Modular tooling gives flexibility to toothbrush design

June 27, 2016

Zahoransky Formenbau GmbH, Freiburg, Germany, has developed new tooling for toothbrush molds featuring cavity inserts that can be changed quickly to produce a new toothbrush design. The company's Z.Platform Line modular tooling system allows the molder to change the inserts while the mold is in the injection molding machine. In the U.S., the company is represented by Zahoransky USA Inc., West Chicago, Ill.

Usually, the production of a new toothbrush design requires a complete conversion of an existing tool or a new injection mold, said Alan Trojanowski, product sales manager for molds at Zahoransky USA.

The Z.Platform Line tool is designed as a modular kit, featuring removable and replaceable mold inserts. Users can change to a new type of toothbrush design by changing the insert. The mold insert is pushed into locators on the tool and screwed into place. Exchanging the insert, which takes less than an hour, rather than the entire tool, accelerates product changeover times dramatically and reduces tool investment costs for new products by approximately 50 percent. Zahoransky can design and fabricate additional inserts in less than three months. The molder does not need to ship the tool back to the company for testing.

Z.Platform Line consists of three components that together constitute the injection molding tool, said Trojanowski. This includes a mold base, which is the carrier for the exchangeable mold inserts. The second component, the mold inserts for the toothbrush handle, is mounted to the base mold. This mold insert features an automatic part-ejector package. Individual ejector pin locations are possible with each handle design.

The third component of the modular line is a mold strip insert, which is a fast-change system for the toothbrush heads. It is designed so that one toothbrush handle can be molded with different toothbrush heads, said Trojanowski. Parts can be dropped or removed with a servo-driven handling system designed by Zahoransky.

The Z.Platform Line is suited for use on any horizontal injection press and is available for tools with four, eight, 12, 16, 20, 24 and 32 cavities. The cavity insert is identical on all mold sizes. Zahoransky said the mold insert does not depend on model gating points, which simplifies its use. The mold cavities can be grouped into molding stations where each station produces a different toothbrush design.

Up to six injection units can be attached to the Z.Platform Line tool. Users can arrange the multiple injection units in a piggyback, vertical or L-position configuration, or a combination of configurations. The modular tool is designed for use with a hot-runner system from Zahoransky or from Milacron's Mold-Masters division in Madison Heights, Mich. A hydromechanical valve-gate shut-off nozzle is used with the Z.Platform Line. The Z.Platform Line is controlled by Zahoransky's statistical process control system.

Zahoransky offers flexible grippers  to handle the finished toothbrushes. Zahoransky said it is expanding the cavity insert concept to medical and packaging mold applications.

Mikell Knights, senior correspondent

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Zahoransky USA Inc., 630-507-9872,