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2020 Guide To All Electric Injection Molding Machine

All electric injection molding machines have been on the market for decades now, and there are many benefits in utilizing all electric injection molding machines.  Although there are still applications for standard hydraulic and hybrid injection molding machines, many of the major injection molding machine manufacturers are primarily focused on manufacturing all electric molding machines.  This is especially so as technology is constantly advancing and the previously too expensive to build larger tonnage all electric molding machines are becoming more and more common. It is clear that the future of the industry is in all electric injection molding machines.

What is the difference between an all electric injection molding machine and hydraulic injection molding machine? 

Electric injection molding machines consume energy only when required for a given action, and motor output is matched to meet requirements, unlike traditional hydraulic injection molding machines which use continuously consume energy even while idle.

Instead of being driven by a hydraulic system, electric injection molding machines are digitally controlled with high-speed and highly-efficient servo motors to drive the whole process. Each axis is controlled by an independent motor for injection, extrusion, clamping and ejection.

The outcome brings about a faster, cleaner, more repeatable and energy efficient injection molding process. Energy consumption for electric injection molding machines can be reduced by 50 to 75% compared to a hydraulic type.

Due to a recent rise in electricity bills in the industry, all electric injection molding machines have become more popular to save electricity costs ultimately leading to overall operational cost reduction.

What are the best applications for an all electric injection molding machine? 

All electric injection molding machines are currently being applied to various industries such as automobile parts, medical supplies, medical equipment, electronic parts, household appliances, lens molding, and daily necessities.

If your products require high product quality, precision and high repeatability then all electric would be the way to go. 

High Repeatability and Precision (Closed loop controls and linear motions)

 

  • Accuracy
    Of the 3 types of molding machines, all electric injection molding machines have the highest accuracy and repeatability.  This is because of the fact that these machines use electric servo motors with a 0.1mm +/- rotation to actuate their movements.  This type of movement allows the process to completely negate the fluctuations and inaccuracies of movements actuated by hydraulic pressure and their unavoidable pressure curves.
  • Consistency In Production
    Standard hydraulic injection molding machines constantly experience variations in their process throughout the year, and even throughout the day. This is because the weather is always changing and has an effect on your machines temperature and humidity.  As hydraulic oil gets cooler, its viscosity increases, and as hydraulic oil gets warmer, its viscosity decreases. The way hydraulic oil performs also changes as it degrades over time. This means that the way the oil in a machine moves and lubricates will always eventually be totally different than day 1.This also means that your molding machine’s process may need to be adjusted periodically throughout the day.  Standard hydraulic molding machine controls are considered “open loop” because they send signals to valves to adjust pressures, but don’t actually have direct control over the physical movements of the machine, and thus cannot make all of the minor adjustments that an all electric machine can make in real time.  All electric injection molding machines are considered to have “closed loop” controls because they control every movement with physical gear turns of their servo motors, and have the ability to constantly monitor and control their positions and speeds to a very tight tolerance, regardless of the ambient conditions.  This is the difference between “closed loop” and “open loop” controls.

All electric injection molding machines are the perfect fit for manufacturing most complex, difficult, and thin walled parts.  You can inject very accurate shots, while maintaining precise repeatability through the day, night, and seasons.

You Want Low Energy Consumption To Save On Power Costs

Low Energy Consumption
Contrary to its name, electric injection molding machines are extremely energy efficient. If you compare typical hydraulic injection molding machines and electric injection molding machines in terms of the same part and mold, you will see 50% to 70% energy savings in most applications of electric machines.

In a typical hydraulic injection molding machine, a hydraulic pump is constantly on when the machine is running. It has to keep running to circulate oil and is generating heat as long as the machine is running. On the other hand, an electric injection molding machine only consumes electricity as a servo motor turns to actuate movement, so much of the production cycle is spent idling, this is especially so in case of the cooling phase of cycle.

 

 

Electric Servo Motors
Typical hydraulic injection molding machines have one or more pumps that generate hydraulic pressure, and valves that direct pressure to hydraulic mechanisms to build pressure based on the necessary movements. Electric injection molding machines do not have a central electric motor, but use individual electric motors designed for each function that is needed throughout the machine, i.e. mold open/close, injection, recovery, and ejection. This means that the motors can be idle until their specific function is required. This is day/night comparison with a typical hydraulic injection molding machine that has to run its pumps continuously, even when nothing is happening. This is especially apparent during the cooling phase.

