Hybrid vs. All-Electric Molding Machines…

I received an interesting question from recent webinar attendee…
We currently have 18 machines, all from one manufacturer, but the local service agent is not providing good service. As a result, we will be looking at purchasing a different brand of machine. As a contract (custom) molder, we run a variety of materials and products including some medical.

We were avoiding all-electrics because some of our molds have hydraulic cores and cylinders, and we also heard that some machines have low nozzle contact force.

Although we are pro-hybrid, (the all-electric is 15-20% more expensive) we would like your thoughts on the debate between electric vs. hybrid molding machines. We have a view that electric machines are ideal for lower running costs and lack of oil, would we be making a mistake if we don’t move to electric molding machines now?

My Response
There have been some large advances in hybrid molding machines over the years. These machines gain many of the benefits of electric molding machines, but have a slightly smaller cost. Initially, these machines were believed to be a great compromise, but the smaller initial cost is quickly offset by the increased costs to run the machine. Aside from using more electricity to operate the machine, these machines require 2-3 times more water to keep the hydraulics cool, and require more routine maintenance for items such as filters and hydraulic fluid.
I have seen many molders replace hydraulic mold actions with comparable electric components. If this is not an option, there are many hydraulic units which can be easily added to the molding machine for powering a hydraulic core.
As for nozzle contact force, I recommend you discuss this with the manufacturer and determine how they overcome this potential issue. Also, check with the manufacturer to determine whether the contact force motor can be upgraded if necessary.
Additional Thought
Some molders I know have purchased both hybrid and all-electric molding machines from the same manufacturer. In each case, the all-electric machines became the preferred machines.

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