Manufacturers using injection molding machines need to know the importance of performing routine maintenance and repair on their machines. Because of the incredible cost of the machines, it is critical to schedule time for maintenance, which for injection molding machines means cleaning. Properly cleaning a machine is one of the basic tenets of preventative maintenance and should be a part of any facility’s schedule.
Cleaning an injection molding machine is critically important for a few simple reasons. If you consider how an injection molding machine works, you can understand how buildup and residue may form along the tubes and grooves of each part of the machine.
The superhot liquid material that is injected into the molding has a high chance of cooling and forming reside along its path. Enough residue built up inside the machine increases the risk for malfunction, which could lead to costly repairs and facility shut down. There are two main ways to clean an injection molding machine, each with its own benefits.
Purging compounds are liquids that are run through an injection molding machine as if they were the normal liquified material. The compound attacks and disintegrates the built-up residue, which then gets pushed out through the exit valve.
This method for cleaning injection molding machines has a few key unique advantages that make it stand out as a superior method of cleaning. Primarily, using purging compounds saves a significant amount of time over manually cleaning a machine. This is because the cleaning process mimics the machine’s normal running process; no extra steps are needed for cleaning.
Managers know how important time management is for running an efficient facility and need to maximize the amount of time their machines are running and producing goods. Less time spent on cleaning means more time spent operating.
In addition to the time savings, purging compounds are effective in that they can clean difficult to reach areas, such as corners or grooves in machine parts. During manual cleaning, these areas are hard to reach.
Aside from purging compounds, the other main way to clean an injection molding machine is to do it manually. To do this, expert technicians first need to disassemble the machine so that each part can be cleaned. Next, the cleaning technicians need to chip away and scrub at the residue to make sure all of it is removed. After completing this step, technicians need to reassemble the machine with precision.
While manual cleaning can be the more effective way to clean an injection molding machine, it is certainly more time-consuming. The process of disassembling and reassembling the machine adds a considerable amount of time that would better be used for manufacturing. Plus, the technicians need to make sure they put the machine back together with accuracy, otherwise, there is a high chance the machine could break down.
Ultimately, it is best to decide which cleaning method is best for you. Perhaps a monthly manual clean with weekly cleanings using purging compounds would be the best solution for robust maintenance.