5 Things To Consider When Selecting Your Next Temperature Control Unit for your Injection Molding Machine

A temperature control unit (aka TCU) is an essential piece of equipment that is needed for processing plastic.  Think of a mold as the engine of a car, the TCU could be seen as the radiator to keep the engine cool.  Before we get into details on what you should consider before purchasing your next temperature control unit let’s review what it is and how it works.

 

What is a temperature control unit?

Temperature control units or TCU, are used to preheat the mold (aka tool) and regulate it at a specified temperature by recirculating water or oil.  This is to ensure the molding process is the same from the first part to the last part.  The TCU regulates the temperature of the mold so the process does not change either if it’s summer or winter, hot or cold ambient temperatures in the plant.  Oil is used for temperatures above 250F.  TCUs are used for injection molding machines, blow molding machines and extrusion lines.

How does a temperature control unit work?

On a cold start, the TCU heats up water or oil utilizing the heating elements and the pump recirculates the fluid between the mold.

If the mold gets too hot, the TCU opens a small valve as needed within the unit connected to a cooling tower or chiller water source.

 

 

5 Reasons to Choose Thermal Care’s Temperature Control Unit Over the Competition:

  1. Value

    Everybody wants the best deal and value proposition. Thermal Care’s TCU provides high-flow pumps (up to 10HP pump and flow up to 140 GPM) for more efficient cooling and better cycle times.  For the budget conscious, opt for the basic controller which is easy to operate yet effective for decades of operation.

  2. User Friendly and Easy to Use

    Four swivel casters and front facing supply and return pressure gauges make the unit extremely easy to use and see important information on the TCU.
    The controls are easy to access, view and operate.
    Basic controller: Designed for applications that require basic operation at a great price.
    Standard controller: Provides a wide array of operational and diagnostic information that is easy to access, view and operate. Unit alarms are easily reset on the control panel.
    The premium controller: Includes all the features of the standard controller plus an added level of system monitoring and control for the best user interface, ease of maintenance and troubleshooting when needed.

  3. Industry Leading Warranty and Support

    3 year parts, 3 year labor warranty
    5 year microprocessor parts warranty with $175 lifetime exchange policy
    Lifetime pump heater casting warranty and lifetime pump seal warranty
    24-hour service hotline support is best in the business providing your company with comfort knowing that the graveyard technicians won’t be left hanging.

  4. Easy Maintenance

    Maintenance technicians will love the tool-less easy access to the interior cabinet in less than a minute. Next day air shipping on spare parts is available when needed.

  5. Customization

We can customize our temperature control units to meet your specific processing needs:

SPI interface to sync with your injection molding machine and any other peripheral equipment.
Solid State Relay prevents having to replace contactors
Dual zone units allows 2 TCUs with one plug, heat exchanger and a modulating valve.
Stacking rack allows 2 TCUs to be stacked on top of each for space savings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thermal Care offers a suite of powerful and efficient mold temperature control units for the plastic industry. Each unit is reliable, easy to operate, and built for dependable operation using an assortment of quality components and is proud to produce one of the best process cooling equipment systems in the industry.

If you have any questions regarding top entry robots, please contact any of the Hirate America team members to provide an automation solution tailored to your requirements.

 

valid No Comments

Everything You Need to Know About Vision Mold Protection Systems

 

Everything You Need to Know About Vision Mold Protection Systems for your Injection Molding Machine

What is a vision injection mold protection system?

The Sigmax vision injection mold protection system is made specifically for injection molders in mind and integrates directly into the control systems for the injection molding machine so communication between systems is instantaneous for high-speed processing.

The ultimate goal for the Sigmax vision mold protection is to prevent mold damage, which leads to costly repairs and weeks or even months of downtime.  This is not good for any business especially if you’re running lights out.  The unit has many other useful functionalities for injection molding.

 

What type of injection molding machine can this be used on?

Vertical and horizontal molding machines, high-cavity molds, low-pressure foam molding, metal injection molding (MIM), die-casting, micro-molding, and other forming machines, regardless of the materials being molded or formed.

 

Is there a mold size limit?

No, there is no size limit as we have several options for camera lens sizes that can be scaled accordingly.

How many molded parts can be monitored?

We have monitored up to 128 cavities, dependent on the mold design.

Is it possible to monitor injection short shots? 

Yes, it possible to detect short shots of 0.001 in size (0.25mm).

Is high cycle molding possible with the Sigmax Vision Mold Protection system?

