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State of the Tech: The best rush-order hot runners in stock (Web-exclusive expanded content)

January 1, 2008

16 Min Read
State of the Tech: The best rush-order hot runners in stock (Web-exclusive expanded content)

Ever had an emergency project, one involving an absolutely vital piece of equipment that had to arrive, like, yesterday? Our imaginary molder—John E. B. Goode, president of IMM—has such a project. He’s got a hot medical packaging job in the works and he desperately needs a hot runner system right away. You can read his RFQ yourself.

Fortunately for Mr. Goode, many runnerless systems suppliers offer drop-ins to meet his needs, plus the service capabilities to ensure his needs are met shot after shot. What follows are responses to his RFQ from eight top hot runner suppliers in their own words.

Editor’s note: IMM wishes to thank John Blundy and his colleagues at Incoe Corp. for helping IMM prepare its RFQ. In 1962 Alex Seres, who later became chairman of Incoe Corp., developed and produced an electric hot-tip bushing that sparked the runnerless molding revolution.


To whom this might concern:

I’m John E. B. Goode, the owner and president of Illinois Molds & Molding Co. (IMM) here in Addison. We’re custom molders of consumer products and we also mold some electrical and industrial parts. We’ve got 12 molding machines now, ranging from 28-350 tons, and we’re running two shifts, 24/5, although 24/7’s more the norm these days.

Business is good. I’ve recently added a couple of new 300-ton horizontal presses, two new verticals, and a brand-new CNC knee mill for our toolroom. We mostly do tool maintenance and repairs, but we can build them, too, if need be. I’ve got a whopper of a problem right now, though. I need a hot runner system and I need it fast.

We won a job from a medical packaging company to run a small, round, snap-shut case with a living hinge that’ll be used for holding pills. It’s a hot runner job, all right. My toolroom guys gave me some particulars on what we’ll need:

• Cavitation: Eight (four tops and four bottoms)
• Part weight: 5g (total—top and bottom)
• Wall thickness: 0.039 inch at gate, 0.004 inch at hinge
• Material: PP (translucent, three colors, no fillers)
• Flow-length-to-wall-thickness ratio: 40:1
• Gate vestige requirements: None—at least no vestige above the part
• Critical features: Flatness, roundness, and zero vestige for downstream automation, handling, and IML • Press size: 100 tons
• Mold size: 12 by 14
• Gate pitch: Eight drop, one gate each on top and bottom, 1.250 inches apart; cavity spacing is 4 inches for the top, 5 inches for the bottom
• Shut height limitations: None—the parts are small
• Market: Medical/personal care
• Control: Something that’s easy to use and available from stock
• Cost: Ballpark price—you tell me
• Delivery estimate: ASAP

If you’ve got any suggestions, I’d sure like to hear from you soon. Time is running out. We’ll pay it off on standard terms. IMM doesn’t owe the bank any money, but we’re looking for something that’s reasonably priced, even though we’ve got a short fuse when it comes to getting this job going.

Just one more thing: Do you supply parts, tech service, and training here in the United States? U.S. parts and service are very important to IMM. Very important. We got burned once on parts and service, and we don’t want something like that happening again.

Anyway, what’s the best standard-model, off-the-shelf, drop-in system from your latest lineup that you could recommend, and why? Are there any options available for it that you think would make this job run any smoother? If so, how much more, percentage-wise, could I expect to spend for one with the “works”? I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,
John E. B. Goode, president
IMM, Addison, IL
P.S. If you can guess from this RFQ that IMM doesn’t have much experience with runnerless systems, give yourself a gold star.


D-M-E Co. Stellar QDS

Specs: Eight drops; 30-by-30-mm nozzle drop pitch; 10-by-12 standard mold base
Control: 12-zone Smart Series
Warranty: Three years leakproof
Delivery: Five business days for standard Z-dimension length; 10 business days for custom Z-dimension length
Hot runner price: $10,800
Control price: $3200

Based on the specs provided by the guys in your toolroom, D-M-E recommends our Stellar QDS (Quick Delivery System) hot-half package system. This self-contained “bolt-on” system not only is ideal for medical molding, but also addresses your need for quick turnaround on the order. All the components are premachined and are standard off-the-shelf items.

