Thursday, July 6, 2017

University of Akron hosts Silicone Elastomers Technology & Fabrication Course


 
4 Day Course

Course Number: AP3315
Date: 08/28/2017 - 08/31/2017
Time: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Location: Akron Polymer Training Center,

Akron, OH 44325-5404
Cost: $1,475.00 USD


Online Registration
CEU's: 3


Instructors: Mel Toub, MT Consultants, Rick Finnie, M.R. Mold & Engineering, Craig Lustek, ShinEtsu Silicones, Stefan Scheibner, Arburg US, John Timmerman, Starlim North America, and Bob Pelletier, ELMET

 

Course Overview

This course offers a comprehensive overview of silicone elastomers, including basic silicone chemistry, mold manufacturing, information regarding pumping units and molding machines, manufacturing processes, fabrication techniques, problem solving and application areas.  Emphasis is on liquid injection molding (LIM/LSR).  This course is presented by a panel of experts in the silicone field, and time is allotted for discussion of specific project of interest.

Featured at this course is a one day "field trip" to ShinEtsu Silicones Technology Center. during which attendees will experience all the manufacturing processes involved in producing the actual LSR part.

 WHO SHOULD ATTEND

Both entry level and experienced rubber technologists, rubber chemists, process engineers, laboratory manager, supervisors, technicians, shop foremen, quality assurance manager and engineers, technical sales personnel, molding technicians and rubber producers and users.


Hotel accommodations can be made at these hotels under Akron University pricing:

Hilton Akron/Fairlawn


Hilton Garden Inn Akron


Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls


The Courtyard by Marriott

M.R. Mold will be in 4 booths at NPE!!

M.R. Mold will show representation at NPE next May in Booth W4391.  Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

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M.R. Mold is proud to partner with Krauss Maffei, ShinEtsu Silicones and Graco in Krauss Maffei's Booth W403 at NPE 2018

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M.R. MOLD is proud to announce that it will partner with ZIEGER INDUSTRIES, R.D. ABBOTT, ELMET & MILACRON in Booth W5483 (Zeiger Industries) at NPE

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M.R. Mold announces it will partner with Maruka USA in Booth W911/1103 with ShinEtsu Silicones, Graco and Yushin

Friday, April 21, 2017

M.R. Mold continues to invest for growth

April 13, 2017 Updated 8 days ago

M.R. Mold continues to invest for growth

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Chris Sweeney, Rubber & Plastics News Rubber & Plastics News Marketing Director Geri Anderson (left) poses with M.R. Mold President Rick Finnie at MD&M West in Anaheim, Calif.
Brea, Calif. — M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp. continues to grow its presence.

The firm added an Engel 55 ton press to replace an older model and Engel 120 ton machine to mirror the capabilities of its largest customer. It also secured a 1,500-square-foot building for additional storage that sits on the same campus of its headquarters in Brea, which employs about 30 people.
This comes in addition to a slew of other equipment investments, including an overhead crane, a five-gallon pump, a pallet charger that feeds tools to a five-axis Yasda YBM Vi40 precision computer numerical control machining center, and upgraded software and IT systems.

M.R. Mold invested about $800,000 total. Marketing Director Geri Anderson said the investments have one thing in common.

"We're trying to keep up with today's technology and improve cycle time for our customers," Anderson said. "The Yasda we have can save the customer about one third on delivery times. They all want it faster and quicker, so we're trying to get that done for them in the best way possible."
The firm also reached an agreement with KraussMaffei, which will house a 55 ton LSR machine on its floor and in return the company can use it as a training center for LSR.
 
Anderson stressed that M.R. Mold isn't entering the molding business.
"We still will do short runs and help customers out whenever they don't have press times," she said. "But our machines are basically for testing and sampling, doing first articles and tests for customers. That is the focus of that technical center."

And with still plenty of time in 2017, the firm looks to remain busy. Anderson said she hopes to have a new website launched by NPE, which is scheduled for May 7-11, 2018, and expects business to continue to snowball with 'significant work' coming down the line as the year goes on. The maker of silicone molds does most of its business in the medical area, with annual sales of about $5 million.
Like many in the rubber industry, M.R. Mold is trying to develop new talent. Anderson said the firm is looking to bring in an additional apprentice or two within the next year.