Yes, communication is instantaneous as this unit has the capability to monitor 1 second cycles.  

What if my parts are transparent?

Yes, it is possible to monitor transparent parts as the software allows for adjustment in sensitivity and shadows.

How can the Sigmax Vision Mold Protection System reduce molding cycle time?

The unit ties directly into the I/O signal system controls of the injection molding machine there is no lag. Since you eliminate the need for unnecessary ejections, production over a period of time will be much more efficient.

How easy is the installation?

The camera is magnetic so it can be attached above or below the mold.  Once the required input and output signals are established connection very simple. 

Can I use the Sigmax Vision Mold Protection System on multiple injection molding machines?

Yes, it is possible to use one system on multiple molding machines, but it is important to assure exact location of camera from the saved in the recipes.  The unit has the ability to save multiple recipe setups with different areas you want to monitor or different jobs/molds and easily re-accessed later, which makes this system very versatile.

How reliable is the Sigmax Vision Mold Protection system and what is the typical service life cycle?

 The unit can run problem-free for decades because there are no moving parts. The user interface is a proprietary standalone system that does NOT rely on any third party software like Microsoft Windows OS, you will not have to worry about automatic updates that may disrupt functionality and worse yet deal with viruses that may corrupt your hardware.   

 

What is the typical ROI on the Sigmax Vision Mold Protection System?

Repairs for ejector pins and slide cores can cost several thousand dollars, but if you have substantial enough damage to the mold the entire mold may need to be replaced.  Not only do you have to deal with cost of replacing the mold, but what would hurt the most is the downtime in production.  In this instance, the payback would be tenfold.

Sigmax Vision Mold Protection continuously improves and innovates their products to be the best vision mold protection created specifically for injection molding machines and the plastics industry.

If you have any questions regarding Sigmax or any plastic process equipment, please contact any of the Hirate America team members to provide an automation solution tailored to your requirements.

valid No Comments

3 Ways to Reduce Costs in Your Plastics Process Cooling Systems

 

Plastic processing has seen many changes over the years. We have seen significant advancements in process throughput and increased quality control as well as automation and controls. But one thing has remained surprisingly the same—the cooling systems. What most people do not realize is there are new technologies today that can reduce their industrial cooling system operating costs by over 40%.

Often overlooked or considered not as important as other parts of a plastic processing plant, process water cooling systems are gaining more attention as energy costs and concerns over water use continue to increase. There have been a number of advances in technology that provide increased efficiency to reduce production costs as well as global demand for power and fresh water.

Who doesn’t want to save a buck or two, every dollar savings counts when looking at overall operational costs annually.

1. Cut water use by 90% with Adiabatic Fluid Coolers.

Most plastic processing facilities have a cooling tower to provide cooling to hydraulics, chiller condensers, and other process equipment. A cooling tower has a fan and evaporates water to produce 85°F process water. While effective at providing cooling, it uses a lot of water and requires water treatment to control biological growth. Cooling towers also expose the process water to the atmosphere and then require constant filtering.

With limited resources and a heightened awareness of the need to reduce energy and water consumption, the use of fluid coolers has become a popular alternative to conventional evaporative cooling towers.

Similarly, a fluid cooler uses ambient air to cool the process water. However, this is done through a cooling coil and without exposing process water to the atmosphere. This method is effective but limited by the temperature of the ambient air. In most cases, the practical limit is a process of water temperature leaving the dry fluid cooler about 10°F warmer than the entering air temperature.

To expand the usefulness of fluid coolers as a replacement for evaporative cooling towers, manufacturers have added evaporative pads to their fluid coolers to pre-cool the warm summertime air through a process called adiabatic cooling. Adiabatic cooling occurs by evaporating water into the dry air entering the fluid cooler. As the air absorbs water, it is cooled and the cooler air is able to provide a consistent and stable output, leaving water temperature of 85°F to process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although this technology uses some water, the system is extremely water-efficient and only needed during peak summertime conditions. The result is as much as a 90% reduction in water use versus a conventional evaporative cooling tower. In addition, the water is fully evaporated and not recirculated, as is the case with a conventional cooling tower, so there is no need for water treatment. More on Adiabatic Fluid Coolers.

 

 

2. Reduce energy consumption up to 34% with variable-speed chiller compressors.

When plastics processes require water cooler than 85°F, a chiller is used. A chiller uses refrigerant, compressor and evaporator to remove heat from the process water and cool the process fluid to 50°F or so.

