Hasco Diamond-like Carbon hard at work to raise mould productivity
Denmark - Companies with high outputs need smooth and reliable mould action. When manufacturing billions of parts during long production runs, reducing wear and increasing lifespan of moulds is key. This makes Diamond-like Carbon an interesting proposition for the coating of moving parts.
Mould making company Formteknik Denmark was founded by Henrik Jørgensen in 2007 and merged with Formteknik Sweden last year. While the Swedish branch does most of the manufacturing, Formteknik Denmark focus on R&D support, mould-design, engineering and testing of injection moulding cells for the production of high precision medical parts, thin wall packaging and caps/closures, with DLC coated standard components sourced from Hasco.
Injection moulds for high-volume medical parts production
In Roskilde, west of Copenhagen, nine designers are concentrating on the engineering and development of injection moulds for the high-volume production of precision medical parts such as catheter devices, insulin pens, thin-wall packaging and caps and closures. The remaining staff of 22 are busy with FEA, MoldFlow, ESI, DFM, mould assembly, project management, sales and mould development in the injection moulding test centre. Another 34 employees work at Formteknik in Unnaryd, Sweden, which was founded in 1979. Formteknik delivers complete production cells, consisting of the mould, the injection moulding machine and all necessary peripheral equipment. Everything is assembled and tested in the test centre in Roskilde. Only after everything is successfully validated with the customer’s product, the whole cell is transferred to the final manufacturing site.
All production cells are single purpose units which produce medical components, thin wall packaging or caps and closures in very high volumes from 10 million to over a billion parts per year, lasting several years without any product change. This requires high uptime availability, sometimes also referred to as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). Long maintenance intervals and maximum lifetime before a mould has to be replaced are key: “We guarantee two million shots for each mould,” Jørgensen says.
Here, Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coatings are said to show their advantage. All moving parts of moulds made by Formteknik are coated with DLC to reduce wear and increase lifetime. The coating combines the lubricating effect of carbon with the hardness of diamond particles to form a lubricating coat with high micro-hardness and low friction.
No additional lubrication is said to be needed. “In some areas it's quite difficult to grease, and many of our customers from the medical or food packaging sectors don’t want any grease at all,” Jørgensen says. Hence DLC-coating is an important prerequisite for clean room, controlled environment production.