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RE: Cleaning Injection Molding Dies



Dale is correct to point out that the technical assistance provider should 
facilitate a root cause analysis to determine with the client the cause of 
the buildup.  A simple cause and effect diagram would work well for this as 
recommended in the US EPA publication, "An Organizational Guide to 
Pollution Prevention" (Chapter 4).  It would help the workers consider 
combinations of technology, materials, methods and people causes instead of 
skipping this important step and jumping prematurely to the search for a 
"right answer."  You need to be careful with the alternative selected for 
testing and implementation.  High pressure involves the use of much more 
electricity (an important "aspect" in an EMS).  Steam may lead to more air 
emissions and fuel use in a boiler (also an important "aspect" in an 
EMS).  As you know, many right answers simply shift the pollution to 
another point.  Eliminating the buildup in the first place would help you 
cope with this potential shell game.

Bob Pojasek

>A couple of things come to mind.  First, has the cause of the material
>sticking to the molds been identified?  If you can eliminate the buildup you
>don't have to clean the mold.
>
>One method to reduce the sticking might be to electropolish the surface.
>This technique can work well on many stainless steel alloys.  It does
>involve a chemical surface finishing technique but it is not an unusual
>operation.
>
>Another thought would be to try several "mechanical" cleaning processes.
>High pressure water cleaning, with and without abrasive, and steam pressure
>cleaning might be sufficient to clean the surface if done before there is
>excessive baking on of the plastic.   A third method might be to use an
>"abrasive" such as liquid CO2.
>
>Hope this helps.
>
>Dale H. Francke, P.E.
>Engineering Service Professionals, Inc.
>772.486.3909    FAX  831.576.7360
>dale @espsupport.com
>
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>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-p2tech@great-lakes.net
>[mailto:owner-p2tech@great-lakes.net]On Behalf Of David Herb
>Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2003 10:21 AM
>To: p2tech@great-lakes.net
>Subject: Cleaning Injection Molding Dies
>
>
>Dear P2Tech,
>
>We are looking for information on environmentally friendly alternative
>methods for cleaning plastics injection molding dies, screws, etc. to
>remove cured plastic residue.  There is significant concern that
>burn-off ovens, fluidized bed cleaning furnaces, and conventional hand
>mechanical cleaning followed by hand torch cleaning leads to the
>formation of HCl, HBr, HF, dioxin and furan emissions.  Are blasting,
>cryogenic, or environmentally friendly solvent cleaning techniques
>available?
>
>Thanks in advance,
>
>
>
>David Herb
>Environmental Engineer
>Pollution Prevention Program
>MDEQ - ESSD
>Constitution Hall
>1st Floor, North Tower
>525 West Allegan
>P.O. Box 30457
>Lansing, MI 48909-7957
>
>Phone: 517-241-8176
>Fax: 517-241-7966
>Email: herbdw@michigan.gov
>
>
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