Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation/February 2007 Volume 68 #2
Plastic injection molding is a huge industry, constantly innovating to keep up with demand. Through heavy use, however, molds become contaminated with grease, hydraulic oil, rust, grime, carbon, aluminum shavings and material gassing, and many are still cleaned the old-fashioned way with labor-intensive hand scrubbing and solvents.
Gordon Schwartz, Program Manager at Kaysun Corporation in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, not long ago received a challenging project: find a better way to clean his company’s injection molds. Parts cleaning in industrial machine and manufacturing has, traditionally, necessitated costly and time-consuming dedicated labor and toxic solvents. Additionally, it has often required special chemical handling and disposal. Traditional cleaning has also not been thorough-cracks and crevices have been missed that couldn’t be cleaned with conventional equipment.
After considerable testing, Schwartz determined that Kaysun could avoid hiring another technician for the price of a $16,000 ultrasonic parts washer. He chose an Omegasonics floor model based on its demo, filtration package, easy operator interface, price value and customer recommendations. The tanks utilize specialized, environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions, heat, water and ultrasonic sound waves for cleaning.
Wayne Hurkmans is the head of Kaysun’s mold maintenance department, and his mandate was to integrate the ultrasonic parts washer into the company’s operation. After he had done so, he confirmed that the time benefits have been outstanding. A mold with baked on, carbonized hydraulic oil might take as long as three hours to clean by hand, but with ultrasonic technology it is only an hour. Even lightly to moderately contaminated molds might take 30 to 60 minutes with manual cleaning, while ten minutes is all that is required with the ultrasonic washer.