Husky Injection Molding Systems launched its new Ultra SideGate hot runner technology at October's Fakuma International Trade Fair, where it was received "extremely positively," according to Martin Baumann, Husky's Business Manager, Hot Runners. Husky has started shipping its first systems to customers.
The new hot runner is designed and optimized specifically for deep-draw parts for the medical device industry such as pipettes, syringe barrels and other small applications. It allows customers to direct gate parts that would otherwise require gating with a cold runner, making this new technology particularly valuable in the manufacture of parts where quality and gate vestige are critical.
|Husky's Ultra SideGate hot runner targets deep-draw parts with high quality and gate vestige requirements.|
Ultra SideGate allows for high-cavitation molds with a small footprint, while providing outstanding gate quality and offering moldmakers added design flexibility. According to Baumann, the Ultra SideGate leaves virtually no gate vestige on finished parts (~0.05mm vestige), which makers of clear disposable medical devices prefer for part aesthetics. By allowing for the use of a single-piece cavity in the design of the mold, the quality issues that often accompany split cavity designs are avoided, such as excess plastic on finished parts that can occur if the cavities are misaligned. This is critical in the medical industry where safety is paramount and sharp edges can be detrimental.
For molders, direct gating parts with Ultra SideGate means they can achieve resin savings, faster cycle times and better performance across a wider temperature range. Additionally, the technology allows direct access to the individual tips without needing to remove the mold from the injection molding machine.
Tip-to-tip spacing as low as 55 mm
In order to minimize footprint while still allowing for maximum number of mold cavities, Ultra SideGate offers tip-to-tip spacing as small as 55 mm and a reduced nozzle housing area compared to other products in the category. This results in improved cooling, reduced cycle times and more steel support for better mold integrity. Ultra SideGate also allows for one-, two- or four-tip configurations within each housing.
Partnering with Tech Mold
One of Husky's collaborative partners in developing Ultra SideGate is Tech Mold Inc., a manufacturer of precision multi-cavity molds primarily for the medical disposables market. Husky purchased a mold from Tech Mold because of Tech Mold's expertise in the medical mold industry, and because they needed a North American supplier. "We were certainly aware of Tech Mold's experience in working on projects that required side gated hot runner systems," explained Baumann. "Tech Mold helped us understand industry trends before we invested a lot of time and resources into a project such as this."
Husky's engineering team received input from Tech Mold regarding the challenges mold manufacturers often encounter with side-gating systems, and developed an optimized system. "We took the various concepts developed in our research and development efforts, as well as the input from Tech Mold and together we worked on creating a better product for our market - the moldmakers and the medical industry," Baumann said. "Together we were able to confirm these ideas about the side gate hot runner system and how it should function, and prove that it really works. They helped us take this unique approach and turn it into a product that fits the needs of both mold builders and molders alike. If a mold builder isn't confident in your product, it can present a significant challenge in getting them to adopt new solutions. Tech Mold was able to confirm that Ultra SideGate presented significant advantages over existing technologies and that will make a big difference in terms of market acceptance of this new product."
Molding a POM .5g medical cap with 1.25-mm wall thickness
The Fakuma demonstration of the new Ultra SideGate was a huge success. "We turned the press on in the morning and turned it off in the evening, running a polyoxymethylene (POM) resin producing a 0.5 gram medical cap with 1.25 millimeter wall thickness. There are no special procedures required to heat up or cool down the system," explains Baumann, "and you do not need to buy a specialized controller. This is simpler than any other side-gate solution on the market."
Other benefits of Ultra SideGate include the simple installation of this hot runner system - it can be installed from the outside and does not require splitting the cavities, which also means simplified mold design and assembly.
Visitors to Fakuma were impressed with the new Ultra SideGate hot runner, and were particularly excited to see the accessibility in the press. "The reality was that once the customers saw this, they wanted it. We're very confident in the product."
Tod Grimm, Tech Mold's Engineering Team Leader, commented, "We are pleased that our contributions to this project resulted in such a successful product for Husky."