As more and more units of plastic parts are manufactured with your injection molding machine, fatigue, wear, tear and depreciation begin to catch up with the machine. These factors inevitably reduce the lifespan of the machine, slowing down its output, reducing leadtimes, increasing the likelihood of errors and degraded production output. 

To avoid complete breakdown, production downtimes and maintain production quality, it is important to ensure that your injection molding components are in top shape. Today, we take a look at mold maintenance, the types of maintenance and best practices with injection molding components. 
Preventive maintenance or Repair?

The key to remaining profitable in any manufacturing business is to place more emphasis on preventive maintenance over repairs. A tool/machine repair occurs when there has been some form of damage to the tool or machine. This damage may be minor or major. Minor damages that are overlooked will eventually cause major breakdowns. 

Preventive maintenance on the other hand refer to the set of operations carried out routinely to eliminate the risk of damage (major/minor) in tooling parts or machine. Preventive tool maintenance is done at scheduled intervals, after a number of production runs, shots or cycle counts. This prevents unforeseen breakdowns, premature wear, tear, depreciation and repair expenditures. 

Preventive maintenance may be simple tasks which are as basic as cleaning. They may also be generic or critical. The level of maintenance depends on the part, the frequency of use of the mold and the lifespan of the mold. Below are the most common tips on how to perform preventive maintenance of mold parts: 

Category A – 5,000 to 50,000 cycles 
1.    Clean all mold vents and vent dumps to remove adhering materials 
2.    Clean mold parting lines and apply grease or lubrication to the moving parts of the mold 
3.    Inspect mold for damage, breakages or cracks that can affect the mold’s operation. These issues left unresolved can cause undesired cosmetic defects and even affect part functionality. 
4.    Ensure that molds remain dry after use and before storage 
5.    Use compressed air to remove debris, dust and water
Category B – 200,000 to 500,000 shots 
6.    After 200,000, disassemble the mold completely, clean the mold plates and vent depths. 
7.    Replace any O-rings that need to be changed as well as any part inside the mold that is damage 
8.    Inspect the hot-runner components (if equipped), ejector pins mechanisms and water lines for leakages and proper flow
9.    Inspect mold cavities for corrosion, inspect other mold components and connections for lose fits. 
10.    Where possible, reassemble and run a production test run and inspect the shots for any signs of defects or damage

The Importance of preventive maintenance
When molds become neglect, the molding process becomes flawed. The parts produced by these poorly maintained molds will most likely be defect-ridden and have functionality problems. Materials may build up on the surface of your mold, affecting the details, causing dents, flash and other defects. Molds in very bad shape may cause other damages to your machine, resulting in unwanted downtimes. This is why it is always important to ensure that your molds are properly cleaned, dried and maintained by your supplier. 

First Part Injection Molding Services in China
FirstPart offers excellent quality, plastic injection molding services for a wide array of plastic part projects in China. We also offer low-volume manufacturing that serve small quantities from 50 to 10000 parts for small and medium scale establishments. Away from low-volume manufacturing, all our factories boast of an always-running mass production capacity for CNC, 3D printing and Injection molding services. Our engineers are always available to advice on the best processes, materials and design optimization to ensure cost-savings, quick turnaround and the production of parts that are 100 percent defect and issue free. Contact me directly to request a free quote now and submit your design for a free evaluation and to get started on your next projects.