"We hope that everything we've put in place will pay off for our customers in terms of time and pricing," she said.

"M.R. Mold will continue to grow in whatever direction we're being driven. If I have a good customer who tells me 'we need you to do it,' we'll definitely investigate and go down that road. That's how we came from one molding machine to seven. It's all customer driven."

Friday, April 7, 2017

Technology Showcare MD&M West 2017 Molds and Molding

Last month I was able to escape a nasty winter storm by heading to the warm west coast where many mold builders, molders and technology suppliers set up shop to show off their capabilities.

M.R. Mold unveils "New Look" in Tech Center






The acquisition of 2 new ENGEL molding machines and a Krauss Maffei (not pictured here) caused M.R. Mold's president, Rick Finnie, to take a step back and re-evaluate the effectiveness of the Tech Center.

His vision came to life when an additional 1500 sq.ft. were acquired for storage.  Machines were shuffled into a productive row and an overhead crane was installed to provide more effective mold changes. 

M.R. Mold uses the Tech Center machines to test and sample each mold built.  The Tech Center allows M.R. Mold to continue to meet the customer's ever growing needs.

UWM SILICONE ELASTOMERS COURSE ANOTHER HUGE SUCCESS!

40 industry professionals from all facets of the industry attended the Silicone Elastomers and Fabrication course in Anaheim this past February.  Mel Toub, formerly of Momentive Silicones, spoke on the chemistry of silicone and all the significant properties that have been developed to meet the industry's needs.  Bob Pelletier of Elmet explained the functions of a pumping unit and its importance in LSR.  Rick Finnie of M.R. Mold taught the class on the differences between building a silicone and plastic injection mold and the importance of picking a moldmaker who knows the difference.  Stefan Scheibner of Arburg explained the functions of a molding machine in relationship to LSR and what options are needed to be ordered.  John Timmerman of Starlim North America completed the circle with his segment on processing. 



The day at M.R. Mold & Engineering was the culmination of all the subjects taught in the classroom.




Testimonials from attendees...........

"Nice mix of material, equipment, tooling & process content plus hands on lab day"

"The processing tips and depth of discussion was fantastic"
 


"Presenters were knowledgeable and approachable."

Thursday, February 16, 2017

MRM Builds LSR Capacity


January 31, 2017

M.R. Mold builds its LSR capacity


 

M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp. of Brea, Calif., is taking delivery of its seventh injection molding press as it ventures further into the world of liquid silicone rubber processing.

Krauss Maffei Corp. of Florence, Ky., is installing a 55-ton two-platen hydraulic 50-180 CX-model LSR machine that was manufactured in Munich.

M.R. Mold also will allow use of its Brea site as Krauss Maffei’s first training facility on the West Coast, Paul Caprio, president in the U.S. and Canada for Krauss Maffei, said in a phone interview.

Separately, M.R. Mold is collaborating with Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. in an LSR demonstration during the Feb. 7-9 UBM Advanced Manufacturing Expo in Anaheim, Calif. M.R. Mold is inviting attendees to visit its Brea facility, which is a short distance from the expo.

A Wittmann Battenfeld 16.53-ton standard MicroPower machine equipped for LSR will mold a punctal plug using Silopren LSR 2030 from Momentive Performance Materials Inc. in a four-cavity tool from M.R. Mold. The small medical device is inserted into the tear duct, or puncta of an eye, to block the duct.

Momentive manufactures the material at its facility in Leverkusen, Germany, said Sharon Shatto, Momentive’s Americas marketing manager for health care.

Wittmann Battenfeld offers a patented system that lets the plunger travel all the way into the split line of the mold. That creates a thin disc rather than a cold runner sprue.

“This disc has much less volume of material and cools down much faster,” Markus Klaus, Wittmann Battenfeld U.S. division manager for injection molding machines, said by email.

“This saves the customer a lot of material and reduces cycle time dramatically. Some of those medical-grade bio-absorbable materials cost up to $2,500 per pound, and most cannot be recycled.”

President Rick Finnie said M.R. Mold invested between $600,000 and $800,000 over the past year for new equipment, including two new Engel injection molding presses — a 120-ton hybrid and a 55-ton e-mac.