Compressors and the use of refrigerant have been around since the 19th century, and many different types of compressors are used, but until recently they all operated at one fixed speed

. A relatively new technology is variable-speed compressors. With this technology, energy use is reduced by slowing the speed of the compressor to just what is needed for the conditions.

When the compressor slows down, there is a reduction of cooling capacity. Most chiller system designs use the maximum possible heat load at 100% production capa

city of the process equipment to ensure there is always enough cooling capacity. In most cases, the production equipment is operating at much less than maximum capacity, so the chiller is ‘over-sized.’ A variable speed compressor is a great way to save this excess energy.

Power use is a “square relationship,” meaning that as the compressor speed changes, the power use changes as a square of the speed change. For instance, if a compressor operates at 80% of its maximum speed, it will use 64% of its full-speed power.

This technology is available in a wide-range of compressor sizes. In addition, the initial equipment cost premium for this technology, depending on the hours of operating and load profile, can pay for itself in 12 to 18 months. More on portable chillers and central chillers.

 

 

3. Dramatically cut chiller energy costs with free-cooling systems.

Considering the ever-increasing need for more efficient systems, the newest trend in central chiller system design is to combine the benefits of a variable-speed compressor with that of an adiabatic fluid cooler.

These hybrid systems use an adiabatic fluid cooler to cool the condenser of the chiller during the summertime, but when the outside ambient temperature is cool enough, the adiabatic fluid cooler directly cools the process water, which means the chiller turns off completely. This saves 100% of the electrical cost of operating the chiller, which is the most significant power consumption of any process cooling system.

The number of hours of free-cooling increases when the process fluid temperature is warmer. In many extrusion applications, the chilled water set point temperature is such that the chiller may only need to run 50% of the year.

 

Who doesn’t want to save a buck or two, every dollar savings counts when looking at overall operational costs annually.  

Thermal Care continuously improves and innovates their products to be the best process cooling equipment systems in the industry.

If you have any questions regarding top entry robots, please contact any of the Hirate America team members to provide an automation solution tailored to your requirements.

 

valid No Comments

Thank You For Visiting Us at the 2019 PLASTEC WEST (MD&W West)

We hope you had the chance to stop by both of our booths.
Our LS Mtron (LG Electronics) 550ton “The One Series” was a huge hit and had many compliments on how quiet and efficient it ran.
Just a recap, we provide full turn-key solutions for plastic processing:

  • Hyundai and LS Mtron – South Korean injection molding machines
  • Nissei ASB – One-step injection stretch blow molding machines
  • Motan – Central material handling systems, blenders and central drying
  • Dri-Air – Portable dryers and material handling systems
  • Thermal Care – Process water cooling systems
  • FIPA – End of arm tooling components
  • MAC – Conveyor belts, automatic box fill systems and resin bins
  • Sailor – High speed top entry robots & beside-the-press- custom automation systems
  • Yudo – Economical top entry robots and side entry robots
  • SRS Corp. – Beside the press, screenless granulators and dedusters
  • Sesotec – Metal detection, metal separation, magnets
  • ALPS – Leak detection for blow molding
  • SFM – Screws and barrels
  • Gammaflux – hot runner controllers
  • NGR – One-step shredder, extruder, pelletizer recycling system
  • Lindner – High throughput shredders and wash line systems
  • CMG – Granulators and shredders

Our latest product line brochure, which showcases all the products we represent along with some real case studies can be downloaded on our website Hirate America.   Please let us know and we’ll be happy to send you a hard copy as well.

In the meantime if you have any questions, or need assistance with your application, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’ll be more than happy to provide our expertise.

Again, thank you for considering Hirate America and we look forward to the opportunity of serving you.

If you have a project that you would like to discuss, feel free to contact us below to schedule a free consultation.

valid No Comments

PLASTEC WEST (MD&W West) 2019 Event

Happy New Year and hope you enjoyed your holiday!  It’s that time of year again and Hirate America (one-stop-shop for injection molding, blow molding, auxiliaries, extrusion and recycling equipment in the plastics industry).
PLASTEC West 2019 (MD&M West) will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA on February 5-7.
We wanted to change things up a bit this year so we will be having and 2 separate booth locations!
Booth #3842 – Will be displaying our auxiliary equipment lines
Booth #4011 – Will be displaying and running our flag ship 550ton “The One Series” from LS Mtron (LG).

If you haven’t already get your complimentary expo admission by visiting:
www.plastecwest.com/special and use promo code SPECIALHIR33

We hope you get the chance to stop by our booths, meet the team, and see what new products we have for 2019.
Looking forward to seeing you there!

