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September 1, 2003

12 Min Read
Hot runners

Ewikon released its HPS III-MH Series multitip nozzles for open and direct horizontal gating.

The Mold-Masters Pivot-Link is a new rotating manifold for automotive lens applications.

Mold equipment suppliers have their sights set on helping their moldmaking customers do their jobs faster and more cost effectively to help them compete with offshore shops. Hot runner solutions seemed to be the most prominent example of this at NPE 2003. Demand for these systems has increased dramatically, say suppliers. They attribute this to efforts by molders and their OEM customers to reduce costs to manufacture through faster cycle times and reduced scrap.

Synventive Molding Solutions introduced a new line of hot runner products that merges the company?s existing Heat Pipe and MultiZone technology under the Kona brand name. Molders now can use this single modular, flexible system to mold anything from large automotive parts to small cosmetic components. The new Kona XP products provide the benefits of both technologies, including temperature uniformity and reliability, and accommodate nearly all part sizes and virtually all engineering resins. Synventive says it?s a first in the hot runner industry.

Günther introduced its Gate Keeper nozzles for processing high-temperature materials and materials in which a narrow temperature window is required, by thermally isolating the gate area. The company also introduced its SFT/DFT Micro Series nozzles in 230V micromolding systems for high-cavitation molds, with pitch centers less than .35 inch.

Günther also featured a new valve pin that is fully adjustable in the press from outside the tool. It allows for easy maintenance with high efficiency. No more removing the pin, grinding, and checking. And, the pins come as a completely assembled unit, including the actuating mechanism for immediate installation.

Mold-Masters Ltd. introduced its trademarked Master-Series hot runner product line, offering a variety of improvements. ?Our customers are demanding quick startups, consistent part quality, and the fastest color changes in the business; [this is] a completely reliable system that will not burn out, leak, or present any traditional downtime issues,? said Jonathon Fischer, Mold-Masters president.

In conjunction with the Master-Series, Mold-Masters launched MasterSpeed, a high-speed, high-tech delivery solution that pushes the boundaries of design and manufacturing automation with same-day drawings and rapid hot runner and hot-half system delivery. ?This completely customized system offers product from one to 16 drops complete with hot halves,? Fischer said, ?and Merlin, an advanced ERP system, puts ordering into the customer?s hands, thus reducing cost and lead times.?

Other new Mold-Masters products include the Accu-Valve, a next-generation cylindrical valve-gate system that provides optimal gate cosmetics with exceptional gate durability and gate protection; two new MasterSolution technologies, including the Stack-Link melt transfer solution for stack mold technology and Pivot-Link for hot runner molding where gating on angled surfaces is required; and the next-generation Flex-Series hot runner systems for molding automotive parts, inmold decoration, and large-part applications.

Osco Inc. offers advancements in center gating with its DSV system that includes an externally mounted cylinder, a center fill gate that permits 360° annular flow through a cored hole center, balanced fill for rounder, more concentric parts, and greater part-to-part consistency.

Incoe Corp. introduced its new unitized hot runners that offer a low-cost alternative to an injection system by providing a completely wired, drop-in hot runner system without the retaining plate. All wiring is encased in a conduit, eliminating the possibility of damage to wires during mold assembly. ?Now, moldmakers don?t have to be electricians too,? said Greg Herkner, sales manager for Incoe. It features 13 interchangeable gate configurations, six flow channel sizes, and various nozzle lengths for maximum flexibility for all molding applications, small to large.

The Stellar hot runner systems from D-M-E feature four-, eight-, or 16-drop multinozzle assemblies and will be shipped in three to five working days.

The American MSI Altanium e machine-mount system allows hot runner control from a unit mounted directly onto the injection molding machine.

Priamus System Technologies? Fill controls monitor and balance melt flow to make sure that the melt fronts reach the same position at the same time.

Plasthing HRS Inc. has a new range of 240V, externally heated, open flow bushings and valve-gate bushings that offer quality, performance, and service support at ?unconventional pricing.? The company has also redesigned its Plasthing filter nozzle to allow processing up to 900 kg/hr of PET for preform manufacture. Normally such a rate would create shear stress, which would generate unacceptable levels of process byproducts that affect the bottled product. Additionally, Plasthing is offering a guarantee called ?No Work, No Pay.? Its hot runner systems work as specified or you do not pay.

