Ask the tool makers to identify their âproblematic kidsâ tools and they can quickly make a list of difficult molds in their shop and specific problems for each. William Duffield, Tool Room Supervisor at Erwin Quarder Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan, is no different. After coming to Custom Moulder in late 2017, he researched the most painful molds in the business as he worked to increase the company’s preventive maintenance program.
This mold component has approximately 20,000 cycles with the grease still intact and lubricating as expected.
Erwin Quarder is a full-service injection moulder with 32 presses from 50 to 400 tonnes and just under 100 employees. One of the main lines of business is the overmolding of electronic wires for the automotive industry, and most of the parts are small and fit in the palm of the hand. The Michigan plant is a 100% subsidiary of Erwin Quarder Systemtechnik GmbH in Germany, which also has facilities in Mexico and Asia.
The first problematic tool Duffield targeted was a two-cavity mold which he described as a basic open / closed design with two sets of slides. Grease was used to keep the blades moving, but over time the 350 F process temperature liquefied the grease, forcing shop staff to apply more. Eventually, accumulating and clumping, the grease caused a myriad of molding problems, including poor sealing and the resulting flash; blocked air vents and burns; and excessive build-up, leading to broken mold components. All of this in turn caused excessive unscheduled downtime.
âWe had to clean the tool, take it out and do full preventative maintenance on it,â Duffield explains. âObviously, if the tool isn’t making parts, we’re not making money. The tool was actually struggling to open due to the lack of grease. The old grease would wear out right away, and then you were steel on steel with no lubrication. Duffield says weekly downtime took up to 4 hours as the tool room was forced to clean the mold and re-grease.
The same component after cleaning. Erwin Quarder is undertaking a study to see how long he can run this tool in continuous operation.
In his previous employment, Duffield had become a user of Nanoplas Inc.’s products, including its food-grade Syn-Lube synthetic grease, which offers high temperature and water resistance, as well as pressure protection. . Duffield requested samples of Nanoplas products and undertook a two-week study with the Difficult Matrix.
Starting with a âfresh and clean tool,â the Toolroom applied Syn-Lube and saw an immediate impact, according to Duffield. âWe regained those 4 hours of production time throughout the week,â explains Duffield, âand our parts looked better because the Syn-Lube does not clump and mount on the parts and causes shutdown problems. Plus, Duffield says the plant uses less grease overall, reducing the amount initially applied and not having to reapply more halfway through.
Erwin Quarder was so satisfied with Syn-Lube grease that he incorporated other Nanoplas products into his preventative maintenance program, including Zap-Ox stain remover, Power Clean degreaser and Defender rust remover. âWe actually use Nanoplas products on every tool in the building,â says Duffield. This is true for production, maintenance and storage tools, where it is more beneficial to use less Defender rust remover on the molds put back on the rack.
âBy using less rust remover, we don’t have a sticky residue on the mold after it has been sitting for a while,â says Duffield. âThe result is fewer blocked vents and less residue on the first try. “
Nanoplas products have helped expand scheduled preventive maintenance while allowing Erwin Quarder’s tools to run cleaner and easier.