Other additions are a Gorbel Inc. overhead crane, a Graco Inc. five-gallon pump, a System 3R WorkPal servo robotic pallet changer that feeds tools to a five-axis Yasda YBM Vi40 precision computer-numerical-control machining center, a Lista International Corp. tool vending system via SupplyPro Inc. and tool holders.

In the near future, M.R. Mold plans to boost utility services for the new KraussMaffei, add more tool holders, update existing equipment and hire more employees, Finnie said.

M.R. Mold employs 30, has annual sales of about $5 million and also operates a 100-ton Arburg, a 70-ton Arburg Allrounder and 100-ton and 55-ton Engels.

In November, M.R. Mold leased an additional 1,500 square feet for storage and, in current space, extended its technical center capabilities. Now, M.R. Mold occupies 16,500 square feet.

 

Advances in Liquid Silicone Rubber Conference


First International Conference
 
 
LSR 2017
 
Advances in Liquid Silicon Rubber and related materials
April 23-26, 2017
Sheraton Park Hotel, Anaheim, California
 
Industry leaders and experts will convene at "LSR 2017" to present technological and scientific developments of LSR and discuss new commercial uses in various markets: Medical, Automotive, Electronics, Consumers Products, and more.
Conference General Topics
 


·       Innovtaions in LSR Materials
o   Enhanced features
o   Additives
o   New chemistry
·       Equipment
o   Machinery
o   Metering equipment
o   Cold runner technology
o   LSR mold technology
·       Processing
o   Micromolding
o   2 component molding
o   Optical parts
o   Cleanroom
o   Inspection
o   Emerging technologies
·       Part and process design
o   Part simulation / FEA
o   Process simulation
·       Industries / Applications
o   Automotive
o   Medical
o   E&E
o   Consumer goods
o   Infant care


Questions? Contact ECM:  ecm@executive-conference.com     Ph: 313-429-3905

Conference Webpage: www.executive-conference.com


Organizing Committee

Geri Anderson, M.R. Mold & Engineering

Steve Broadbent, Engel

Rick Finnie, M.R. Mold & Engineering

Oliver Franssen, Momentive Performance Materials

Amos Golovoy, AG Research

Thomas Jenkins, R.D. Abbott Company

Kurt Manigatter, ELMET GmbH

Lynn Momrow-Zielinski, Extreme Molding

 

 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Toolmaking is really the oldest profession, and it needs your support


An article written in 1996 continues to resonate


June 22, 2016

Those of you who have been in the plastics/moldmaking industry for more than a couple of decades probably know or have heard of Jobst Gellert, the founder of Mold-Masters. As I was going through my filing cabinet (yes, a real filing cabinet, not computer files), I came across an editorial written by Gellert in the December 1996 issue of Modern Plastics International . I saved this article because I thought it was so timely, but as I re-read it, I realized that it’s even more timely for our industry today. Here it is: “Why We Must Promote the Oldest Profession.”


Image courtesy Tom Simpson/flickr.

The oldest profession on Earth is not what you may think it is. As long as people have inhabited the Earth, this profession has existed. Think of the first inventions of mankind: Clothes to endure the elements, hunting weapons for food. People needed tools to make them. The oldest profession on Earth? Toolmaking.

The first toolmakers were indispensable. But young people no longer choose toolmaking in the numbers they did. Even those who see plastics as a career choose design or engineering over toolmaking.

You may argue we don’t need as many skilled toolmakers adjusting spindle speeds and table feeds because CNC machines do that automatically. You wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but you’d be missing the point: Toolmaking is more than the art of cutting and fitting—it’s the science of creating something useful. It’s understanding a need and manufacturing a solution.

I went through a toolmaking apprenticeship. I was taught to think in black and white: An idea works or it’s garbage. It’s been said that good toolmakers have fingers of gold. They create value-added products. If you look around you’ll find many toolmakers own plastics companies. The skills they learned in their profession gave them the opportunity. Is that not a desirable career path?

What makes a toolmaker good? Invariably, it’s the intangibles: The ability to see a workable solution to a manufacturing nightmare; to suggest improvements to a design; to know what works and what won’t. It’s not a question of intelligence, but of having the knowledge that comes from experience. This is the essence of toolmaking and why apprenticeships are vital.

