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Useful life of injection molding machine

Most of the important facts have already been mentioned earlier of the lifetime of an injection molding machine. Not only maintenance but also preventative service is required to keep the injection molding machines producing good quality. The environment plays a great role in this as well. No dust, no moisture, temperature at normal level (ambient temperature) and no sudden changes in the ambient temperature. Those are the 4 most important environmental elements to ensure quality.

The oil needs to be filtered by a by-pass-filter... it is a suggestion for all injection molding machine's regardless of the manufacturer. Except of course full electrical machines. The newer the machine is, the more sophisticated the hydraulics gets. It is very important to have the oil clean, checked regularly and changed if needed.

The brains of the injection molding machine need clean air as well. The more dust there is the more often you need to change the air filters. And make sure all the fans are working too, the electrical cabinet is clean and sealed.

There are differences between injection molding machine labels. It all depends on the needs of the manufacturer which kind of a machine they need. But there is an important thing to be noticed. There are so called ”soft” machines and so called ”hard” machines – it is not an description of the injection molding machine quality but mainly the difference between injection molding machine characteristic viewpoints. The same goes for the molds. Even the best maintained injection molding machine with an unsuitable mold will produce bad products.

The real questions boils down to defining useful life. I have run 40 year old 200 ton Reed toggle machines - Relay controls, dual high pressure pumps, 8" thick platten on a 200 ton machine 50 hp motors etc. They are great heavy duty machines (well maintained) and are still running today but they have limitations -- They are more expensive to run (utilities) and run slower cycles. If the injection molding machines are maintained - Bearing, plattens, Oil, screw/barrel, controls - The injection molding machines will most likely NEVER wear out if they are maintained but can be rendered obsolete due to:
  • Slow cycle times
  • Utility usage
  • Quality concerns _ machine repeatability.
Technology has and will pass by the well maintained injection molding machines in a job shop environment. When a company starts to lose new work due to costs -- then that injection molding machine is past it's useful life. In today's high tech world, I would argue that technology and useful life will cross paths somewhere around 7 to 10 years (depending on your industry).

In a proprietary product environment the end market will dictate the injection molding machines useful life. In other words, if one can pass along the price increases, then useful life can be extended. In either case proper injection molding machine installation, injection molding machine set up and machine maintenance are critical to extending injection molding machine life.

In a perfect world – where all the aspects have been done correctly; environmental, service side and as last but not the least the employment attitude needs to be right – everybody has to be involved – and a bit of luck, I'd go rather in the 12 year direction or more.

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