Our latest product line brochure, which showcases all the products we represent along with some real case studies can be downloaded on our website Hirate America.   Please let us know and we’ll be happy to send you a hard copy as well.

In the meantime if you have any questions, or need assistance with your application, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’ll be more than happy to provide our expertise.

Again, thank you for considering Hirate America and we look forward to the opportunity of serving you.

If you have a project that you would like to discuss, feel free to contact us below to schedule a free consultation.

valid No Comments

Announcement: Jason Sears Named President of Dri-Air Industries

Jason Sears has been named president of Dri-Air Industries, replacing Charlie Sears, Dri-Air founder and Jason’s father, who passed away recently.   The Board of Directors of Dri-Air made the announcement.

Jason has been an employee at Dri-Air for 30 years, beginning after school during his high school years learning such skills as welding, electrical wiring, painting, packing and machine assembly.   Building on this strong foundation for a future leader, Jason joined Dri-Air after earning his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island in 1992.

He has held positions in engineering new products, designing equipment for new applications, technical troubleshooting, manufacturing and customer service. He has been Vice President of Operations for more than five years.

Remembering his father, a customer satisfaction legend in the plastics manufacturing industry, Jason said, ”Charlie Sears was a great mentor, embracing all the good characteristics of a principled, customer service oriented, honorable person.   Hard work and leading by example are valuable lessons I learned from my father.   After he created a succession plan, we continued to work together very closely as Dri-Air grew and advanced its success.” He added. “My commitment is to maintain Dri-Air at the same standards that have made it successful for 44 years…providing the best quality dryers that our customers deserve.   At Dri-Air, the customer always will come first.”

In his community, Jason Sears has focused on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) movement, taking an active role in the First Robotics program at the middle and high school levels.   He has sponsored the Plastics Industry’s Plasti-Van at local schools.

Jason currently holds a position on the Plastics Industry Association Equipment Council and the NPE 2021 Content Committee, having participated in the NPE committee since 2015. He is also a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers.

Dri-Air Industries is the leader in compressed air and desiccant drying technology. The company offers a proven, patented 4-bed desiccant dryer design for faster drying of plastic pellets with no moving parts.   Applications include plastic dryers, resin blenders and material handling systems.

Hirate America partners with Dri-Air Industries Inc. if you need desiccant drying equipment.

Please contact us if you have any projects you’d like to discuss with us.

valid No Comments

Announcement: Santa Fe Machine Works, Inc. Names Don Smith as Sales Executive/Product Development Manager

Don Smith a fixture in the Plastics Industry for nearly 40 years has transitioned from singular Barrel sales, to Screw, Barrel, Valve sales, as well as repair services with Santa Fe Machine Works, Inc.

Fontana, California 5/1/2018 Santa Fe Machine Works today announced that Don Smith has been named as Sales Executive/Product Development Manager. Don will work with his long established industry contacts to sell them Screws, Barrels, Valves & a multitude of Repair services offered by Santa Fe Machine Works. Don will work closely with SFM Management to develop new products & services that will help Santa Fe Machine deliver its Customers the most robust product offering in the Industry.

“We are obviously very excited to bring Don Smith into Management with Santa Fe Machine Works. For decades we have enjoyed the level of service he gave us with Wexco & he is already a natural fit to our team.” Scott Kelly CFO, Santa Fe Machine
Don Smith will remain in Virginia with his wife Beth, whom he has been married to for 28 years. From his location, Don will be able to focus his energy on developing new relationships with Extrusion/Injection OEM’s and Processers as well as adding enhanced service levels to our existing Customers around the world. Having worked his way from the Production floor, up to Management with Wexco Corp. his knowledge of the Manufacturing process & the balance between it and Sales will make him an asset to both departments within Santa Fe Machine. His expert understanding of the Barrel Market will allow Santa Fe to increase its market share in the Industry.
“When I was told that Don had been hired by Santa Fe, I instantly knew he was with the right company, who will respect his knowledge & ability to take them into a new expansive group of customers.” Fred Mellberg, Japan Steel Works Inc. (JSW.)

Don will be in Santa Fe Machine Works’ booth #W116 at ”NPE2018:The Plastics Show” in Orlando, Florida May 7-11, 2018. He is very eager to meet face to face with many of his friends in the industry & introduce them to the “concierge” style of service & dedication to its customers Santa Fe has offered for over 95 years. Don looks forward to an exciting time of discovering opportunities for Santa Fe Machine to capitalize on new areas of Market Share & deepening existing relationships with Processers & OEM’s alike.