Everyone talks about the importance of apprenticeships, but we should do more. In the United States, programs exist that contribute half of an apprentice’s wages. The National Tooling and Machining Association and the Society of the Plastics Industry are creating guidelines for apprenticeship standards. But the effort should come from companies.

For example, Tech Mold in Tempe, AZ, has had a successful program for several decades. The company understands that to reap the benefits of apprenticeship programs, it must incur some cost and risk (such as the occasional apprentice who leaves at the end of training). Tech Mold will tell you what it took to make the program successful: Patience and total commitment. Some of their best toolmakers are graduates.

Mold-Masters has an 8000-hour program that combines a four-day work week with a classroom day. We accept the cost because existing educational methods don’t work.

Bring students to industry. Use the industry infrastructure of machines, bricks and mentors. Toolmakers remember how important it was to have a mentor, and most take pride in tutoring others.

It’s a simple, workable concept. It’s unfortunate, however, that in most countries there is little government assistance for companies that use their machines for training, or for toolmaking masters who share their knowledge. Maybe if there was greater assistance, we wouldn’t be faced with a shrinking supply of toolmakers and companies wouldn’t be so concerned about the cost of apprenticeship programs. But when you think about it, the cost of not creating tomorrow’s toolmakers is higher.

As someone who thinks in black and white, the question is simple: Are toolmakers needed? If you answer yes, do something to save the oldest profession. Promote toolmaking and apprenticeships at every opportunity. Create apprenticeship programs within your organization and remain committed to them.

Let’s not wait for the government or industry organizations to decide what we need. We need designers and we need engineers. And, as proven by hundreds of thousands of years of history, we need toolmakers. Industry has the infrastructure and the mentors to produce them. All we need is the patience and commitment to bring this effort to fruition.

What Gellert said two decades ago holds true today, perhaps even more so. We’re losing our long-time, experienced moldmakers, and when they retire, we will lose the “tribal knowledge” that is so important to the mentoring of which Gellert wrote. It’s time that the industry take Gellert’s advice and create a future for the industry and for the many young people who will find a great career in toolmaking . . . if they are given the opportunity.

 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

CAM Software/Machine Matchup Save Time, Boosts Efficiency

CAM Software/Machine Matchup Saves Time, Boosts Efficiency

A five-axis machining center and better CAM software helped this mold shop dramatically improve throughput and profitability.

