As a plastics processor, you know that maintaining profitable production runs has become increasingly difficult. In today's highly competitive marketplace, you're likely using more resin colors to keep up with customer demands for diverse product offerings.
An uptick in color transitions almost always leads to purging process challenges, resulting in increased costs due to contamination, high scrap rates, and production downtime.
Finding an effective purging process for your plastics processing equipment is critical to staying on budget and increasing profit margins.
The following are four hidden costs that are crippling your profitability, along with purging tips for how to resolve these costly issues:
1. Scrap And Rejects Due To Carbon Contamination
During injection molding or extrusion machine shutdowns, it’s critical to remove any carbon formation on the screw, barrel and downstream equipment. Carbon contamination produces black specks, resulting in high scrap rates and product rejects, and taking a huge hit to your resources.
Purging Tip: Sealing with the right purging compound prevents carbon formation while also actively removing it. Since the machine was cleaned during the shutdown, this also ensures faster startup, by eliminating the typical amount of scrap resin and rejects upon starting the machine back up.
2. Not Using The Right Purging Compound
When using a purging compound during machine shutdowns, the wrong grade isn’t going to be an effective sealant. Additionally, improper shutdowns may cause several hours of clean-up before production parts are speck free.
Purging Tip: Consult your purging compound supplier on the recommended grade for shutdown and sealing. Then, develop a preventative maintenance purging process to avoid layers of carbon forming on the screw. If neglected, eventually the screw will have to be pulled and cleaned manually.
3. Wasting Resources With Poor Purging Habits
The purging compound you use must work in tandem with the right purging process. If you have yet to establish the optimal process and train your crew on this process, it’s highly likely that your current purging methods are wasteful.
Purging Tip: Connect with your purging compound supplier for the best purging process recommendations. Schedule training for your crew to improve purging processes that result in gaining valuable machine capacity, reducing scrap rates, and bringing contamination rates to zero. These improvements have the potential to lower your purge consumption by 25-30 percent.
4. Failing To Lean On Your Purging Process Expert
There are a number of things that could lead to carbon contamination on the screw, barrel and downstream equipment, even something as simple as dust unknowingly falling into the machine. If you see success with your purging compound and process, but for some reason contamination returns, there is simply no point in wasting time trying to figure it out by yourself.
Purging Tip: Whenever you experience a change in the results of your purging process or product, call your purging compound supplier to speak with a technician. They know how to resolve the problem efficiently and effectively so you get back to smooth production runs in no time.
Lastly, the key to truly protecting your profits is to determine your cost-per-purge and identify areas of potential waste. It’s recommended you partner with your purging compound supplier to address profit-draining issues and formulate a plan to optimize your purging operations.
Ready to learn even more valuable purging process tips? Click here to schedule a 10-minute consultation with a Purging Process Expert at ASACLEAN.
Tom Hanvey is the Senior Marketing Manager for Asaclean Purging Compounds. He's worked in the plastics industry for over 6 years and focuses on providing easy-to-digest content to processors looking for an edge on their competition.