 

 

No Hydraulic Cooling Needed
Energy savings don’t end with an injection molding machine. The elimination of hydraulic pump circuit also doesn’t have a need for cooling hydraulics. Since electric injection molding machines don’t have hydraulics, they don’t require machine cooling. The only cooling that you will likely need is for your mold and feed throat. This leads to additional savings as you will not need additional water lines. Chillers also consume large amounts of electricity, and cooling towers consume water and electricity and require frequent maintenance and monthly water treatment plans.

 

Less Equipment Equals Less Maintenance
It is very common for customers who use only electric injection molding machines to only have chillers in their plant. This is because they no longer have a need for the high temperature circuit of cooling (85-95F) for their machines but only require the low temperature circuit of chilling (anything under 80F, usually 55F) for their molds and feed throats. Having fewer pieces of equipment obviously means, less capital invested, less upkeep and maintenance costs, less energy consumed, and lower overhead costs.

Overall Plant Energy Savings
Electric injection molding machines also run significantly cooler because there is no heat being generated by a hydraulic pump. Medical and clean room molding facilities are often climate controlled, which means that an air conditioning system does not have to work as hard to remove the heat from a molding room, if the machine is electric. This is another reason why many medical and clean room manufacturers exclusively use electric injection molding machines.

Think Long Term Savings
Based on all of the above points, when comparing a 390-ton typical hydraulic injection molding machine vs. an electric injection molding machine, there is around $17,000 of annual savings on the electric machine. This number represents the savings based on today’s factors, but it is only expected to increase as long as energy costs all across the U.S and Mexico are constantly on the rise. With proper maintenance and care, quality injection molding machines should last 20+ years.  This means that when considering a new injection molding machine, you need to think of 10 to even possibly 20 years down the road. Make sure to purchase your new machines from a reputable and established company who manufacturers their own components, such as platens, motors, sensors, breakers, contactors, cables etc. This ensures that you will always have access to replacement parts. LS Mtron is one of the billion dollar companies that manufacture all sorts of major components for their machines in house.

You Want A High Speed Molding Machine

  • Simultaneous Movements
    All electric injection molding machines have multiple electric servo motors.  These motors are coupled to pulleys and belts that work onto ball screw mechanisms that actuate the movements of functions, i.e. platen open and close.  The ability all electric machines have to make compound movements (actuating multiple functions at the same time) is one of the reasons why electric machines often times produce reductions in cycle time vs standard and hybrid injection molding machines.  You can “eject on the fly” or eject your parts before opening the mold completely,and you can start recovering the screw while opening and closing the mold. Hydraulic injection molding machines can only handle one movement at a time, because they typically only have one hydraulic pressure circuit to actuate movements.  This becomes a huge game changer for many molders when they decide to advance to all electric injection molding machines.
  • Instant Torque
    We all know that electric cars get their immense speed from having instant torque from their electric motors, and the same goes for our all electric injection molding machines.  They have instant linear motions from our AC electric servo motors, and can achieve up to 800mm per second injection speeds, and can also have multi-step injection speeds with our high output and high response AC servo motors.With all that instant torque also comes the need for a very rigid and robust toggle clamping mechanism.  LS Mtron utilizes a very rigid 5 pin toggle mechanism to ensure that you will continue to have a fast and reliable machine.  Our platens and toggles have gone through extensive FEA (Finite Element Analysis) to determine where all of the major stress points on the mechanisms are.  We also utilize the highest quality steel and casting technologies via our own inhouse steel forging division. All of this is done to maximize the lifetime of our all electric injection molding machines.
    We also utilize a very robust and precise ball screw mechanism to actuate the clamping motion.   As is with any machine component, the range of performance and quality can range drastically, so it is important to ask what manufacturer’s ball screw the injection molding machine you are looking at uses to fully understand its reliability of performance.

