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During mold filling the melt has to displace the air which is contained in the cavity.

If
this cannot be done, the air can prevent a complete filling of the cavity. Besides this the
air may become so hot from compression that it burns the surrounding material. The
molding compounds may decompose, outgas or form a corrosive residue on cavity walls.
This effect can occasionally be noticed in poorly vented molds at knit lines or in corners
or flanges opposite the gate.
Burns usually appear as dark discolorations in the molded part and render it useless.
If this residue is not carefully removed again and again, it may cause irreparable damage
to the mold from corrosion and abrasion. Table 7.1 [7.1] summarizes the major
consequences of inadequate mold venting.
Table 7.1 Consequences of inadequate mold venting [7.1]
7 V e n t i n g o f M o l d s
For the molded part
Burn marks due to
diesel effect
Structural defects/surface
defects through detachment
of the polymer from a
structured mold wall
Overpacking due to
injection pressure set too
high when vents clogged
Displacement of weld lines
due to changes in vents (e.g.
through increasing clogging
of venting elements)
Entrapped air (voids)
Incomplete mold filling
Reduction in strength,
especially at weld lines
For the mold
Abrasion (leaching) through
combustion residues in the
combustion gas > diesel effect
Corrosion by aggressive gases
> diesel effect
Mold coated by combustion
residues in the combustion gas
-> diesel effect
Mold exposed to direct heat
due to strong air heating
during compression
(diesel effect)
=> hardening of outer layer
(varying with steel grade)
Increased cleaning of venting
elements
Higher repair and mainte-
nance costs
For injection molding
Irregular processes through
blockage of venting channels
Longer cycle times due to
increased back pressure in
the cavity
Short service life of machine
due to higher loading
Escaping gases during
compusting of the polymer
(diesel effect), may be
harmful to health, depending
on material
Longer setup time through
higher scrap rate
Greater need for pressure
due to increased back pressure
in the cavity
Injection molding machine
has higher energy
requirements
For systematization of the subject "mold venting", a distinction is drawn between
"passive" venting, where the air escapes from the cavity due to the pressure of the
incoming melt, and "active" venting where a pressure gradient is created to artificially
remove the air.
7. 1 Pa ssi v e Vent i ng
Most molds do not need special design features for venting because air has sufficient
possibilities to escape along ejector pins or at the parting line. This is particularly true if
a certain roughness is provided at the parting line such as planing with a coarse-grained
grinding wheel (240 grain size). This assumes filling the cavity in such a way that the air
can "flow" towards the parting line. A grinding direction radial to the cavity has been
successfully tested (Figure 7.1). Air pockets must not be created.
Figure 7.1 Special ground sections in sealing
surface [7.2 to 7.4]
The configuration of the part, its position in the mold, and its gating have a considerable
effect on venting. This can be best demonstrated with some examples. The tumbler in
Figure 7.2 is gated at the bottom. The confined air is pushed towards the parting line and
can escape there. Special provisions are not necessary. The design of Figure 7.3 is
different. The tumbler is gated on the side. During mold filling, the melt flows around
the core first, closes the parting line and then rises slowly pushing the air ahead into the
bottom of the tumbler. Here the air is compressed and overheated. To prevent this,
special design steps are necessary. The same holds true for the mold in Figure 7.4a. The
enclosed air in the rib cannot escape because the melt first crosses the base of the rib.
Figure 7.2 Tumbler gated at bottom, favorable
gate location
Figure 7.3 Tumbler laterally gated,
poor gate location for venting
Figure 7.4 Part with rib [7.3]:
a Air cannot escape from rib section and is
trapped (1),
b Remedial measure: Additional parting
line (2)
In both cases adding a joint can provide venting of the cavity. The tumbler mold
(Figure 7.3) can obtain an additional joint if the bottom piece is made separately (Figure
7.5) or a cylindrical insert is used, which lets the air escape. A mark on the bottom of the
tumbler, of course, cannot be avoided. If it is a nuisance, it can be converted into a
decorative line [7.5].
Figure 7.5 Laterally gated cup. Mold with additional
parting line: Venting through parting line (left) or
venting pin (right)
In the case of a rib (Figure 7.4a), an additional joint for venting is obtained by dividing
the forming inserts into two pieces (Figure 7.4b).