The Stellar QDS consists of a fully balanced eight-drop MNA (multiple nozzle assembly) with the choice of seven nozzle drop lengths. If you can work with one of our seven standard Z-dimension lengths—which refers to the amount that the nozzle drop protrudes from the hot half into a mold’s cavity, insert, or A-plate—delivery will be five business days. If the Z-dimension needs to be customized, delivery will be 10 business days. All nozzles are threaded construction into the manifold.

The Stellar MNA we recommend incorporates a double-X flow-channel layout with a 30-by-30-mm nozzle drop pitch. It is proven to perform well with challenging medical resins and is optimized for small part molding as well.

Front-loaded nozzle tips, mini-tubular heaters, and thermocouples make the Stellar an easy-to-service hot runner system for maximum uptime.

D-M-E’s pre-engineered, premachined components allow the Stellar QDS to be sized for a 10-by-12 standard mold base, which gives you additional savings. The highly conductive tip design and precise heat profiling in all nozzles ensure consistent processing temperatures.

Your Stellar QDS package system includes design, manufacture, assembly, wiring, and testing of all hot runner components and system mold plates. Delivery time starts with the verification of the application with Illinois Molds & Molding.

We also recommend a 12-zone-configuration Smart Series temperature control system with interchangeable and replaceable microprocessor-based temperature control modules. This system maintains simplicity of operation with simultaneous display of setpoint and temperature. Standard and off-the-shelf, it can be shipped complete (including the main frame, modules, cables, and floor stand), same day, at an approximate cost of $3200.

D-M-E supplies standard parts from locations around the United States and our experienced tech service team spans the United States as well. Startup assistance and training are available (at no charge) to customers on a one-on-one basis and can include everything from how to design with hot runners to orchestrating applications or troubleshooting.


Incoe Corp.

Specs: 12-by-14-inch injection half, including top clamp plate, manifold plates, leader pins, and miscellaneous hardware prewired and tested; heated nozzle seat; eight-drop H-pattern manifold system; dual valve gate per part; eight-nozzle assembly (L=100 mm); four special two-pin pneumatic actuators
Control: Microcom
Warranty: Three years leakproof
Delivery: Four to six weeks
Hot runner price: $20,300
Control price: $4372

In addition to the hot runner solution you have been quoted, we also offer the following:
• A prewired and preplumbed unitized system option. This option significantly reduces installation time and eliminates potential wiring and plumbing errors for cost savings to your company.
• A prewired and preplumbed Integrated system option. Besides significantly reducing installation time and eliminating potential wiring and plumbing errors, it also offers rapid system serviceability. Hot runner systems can be serviced in the injection molding machine, reducing production downtime from hours or days to minutes.

Please also consider our Opti-Flow option, which utilizes MeltFlipper technology licensed by Beaumont Technologies Inc. This innovative technology manipulates shear-induced flow imbalances and ensures that the hot runner system delivers plastic flow that is not only geometrically balanced, but also rheologically balanced for improved inter- and intracavity material filling.

Please note that this proposal is based on the requested gating provided. It is important to ensure that placement of the gates prevents the merging of flow fronts on the living hinge. Moldfilling analysis can be provided to support gate placement, and also to evaluate if two gates are necessary.


Husky Ultra 500 Valve Gate Pronto

Specs: Four drops; one gate
Control: Seven-zone Altanium mold temperature control with Delta2 interface (comes with LCD display, Active Reasoning Technology, and mold diagnostics); can be loaded with Shotscope software to monitor part quality; tested with hot runner prior to shipping
Warranty: Three years leakproof
Delivery: Two weeks
Hot runner price: $12,000-$17,000 depending on size and options
Control price: $4500

Our recommendation is a fully balanced four-drop inline Ultra 500 Valve Gate Pronto hot half with plates. The hot runner will be optimized for your specific application. Each Pronto complete hot half with plates includes nozzle components, manifold, and the hot runner plates. The system will be fully assembled and tested before shipping to your facility, ready to be bolted on to your mold. All Husky hot runners include our patented UltraSeal nozzle technology, which also enables Husky to provide a three-year leakproof guarantee with each system.

Every project request we receive is reviewed by one of our application engineers. This is to ensure that you get the right product for your application and to provide any other assistance you may require.

We suggest a four-drop hot runner molding the part with only one gate. This will provide optimal part filling and improved part quality. Unless there are unique design considerations for this part, it is not recommended to gate on both sides of a living hinge. The resulting weldline on the hinge will have an adverse effect on part cosmetics and potentially reduce the life of the living hinge. Along with improving part functionality, this change will save you on the cost of the hot runner.

