Whether adding applications or reducing expensive cables, Milacron’s Mold-Masters division has found ways to enhance the benefits of its latest hot-runner technologies.
At K 2019, it introduced its ThinPak hot-runner systems for packaging and its TempMaster M3 controller, as well as upgrades to its Fusion Series G2 hot-runner system and SeVG+ control system.
The ThinPak hot-runner system is targeted at thin-wall packaging made in molds with 16 cavities or fewer. It was launched about six months ago.
“Since then, we have expanded the capabilities of that system, which now includes compatibility with stack molds,” said Jordan Friese, product marketing manager. “The shot range of nozzle sizes has been increased. We introduced the Centi size nozzle with a shot size range of 15 grams to 50 grams per nozzle. Our previous Deci size nozzle goes from 50 grams up to 500 grams. With these two nozzles, we now can produce parts ranging from small in-mold labeled containers to large pails.”
“All our packaging solutions … feature MasterShield technology leakage protection and higher reliability. Both have industry-standard gate cutouts, and our hot-runner systems have a 10-year warranty.”
The MasterShield is a pre-loaded nozzle spring that seals the nozzle against the manifold.
The ThinPak systems come in valve-gated and non-valve-gated configurations.
Mold-Masters’ new TempMaster M3 hot-runner temperature controller features the company’s TC-Connect technology — hardware that allows processors to eliminate conventional thermocouple cables. The M3 controller is available in four configurations — three traditional tower cabinets and a compact desktop cabinet — that are designed to minimize the need for thermocouple mold cables that connect it to the mold.
“This is our flagship controller, and the technology allows you to eliminate conventional temperature-control mold cables,” Friese said. “You can eliminate 50 percent of all the cables on the floor for the mold. It is especially valuable when you get into the higher cavitation.”
Normally, hot-runner temperature controllers have large thermocouple cables for each device. TC-Connect has a new device, called an eBox, that attaches to the mold. One thin data communication cable connects the back of the M3 controller to the eBox. The technology is compatible with both new and older hot-runner systems.
“Now, you can have unlimited thermocouples and only require one data controller that goes to the controller,” he said. “We are the first to introduce this.”
This allows processors to save money because they need fewer expensive mold cables. Also, having a single cable eliminates clutter and frees up space around the mold. This creates a safer work environment.
“You are simplifying your molding cell and saving money,” Friese said. “On a high-cavitation mold, you are going from five to seven cables that are thick and heavy to one data cable that is similar to an Ethernet cable. In addition to the innovative technology, you have the most advanced controller platform. It has lots of safety features, very tight process control, soft starts, 3-D graphing and automatic tool setups.”
The M3 controller is Mold-Masters’ first to feature its new APS-AI (Adaptive Process System) software incorporating artificial intelligence that is designed to optimize the performance of the hot-runner system. The APS-AI control algorithm automatically and continuously monitors, learns and predicts process variables. It can make almost instant adjustments to variations to maintain the mold temperature at its optimal setting.
“The AI component of the software also allows the system to reach setpoints faster, which allows processors to reduce start-up times,” Friese said. “APS was the original software and APS-AI is the next-generation software.”
Mold-Masters also enhanced its Fusion Series G2 hot-runner system, which is designed for the automotive industry. The Fusion Series G2 systems are pre-assembled, prewired, tested and ready for drop-in installation.
“We have made a few enhancements to their capabilities,” Friese said. “We are now introducing new protective nozzle sleeves. These sleeves are installed over the top of our existing nozzles to help protect the heater and thermocouple wiring during assembly and storage.”
The company also is offering a new adjustable quick-release actuator, which allows users to adjust the valve-pin position by plus or minus 1mm, which optimizes gate quality by simplifying the process of fine-tuning the valve-pin length to the gate.
“You can adjust it, and you can quick-release it,” Friese said. “You can adjust the valve-pin length to optimize the gate quality. Generally, you will only do that at setup, but it saves time and makes the process easier.”
“If you have to do service or maintenance on the hot-runner system, previously you would have to take the whole thing apart. Now, you can just pull a pin and remove the valve pin on its own or you can leave the valve pin in and take off the actuator without anything else. It does not require any special tools or disassembly. It is easy to maintain and is hydraulically powered.”
The SeVG+ advanced valve gate control system is now available for use with all of Mold-Masters’ hot-runner systems. The servo-driven system controls the opening and closing of the individual tips in Mold-Masters' hot runners.
“This was introduced at NPE 2018, but it was only for very specific things,” Friese said. “The previous version of SeVG+ was not as broad in terms of the hot-runner series it could accommodate or the size of the mold. We have eight different hot-runner series, and you can use this on any one of them, from the smallest to the biggest parts.
“These servo-type drives are popular for automotive parts, due to the large parts, but now you can even use it on small parts, such as medical components. It is viable for clean-room applications.”
Bruce Adams, senior staff reporter
Mold-Masters, Georgetown, Ontario, 905-877-0185, www.milacron.com