A German moldmaker has built what it calls the world's first seven-component mold. Designed and machined by Zahoransky Formenbau GmbH (Freiburg), the mold has been delivered to Schiffer (Neustadt/Wied, Germany) to mold toothbrushes.
The system incorporates two injection molding cells and a loading and parts removal station. The first cell processes two similarly colored materials while the second one processes thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) in four different colors. Compared with conventional systems, productivity is significantly improved because the multicomponent architecture eliminates time-consuming color changes.
Previously, color changes meant as much as two hours of downtime in the production cycle, says Zahoransky. In addition to improving productivity, the seven-component molding technology also has a cost advantage as the absence of color changeovers means that there is no material waste.
The challenges in designing a seven-component mold included dealing with overall space constraints as well as the tight fit of the nozzles and mold cavity, and managing several material feeds at various processing temperatures.