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Most often ,the damage results from continuing to run the mold after flashing occurs- Major damage
results from closing the mold on the material itself, lts flashchips from sheared undercuts, cracked parts
of runner or torn gates, stringers from nozzles or from sprues that are too hot or improperly controlled,
and the inexcusable crime of allowing the mold to clamp on granules of raw material.
The sources of damage include:

The result of closing the mold on foreign objects such as inserts, tools, screws, nuts, broken
ejector pins, etc., caught between the parting line surfaces. In many cases the smallest bits of
foreign objects cause the greatest damage, especially if they are caught at the cavity edge.
These small bits are not detected by properly set low-pressure closing protective devices.
Clamping on a tiny object, even if it is a plastics granule, concentrates the entire press clamp
tonnage on this very small areaexceeding the elastic limit of any mold material regardless of
quality and hardness.


The result of the use of screw drivers, knives or cutters, etc., used to assist in the removal of
sticking partsflash, short shots, etc.from non-automated molds.


The result of contact with water on unplated surfaces. Water forms in the molds from
condensation, seepage through porous metals, leaky pipe fittings and 0-rings. Careless handling
of hoses and feed lines during hook-up leaves water on the mold surface. This is not harmful if
detected immediately and carefully removed. Corrosion is progressive and even if the molds are
stored after being sprayed with an antioxidant, a few drops of water or condensation can cause
tremendous and costly damage.


Attack from acids after exposure to corrosive materials which may form when some
thermoplastics are decomposed by over-heating. Overheating can occur in the plasticizing
cylinder, the hot runner system or in the-mold cavities, as the result of too small gates, inadequate
venting or cooling systems.


The result of accidents caused by a number of things. Mistakes in mold installation, continuing to
produce in a malfunctioning machine, continuing to operate a mold which has started to squeak or
squeal will result in damage. Damage will be done to molds that refuse to close or open normally

or will not eject properly if their operation is

allowed to continue without ending the problem.
An alert and well-trained foreman can hear
trouble starting as he passes through the
molding room. The aforementioned types of
mold damage are not limited to the pressroom.
Tool-room technicians contribute their share by
the improper assembly of molds, failure to
tighten screws, leaving metal chips, grinding
dust or polishing abrasive on or near sliding

Fatigue is a major cause of mold damage which leads to a breakdown of those mold components
that are subjected to the maximum stresses while cycling correctly over long periods of time. This
usually occurs, if it is going to occur at all, after 100,000 and before 300,000 molding cycles. In a
multiple-cavity mold, components identical to those that break first may last in finitely longer.
Fatigue can manifest itself in components subject to compressive loads as well as those in torque,
tension, or bending.

Thermal shock has a questionable contribution to the deterioration of molds. So far as our analysis goes,
unless rapid heating and cooling of the mold is part of the cycle, there is ordinarily only a small effect in
comparison with hydraulically and mechanically induced stresses. Molds run in the higher temperature
range500 to 800F deteriorate more rapidly; this is an historical problem with the die casting dies.

Molds that are still on the drawing board offer innumerable opportunities. You can build a cheap mold
that will be in trouble and not last very long or you can build in the well-known factors that provide long life
and minimum mold maintenance will be experienced. A mold that has become unusable because of
wearabuse, and improper construction has passed the opportunity for preventive maintenance. The
options here after this happens are few unless the economics permit major replacement with corrected

It is important to specify chrome plating for thermoset molds before any wear occurs. New molds for this
work should be plated immediately after the samples and mold operation are approved. Never run
production before plating in molds for thermosetting materials. Periodic checks after the chrome-plated
mold is in full production are desirable to find evidence of mold wear, which will show up first in comers
and high flow areas. A simple check may be made by swabbing a copper sulfate solution in the mold
The copper plates out on the surface, the chrome has gone and must be replaced. Instruments are
available that will measure the thickness of chrome plating and predict potential failure. Mold components
should be replated as soon as the chrome has gone. Mold parts must then be stripped, repolished, and
replated. The superficial hardness of chrome Plating is the equivalent of 68 Rockwell C whereas the
average compression mold steel is about 56 Rockwell C. The relative resistance to wear has been
determined to be approximately equal to the ratio of the squares of the hardness numbersthus
emphasizing the importance of plating to minimize Wear.

