The average molder is wasting over $5,000 each month on improper, unrestricted, resin usage.

Recently I was onsite at a customer’s plant assisting with their new installation, when I noticed an all too common sight. The operator, with his worn out scissors, was struggling to trim the fiberglass he was preparing to load within the mold. I ask him if he has a newer, less worn, pair of scissors he could use – to speed up the process? With a look of despair the operator answers no, “they” won’t allow me to purchase any. His supervisor mentions that a new pair of scissors costs over $55 and his current pair still have life left in them. All while, in the meantime, extending cycle times as he clearly struggles to trim the fiber for each part.

The oversight on the cycle time extension was not the irony of the situation. What really strikes me is the fact that there are limits in place which prohibit the operator from purchasing a $55 pair of scissors, yet there are no restrictions in place on how much resin he is to pump into the mold each time. The ladder came into play as I observed him fill the mold.

I asked him – while he was filling the mold – when he knew to stop pumping. My question was prompted by the fact that the injection machine he was using relies on a preset stroke counter triggering the pump shutoff. Though as an unfortunate, but very common practice in the industry the preset stoke counter is not set/reset for each new mold that comes in for injection. Following the “industry standard” he replies, “I never use it, I just wait until the resin is seen at the vent, and then I give it a few more to be sure.”

As I stood there I couldn’t help but wonder how much resin he was wasting everyday, and that no one seemed to be concerned. There are restrictions on preventing a $55 dollar purchase that would allow him to actually cut the fiberglass, speeding up cycle times. Yet there are no restrictions, or concerns, on the literal 1000′s of dollars of resin wasted by not properly controlling the injection.

Resin Variance in the Industry

We really shouldn’t single out the operator in this story, as this scenario is far to common in the composite closed molding industry. Most operators and plants operate in this exact way. This scenario is one of the reasons why the Infusatrol® injection software uses push-button Mold Link – RFID tags – to identify molds, and select the precise recipe needed to inject.

Let’s take a look at how much the “industry standard” wastes in resin each week, using this scenario.

Taking a typical production using a moderate 10 drums of resin per week. At 450 pounds per drum, we’re looking at 4,500 pounds of resin per week. And at $1.60 per pound, that’s $7,200 per week the operator is provided to produce his parts. When we consider the typical inventory variance report by the industry, we find minimums of 17% lose in resin inventory – many have reported a much higher variance. No one seems to be looking at the improper, unrestricted, use of resin in the molds.

Using our $7,200 per week and just the minimum reported variance of 17%, the “industry standard” is looking at $1,224 per week or roughly $5,260 per month in wasted resin – witnessed at the vent ports, with a couple for good faith. At that rate the company could afford nearly 100 pairs of new scissors.

Witnessing Resin in the Vent Port isn’t Required

Solving this issue is quite simple with today’s injection systems using the Infusatrol® injection software. Precisely and repeatedly controlling the injection process will ensure only the needed resin will be pumped into the mold every time. Witnessing the resin in the vent port is not required to fill a mold.

The Infusatrol® injection software – only available on the Infuser series by JHM Technologies, Inc. – aims to provide value added automation. One of the most valuable features of the Infusatrol® injection software is its recipes and Mold Link technology. Recipes store the precise amount needed to fill a mold, while Mold Link provides a unique identification for each mold. Together they allow an operator a push-button injection process – set the Mold Link tag on the controller and press inject. Using Mold Link and recipes alone can drastically reduce, and even eliminate the “industry standard” minimum of 17% wasted resin! Saving over $60,000 per year!

Mold Link and recipes are both standard features on the Infusatrol® injection software—along with many more value added automation features—exclusive to the Infuser series of injection systems (PRG, Aviator, Servo).

Savings begin with precise process control.