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Injection molding material handling

The melt plastometer and melt flow index testing results can really be a useful tool, but like all tools its' limitations must be well understood and it must be used properly.

Reliance on material supplier results, I say the more data the better and reliance on results from a party willing to provide results free of charge is great until there is a dispute with that same party, then you become a slave to whatever the supplier tells you is the truth of the situation. In my experience, not a good place to live even if it only occurs one time out of a 1,000 receipts. We have used melt flow index readings to pressure raw material suppliers to investigate their processes. It provides a more persuasive argument when you can provide a history of virgin material X readings that mold correctly and then a number of replicant Y readings on a suspect lot that does not.

In my opinion it is better to have invested in whatever it takes to get your testing tools performing correctly and let the supplier base know that you have the tool and know how to use it correctly. Melt flow index results are not the end all or the be all, but they are a significant indicator that something is not right in the reacting/extruding/pelletizing process, or in the material handling/molding process.

The alternative is to fly mostly blind and react only after a problem develops that could be extremely expensive. I don't know if you have dealt with the automotive industry or not, but if they get a chance to hang all their warranty costs on you, especially if you send them 100,000 defective (5, PPM or more) moldings they will not hesitate to charge you for their full warranty costs, and the costs to keep their assembly lines running during transition to good product. This could, depending upon the situation, bankrupt your company.

I do not intend to insult or cast aspersions at any business be they raw material supplier, distributor, or injection molder, but the truth is that all, including my company, make mistakes sometimes. Invariably they are honest mistakes, but mistakes they are and resolving these mistakes is just good for business.

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