For the presented solution it was assumed that the air can escape through joining
faces, but this is feasible only if the faces have sufficient roughness and the injection
process is adequately slow to allow the air to escape. This solution fails for molding thin-
walled parts with very short injection times. Here, special venting channels become
necessary.
In the case of the center-gated tumbler (Figure 7.2), a solution is found by machining
an annular channel into the parting-line plane into which the air can escape via one or
more venting gaps during injection, and then from the mold through a venting channel.
Dimensions for these channels can be taken from Figures 7.6 and 7.7.
A logical development of this approach is that of continuous venting [7.6, 7.8] or
peripheral venting [7.9]. The annular gap is not interrupted by flanges but is continuous.
Penetration by the melt is prevented by adjusting the gap width so as to just prevent
ingress of melt. Usual gap widths vary from 10 urn to 20 urn in accordance with the
polymer employed [7.8].
Figure 7.6 Cup mold with
annular channel for venting [7.6] Detail X
Detail Z
Figure 7.7 Mold venting through venting gaps and annular channel [7.7]
predetermined with the help of the filling image method. The safest way to rule
determine such potentially harmful points is to perform a computer simulation (see
Chapter 14).
Porous inserts of, e.g. sintered metals that open out into free space, have not proved
suitable because they more or less clog rapidly, the rate depending on the molding
compound being processed [7.7]. If the sintered metal opens into a cooling channel,
however, completely new perspectives open up for the use of sintered metal mold inserts.
In a manner analogous to the water-jet pump, the existing cooling water circuit can
provide active venting of the cavity [7.9, 7.11, 7.12]. The water from the circuit draws
the air out of the cavity via the sintered metal inserts, without water entering the cavity.
If ejector pins are located in an area where air may be trapped, they can usually be
used for venting. Venting can be facilitated by enlarging the ejector pin hole (Figure
7.10). This solution offers an additional advantage. If needed, compressed air can be
blown into the hole to support demolding. In addition, the gaps are cleaned by the
movement of the pins.
Frequently, so-called venting pins are employed. They can be grooved (Figure 7.12)
or kept 0.02 to 0.05 mm smaller in diameter (material dependent) than the receiving hole
for a length of 3 mm (Figure 7.11) [7.10]. A venting channel follows, in which the air
can expand and from where it reaches the outside through an axial groove.
A design according to Figure 7.13 is called "self-cleaning venting pin with ejector
function" in the literature. The definite advantage is based on the precise centering of the
ejector, which ensures a defined venting gap [7.7].
Figures 7.8 and 7.9 demonstrate another option for venting molds with large surface
areas by using a set of lamellae. One has to bear in mind, though, that these venting
elements leave marks on the molded part and may interfere with cooling lines.
Packs of lamellae are also of advantage if multiple gating is needed and an exact
location of knit lines cannot be determined. Reference is made here to Section 5.9 where
it was demonstrated how knit lines and locations of possible air trapping can be
Detail Z
Figure 7.8 Venting with a set of lamellae [7.7]:
a Spring, b Venting channel through lamellae, c Connection of venting channel with the outside
Detail x
Figure 7.9 Venting with sleeves [7.10]
In multi-cavity molds or in molds with multiple gating, venting should already start
in the runners so that air there cannot get into the cavity. This prevents extensive
degradation of the material by burning and the gate system can be ground and reused
without major loss of quality. As one can see from Figure 7.14, the same rules for venting
channels apply here as for the venting at the end of the flow path.
There is finally the question left about the size of the venting gap. To avoid flashing,
a certain gap width, which is plastic-specific, cannot be exceeded after mold clamping.
The critical gap width for specific plastics is as follows [7.10, 7.13-7.15]:
Figure 7.10 Design of holes for ejector pins
permitting improved venting of cavity [7.6]:
Enlarged hole about 3 mm below the cavity wall
surface
Air exit for venting
Air inlet for ejection
Figure 7.11 Fluted venting pin [7.6]
Figure 7.12 Venting pin [7.6]
Figure 7.13 S elf-cleansing venting pin [7.7]
Trapped air
Figure 7.14 Venting of
runners [7.7]
Crystalline thermoplastics: 0.015 mm,
PP, PA, GF-PA, POM, PE
amorphous thermoplastics: 0.03 mm,
PS, ABS, PC, PMMA
for extremely fluid materials 0.003 mm.
