Speed, efficiency, and teamwork are all keys to optimizing production, and more importantly, to saving money. So why don't more molders take these elements into account during mold changes? According to data reflected in IMM's Benchmarking Report from the first quarter of 1999, the overall average mold change time among participating molders is 127.40 minutes (measured from when the last good part came out of the first mold to when the first good part leaves the new mold).
Out of the 46 molders currently participating in the study, only nine have average mold change times less than 60 minutes. And, only two of these molders report mold change times less than 30 minutes. One, a captive molder with 23 presses ranging from 50 to 500 tons, reports an average time of 5.70 minutes. The other, a custom molder with 46 presses that range from 35 to 1650 tons, reports an average time of 15.60 minutes.
As these two cases suggest, it is possible for molders to reach that elusive brass ring-the 10-minute mold change. According to Husky's Michael Gould, all it takes is a three-step, team-oriented process to help save time and money before and during machine shutdown.
First, it's important to be prepared. The new mold and secondary equipment should be staged next to the machine to be changed. Also, any tools that will be required for the mold change should be gathered. If necessary, the color feeder should be prepared and the mold should be preheated, prior to machine shutdown.
At that point, three teams should work concurrently to change the mold, change resin and/or colorant, and change downstream secondary equipment. Working together, these teams should be able to complete each of these stages within 10 minutes.
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.
Phone: (905) 951-5000