Faster mold changes due to remote control
To increase operator safety, mold change technicians at injection molder Polycon Industries in Guelph, Ont., instigated a switch to remote radio controls for the overhead crane used in mold changes. A...
To increase operator safety, mold change technicians at injection molder Polycon Industries in Guelph, Ont., instigated a switch to remote radio controls for the overhead crane used in mold changes. An added benefit has been faster mold changes.
Polycon Industries produces automotive bumper fascia, side trim and truck fenders. Because the parts are so large, the steel molds are stored close to the injection molding machinery. Each mold is the size of a small car and weighs 80,000 lb.
“When standing beside one of those molds that’s several feet above the ground, it’s very important to know exactly where it’s going and that everything is being done as safely as possible,” says mold change technician, Seo Kongdara.
“The technicians felt that operating the overhead crane with pendant control limited our ability to move around the mold. We need to view it from the best position to be sure it isn’t going to knock anything,” he says.
This concern for safety slowed down the mold change process. As well, the cables of the pendant control could easily become tangled in the overhead robots, slowing the process even further.
“The technicians asked me to consider radio remote control,” says John Dinsdale, Polycon’s maintenance engineer. “They felt remote controls would allow them to stand away from the elevated and moving mold. They wouldn’t have to stand directly beside the mold, nor would they have to swing a heavy pendant cable up and around obstacles while trying to maintain pressure on the proper control switch.”
Dinsdale and a committee of users chose a Cattron 816AT radio remote control system. The Cattron AT Series uses factory programmable microprocessors, with no mother board or card cage. Up to 32 motion controls can be programmed, with stepless output available for even smoother operation and control.
“Radio remote controls have made a major difference to us,” says Kongdara. “We’ve really speeded up the mold change time. I think we save about 15 minutes on each change.”