If the venting gap is considered a rectangular diaphragm, and one assumes the validity
of the laws of dynamics of gases, then, with the volume of part and runners and the
injection time, the flow rate can be determined, which has to flow across the venting gap
to vent the mold [7.16, 7.17]:
(7.1)
V Flow rate,
V
M
volume of molding,
V
R
volume of runner system,
tj injection time.
If the flow rate is equated to the admittance of the assumed rectangular diaphragm
(venting gap), the width of the gap can be calculated from the equation:
(7.2)
(7.3)
(7.4)
L= V[m
3
/s],
A = b h cross section of gap [cm
2
],
b = width of gap [cm],
h = height of gap [cm],
T
K
=temperature of air [K].
For a molded part with a total volume (part + runner volume) of 10 cm
3
which is
produced with an injection time of 0.2 s Equation (7.2) results in a gap width of 12.5 mm
if one assumes that a gap height of 0.02 mm does not yet cause flashing and the air
temperature is 293
0
K (20
0
C). Of course this venting gap has to be located where air
trapping can be expected and not some place else. Several points of air trapping are
anticipated, then the mold has to be equipped with several vents with the sum of their
cross sections at least equal to the predetermined cross section.
7. 2 Ac t i v e Vent i ng
Aside from active venting via the cooling water circuit, which was already mentioned
above, partial or complete evacuation of the cavity prior to the injection process is
possible. This type of venting is used in the injection molding of microstructures, since
conventional venting gaps are too large for the extremely low-viscosity plastic melts
used, there, and would clog [7.18]. In thermoset and elastomer processing, there are
applications that require evacuation of the cavity, primarily to improve the accuracy of
reproduction and the molded part quality [7.19].
The structure of a vacuum system is shown schematically in Figure 7.15 [7.20]. The
circuit diagram also contains a vacuum accumulator. This is connected in series if the
evacuation of large volume parts is to be accelerated; furthermore, the power
consumption of the vacuum pump can then be reduced overall.
Evacuation of the molds is only efficient, however, if the complete mold is sealed off.
Due to the many moving parts on the mold, such as slides, ejectors, etc., this is extremely
complicated and virtually impossible to achieve. The mold is instead surrounded with a
Circuit symbols as set out in DIN 28401
Gas filter,
general
Change in diameter
or pipe
Rotary slide
vacuum pump
Movable
line
Pi pe screw
joint
Vacuum measurement,
vacuum measuring cell
Ground-in
ball-and-socket joint
Small flange
connection
Figure 7.15 Circuit
for a vacuum unit
[7.20]
Conical ground
joint
Vacuum measuring device with
digital display, recording
Figure 7.16 Evacuation of the mincroinjection mold [7.1]
7. 3 Vent i ng of G a s C ou nt er - P r essu r e
I nj ec t i on Mol ds
Structural foam parts frequently have a rough surface as the decomposition of the
blowing agent starts immediately with injection into the mold. This can be avoided by
suppressing the foaming of the blowing-agent-containing melt through injecting against
a pressure that has been generated in the mold cavity prior to injection. This counter-
pressure must be precisely as large as the blowing agent pressure. The mold also has to
be sealed (Figure 7.17). This may be done with the aid of heat-resistant seals (O-rings).
To fill the mold with gas it is best to arrange a collection channel around the mold cavity
that is connected via gaps to the cavity (Figure 7.18). These gaps and the collection
channel allow the gas to escape again as the mold is being filled [7.22-7.24]. To keep the
counter-pressure constant during injection and also to ensure venting, the collection
channel is connected to magnetically-controlled pressure-control valves.
O-ring or V-ring
Vacuum pump WomymldMll
Vacuum
tank
xStdtiq nbfv mdd fm|f
closed jacket or box that has just one parting line. This type of construction for a
microinjection mold is shown schematically in Figure 7.16. To an extent depending on
the type of demolding, this design requires either no other or very few moving parts
projecting out of the vacuum space; these, however, can be readily sealed [7.21].
Figure 7.18 Mold for
injection molding a decorative
wood-carving imitation under
gas counterpressure. The mold
cavity wall consists of
electrolytically deposited hard
nickel shell
Figure 7.17 Schematic diagram of the gas counterpressure process [7.21]
Seal
Venting gap
Accumulator channel
Molded part
Ref er enc es
[7.1] Notz, K: Entliiftung von SpritzgieBwerkzeugen. Plastverarbeiter, 45 (1994), 11, pp. 88-94.