A valve gate nozzle would be the optimal choice for your application. This technology will provide you with excellent gate quality and a wide processing window. Husky valve gates come with a cylindrical gate shutoff and incorporate UltraGuide stem alignment technology to minimize gate wear and provide consistent long-term gate quality. This valve gate design is pneumatically actuated, allowing for simple connection and clean operation.

If you are concerned with warp, balance, or flow line placement, Husky can provide a complete flow analysis with Moldflow Plastics Insight. In addition to modeling the part, we model the entire hot runner melt channels to ensure the most accurate result. This analysis costs between $3000 and $4000, depending on the complexity of your part and available 3D file data.

In terms of aftersales service, we offer a Hot Runner Service hotline at (800) 465-HUSKY. This service is available 24 hours a day and allows you to talk directly with a hot runner service person. In addition, we have dedicated hot runner service technicians throughout North America if there is a need for a service visit. Our spare parts facility in Buffalo, NY can ship components from stock as late as 10 pm EST, arriving the next day.


Melt Design Inc.

Specs: Eight drops
Control: 10 zones
Warranty: Three years if MDI’s control is used; one year if not from MDI
Delivery: two to three weeks
Hot runner price: $16,000-$18,000
Control price: $4500

We are pleased to submit this budget quotation for a Melt Design Inc. eight-drop hot runner system as requested. The MDI system includes a prewired S.S. manifold with eight guaranteed-not-to-fail, heater-encapsulated nozzles manufactured in the United States, right here in St. Charles, IL. All of our systems include complete assembly, electricals, and 3D model drawings.


Mold-Masters Ltd.

Specs: Four drops in drop-in hot half; 1.25-inch pitch H-13 manifold and plates (14 by 2 inches)
Control: TempMaster equipped with proprietary PID2 auto-tuning control algorithm
Warranty: Five years on components
Delivery: 14-day delivery for the hot runner system (with no plates), four weeks with entire hot half
Hot runner price: $19,427
Control price: $5894

We believe that given the details of your proposal, IMM will be more successful with a slightly different hot runner than requested.

In order to make a strong hinge, we recommend that there should be only one gate for each part, at the bottom of your case’s cavity. In this case, the plastic flow will be toward the case top’s cavity during filling. This unidirectional flow will ensure the desired alignment of the plastic polymer chains at the hinge part to make it strong and lasting. Otherwise, with the two-drop-per-part filling method, the hinge created will be brittle and easily break. We have completed a flow analysis of the part and are confident that the part can be filled with one gate.

We also believe that to achieve a zero-vestige gate on all parts and to achieve an efficient color change time in less than 60 shots, IMM should use our Accu-valve gate. This nozzle design will ensure a zero-vestige gate by providing continual guidance to the valve stem at the tip of the hot runner. Our patented Accu-valve design also reduces the time required for color change by efficiently washing out the bubble area after only a few shots of the new color.

Given these factors, Mold-Masters is pleased to provide the following quotation for your project: • A four-drop MasterSpeed drop-in hot half. The assembled hot half will be air, water, and electrically pretested in our facility before shipping for efficient startup.
• Master Series Accu-valve nozzle with brazed-in heaters to provide an even temperature profile in the nozzle. Maximum gate diameter: 1.8 mm.
• Pneumatic valve pin actuation of up to 10 mm.
• Replaceable nozzle tips and seals for easy, in-press maintenance.
• Thermocouple control of all nozzle drops.
• Same-day CAD drawings and files, allowing you to immediately proceed with your mold design and manufacturing.
• Access to Merlin—our online ordering, drawing access, and order tracking system.
• Standard stock of spare components available in 24 hours worldwide.
• Maintenance, user, and service guides shipped with the mold.
• A total system cost savings of up to 10% over custom hot runners.
• Experienced service technicians available globally.
Want to see the full quote? Click here.




Seiki Valve & Spear System


Specs: Dual-zone nozzle; pin gate
Control: S2K
Warranty: Same as ESN
Delivery: Six weeks
Hot runner price (including control): $40,794


Specs: Single-zone nozzle; pin gate
Control: VMC
Warranty: None required due to 3-µm clearance; replacement services provided if needed
Delivery: Four weeks
Hot runner price (including control): $28,090


Specs: Valve; ejector pin gate
Control: VMC
Warranty: Same as ESN
Delivery: Four weeks
Hot runner price (including control): $44,840

Seiki Valve & Spear System, previously known as Spear System in the U.S. hot runner market, supplies valves, nozzles, and probes with manifolds and plates to make complete hot-half systems. Also, Seiki most likely is the only hot runner maker that also engineers and manufactures its own controls. This means compatibility and single-source responsibility.