Hasco unveiled its latest custom-made hot runner manifolds, built from high-alloy special steel, as well as newly designed nickel-plated elements for single or multiple deflection, providing optimum heat transfer. Flexible design concepts are supplied to fit each individual application.

Alba Enterprises Inc. introduced its new ?hassle-free hot runner wiring? devices including the new TimeSaver terminal boxes. Epic-style connectors are prewired to ?cage clamp? technology connector blocks. Using the supplied comb insertion tool, the wires can be quickly and easily inserted into their relative zone locations. Remove the comb tool and the connection is made. No screwdriver is required.

Ewikon HotRunner Systems introduced its HPS III-MV Series multitip nozzles for direct vertical gating of parts, available as hot sprue nozzles without a manifold (MVE) or as a full hot runner system with manifold. Also in the HPS III line are MH1 multitip nozzles for open horizontal gating in standard mold inserts and MH2 multitip nozzles for direct horizontal gating with split mold inserts, both 230V, externally heated.

The HPS III-S nozzle is a slimline design with a flow channel diameter of 4.5 mm and completes the range of HPS III-S high-performance nozzles. The HPS III-K nozzle is targeted specifically to process standard materials used in the packaging and medical industries, and features shaft sealing technology that simplifies mold construction and provides a balanced temperature profile in the gate area.

Caco Technologies Inc. sells its hot runner products through PCS, and offered a variety of new features in its Bolt-On systems. Some of the latest features include copper-clad headers embedded in the manifold both to provide even heat transfer and low power consumption and to eliminate hot spots that can cause manifold heater failure. Caco also offers Bolt-On systems for multimaterial, multicolor, and stack molds.

D-M-E introduced Stellar Quick Delivery systems at the show. Stellar hot runner systems are designed for use in mold bases with tight center-to-center distances and reportedly work well with both commodity and engineering-grade resins in many high-cavitation applications. A choice of options is designed to meet varying project requirements and time demands. Stellar 1 features four-, eight-, and 16-drop multinozzle assemblies shipped in three to five working days. Stellar 2 offers the same assemblies with standard nozzle plate thicknesses that ship in five working days; custom nozzle plate thicknesses ship in 10 working days. In addition, D-M-E offers a three-year, leak-proof warranty on all Stellar package systems.

D-M-E has stepped up its customer service with the opening of a new Hot Runner Service Center dedicated to supporting all hot runner brands. Located in Madison Heights, MI, the center enables fast turnaround and cost-effective service on any hot runner system.

American MSI announced multiple hot runner developments. The new Altanium C-Series offers compact and affordable hot runner temperature control systems that handle from two to 12 zones. The mold-mounted Altanium CM fits snugly on the mold junction box of virtually any hot runner mold, leaving plenty of space for robots, optical electronics, and hoses, and eliminating the need for expensive power and thermocouple cables. Another addition is the Altanium CF, a compact freestanding unit that uses the same basic shape as the CM. Altanium e is machine-mounted.

Gammaflux displayed the newest versions of its TTC family of hot runner temperature control systems. The TTC International Interface is shown here.

UltraHeaters, a new line of nozzle heaters for Husky?s Ultra hot runners, work even when submerged in water. This photo was taken at the Husky booth during NPE 2003.

New valve-gate hot runner systems from Melt Design Inc. feature an adjustable valve-pin design. Only a screwdriver and Allen wrench are required to get at the valve cylinders and adjust the valve pins.

American MSI has also added two operator interfaces to its lineup. The new Neo is a low-cost monochrome operator interface for Altanium systems with two to 12 zones. The Matrix provides intelligent temperature control and configuration flexibility, with a choice of active-matrix TFT touch screens in sizes ranging from 12 to 18 inches. Matrix can be monitored and operated through an Internet browser from a desktop or at the press?s HMI.

Priamus System Technologies served up the Priamus Fill controls, which monitor and balance melt flow in hot runner molds. Depending on the application, temperature sensors are placed either in each cavity (multicavity and family molds) or at different locations in the same cavity (sequential molding applications, with weldlines). Priamus Fill analyzes the temperature information and changes the settings of the hot runner control automatically until balanced conditions in different cavities or reference conditions in the same cavity are achieved. For process optimizing and monitoring purposes, additional cavity pressure sensors can be used.