Click Image to Enlarge
Open Mind Technologies’ hyperMill software can verify tool paths for machining complex details into a mold cavity such as the one for a massage ball shown here. The software offers dynamic collision checking during toolpath calculation and will automatically offer solutions before moving to the next section of tool path. Image courtesy of Open Mind.
M.R. Mold’s lead programmer, Nhut Nguyen, is shown programming five-axis tool paths for the Yasda-Vi40 using hyperMill Version 2016.1.
This is the actual cavity after cutting and the matching massage ball it produced.
M.R. Mold and Engineering Corp. in Brea, California, is known for its expertise in building molds for liquid silicone rubber (LSR) and gum stock (also known as high-consistency rubber). Recently, the company invested in two tools that together, it says, have helped to dramatically improve throughput and profitability in its manufacturing process: a five-axis machining center and better CAM software.
Because working with silicone is inherently more difficult than working with plastics, M.R. Mold created proprietary cold runner systems that offer customers cost savings through shortened cycle times and less material waste. Until last year, it used its EDM and three-axis machining centers to manufacture the silicone molds, but company President Rick Finnie knew that to cut job times and increase efficiencies it needed to invest in a five-axis machining center. After researching several options, the shop purchased a Yasda YBM Vi40.
“I was looking for a machine with the ability to perform very-high-accuracy machining of cavities with very complex details,” he says. “The Yasda met my requirements, and could do it quickly and efficiently.”
Previously, Finnie’s machinists were using long cutters in its three-axis machine to reach the deep cavities and then would EDM the detailed features required by customers. This was a time-consuming and costlier process, lead programmer Nhut Nguyen says, because long tools are prone to chatter when cutting in hard materials. The chatter caused the long cutters to wear faster, and Nguyen would often have to stop in the middle of machining to replace them with new ones. With five-axis programming, the machinists can now use shorter cutters that can more easily reach and machine tight areas. In addition, the shorter cutting tools made possible by the five-axis machine also significantly reduced the chatter and minimized wear on the cutters, and they have improved surface quality so that finished parts require little, if any, handwork. According to Finnie, machining time was reduced by as much as 20 percent.
Finding the Right CAM Software
Once the Yasda machining center was ordered, it was suggested to Finnie that the current software used at M.R. Mold was not going to be adequate for driving this high-speed five-axis mill. Jeff Johnson, tool die/mold product manager at Yasda distributor Methods Machine Tools, recommended that the company reconsider the programming software it had been using for years, because it could not calculate the code needed for the Yasda fast enough or with enough precision. “We needed a CAM software that was capable of optimizing the Yasda’s capabilities,” Finnie says, so he and his team began looking for new software that was up to the task.
They started with the list of possible CAM solutions provided by the machine tool OEM then conducted some online research to arm themselves with questions. Finally, after narrowing the field to two candidates, the team met with representatives of each of the solutions it was considering. Open Mind Technologies’ hyperMill software was one of those solutions.
“Much of our time together was spent in understanding their questions and showing concepts for five-axis machining ‘live’ in front of them so they could get an idea of the programming process, breadth of strategies, parameter settings and feedbacks available to a hyperMill user,” says Kevin Lewis, Open Mind account manager. “It is really about how the software works to help the programmer to complete the job quickly, how someone can minimize the number of iterations as a user moves from acceptable tool path to optimal, and how a safe and efficient motion can be delivered to the machine tool.”
Finnie says M.R. Mold chose hyperMill because it can make the Yasda YBM Vi40 “do what we want it to do: accurately cut difficult geometries in deep cavities. 
“The combination of machine tool and hyperMill software allows us to more easily hold tight tolerances and deliver parts with superior surface finishes. If we want to take off one-tenth (0.0001 inch), we can remove one-tenth. That is exactly the type of accuracy 
we need,” he says.
Nguyen says that the software’s dynamic (on-the-fly) collision checking during toolpath calculation and collision avoidance are key benefits in creating NC programs for the five-axis machine tool. “It automatically offers solutions before it moves on to the next section of tool path,” he says. “Our previous software would only check for collisions while in simulation mode after a tool path has been calculated. If a collision was then detected, we would then have to go back to either manually find a solution or change some parameters and recalculate, and then simulate again. As a result, hyperMill is much faster and more efficient to use.”
Customized Training
The learning curve in switching to a new software can be a challenge, especially when it occurs at the same time that a customer orders a very complex medical part. Although the job was one that M.R. Mold had completed in the past using its older equipment and process, “nobody here had ever operated a five-axis machine tool before,” Finnie says. “Suddenly we were faced with a machine that could rotate and tilt and move all axes simultaneously. On top of that, the programmers had to get up to speed on hyperMill so they could operate the Yasda and deliver the job on schedule.”
To help ease the learning curve, Open Mind delivered a training program on site that was entirely focused on M.R. Mold processes, upcoming projects and machine tools. Postprocessors for all the shop’s machine tools, including the Yasda, were delivered during training, and operators even ran the machines during class.
After the five-day training course, Nguyen programmed his first hyperMill five-axis job, machined it on the Yasda and completed it several days ahead of schedule. “We were able to eliminate most of the EDM operations, and as a result saved about two days’ worth of electrode manufacturing time,” Nguyen says. “With our old process, we also would have had to use multiple setups and several fixtures to tilt the cavity for the three-axis mills. On the Yasda, the whole job could be run completely unattended in one setup.”
Efficient and Accurate
M.R. Mold’s team recently finished machining a mold for a massage ball that is completely covered in spikes. Finnie says that if the shop had built that mold a year ago using its old process, it would have had no choice but to manufacture a whole series of electrodes for the project.
“I estimate that it would have taken us two days to design, program and manufacture the electrodes, plus another two days of vector EDM time on each half of that mold to produce all the undercuts on the cavities,” he says. “Instead, using hyperMill and the Yasda, our guys programmed and machined the entire mold in just one day, not six days as expected. So in my opinion, the machine tool and software are already paying for themselves.”
Finnie says the company now owns two seats of the software and, with the comprehensive training provided, two programmers are proficient with it. Additional programmers are expected to be trained in the future. Due to the success of the entire system, the company is also looking to invest in a System 3R robot and pallet changer for the Yasda sometime this summer.