I deal with a variety of different industries and one thing I have learned is the molding of materials. Whether it is rotational, blow, injection, compression, transfer, resin infuse, etc, I have seen and worked with many different processes, parts and technologies.
I graduated from college in 2007 with my Masters in Business and at that point I never envisioned or thought I would be on the production side of the process. To say the least, dealing with mold release or release agents (which to some are best known as “the afterthought”, i.e. when a part starts to stick) was not on my radar. Mold release often seems taboo to many companies and engineers. I have known it almost my entire career but have never conceptualized it on paper.
Flash forward several years and I am sitting in a meeting with a longtime customer. They recently started using a newer mold release and I was following up. I always like to discuss new parts, trouble areas and future growth. As the meeting progressed, I found his feedback blunt at first and I became slightly tense and was scrambling to defend my products.
I often work with companies, parts, materials, molds, and processes which have been designed and developed, sometimes with little thought of production scale up. When this happens they typically get STUCK.
ME: “McLube, how can we help you?”
MFG: “There is this part which won’t come out of the mold can you help?”
ME: “Sure thing, let’s try “X” release coating.”
We try “X” and it helps to some extent but, as it was put to me by the Engineer I was meeting with, his number one job is to make sure we don’t use a release agent. He focuses on the design, material, process tweaks, and lastly if needed he will use a release coating. His ultimate goal is to do everything he can to eliminate its use.
I was a little shocked as we have forged what I thought was a mutual relationship over several years and certifications. When ideas are brought to physical production it is best to design and formulate with the intent not to use mold release but ultimately external release coatings and mold releases will always be a part of the manufacturing community.
Evan Silo is the Technical Representative, McLube Division, McGee Industries Inc. He is an active member of the ARM Future Leaders and many other ARM Committees.
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