Faults and breakdowns interrupt entire production processes, resulting in hours (or days) of unplanned downtime. Downtime is expensive, especially considering that, in the injection molding industry, a late delivery means not only huge penalties to be paid, but also a consequent loss of customer goodwill.
What are the most common problems related to the hot runner system during the injection molding process?
This article features 7 tips to prevent downtime, highlighting the top requirements your hot runner suppliers should have.
1. Plan a scheduled maintenance of your hot runner systems
Following a scheduled maintenance plan provided by your hot runner supplier can solve small problems before they turn into big and costly repairs. A maintenance plan is the perfect solution to check the status (and the wear) of your hot runner system based on the polymer, the molded application and the number of cycles. Maintaining equipment and keeping it operating in good conditions will extend its operational time.
2. Attend a hot runner training to manage simple unexpected events by yourself
One of the easiest ways to manage unexpected events is being well prepared. Make sure that your hot runner manufacturer can support you with customized technical training courses about the injection process optimization, process control, system operation and maintenance. Why should you wait (and waste precious time) if you can manage some small repairs on your own?
3. Select a hot runner manufacturer close to you
A widespread presence will be helpful to avoid unexpected downtimes wherever you are located. Make sure that your hot runner company has a production plant close to you, and a widespread presence throughout its after-sales service centers in order to promptly support you in case of emergency. These are two key factors in order to benefit of a fast and efficient service support. Moreover, check the possibility to receive customized packages of spare parts, to have the most common used components always available on site.
4. Make sure that your hot runner supplier is available 24/7
Issues related to maintenance and service can occur when you least expect them. Make sure your hot runner supplier is available 24/7. The service team should be ready to solve your problems whenever you need.
5. Well begun is half done!
Thanks to a customized technical support during the system installation, the process tuning and the try-out, you can be sure that your production process will start properly, and your molded parts will be as expected.
6. Learning from past mistakes, by collecting data
The best solutions are often the result of the experience in the field. For example, flashes on the molded parts can be caused by some issues related to the combinations of nozzle and manifold bore channels design. Hybrid hot runner systems - characterized by manifolds and nozzles of different sizes - allow to prevent flashes thanks to the optimization of the hot runner system layout. The process of gathering data is always a good practice in order to avoid making the same mistake. Make sure to select a hot runner company where the Service works in close cooperation with the R&D Department. This procedure is essential to improve the hot runner systems layout even more.
7. Not only a hot runner manufacturer, but an expert on the whole injection molding process
Sometimes problems are not directly connected to the hot runner system layout. When black smoke on the part occurs, for example, the cause is often related to the fact that the IMM screw doesn’t turn constantly. The result is that the instability produced during the material dosage could cause some defects on the molded part. Relying on a hot runner supplier with a 360° knowledge of the whole injection molding process will help you identify the most frequent problems that can occur during each phase.
And what if downtime occurs? Flexibility and efficiency first.
When downtime occurs, the hot runner system must be replaced (or repaired) as soon as possible to avoid paying huge penalties. Rely on a flexible hot runner supplier that can be quickly at your side: this will help you solve your problems first, postponing all the “bureaucratic” issues related to orders and paperwork at a later time.