Case Studies

Concentrate vs. Ready to Use

Date:

March 21, 2017

Current Product:

Concentrated mold release that is diluted 1:1 with a proportioner supplied “free” by the supplier.

Objective:

Reduce cleaning frequency, less overspray, reduce costs, and improve product consistency. The added benefit is that ready to use material is QC tested, a concentrate after being diluted is not. Process control is superior with a ready to use the material.

Process:

Mold Temperatures were 149-153F. They vacuum the substrate to the upper mold. Robot sprays mold release with an airless spray system in two passes, and then they pour onto the lower mold.

The airless spray head and the foam pour head are mounted on the same robot.

The standard fluid pressure is 1,100 psi (76 bar). This proved to be too high with ready to use mold release. We reduced this by more than 50% to 450 psi (31 bar).

Results:

With the ready to use mold release, the consumption was reduced by roughly 50%. No reduction in release or foam quality was observed.  When they tried to reduce their consumption of the concentrated mold release to match ours, the wax dried out on the spray tips. The dilution resulted in a poor quality emulsion.

Over a two week run, the ready to use release agent proved to be superior:

  • Economics: One tote of ready to use mold release lasted 12 production days compared to the current concentrate tote lasting 14 production days.
  • Build-Up: Mainly due to reduced consumption, the ready to use mold release had much less build-up on the tools.
  • Foam Quality: The foam was less sticky/tacky and had fewer voids. Overall, foam quality was superior.
  • Handling: Besides eliminating an unstable variable (dilution) the ready to use mold release also does not need to be agitated. Utility and labor cost savings are significant.

While counter-intuitive, we proved in this instance there are no savings associated with diluting 1:1. Besides compromising quality, there is an increase in out-of-pocket expenses.

VOC Reduction

Reduce VOC output related to mold release to avoid the installation of an RTO unit or the process for additional permitting. Reduction in the fire risk and insurance costs is an ancillary benefit. Mold cleaning needs to remain the ‘heat and wipe process’ used by this plant. No chemical cleaning and no ice blasting is possible...
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