The injection molding process is widely used in the production of many different components from small parts to an entire finished component. The process involves feeding of plastic material into a heated barrel, where it is mixed and pushed into a mold cavity and subsequently cooled and hardened to get the shape of the mold.
The cost of a plastic injection molding machine ranges from $100K and to more than half a million dollars. Similarly, the cost of molding plates ranges from several thousands to more than $100K for a single design. Since injection molding machines have a high monetary and production value, manufacturers show keen interest for maintenance and protection of these machines.
Role of Lumenera's Camera in Ensuring Safe Injection Molding Process
Figure 1. Lumenera’s Lu105M Digital Camera.
A major mold inspection equipment provider has devised a machine vision system that employs Lumenera's Lu105M USB 2.0 industrial camera (Figure 1) to prevent expensive damage, and associated lost production time and delayed deliveries. The provider has implemented Lumenera's megapixel USB 2.0 cameras for the following purposes:
- Reveal misaligned inserts
- Ensure a proper seal
- Detect flash and short shots.
Misaligned inserts like the metal shafts on a screwdriver can damage the mold plates, and even part of the hydraulic system. Lumenera's USB 2.0 megapixel cameras capture an image of the open mold to detect the misalignment of inserts. Misaligned inserts trigger a signal to prevent the mold from closing. This way, the machine and molding plates are protected from extensive damage.
Lumenera's industrial cameras are utilized to determine any component that prevents a proper seal by remaining between the two mold halves. When the pressurized liquid polymer is injected into the improperly sealed mold, it will leak out from between the mold halves. This action can cause damage to moving components of the injection molding machine and harm to workers in the immediate vicinity.
By capturing images of the mold, Lumenera's USB 2.0 cameras help detecting flash and short shots. Flash occurs when the liquid polymer is leaked out of the mold cavity into the space between the mold halves. Once a flash is detected, the machine is stopped immediately to rectify the condition causing the flash prior to producing too many defective parts.
A short shot is a condition caused by an inadequate quantity of liquid being fed into the mold, resulting in partly formed components. A blocked feed line is a potential cause of a short shot. If a minor shot is detected, the machine is stopped immediately to clear the blockage prior to producing too many defective components.
Advantages of Lumenera’s Industrial Camera
With the integration of Lumenera's Lu105M USB 2.0 industrial camera into its machine vision system, the mold inspection equipment provider was able to:
- Protect the injection machine from damages caused by non-ejected components and misaligned inserts
- Minimize the possibility for harm to operators
- Lower operator labor costs
- Reduce scrap costs by detecting flash and small shots
- Minimize lost production time and delayed deliveries.
Lumenera’s Lu175C, Lw235, Lm075 and Lm135 are also suitable for this type of application.
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This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Lumenera Corporation.
For more information on this source, please visit Lumenera Corporation.