[7.2] Weyer, G.: Automatische Herstellung von Elastomerartikeln im SpritzgieBverfahren.
Dissertation, Tech. University, Aachen, 1987.
[7.3] DE PS 1 198 987 (1961) Jurgeleit, H. F.
[7.4] DE PS 1231 878 (1964) Jurgeleit, H. F.
[7.5] Stoeckhert, K.: Werkzeugbau fur die Kunststoffverarbeitung. 3rd Ed., Carl Hanser Verlag,
Munich, 1979.
[7.6] Giragosian, S. E.: Continous mold venting. Mod. Plast, 44 (1966), 11, pp. 122-124.
[7.7] Sander, W.: Formverschmutzung (Formbelag)-verschleiB und Korrosion bei Thermoplast-
werkzeugen. Paper presented at the 2nd Tooling Conference at Wurzburg, October 4-5,
1988.
[7.8] Rees, H.: Mold Engineering. Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 1995.
[7.91 Allen, P.: A non-traditional approach to mold cooling and venting. SPE Injection Molding
Div. Conference, Columbus, OH, Oktober 20-22, 1981, pp. 71-77, Confer. 831.
[7.10] Hartmann, W.: Entliiften des Formhohlraums. Paper at the VDI Conference, Niirnberg,
December 6-7, 1978.
[7.11] Smith, B.: Venting is vital. British Plastics and Rubber, May 1986, p. 22.
Figure 7.19 Schematic diagram
of a venting pin
The dimensions of the gap required for filling and venting the mold are obtained with
the aid of Equation (7.1, passive venting).
If complete venting of the mold is not possible, e.g. into blind holes, spring-actuated
venting pins may be used (Figure 7.19). The required amount of pressure is readily
adjusted manually via the pre-tension of the spring.
[7.12] Water-line venting saves the job. Plastics World, 46 (1988), 3, pp. 27-28.
[7.13] Ufrecht, M.: Die Werkzeugbelastung beim Uberspritzen. Unpublished report, IKV,
Aachen, 1978.
[7.14] Huyjmans, H.; Packbier, K.; Schurmann, E.: Trial run with a two-cavity mold with 12 gates
at NWM, s'Hertogenbosch, 1978.
[7.15] Stitz, S.; Schiirmann, E.: Measurements of deformations of injection molds at H.
Weidmann, Switzerland, 1976.
[7.16] Wutz, M.; Hermann, A.; Walcher, W: Theorie und Praxis der Vakuumtechnik. Vieweg,
Braunschweig, Wiesbaden, 1986.
[7.17] Speuser, G.: Evakuierung von SpritzgieBwerkzeugen fur die Elastomerverarbeitung.
Unpublished report, IKV, Aachen 1987.
[7.18] Rogalla, A.: Analyse des SpritzgieBens mikrostrukturierter Bauteile aus Thermoplasten.
Dissertation, RWTH, Aachen, 1997.
[7.19] Meiertoberens, U.; Herschbach, Ch.; MaaB, R.: Verbesserte Technologien fur die
Elastomerverarbeitung. Gummi, Fasern, Kunststoffe, 47 (1994), 10, pp. 642-649.
[7.20] Michaeli, W; Weyer G.; Speuser G.; Kretzschmar, G.: Entliiftung von Formnestern beim
SpritzgieBen von Elastomeren. Kautschuk + Gummi, Kunststoffe, 44 (1991), 12,
pp. 1146-1153.
[7.21] Winterkemper, A.: Entwicklung eines Werkzeugkonzeptes ftir das SpritzgieBen von
Mikrostrukturen. Unpublished report, IKV, Aachen.
[7.22] Semerdjiev, S.; Popov, N.: Probleme des Gasgegendruck-SpritzgieBens von thermo-
plastischen Strukturschaumstoffen. Kunststoffberater, 4/1978, pp. 198-201.
[7.23] Eckardt, E.: SchaumspritzgieBverfahren - Theorie und Praxis. Kunststoffberater, 1983,
1/2, pp. 26-32.
[7.24] Semerdjiev, S.; Piperov, N.; Popov, N.; Mateev, E.: Das Gasgegendruck-SpritzgieB-
verfahren zum Herstellen von thermoplastischen Strukturschaumteilen. Kunststoffe,
64 (1974), 1, pp. 13-15.