Our Chicago office handles service, parts, and training. As you’re probably aware, we are virtually right down the street from you. Our service is free with the first system and we will work with your staff to optimize your product.

“Seiki” means “precision,” so our valves are precision fit. Note that the valve pin in our system does not come in contact with the manifold. This means no pin-bending or plastic leakage through the manifold. Furthermore, we work down to a 3-µm (0.0012-inch) clearance between the valve pin and its wear sleeve. That pretty much guarantees no leakage past the pin.

In summary, the reasons why we feel you should consider our valve for your application include the following:

• Precise components alignment maintains pin-to-gate concentricity.
• Micron clearance between valve pin and sleeve ensures leakage control.
• One-degree repeatability between the control and the hot runners ensures there is no wavering of temperature, even for the most crystalline resins.


Polyshot Corp. 050M

Specs: Plate style; eight nozzles; standard pinpoint gates; 12-by-14-inch base
Control: 12-zone Gammaflux LEC
Warranty: One year
Delivery: Three weeks
Hot runner price: $17,133
Control price: $5000

First I would note, I arrived in the office 12 minutes ago, read your request and have already completed your quotation. Polyshot has its own quoting software that allows us to process quotations within 2 minutes, complete. This includes the pricing and options, and the software also retrieves images from the Polyshot database for the products being quoted. The balance of that 12 minutes of time was spent searching our image archives for suitable pictures, as you requested.

In response to your particular questions:

1) You mention three translucent colors being used. As you may know, Polyshot manifolds are constructed using plate fusion technology developed and performed in-house. This technology is particularly suitable where color changes are being carried out, as our flow paths are CNC machined to a tolerance of 0.0002 inch in the face of two separate plates in this particular case. All flow paths feature gradual, smooth-flowing turns that do not give material a place to hold up and potentially degrade, as is the case in systems that use turn or end plugs. In the included photos, the one with the “squiggle” is a system that was a family mold in which we employed this feature to balance a dissimilar part weight in a family mold application.

2) Service and parts are carried out from our upstate New York location. We dispatch our service people to our customers’ facilities at no charge to aid in startup or training as required.

3) Of particular interest is our online parts system. On our website, click on Online Store. You’ll see three product lines: Bushing Parts, Manifold Parts, and Multitip Parts. Click on Manifold Parts and enter your job number of the Polyshot system for which you would like parts. In this case, an active job number would be 4357-0907. After you enter this you will see only the parts for your particular system—no one else’s. This saves you the frustration of wondering if we have the correct part. Then you can order the part online or call us to order it.

Want to see the full quote? Click here.


V-Tek Molding Technolog SI Series

Specs: Complete bolt-on hot half
Control: 10 zones with cable and stand
Warranty: Two years; can be extended for a nominal fee
Delivery: Two to four weeks
Hot runner price: $25,000 ($7000-$8000 less if a dimple were allowed at the gate and if a thermal gate system were used)
Control price: $3400

The best standard, off-the-shelf, drop-in system for you is a complete bolt-on hot half. V-Tek offers such a system in our SI Series hot runners.

They feature zero-vestige valve gate technology that can be easily maintained by IMM’s maintenance personnel. Parts and service are available through our Chicago Metro-based facility.

It is apparent from your RFQ that you are inexperienced in runnerless molds, considering that you are coming in at the eleventh hour and want something cheap and fast. Please be advised that this is usually a recipe for disaster.

If a zero-vestige part is required and a valve gate is used, the 12-by-14 mold base in your quote is too small. It needs to be enlarged to at least 16 by 24 to accommodate the valve cylinders. I would also recommend a fill and cooling analysis to ensure proper balance of the system.

Contact information

D-M-E Co. | www.dme.net
Husky IMS Ltd. | www.husky.ca
Incoe Corp. | www.incoe.com
Melt Design Inc. | www.meltdesign.com
Mold-Masters Ltd. | www.moldmasters.com
Polyshot Corp. | www.polyshot.com
Seiki Valve & Spear System | www.seiki-hot.com
V-Tek Molding Technologies Inc. | www.v-tekmt.com

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