What is the difference between a mold and a die? A mold is a form that shapes a liquid material into a sold piece. It requires time for the liquid material to harden and take shape. A die is a form that shapes a solid piece through brute force. This can be either through stamping or through metalworking. I will illustrate examples of both and how the Vortex Tubes were able to improve cycle times.
Mold Example: An automotive company was making plastic gas tanks through blow molding. Liquid plastic is oozed into a mold, and just before it hardens, air is injected to create a cavity inside while the mold shapes the gas tank. The warm tank was then placed in a fixture to cool. Once hardened, then it could be handled and processed for the next operation. The problem was that it took 3 minutes to harden; creating a bottleneck. EXAIR suggested two pieces of a model 3250 Vortex Tubes to blow cold air into each cavity of the gas tanks. This cooling process decreased the hardening time from 3 minutes to 2 minutes. This improved productivity by 33%.
Die Example: A reel manufacturer was using a die stamping machine that would create the sprocket holes in the outer edge of a 35mm film. These holes were used to advance the reel strip through printers, projectors, and processing machines. The stamping die would heat up from the brute force of the cutting edge making the hole. This would cause issues with the quality of the plastic film reel. For this application, EXAIR recommended the model 5315 Cold Gun System. This product is a modified version of the Vortex Tube that includes a magnetic base, muffler, and a dual flexible outlet hose. They would blow the cold air on both sides of the die to keep them cool. They were able to increase speeds and also noticed that the die stayed sharper 20% longer before they had to be reworked.
Both customers were intrigued with the EXAIR Vortex Tubes as they can generate cold air by only using compressed air. They do not use refrigerants, moving parts, or motors to wear. These simple devices are very compact and can fit into tight places. EXAIR Vortex tubes offer cooling capacities from 275 BTU/hr to 10,200 BTU/hr. They can be configured in different styles to best suite your application.
Whether you are using a mold or a die in your process, a Vortex Tube may benefit you. Heat causes slowdowns and bottlenecks. With both customers above, the EXAIR Vortex Tubes were able to increase their productivity and decrease their downtime. If you believe that temperature is affecting your process, you can contact an Application Engineer to discuss how we can help.