John Beaumont has found the solution to a common problem among molders using eight-cavity molds.
Beaumont has invented the melt flipper, which helps eliminate variations in molded products due to significant flow and temperature imbalances.
``I believe we've solved a problem that the industry has had for years,'' said Beaumont, an assistant professor of plastics engineering technology at Penn State Erie in Erie, Pa. ``It has taken me almost three years, but I feel that we have invented a process that is really going to make a difference.''
The problem is that the molten plastic in the runners has variations in temperature and viscosity. When the resin branches off from one runner to the next, the warmer, lower-viscosity resin hangs on to the outer wall and heads down the new branch. The cooler, higher-viscosity plastic in the center of the runner continues through the first runner. The result: inner cavities get more resin and end up with heavier parts.
The melt flipper is a small steel attachment with a diameter of about five-eighths of an inch. It works by rotating the molten resin, so that equal amounts of high-and low-viscosity resin go to each cavity.
``I expected the solution to the problem to be very complicated,'' he said. ``But what I found out was that this was a problem that no one ever really tried to solve. It's one of those problems that when you look at the solution you say, `Why didn't I think of that?'''
Beaumont said he is so convinced the melt flipper will become the industry standard that Penn State's Intellectual Property Office filed for a provisional patent of the process in October 1997.
He hopes the process will be sold internationally.
Beaumont's company, Beaumont Runner Technologies Inc., will market and license the use of the melt flipper.
Tel. (814) 899-7117, fax (814) 899-6482, e-mail [email protected] bd.psu.edu.