I was asked this great question the other day…
I heard something about machine response (reaction time during switching from fill to hold).
How does this response influence my process?
There are many aspects which must be considered when reviewing the transfer from 1st to 2nd stage. Most of these can be seen on your machine’s pressure curve.
– As the injection pressure graph transitions from first to second stage, the curve should not dip far below the specified packing pressure. If this occurs, the molding machine is ‘under damped’ and is not capable of transferring from velocity control to pressure control without losing significant pressure. Under damping often results in sinks and short shots due to insufficient packing pressure. This only occurs when molding with hydraulic machines, and indicates a faulty hydraulic valve.
– If the pressure curve transfers between stages gradually, the molding machine is ‘over damped’. This indicates that additional material is being forced into the mold at a pressure higher than the set point. An ‘over damped’ molding machine will often result in flash or overpacking due to the fact that the hydraulic valve can not transition into pressure control adequately. The controller may need to reprogrammed or a hydraulic valve may need replacement to resolve ‘over damping’.
– Similar to over-damping, many machines have heavy injection units which are difficult to slow down when the machine transfers from 1st to 2nd stage. This can often cause inconsistent fill. Although most electric molding machines have accurate servo motor controls which prevent this, many hydraulic molding machines are very susceptible to this situation. On these machines, it is a great idea to use one or two transitional speeds to prevent this condition.
– Fluttering or erratic changes within the injection pressure curve during transfer indicate faulty hydraulic valves or electric servo motors. These fluctuations, as with the other conditions above, affect shot-to-shot consistency and should be improved to the best of the machine’s capabilities.
You should always evaluate the capabilities of your molding machines with rigorous testing. This is another reason why machine-independent process documentation is so important… process outputs tend to ignore the idiosyncratic behavior of any individual machine.