You Don’t Want To Deal With Hydraulic Oil

  • No Oil Equals No Mess
    Injection molding machine types are categorized into hydraulic, hybrid, and electric injection molding machines. Typical hydraulic and hybrid injection molding machines require hydraulic oil to actuate the clamping motion and injection unit of a molding machine. Electric injection molding machines use servo electric motors to actuate all of the machine motions without hydraulic oil.Electric injection molding machines have no risk of oil leaks because they don’t use oil. Your manufacturing site will be free of dirty and slippery oil leaks which are a huge safety hazard during mold changes. Not to mention you will no longer have to replace hydraulic oil after 2 to 5-year lifecycle of oil. The lifecycle of oil depends on whether you run 24/7 and whether you keep oil temperature hot, which accelerates degradation. Using hydraulic oil is significantly different from not using it. You never want to have oil contamination and damage your production site, but this may become a serious problem in the case of food packaging, medical molding or clean room required industries.
  • No Oil Changes Equal Less Maintenance
    The life cycle of the hydraulic oil in a machine depends highly on the hours of use and the quality of the machine itself.  We have seen some instances where the hydraulic oil became extremely contaminated in as little as 6 months of use on a competitors brand new machine.  Imagine having to replace oil every 6 to 12 months, not to mention the cost of the oil which can get relatively expensive with larger machines requiring over 500 gallons of hydraulic oil.  With our hybrid injection molding machines, we have seen some of our customers, who periodically test the quality of their hydraulic oil, get 5 or more years of use out of their hydraulic oil.  However, please note that the manufacturer does recommend that the hydraulic oil be changed every 3 to 4 years depending on the hours of operation.

The clean and quiet working environment that you get with all electric injection molding machines make them the ideal machine to use for food packaging and medical molders.  You won’t have to worry about getting oil contamination when cleaning your facility before a plant audit and sending your customers contaminated parts.

Think of all electric cars not needing any oil and almost no maintenance needed, it’s the same with all electric injection molding machines.

Technology Advancements

  • Extremely Reliable
    All electric injection molding machines are the most reliable of the different types of injection molding machines.  This is because unlike standard hydraulic injection molding machines and hybrid injection molding machines that were designed many decades ago, and are often more geared for a lower price bracket, all electric injection molding machines typically use state of the art technologies available.  All electric injection molding machines are also very quiet while running, and most run at or below 70db. This means that your employees are not required to wear hearing protection while operating the machines.
    You will have no oil, less maintenance, more accuracy, higher repeatability, energy savings, a much quieter work environment and a machine that is easier to maintain to continue running production.
  • Automated Features
    With all electric injection molding machines you will have no sticking valve issues, degrading oil quality issues, ambient temperature process fluctuations and noisy pumps.Many of the all electric injection molding machines have safety features standard, like mold safety to prevent crushing parts and foreign objects in the mold, cold screw rotation prevention to prevent the mistake of accidentally rotating the injection screw when the plastic is still cold and solidified from the machine being idle.Most machines will have a centralized lubrication system or automation lubrication system to automatically pump grease onto the tie bars, toggle links, linear guides and other locations where greasing is necessary.  So as long as the grease reservoir or cartridge is full, the injection molding machine will automatically grease the areas that need lubrication based on the number of full cycles. When the grease levels are low, some machines have sensors to alert that the grease reservoir or cartridge levels are low to remind your maintenance team to refill grease or change the cartridge.

Conclusion

Many of our customers prefer All Electric Injection Molding Machines based on the following:

  • The highest degree of cleanliness
  • Very low energy consumption
  • Very high repeatability and precision
  • High speed molding
  • Technological Advancements and Features

For these reason an all electric molding machines are extremely reliable for long term production runs.

We always recommend LS Mtron’s all electric injection molding machines when customers want to make millions of parts reliably every year.  If it’s a 24/7 operation that is required for maximum production rates, this is the best type of molding machine money can buy. We have customers that run “lights out” without any personnel on-site outside of normal business hours and weekends without any downtime.

Hirate America is partnered with LS Mtron Injection Molding Machines (formerly known as LG Injection Molding Machines) who manufactures all electric injection molding machines in South Korea ranging from 20 to 950 US tons.  We can provide a complete turn key solution including machines, molds, auxiliary and automation equipment. Contact us today to request more information and a proposal for your project.

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

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5 Reasons Why You Need A SRS Bi-Cutter Screenless Granulator

5 Reasons Why You Need A SRS Bi-Cutter Screenless Granulator

Size Reduction Specialists (SRS Corp.) is the world’s only provider of bi-cutter screenless granulators that generate premium, uniform granules with it’s patented two-shaft design.   These uniform granules are free of longs, dust or powder and will enhance your molding process and able to process materials like TPE’s and glass-filled resins.

