Polishing up on cleaning techniques saves time, costs

Oct. 9, 2020
iD Additives experts say molders and extrusion processors can benefit from proper purging, as well as cleaning of cooling passages and heat exchangers.

By Karen Hanna 

College kids at a frat house might understand the impulse to throw away dishes, rather than wash them. But Bryan Whitaker, technical manager at iD Additives, probably does not. Whitaker and a colleague suggest a well-run processing shop should be investing its resources into preventive maintenance  and cleaning.  

“In one particular instance,” Whitaker said, “I was at a facility to run a demonstration on flushing cooling passages in the tool room when I spotted someone in maintenance hauling a heat exchanger off. I interrupted and asked about how they handle plugged heat exchangers;they were throwing them away!” 

But even that approach was an upgrade, Whitaker said. “Tossing out heat exchangers was determined to be cheaper for this facility versus their previous procedure, which included caustic chemicals and rodding out the tubes (sometimes puncturing the copper and requiring sleeves to be dropped). 

Whitaker and his colleague, technical manager Dave Denzel, recently shared their thoughts about cleaning and purging as part of Plastics Machinery Magazine’s November focus on maintenance.  

Whitaker said it’s no longer adequate to try to remove contaminants simply by blowing air through cooling passages and heat exchangers. Instead, he recommended using a flushing system with universal connections. After that’s done, maintenance personnel should check their work with a flowmeter.

In addition to cleaning, Denzel stressed the importance of establishing a purging routine to maintain screws and barrels, and to reduce scrap. 

Denzel said using purging compounds regularly beats the alternative  having to manually clean screws and barrels. And it pays off in the long run.  

“Manual cleaning, which requires pulling the screw, will take considerable time away from production, whereas using a chemical purging compound on a consistent basis between color/material changes will reduce or eliminate build-up on barrels, screws, dies and hot-runner system, thereby increasing machine utilization and reducing downtime,” he said. 

For comprehensive stories on purging and making your machinery last, check out PMMs November issue and come back to www.plasticsmachinerymagazine.com later this month.

Karen Hanna, copy editor

[email protected]


iD Additives Inc., La Grange, Ill., 708-588-0081, www.idadditives.com 

About the Author

Karen Hanna | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Karen Hanna covers injection molding, molds and tooling, processors, workforce and other topics, and writes features including In Other Words and Problem Solved for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. She has more than 15 years of experience in daily and magazine journalism.

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