Q&A: Making Mold Maintenance a Priority

by Steve Johnson

Question: What happens when mold maintenance isn’t a priority?

Answer: Bad shots, downtime and so much more. The cost of unscheduled repairs has been estimated to be five times higher than scheduled maintenance. So, not only do companies lose enormous amounts of money when they fail to maintain molds in a timely fashion, but orders are late, customers aren’t happy and business is lost.

Question: What type of mold maintenance schedule is recommended?

Answer: Many molds require specific procedures and specific frequencies based on the type and complexity of the mold and part produced. Off-gassing or vent residue builds up in different areas of the tool, requiring close inspection within a known number cycles to be accurate. There is no generic schedule that will work with all molds due to the variety of factors that will dictate mold condition over time. Therefore, it is important to monitor mold condition. An understanding of the mold’s function and critical elements will control exactly what should be cleaned (or replaced) and at what cycle frequency.

Question: What activities should be done as a part of scheduled mold maintenance?

Answer: Typically, maintenance employees should check grease and residue levels, vent depths, pins and bushings, interlocks and other mold alignment features. The last shot should be checked for parts about to be out of specification so those may be repaired during the PM. Cooling lines, hot runner components, heaters, seals, o-rings, etc. also should be checked at specific cycle frequencies to maintain mold reliability and quality parts.

Steve Johnson is the operations manager for ToolingDocs, a provider of mold maintenance training and consultation based in Ashland, OH. He designed and developed MoldTrax™, a documentation software system for tracking mold performance and maintenance. To learn more, call 800.257.8369 or visit www.toolingdocs.com.