The Mold IQ device from Fast Heat is a new microprocessor that stores information on how to optimize the processing of parts in a specific hot runner mold. The Mold IQ functions as the brain of a tool, eliminating trial and error in starting up the mold on a different injection press. Fast Heat can install the microprocessor in the mold box of an existing tool or provide a special box incorporating the new chip. The device is designed to solve problems that can arise when a molder shelves a mold between runs or ships the mold from one location to another.

Also new from Fast Heat is the Precision Series valve gate for shots ranging from 5 to 3000g. The units are suitable for both commodity and engineering resins. In addition, the Pulse II Controller, now available for up to 168 zones, has readily replaceable zone-control modules.

From Gammaflux came the new TTC International Interface for hot runner temperature control, for up to 128 zones. Like all Gammaflux hot runner control products, the TTC family features Gammaflux-proprietary PID2 control algorithms, which reportedly help deliver smooth, accurate temperature control. A completely modular design allows for quick, easy control card addition and replacement.

Husky unveiled enhancements to its Ultra hot runner product. These new features are reported to improve uptime, balance, color change, and gate quality, and further extend Husky?s offering of Pronto delivery, which promises standard hot runners in three to four weeks.

New Ultra hot runner features include the UltraHeater, a nozzle heater that is moisture resistant, has fast response times, saves energy, and has a slim profile. Nozzle material combinations can improve molding operating windows by up to four times. New valve-gate technology features a composite tip design with the UltraGuide feature, allowing the system to run with no measurable wear for more than 5 million cycles.

Additional edge and multiprobe gating styles improve gating flexibility, featuring a new front-mounted tip insert for ease of maintenance. Previous rear-mounted tip inserts required the complete nozzle housing to be removed for maintenance.

A new UltraFlow tip significantly improves color-change performance and melt homogeneity. At NPE Husky demonstrated a 2x96-drop Ultra 750 hot-tip system running 1800 closures/hr, a 2x8-drop Ultra 750 hot tip running a thin-wall container at less than 6-second cycles, and a 144-drop Ultra 750 PET valve-gate system on what it described as the highest-output PET preform system on the market.

J-Tech HotRunner promoted its development of a miniature hot runner nozzle with a total width of only 6 mm, enabling nozzle pitch starting from 7 mm. These nozzles, in combination with suitable manifolds, reportedly result in highly efficient mold layouts, particularly in molds for high-precision items, in which article weights of less than .03g have been achieved.

Watlow?s new T2 heaters are reportedly ideal for hot runner nozzles for two-stage PET preform molding applications. Their design includes tube-in-tube construction and high-temperature leads for durability.

A new line of valve-gate systems from Melt Design Inc. features an adjustable valve-pin design. This simplifies pin adjustment by allowing the operator to reach through the back of the mold to access the pin control. This is said to offer a much faster option than systems that often require the mold to be taken apart and the pin measured and ground for final positioning. With MDI?s ?bolt-on? system, MDI can fully assemble and heat each system to operating temperature, with cooling and air lines connected. In this manner, exact molding conditions are duplicated so users are ensured of optimum pin positioning on each nozzle.

Plastic Engineering & Technical Services introduced the Even-Flow II hot runner manifold, which provides manual control of various temperature zones and precise points of injection. The machined, round, one-piece design is made with solid P-20 steel that withstands pressure in excess of 35,000 psi. Stainless steel locating rings minimize heat transfer from the mold to the machine, while titanium preloads minimize heat transfer from the manifold to the clamp plate. Hermetically sealed heater bands eliminate moisture. Polished diamond end plugs reduce color hangups and minimize material stress at the transition point.

Another innovation, angled drops, allows for precise point injection on the part surface. In the design phase, the Accelerate software allows PETS to design a hot runner system from the initial concept to production preparation in less than 1 hour.

Watlow featured the latest thick-film heater designs for hot runner system manifolds and nozzles and the new T2 heater, especially designed for hot runner nozzles for PET two-stage preform molding. Watlow thick-film technology reportedly enables hot runner manufacturers to uniformly apply precisely calibrated heat at temperatures up to 500C (925F). Hot and cold spots along the hot runner manifold and nozzles are virtually eliminated, allowing injection molders to reduce both startup and cycle times.

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