How Dry Ice Blasting can Reduce Downtime in Mould Cleaning Processes
Plastic moulds, rubber moulds, foam moulds all have one thing in common. They all use release agents on the base of the mould.
There are two reasons for this. First is to make sure that the item being manufactured doesn’t ‘stick’ to base substrate and the second is to the item can be removed easily.
After a while though, the release agent has to be removed as its performance starts to become erratic and can compromise quality. And, as most manufacturers will tell you, this is where the headaches start.
The conventional method of removing the release agent (cure) from the base substrate is a slow, painful process which can involve lots of labour and chemicals. One mould, of roughly 1.5m x 1m, can take up to 24 hours to clean by hand and involves removing the mould from the press once cooled, stripping the segments from the press carrier and then chemically cleaning the parts. This process can take between 5 – 8 hours alone. The mould then has to be re assembled back onto the press carrier where the calibration process starts, heating up, release agents re-applied, press shimmed etc etc. This equated to massive amounts of lost production time.
Dry ice blasting on the other hand can blast clean a mould whilst still hot and whilst in situ in around 1 hour. No dismantling or reassembly time of the press, no re calibration or shimming needed as the carrier hasn’t been touched. We recently cleaned a whole press (12 moulds on the carrier) in a quicker time than the traditional process would take to clean just one mould!
The saving in downtime for the company concerned is huge, up to 80%. Quality control has also seen 11% less rejections after every 25 cycles of the carrier. Factor in saving costs on premature tooling wear and potential carrier damage from constant dismantling and re assembly of the mould and it’s clear to see that dry ice blasting will deliver massive bottom line savings all round.
We are delighted to say that we have now signed a 3 year contract to supply dry ice blasting services to this particular plastic moulding company.
By Ian Reynolds