High volume transfer molds for thermosets often
use replaceable inserts made from high Rockwell
steel or hardenable carbides. It is equally good
practice to provide for the subsequent installation
of an insert when it is expected that substantial
wear may occur. Without this advance planning, it
may be difficult or impossible to install an insert
when and if it becomes necessary.

The best quality blow molds are made with replaceable pinch-off inserts.At the first appearance of flash in
any mold, cleaning is essential. There probably is a build-up of some sort on the parting line, back of the
stripper plate or between slides. A check will determine whether or not the clamps or other fastenings
have loosened. The initial appearance of flash suggests a complete checkup of the press. Stress rods
have been known to break within one of the nuts hiding the failure.
The most successful program of preventive maintenance is based on scheduling each mold out of
production regularly into the tool room. The last shot molded should be attached to the mold with its
record tag. In the tool room, the mold is disassembled as needed for complete cleaning and careful
inspection. After completion of essential repairs, replating, etc., moving parts are lubricated; mold is
sprayed with an antioxidant and returned to storage or production. This is the best and least costly
maintenance; nothing is more costly than unanticipated shutdowns at peak production periods. You pay
for this service as a protection or you pay later as a loss; loss expense is greater than the prevention

When a clean and otherwise properly operating mold is flashing, corrections can be made by the
toolmaker at small cost. Often this is simply a matter of skimming off the parting line or the refitting of
inserts, adjustment of wedges or the installation of oversize knockouts. Such corrections are facilitated by
making advance provision in the mold design for such maintenance. Flashing is a self-aggravating
situation. The longer a mold is run and flashing, the faster the flash area increases since it gradually adds
to the projected area that the machine is capable of clamping adequately.

Very strict enforcement is recommended of well-defined and publicized rules of acceptable shop practice
concerning the presence of ferrous tools in the molding room. Sharpened soft brass or copper bars with
facilities for re-sharpening are mandatory. When hard brass-or bronze tools are provided it must be
recognized that they will work-harden and must be annealed and reshaped daily by a responsible person.
The best prevention of tool damage is a fully automatic mold running in continuous production with
minimal startups.


A number of preventive measures can be

taken to avoid corrosion by water. The most
popular is plating, usually chromium on
thermoset molds and nickel or chrome on
thermoplastics molds. It must be recognized
that plating can be porous, especially if the
steel substrate is pitted or has been
subjected to corrosion previously. It is not
safe to depend on plating for protection from
water damage. Where chillers are used for
mold temperature control, condensation of
moisture on the mold surfaces can sometimes occur even while they are in full operation. The best
solution for this problem is an air conditioned pressroom,or at least a humidity controlled atmosphere.
When a chiller or very cold water is used for cooling, it is important to anticipate the shutdown time and
allow the mold to warm up to above room temperature. Only then is it practical to clean and spray the
mold before closing. A cold mold should never be closed; let it warm up above room temperature before
closing. Condensation will occur in the mold if it is closed while cold. When cooling lines are being
disconnected, the best practice is to disconnect the supply line hose first and then use the air nozzle to
blow the remaining water from the mold into the drain line. This procedure prevents subsequent
movement of water from the channels into the parting line or other openings.
Not all damage to molds is confined to molding surfaces. Rust and salt deposits form inside of the
heating or cooling channels in spite of the use of well-designed water treatment systems. Delicate molds
with correspondingly thin steel wall sections separating inner and outer surfaces have been found to rust
through from the inside. The best practice results from nickel plating these inner areas. Electroless nickel
plating solutions can be pumped through the water lines and, since this process does not depend on the
passage of electrical current, the plating develops evenly if they have been thoroughly cleaned before the
plating. This must be done before any rust has formed.

