A group of mold makers, hot-runner suppliers, injection press suppliers and processors is creating the first-ever safety standards for molds. The committee's ultimate goal is to create standard mold-safety requirements under the American National Standards Institute, according to Stan East, a Canadian consultant.
East outlined the effort in January at the Ohio Plastics Summit in Columbus, Ohio. The standards cover molds for horizontal-clamp injection presses.
Molds, East said, are far from inanimate hunks of metal. Today, molds have become complicated mechanical devices with moving parts and, often, hot runners.
The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Machinery and Moldmakers Division set up the Committee on Mold Safety.
The SPI committee hopes to have a final draft of the mold-safety standard ready for ANSI balloting later this year. After that, the group will create an electrical safety standard for molds, said East, who runs the consulting firm Stanley G. East CET in Bolton, Ontario.
East spelled out some of the proposals the committee is studying:
Requiring guarding, attached to the mold, for molds that have components that could be hazardous when the injection press operator gate is open or when it extends beyond the machine guarding.
Interlocking mold motion, to protect against pinch points in molds with independently powered cylinders when the gate is open.
Mold electrical safety, aimed at preventing accidents in molds with hot runners or hot sprues.
Practices for safe lifting, handing and storing of molds.
Standard warning signs and instructions.