1. Are you producing parts with majority of the shot being the runner?

In most cases, runners are a waste of material that most molders throw away so why not try to recapture the material loss and put that back into your process, which will yield a cost savings over time.

2. Are you wanting high quality regrind?

The SRS bi-cutter screenless granulator is able to provide clean finely cut material ready for reprocessing.  One of our customers stated that they were only able to put back only 23% of regrind from their runners back into their process from a conventional granulator to make good parts, but when they switched to the SRS unit they were able to reuse 100% of the runner regrind to make good quality parts.  This lead to significant savings of putting back virgin material over time.

The first stage cutters rotate at a low rotation speed of 15~18 rpm.

A special “S” shaped breaking blade in the first stage cuts the sprues/runners into smaller pieces, allowing the pieces to drop into the second stage cutting teeth.

The second stage rotary and stationary cutters cut into uniform size at 45~60 rpm. The uniform particles then fall into the collector bin at the base of the Bi-Cutter for removal.

3. Do you want the quietest granulator on the market?

Typically “quiet” and “granulators” don’t belong in the same sentence.  With the SRS screenless granulator, you can definitely have a normal conversation standing next to the machine because of it’s slow rotating cutters (18 RPM for the 1st stage and 60 RPM for the 2nd stage) compared to conventional granulators rotating at 200-250 RPM.

4. Do you want a low power consumption granulator?

Granulators are energy hogs due to their high speed high horsepower motors that need to drive the cutter.  As mentioned above since the cutter shafts rotate at a much lower speed, less horsepower motor is required 0.5HP ~ 2 HP motor compared to conventional granulators.

5. Do you want less down time and no meltdowns?

The tilt back hopper design makes it extremely easy for clean out since you get access to the cutting chambers.  Conventional granulators running at higher speeds can cause a melt down and cause back up in the hopper or pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

The uniquely designed two-stage Bi-Cutter screenless granulator produces excellent quality granules without the use of a sizing screen.

A small, compact footprint allows the Bi-Cutter to be used press-side.

Low RPM and horsepower allow the Bi-Cutter to be a low maintenance and low energy-consuming unit.

The quiet, dependable Bi-Cutter cuts sprues/ runners into uniformly sized granules.

The Bi-Cutter produces premium quality granules with no dust and guaranteed no longs.

 

SRS Screenless Granulator continuously improves and innovates their products to be one of the quietest, cleanest most efficient bi-cutter screenless granulators for the injection molding and the plastics industry.

If you have any questions regarding SRS screenless granulators or any plastic process equipment, please contact any of the Hirate America team members to provide a solution tailored to your requirements.

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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.

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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.

 

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What Are The Most Important Factors To Consider For Resin Drying?

Many engineered grade polymers absorb moisture, these resins are known as hygroscopic resins.

When moisture is not properly removed from the plastic resin, visible defects and structural deficiencies could occur such as:

  • Splay or striations
  • Bubbles in the part
  • Degradation of the polymer
  • Know your materials, if your material is hygroscopic you will need to dry the material prior to use.  Examples of common plastic resin that drying are:
    PC (Polycarbonate), PET, ABS, Nylon, Polyurethane, TPU
  • Know your minimum and maximum material throughput (lbs/hr)
  • Know your minimum and maximum temperatures your resins dry at
  • Know your resin’s highest residence time (Residence time is the time set by the resin’s supplier for the resin to reach optimal dryness)

 

 

 

 

How do you size your resin drying hopper?

Material throughput (lbs/hr) X residence time (hr) = ideal hopper size

e.g. 15lbs/hr. with a 4 hour residence time will require a 60lb hopper.

How do you want to get the resin in the drying hopper into your injection molding machine feed throat?

  • By hand
  • By gravity
  • Automatic loaders

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are your typical runs before stopping or changing materials?

If your material change overs take less time than the resin’s residence time and happen frequently (twice a week or more) then we would recommend to have additional resin drying hoppers to pre-dry your next resin. Typical ROI will be seen within a year by reducing down time.

There are many different dryer / hopper combinations to suit your process flow, here are some options below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portable press side dual resin dryer and drying hopper ideal if you want to dry two different materials and have one on standby to eliminate downtime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Machine feed throat mounted resin dryer with drying hopper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Central resin dryers and drying hoppers with portability.  Conveys dried plastic resin to the machine’s feed throat via material conveying lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For your plastic resin drying needs, Hirate America partners with Motan and Dri Air Industries, Inc.

