Flow monitoring system

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We are happy to start new 2014 year from the promotion of the very hi-tech product,
designed to help manufacturers to know precisely what is going on inside machine`s
ould.
 An intelligent technology named MOULDFLO is the system where the electronics 
is built into the machine control panel and integrated directly into the injection
moulding machine.


   
Even though the mould temperature is one of the most important factors to a stable process, up until
now, it was impossible to tell what was actually happening inside the cooling circuits. 

Mouldflo can protect the mould and improve part quality by quickly identifying cooling problems and
alerting the moulder to common cooling circuit problems, such as no water flow from the mould tem-
perature controller, blocked waterways, scale/rust build up or incorrect piping.
 
 
Who and what is behind? 
 
The Mouldflo system is developed by 3 companies, who have their separate majors in application 
design and market knowledge, mechanical or electronic engineering:
 
  • Mouldpro  
  • Soltech
  • Move Innovation  
 
The entire Mouldflo system consists of Manifold, Interface box and Power supply. Some optional
items could be added – e.g. touch screen or pc (see the picture below).
 
 
                               
                           Picture 1 Mouldflo cooling system
 
 
How does it work?
 
Looks like a child`s play – the working principle is based on a combination of mechanics and
electronics supported by application software. 


The Mouldflo system uses a tiny Sensor that can read both - Flow and Temperature. The mea-
surements are processed and transferred into a digital format by DIN-Rail interface module
(look a pic.1).
 

Manifold
Compact manifold design has been developed to enable Mouldflo to be mounted into the smallest space possible next to the machine platens.
 
This keeps pipe runs to an absolute minimum, improving flow rates to the mould and reducing cycle times. 

          Look at the pictures below:
 












Picture 2 Hoses, Mouldflo installation     Picture 3 Hoses, another cooling system
                                                         installation 
 

As we see it`s absolutely more easy to operate with compact cooling devices, avoiding
”2-kilometer long” hoses.
 
Also multiple Manifolds connection is available (up to 4).
 
 
Interface Module
 
The module is equipped with USB and ethernet. The data generated by the Mouldflo system
can be fed into production monitoring systems (or other ancillary devices using the onboard
communication ports).
 
  
Touch screen/your own PC
 
The data of measurements (flow, temperature) could be displayed either in a graphical or text for-
mat. Therefore the operator can spot any trend in deteriorating performance for any particular flow
circuit. The data is stored in the internal memory, and is time-date stamped for ultimate traceability.
It can be read over an ethernet connection, downloaded onto a USB stick or fed into an external
production monitoring system (or directly into the injection machine control system).
 
 
Current cooling systems vs Mouldflo
 
Currently injection moulders use a range of methods for distributing and controlling the water flow
around the cooling circuit. Traditionally the most common method for flow measurement was usage
of water flow regulators. But even cost-effective flow regulators suffer from a number of inherent
problems, including flow restrictions.
 
Flow regulators are bulky and pretty “delicate”, therefore should be mounted away of the mould.
Withal it results in the need of long pipe runs,what plays a significant role in flow reduction. And
definitely sight glasses aren`t the most reliable part of standard flow regulator. They do not give
true readings and could be shifted accidentally (human factor). Also due the oxidation process
sight glasses could become completely unreadable. It takes time to dismount and recover them,
an important data could be missed.
 
 
Problem Sequel
 Bulky /delicate  Regulator have to be mounted away
 Long Pipe Runs  Reduced flow
 Broken Sight Glasses  Broken parts should be exchanged
 Sight Glasses unreadable due to  oxidation  To dismount glasses and recover  them. To mount the glasses again.
 Do not give a true reading of flow  Unreliable readings
 High Levels of maintenance  Time-consuming
 

 

 
 


More recently there has been a trend towards aluminium manifolds mounted either on the
mould or the platens, which shows significant benefits with regards  to flow but, generally
  these give the moulder  no visual indication of
  flow. 

  However Mouldflo system has instant and exact
  readings, which could be stored on the internal
  memory, allowing the user to track the performan-
  ce and easily identify problems. The user can see 
  an immediate overview of cooling circuit status on
  a single screen with instant display of alarms (flow
  or temperature goes outside of tolerance, errors
  or maintenance alerts).



Picture 5    Touch screen, identification of
circuit
out of tolerance

Pictures 5 and 6 shows that targeted temperature in circuit 3 is 80 0C, however it is lower
therefore system gives a notice of alarm. Identifying the problem from the very beginning
Mouldflo system stabilizes mould cooling process. Analyzing historical data of circuit moni-
toring you could conclude what could be the reason of it.

The most often problems are:
 
  • Blocked waterways
  • Scale / Rust Build Up
  • No Water flow from the Mould Heater
  • Drop in water supply
  • Water leakage