Molds are used to form material into a specific shape or design. In a typical molding process, a material like plastic or carbon is introduced into a cavity in the shape of the final piece. This cavity is heated via hot fluid flowing through paths in the mold. Keeping the mold hot allows the material to flow and form. Pressure is applied to squeeze out air and to push the material into any small, detailed areas of the mold. The shape is held for a period of time, sometimes cooled, then released, the part is ejected and it moves on to the next phase of the process.
Processes that shape different materials use molds. In the plastics industry for example, toys, plates, buckets, bottles, and even furniture are formed by molds. Other materials such as foam, clay and ceramics, textiles, and metals are formed into shape using molds.
The most critical information for temperature control of a mold deals with the thermal fluid flow paths. Because the mold is often a large block of steel, having enough fluid flow through the tools is crucial to uniform temperature throughout the mold. The diameter and number of flow paths will influence the thermal fluid system design. Some other important considerations are:
- The size and weight of the mold
- Amount of material to be molded inside the too
- Cycle time: how long each piece is in the mold.
- Injection Molding
- Aluminum Die Casting
- Compression Molding
- Tire Molding Press
- Vacuum Mold
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