 

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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Why do you need to dry plastic resins or pellets when injection molding or extrusion?

This article is meant to help those who have little to no understanding of drying plastic resins.

There are many different types of plastic resins, but they can all be split into two basic categories: hygroscopic or non-hygroscopic. The definition of hygroscopic is: of a substance tending to absorb moisture from the air. This means that some plastic resins/pellets absorb moisture just by being expo

sed to ambient air. (note that the surrounding “ambient” air we are exposed to is always considered moist/wet unless it is at 0 or negative F in dew point, this includes the air inside of material conveying lines and hoppers.)

The moisture that gets absorbed deep within a pellet can have negative effects to the quality of whatever product is being molded, and it then becomes necessary to dry the pellet before molding. Some of these “negative effects” are:

Splay or Steam typically visible streaks or bubbles in or on the end-product caused by the boiling of the moisture in the pellet that becomes gas/steam.

  • The loss of the strength in end products.  The moisture in the plastic weakens the molecular bonds in the plastic, which can cause the end product to be brittle.
  • Inconsistencies in the injection molding or extrusion process caused by the fluctuations in viscosity of the resin which is a major factor in injection molding / extrusion. One major example of this is with Nylon, which will actually spit or drool out of the nozzle when purging if it is not dried properly.

How to Dry Hygroscopic Resins

There are 4 main factors that must be met and precisely controlled to dry hygroscopic resins.

One common misconception about drying material is that the “wetness” of resin is the topical surface moisture, but the actual moisture content of a plastic pellet is measured in parts per million (PPM) and refers to the moisture content within a pellet.

 

 

 

 
Temperature
All hygroscopic resins have a specific temperature set point that they must be at to release the moisture within the pellet. It is important to know that if the material is below the predetermined temperature set point, even if it were to  be left in a dryer all night it may l never release the moisture within the pellet (be dry). It is also important to note that raising the temperature above its specified setpoint is not an acceptable shortcut to drying it more quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

Air Flow & Dry Air
The next two factors work hand in hand, so they will be discussed together. Once the resin is at the right temperature to release the moisture it has absorbed, The released moisture must then be moved away. In order to both evenly distribute heat throughout the resin and move away the released moisture, there must be enough air flow, and the air must be dry. If the amount of air flowing through the resin is insufficient, or the dew point (the measurement of how dry air is, in either F. or C.) is not low enough, the moisture that is released from the resin will not get absorbed by the flow of air, and won’t get carried away. This will just result in the resin reabsorbing the moisture, and either take more time to dry, or just never get dried. The industry standard for how dry the air must be from a dryer is -40F., but it can range from -20F. to -80F depending on the type of desiccant being used, and the regeneration/life cycle of the desiccant. Note: For Most materials, having a -20F. dew point vs -50F. dew point will make no noticeable difference on how quickly the material is dried.

 

 

 

 

 

Residence Time
Residence time, the time required to dry a resin, in the real world, is constantly changing due to circumstances such as:

  • how wet is the material to begin with
  • how humid is the weather on the day you are drying the material
  • how dry do you actually need the material to be to achieve quality results
  • how many of the other 3 factors (mentioned above) are being met optimally
  • how efficient is your dryer (at meeting the other 3 factors of drying),
  • how much moisture is being regained during the process of getting the material from the drying hopper to the feed throat of your injection molding machine, extrusion line, or blow molding machine.

With all these considerations every type of resin has a predetermined residence time set by the manufacturer which is usually 4 to 6 hours of drying.

With that being said, once you have a properly sized dryer, you will need to follow these steps to start the molding/extrusion process.

  1.       Fill the drying hopper with your resin.
  2.       Set the dryer to the temperature specified by the resin’s manufacturer.
  3.       Let the material dry for the specified residence time (for example, 4 to 6 hours).
  4.       Convey the material from the dryer to your machine’s feed throat. (unless the dryer is directly on your machine’s feed throat, in which case, you are ready to start molding/extruding.)
  5.       Start molding! (note: for every x amount of material you are processing, you must add the same amount of material back into the drying hopper simultaneously, or you will not achieve the proper residence time of drying for your resin.

For your plastic resin or pellet drying needs, Hirate America partners with Motan and Dri Air Industries, Inc.

 

 

 

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