Mold-Masters Ltd. is rethinking its hot runners to create a new modular, integrated system focused on simplifying the way toolmakers turn out molds and cutting downtime for molders.
With its Fusion series, Mold-Masters (Booth N5133) also is taking aim at specifically producing hot runners for larger molds, such as those used in the auto industry to make bumper fasciae, instrument panels and door panels.
``When the automotive folks saw the beta version of this, they wanted to know when they could buy it,'' said Murray Feick, products development manager. ``The more complex the part, the more the benefit of it, and the faster the turnaround.''
Fusion, which is getting its formal launch during NPE, is based around the very basic concept of creating a modular series of heaters, nozzles and other components so that mold makers can have a steady supply of parts they can mix and match to meet almost any mold.
Molders, meanwhile, can have a regular cache of spare parts on hand to easily swap out damaged parts with new ones, just screwing out the old component and screwing in a new one.
And the modular design decreases the number of drill holes needed on the hot side of the tool - meaning toolmakers will save manufacturing time. That also translates to cutting out less of the expensive tool steel, Feick said.
The Fusion series also integrates cooling and hydraulic lines and electrical contacts, meaning that molders will have fewer connections to make when they change tools.
One manifold-mounted control box can serve up to 16 gates.
``Why should the molder have to spend 20 or 30 minutes just on the plumbing?'' Feick said.
Mold-Masters has spent two years beta testing the series, said Doug Hugo, manager, sales support and technical service. It is being used in molds already in full production.
The very concept for Fusion came from molders and mold makers who wanted a system that would allow them to get new parts to market faster, he said.
``These are guys who keep hearing that everything has to add value, add value, add value,'' Hugo said.
Fusion gives molders and mold makers alike the time needed to beat the competition, he said.
Mold-Masters also has updated its online presence through the Merlin Web portal.
While companies can still use Merlin to order components and track their progress and delivery schedule, the company also has built in the capability to ease collaboration by original equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
Merlin can house computer-aided-design information readily available to businesses throughout the supply chain, so they can make changes to prospective parts and tools early in the product development process, said Mike Ellis, product specialist, online services.
Molders and mold makers can all access the same information with Merlin serving as a secure third-party Web portal, he said.