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The demand for hot runner systems has increased with the move toward greater efficiencies, higher productivity, and reduced scrap. That’s pretty much the word from the hot runner systems manufacturers that proliferated NPE. It also shows that molders and their mold suppliers continue to try to get a good handle on the variabilities that impact processing and ultimately affect the bottom line.

Clare Goldsberry

May 7, 2012

8 Min Read
NPE2012 hot runner rundown: The age of hot runner systems is upon us

The demand for hot runner systems has increased with the move toward greater efficiencies, higher productivity, and reduced scrap. That’s pretty much the word from the hot runner systems manufacturers that proliferated NPE. It also shows that molders and their mold suppliers continue to try to get a good handle on the variabilities that impact processing and ultimately affect the bottom line.   

Husky Injection Molding Systems introduced its latest hot runner and controller technologies, which are designed to help eliminate variability from the injection molding process. The company highlighted is new Ultra SideGate and UltraSync-E hot runners. A 64-drop valve gate UltraSync-E hot runner ran at NPE as part of the company’s medical workcell. Also displayed was Husky’s range of Altanium temperature controllers.

“Hot runners are one of the most sophisticated components of an injection molding system and have a direct impact on profitability and part quality,” said Martin Baumann, Husky’s business manager, Hot Runners. “Our new hot runner and controller technologies support Husky’s goal of providing innovative melt-delivery products that help customer eliminate variability their production process.”

DME Company presented a new solution for molders challenged with maintaining a perfectly flat thermal profile with its new Zenith Valve Gate hot runner system. According to Craig Kovacic, hot runner business manager for DME, the Zenith HRS provides better thermal heat profiles in the nozzle and tip—areas where uniform heat is needed to prevent drooling or stringing.


DME's Zenith Valve Gate hot runner system.


The iVG from Mold Hotrunner Solutions.


Incoe's SoftGate hot runner valve-pin velocity control.

“To help our customers use our hot runner systems even more efficiently, we’ve been working with resin suppliers in our hot runner lab on processing new resins being introduced into the marketplace,” Kovacic added. The Zenith HRS is available as a hydraulic or pneumatic hot half, and offers front- and rear-loaded nozzle heater options. It works with a wide range of materials, particularly amorphous and semi-crystalline polymers.

DME also launched its 16-Zone Hydraulic Valve Gate Sequencer which offers responsive control of more valve gates, helping meet demands for precise, sophisticated molding. While increasing the maximum number of timer-based zones from four to 16, the 16-Zone Valve Gate Sequencer provides reliability and accuracy. “Our customers want not only more cost-effective solutions, they want more user-friendly options and control over their systems,” Kovacic said.

Technoject Machinery Corp. offers a Heitec hot runner nozzle that allows cavity spacing from only 5.5 mm, resulting in maximum production efficiency. With its small installation dimensions, the new Miniature Flat Nozzle won’t interfere with any cavity detail. This new product was developed from the Flat-line series, which has been in the market for more than 10 years, so it is a proven technology, said Paul Boettger of Technoject.

Technoject also introduced a new 8-Tip Star-Line nozzle with linear alignment. The tip is inserted directly from the parting line on the side of the molding surface to ensure a high degree of service friendliness and ease of processing without a cold slug. This linear arrangement in combination with the slim design of the hot runner nozzles reduces the cooling time and leads to overall shorter cycles, and has been successfully used in the molding of syringe barrels.

Synventive Molding Solutions featured its latest Advanced Flow Control hot runner systems that provide molders with more control over the molding process to produce parts with higher quality surface finishes, explained Desmond Crowley, marketing communications manager for Synventive. These systems include eGate, a new electronically controlled hot runner system that can control and regulate up to 64 valves individually; SynFlow, a new flow-regulation technology that controls hydraulic valve-gate opening and closing; Dynamic Feed, a process control technology developed by Synventive that integrates online melt pressure control in the hot runner system to control each nozzle in the injection and hold pressure phases, providing a system in which each individual gate operates as if it has its own injection unit.

Synventive also presented two new styles of its Plug ‘n Play systems—the 06e and 09e, which the company said are “ideal for molding small to medium-sized parts up to 250g shot weight per nozzle."