Hirate America partners with Santa Fe Machine Works if you need screws and barrels.

Please contact us if you have any projects you’d like to discuss with us.

valid No Comments

Press Release: Thermal Care Next Generation Pumping System Controller

Thermal Care’s second generation of advanced pump system PLCs can expand to control up to 15 pumps and 8 cooling towers, including VFDs and up to 3 process zones, each with up to 4 fluid circuits. Easy to navigate with its standard color touch screen, all the information you need to run your process is available at your fingertips for quick access and management of parameters including pumps and alarms. An added benefit allows you to customize the names of all devices for easy identification. Multiple user safeties, warnings, and alarms, and pump and fan running hours are displayed along with the ability to change lead fans or pumps. If you are looking for peace of mind, the pump system controller is CONNEX 4.0 ready and can provide secure detailed system status information via a remote mobile device or computer with an internet connection. When used in conjunction with Thermal Care s extensive line of heat transfer equipment, the most the most energy efficient, operationally intuitive, and productive systems can be provided.

 

MAIN SCREEN

FAN SCREEN

DIFFERENTIAL PRESSURE SCREEN

DIVERTING VALVE SCREEN

TRENDING SCREEN

 

Thermal Care continuously improves and innovates their products to be the best process cooling equipment systems in the industry.

If you have any questions regarding top entry robots, please contact any of the Hirate America team members to provide an automation solution tailored to your requirements.

 

valid No Comments

5 Critical Points When Selecting Top Entry Robots for Injection Molding

In any industry, we all know that implementing robots result in labor savings so the equipment gives you a great return on investment. You can extract parts as fast as possible, stack parts, palletize parts, insert metal parts for over-molding applications, cut gates from the parts and insert decorative labels for in-mold-labeling applications. The only limitation is our imagination and the cycle time(also known as TACT time) it has before the next part is ready to be extracted from the mold.

Top entry robots have been out in the market for many decades. Originally they were all pneumatic air cylinder robots. Through the years electric servo motor costs have come down and many robot manufacturers have adopted servo motors for the best balance between cost, speed and accuracy. Currently many top entry robots have the accuracy of 0.1mm which is more than sufficient in extracting parts from molds.

We will discuss the 5 most important features in selecting a good top entry robot for your application.

1.) Improvement in Part Quality and Insurance Against Mold Damage

Without a robot, most injection molders drop parts underneath the mold. With many parts, this introduces the possibility of cosmetic defects and a chance for the parts to collect contamination through dirty part collection bins and grease from tie bars. To avoid this, many molders choose to utilize a top entry robot to extract parts directly out of the mold during ejection.

Have you ever had a part hang on the mold and the mold closes and damages the part and sometimes even your mold? Make sure with your robot manufacturer that the robot can use part extraction confirmation via vacuum pressure when using suction cups or proximity or optical sensors when utilizing grippers. When using the robot part confirmation feature, you will no longer have to worry about damaging your mold and shipping out crushed parts. Basically, it’s your insurance policy to avoiding damaged parts and mold damage.

Make sure that the robot manufacturer provides at least 1 vacuum generator circuit and 1 mechanical

gripper circuit so you can utilize suction cups on your End-of-Arm-Tool also known as EOAT which is the robot’s customized hand to extract your parts and runners. Always remember it’s easier and more economical to add features at the factory that is building your robot than to add it at a later date on the field.

2.) Robust Construction for Maximum Payload

Many robot manufacturers cut costs by offering their customers a unit that has a lower maximum payload. This means the robot usually has lower capacity servo motors and the Finite Element Analysis is based off of the lower maximum payload. If in the future you utilize a EOAT that is either at the limit or over the limit, the robot will have to run much slower since the robot arm will vibrate and shake since it wasn’t designed to handle heavy payload EOATs.

As a rule of thumb, EOAT’s with grippers usually weigh more than EOATs with suction cups. It is best to always think about the possible future applications that you may want to run with the robot when selecting a robot with a low payload.

Another fact is look for a robot that utilizes rack and pinion mechanisms instead of belts. Belts used for robots is called an iron rubber belt and there are steel wires inside the rubber but with all types of belts they expand over time and the tension needs to be adjusted periodically. Also belts will always tear and will require replacement. Just ask yourself why we need to change the timing belts and serpentine belts on our cars but we never need to change the rack and pinion steering. Imagine if the steering on our cars were using belts. That would not be very safe.

