An injection molding technology known as pulsed cooling can cut cycle time, reduce energy consumption, and improve mold temperature control and part weight and consistency, said pulse advocate R.E. Promotion Services Ltd. (Reps) of Cannock, England.
Reps makes a controller to run pulsed cooling. The technology controls the temperature at the actual molding surface, instead of the steel of the mold, by taking readings from thermocouples near the cavity surface. The readings are used to switch on and off pulses of fast-flowing cooling water.
The idea is that, eventually, the injection mold will reach an equilibrium where the heat from the molten plastic is balanced by the heat losses to the air. Pulsed tooling speeds this up, to reach this point in the shortest possible time, according to Reps.
Pulsed cooling got some support during the Society of Plastics Engineers' Annual Technical Conference earlier this year in San Francisco. Officials from three schools presented research about the technology: Brunel University's Wolfson Centre for Materials Processing in Uxbridge, England; the Behrend College of Penn State University in Erie, Pa.; and the Polymer Process Engineering Laboratory at the University of Bradford, England.
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