Gammaflux, a global supplier of hot runner temperature control systems, offered its next-generation temperature controller—the G24—that is “overall a better, faster, serial-based communications platform due to a new industrial USB that solved the speed limitations that other controllers encounter,” said Mike Brostedt, director of market development for Gammaflux. “This new development in controllers also allows us to shrink the size of the product, with each control module having 15 amps per zone output. We maintain our same ability to control the amperage, and can significantly reduce costs.”

Compared to the Gammaflux TTC product line, the G24 with 128-zone controller has a 48% smaller footprint. The G24 also has improves interlocks to ensure bad parts are not produced and catastrophic damage is avoided. Molders can also automate their mold troubleshooting with Mold Doctor that allows problems to be diagnosed with a quantitative thermodynamic zone analysis. And an early leak-detection system, Gammaflux’s third generation, has a watt/leak alarm that speeds the initial setup and alerts the user when a lead first occurs.

Mold Hotrunner Solutions introduced its new Rheo-ProiVG hot runner stack mold systems that have a 54% smaller carbon footprint than their single-face counterparts, claimed Harald Schmidt, president of HMS. This allows these molds to run in smaller injection molding machines with less clamp tonnage, further decreasing the overall energy consumed in the production cell, which maintaining the same high level of output and part quality.

Schmidt gave the example of a standard Rheo-Pro iVG 48 + 48 stack mold, running in a relatively small 200-ton machine that can produce 96 lightweight bottle closures every 3 seconds, or nearly 3 million parts per day, resulting in a 30% greater cost efficiency than a conventional 96-cavity single-face hot runner system.

“There’s no question, internal valve gate hot runner technology is a game changer,” said Schmidt. “Double the production, double the efficiency, and much easier to use. We built the iVG so our customers can outperform their competition. It’s as simple as that.”

Melt Design Inc. introduced its hew Dual State Filter Device for its hot runner systems. Mounted between the extruder barrel and the molding machine nozzle, this unique design allows for two separate melt pathways: one path during injection, where the melt is filtered in two stages and homogenized through a series of decreasing-in-size grooves and openings; and through a separate path during decompression. Decompression occurs with virtually zero pressure drop, said Panos Trakas, president of MDi, allowing for a faster and easier decompression cycle. Additionally, during decompression, filtered debris will be bypassed and remain trapped as the melt follows a separate pathway.

MDi also introduced its Anti-Drool Sprue Bar device to solve the problem of drooling in stack molds that utilize an extended sprue bar. This device prevents costly material loss over time through its patented, specially designed machine nozzle tip. Also, MDi’s new Equatemp two-stage externally heated filter/mixing nozzle is designed to filter out pieces of debris from .020-inch and larger.

Incoe introduced a new Edge Gate nozzle design that it says simplifies integration and maintenance. Part of the Direct-Flo Gold series of hot runners, this nozzle is said to provide thermal control and sustainable part geometry in applications requiring a side entry gate location, including medical vials, syringes, and pipettes. The Edge Gate system features include a split mold insert design, simplified assembly, variable nozzles lengths, profiled and integrated heater, quick disconnect wiring, and thermal tip performance.

Nozzle lengths range from 80 to 120 mm and can be specified to exact dimensions. The dual-heater design is integrated into the nozzle body and gating area. The heater is profiled so that heat is applied where needed, according to Incoe, with the thermocouple located near the gate for optimized thermal control.

The Edge Gate nozzles are available in three configurations that allow for 1-2, 1-4, or 1-8 thermal tip-gate locations around the circular nozzle head. Tips are coated for added durability and performance and can utilize our exclusive Opti-Flo rheologically balanced manifolds for enhanced part quality.

Incoe also introduced the SoftGate hot runner valve-pin velocity control. Initially launched in Europe during K2010, SoftGate valve-pin velocity control technology reportedly resolves process challenges related to conventional hydraulic sequential molding. The gradual pin actuation, precisely timed as needed for optimized melt flow velocity to the mold cavity, is said to provide a key process control for molders, helping reduce or eliminate flow hesitation lines and blemish marks. The SoftGate technology consists of a control module in the hydraulic unit and a velocity calibration unit. It can be retrofitted onto existing Incoe hydraulic valve-gate systems.

Also debuted was the Valve Gate Tip featuring the VIX End Cap specifically designed for enhanced and fast color-change performance. The tip geometry has been optimized for improved flow of material required in color-change applications.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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