Some customers accidentally use corrosive cleaning solutions on the robots and we have seen the rubber belts deteriorate prematurely and tear so always consult with the robot manufacturer what type of cleaning solution to use.

Also if you are looking to utilize the robots for a medical application, belts produce either a black or white dust so in a clean room application you will need to clean the robot periodically around the belt pulleys.

3.) Maximum Speed for your Application

It is very important to achieve the fastest cycle time so you make more parts consistently. Usually a robot manufacturer has the Economic Budget-type robot, a High Speed robot and an Ultra High Speed robot. This is usually dictated by the customer and their cycle times.

If the cycle time ranges above 15 seconds and the extraction time can be a little slower and you should select the Economic Budget-type robot.

If the cycle time ranges below 12 to 15 seconds and you want to extract the parts decently fast, then you should select the High Speed robot.

If the cycle time ranges below 12 seconds down to 4 seconds, now your extraction time even cutting down 0.1 or 0.2 seconds becomes critical so you should select the Ultra High Speed robot. Based on the vertical distance that the robot needs to travel, and the EOAT weight, typical full extraction times are in the range of 0.5 to 1.5 seconds. This depends on how deep the part is, size of molding machine, extraction method and other variables. Some robot manufacturers have robots that can successfully take out parts from the mold in 0.19 seconds.

When running a robot fast with a heavy payload EOAT, some robots shake and deflect since their vertical arm is designed flimsy. We see many robots running at their top speed shaking and dropping parts which defeats the purpose of having a consistent cycle time 24/7. Remember to select the most robust and over engineered robot.

Also remember speed isn’t everything if it isn’t reliable and expensive to fix. Again we see many robots that are fast for the first couple months to a year but we see customers with belt issues, pulley issues and cracking vertical arms time to time. Some of these fixes requires a technician to visit your facility to bring the unit back to factory specifications. To avoid these problems, remember to look for quality construction and reliable mechanisms.  Our customers report that the robots we specified for them lasting over 25 years while others manufacturer’s robot’s main components failed within 10 years and cost much more to maintain to continue a 24/7 production schedule.

4.) Good Track Record of Long Term Reliability and Low Maintenance Costs

When selecting a robot, ask for other customer references and talk to their customers. Ask how many years their oldest robot has been running and what their maintenance costs are. A well built full servo robot should easily last 20 years with minimal maintenance of greasing the linear guides and drive components.

Some of our customers are using their robots from 25 years ago with minimal maintenance issues. Again the emphasis on a well built robot is very important since some robots are only engineered to last 5 to 10 years. Sometimes there is a significant difference in component quality and that reflects in the price of the robot so remember price of the robot should never be the deciding factor of selecting a quality robot.

We also hear some customers reporting to us that they spend over $10,000 a year for maintaining their $25,000 robots so they end up purchasing new robots after 10 years. This should not be the case if you select a quality robot.

5.) Flexibility and Ease of Use

When selecting a robot you need to keep in mind to have a good balance between flexibility and ease of use. Usually the operators and technicians that use the robots on a day-to-day basis are not college graduates with an engineering degree. The robot controller should be simple enough for a high school graduate to operate with ease. Go over the controller with the robot manufacturer to see if it is easy to use for your application. You shouldn’t need an engineer or factory technician to teach the robot for every new mold that comes into your facility.

Some robot manufacturers give too much flexibility in their robots and that turns into complexity and safety concerns. If the robot can be taught and programmed with no limits there is a high likelihood that there will be an accident due to user error. For example you shouldn’t be able to flip the EOAT inside the mold or anywhere lower than the position where the robot is at the highest position. There should be interlocks and safeties in place where the robot cannot be taught incorrectly.

In some applications the rules can be broken but for normal operation of the robot it is best to keep it simple and safe. If the robot crashes into the mold you will encounter possible mold and end-of-arm-tool damage. Ultimately this results in unexpected loss in production which is an expensive price to pay.

Don’t let this happen to you. Select a robot manufacturer that focuses on a controller that has simplicity and emphasizes on safety.

With any product on the market. Not all top entry robots are manufactured to the same standard. Large or small we can help determine the best robot for you.

Having an extremely well engineering and reliable machinery for the plastics industry is a must these days and Hirate America partners with Sailor Automation, a Japanese based company (one of the most well-known respected in the industry) for high end solution and Yudo-Suns, a Korean based company for middle of the road solution.

If you have any questions regarding top entry robots, please contact any of the Hirate America team members to provide an automation solution tailored to your requirements.