To reduce or eliminate the attack of the mold surfaces by corrosive plastics the products of their
decomposition, plating can be most helpful. The plater must know exactly what the attacking medium is
to suggest the proper a e. Gold has been used for some very corrosive substances. Chrome is attacked
by some decomposition products, and stainless steel is not immune to corrosion. Nickel plate appears to
be second only to gold plate in corro-l0n resistance. It must be recognized that the plating may not have
completely covered the surface to be protected. This fact necessitates extreme care in the molding room
to avoid the overheating of the compounds which trigger the attack. Besides mold temperature control
and prevention of excess heating in the plasticizing cylinder, corrosion may also be minimized by a
reduction in the speed of mold filling and the provision for adequate venting. Slowing the rate of mold
filling may be accomplished by machine control and by increasing the runner and gate dimensions.
Frictional heat from an excessively small gate is easily cured. Venting at the extremities of the cavity,
plus added vents along the way, reduce the back pressure and permit a temperature reduction along the
way. In some cases it helps to vent the runner system.

Mold fastenings loosen from many
causes: clamping force causes
mold compression, the impact and
bursting pressures caused by rapid
filling of the mold, tensile stresses
as the mold is pulled openall
these forces are augmented by
inertia and acceleration during fast
cycle operation. This loosening of
fastenings can happen inside the
mold as well as at the point of
fastening in the press. In far too
many cases, a mold is set into the machine with only four clamps to hold each half to its platen. These
clamps may be adequate in a static position but become entirely inadequate if the mold on the moving
platen is quite heavy or if there are slides or split cavities of large size. Other factors are:

When deep part, or parts, in the case of multiple cavities, is combined with low draft angles;

When sticky materials are being molded;

Molding in fast cycles; or a combination of all of the foregoing.

The strength of mold clamps must be calculated from the pull-back strength of the press and this force
compensated by an adequate number and size of screws that can be torqued to a total equal to the
pull-back force multiplied by a safety factor of two. It is obviously useless to use stronger fastening
devices to hold the mold in the press than are used to hold the mold together. Conversely, since the
internal fastening devices are usually difficult to reach, it is extremely important to make sure that their
combined force is well in excess of the pull-back force. This is another burden that the mold designer
must bear. Poorly designed and cheap molds fall apart under the production forces. In the prevention of
clamp loosening, it is necessary for someone to check all mold fastenings daily. In ultra-high speed
operation, a check after each shift is recommended. This check should be combined with a cleaning and
lubrication of all sliding components using a minimum of lubricant. A wipe or spray-on and wipe-off is the
best procedure.
Whenever a mold resists opening, closing, ejecting, or other operation after it has been lubricated, it must
be shutdown, taken out of the machine, and disassembled without any additional exercise of force to
overcome the inoperative condition.


This is a subject that must be understood and appreciated by molders and mold makers for tools
operated in continuous long-term production. Molds that have delicately proportioned core or cavity
members are particularly subject to fatigue. All molds, even those with the best possible design will
fatigue after long periods of production. The designer and mold maker must consider this factor and
study the steel data carefully before any material selection is made. Some steels are more fatigue
resistant than others. The mechanisms of steel failure are being studied by certain groups of

metallurgists, and it is hoped that all of the basic data may soon be available. A rule of thumb that is
reported to be reasonably reliable is to obtain data on the percent elongation at the elastic limit of the
steel under consideration, at the hardness that is anticipated for the desired service. When this figure is
below 3%, steel is recommended. The alternative is to use a steel of lower hardness to gain increased
elongation. There are obstacles and unknowns in this course of action. Very few steel companies are
willing to release these specific data and prefer to evaluate their steels in relative terms only. Experience
has shown that some steels having an elongation above the 3% value have poor performance records in
fatigue failure.
One preventive measure is recognized; the metallurgists recommend periodic stress relieving. This can
greatly extend the life of questionable mold sections that have not yet exhibited cracks. It consists of
heating the parts to the same temperature or just below the temperature at which the mold sections were
tempered originally. The plating must be stripped before this annealing operation since the stress relief
temperature is usually above the plating stability point. Experience is the only available teacher at this
time to suggest a desired time interval for this operation. Expensive mold sections merit this preventive
care. Mold components with sharp or nearly sharp fillets and cores with a high ratio of
length-to-cross-section will require the most frequent stress relief.


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