Case Study Gated Hot Runners Help GB Precision Boost Medical Tool Productivity
Birmingham-based precision engineering firm, GB Precision, provides complex bespoke solutions including multi-impression mould tools, as well as components and sub-assemblies to customers in demanding industry sectors such as medical and pharmaceutical packaging, aerospace and F1.
One recent challenge tackled by the company was for a rapid-cycle, multi-impression medical packaging mould tool where the specified moulding material, a high performance, engineering polymer, had a known tendency to “string” during the moulding process.
From the outset, the customer had specified the use of a hot runner system for the tool, however, as GB Precision Director, Paul Turner, observes.
“There are hot runner systems and hot runner systems, and you tend to get what you pay for. The original specification had assumed quite a simple system, which, although it would have been perfectly adequate for a less challenging application, would, in this case have resulted in a reduced cycle time and a narrower moulding window, due to the nature of the material being moulded,” Turner explanes.
Optimal use of the hot runner system reduces the moulding-cycle time
During discussions with the customer, GB Precision was able to convince them that incorporating a gated hot runner system would not only allow the optimisation of the tool design with regard to filling and cavity orientation and so reduce the moulding cycle-time – the customer had been looking for a 10 second cycle, in the event the tool was able to operate on a much-reduced cycle – but the moulding window would also be substantially increased and material wastage reduced.
As Paul explains; “By providing our engineering expertise at the tool design stage we were able to provide our customer with long term benefits in his tool’s productivity. We were able to show that the initial additional cost of incorporating the more complex valve gated hot-runner system would be quickly outweighed by savings in accurate mould control, setting optimisation and waste reduction, which is particularly important in medical applications, where scrap often cannot be re-used.”
GB Precision was established in Birmingham in 1968. Their current factory of 8000 square feet has recently been significantly extended to accommodate new equipment and to cope with increased demand.
GB Precision invests in the latest, high quality machining technology in order to offer customers a comprehensive range of precision engineering services, engineering complex geometries to tight tolerances through multiple machining steps – all in-house, the company says.
They aim to offer a customer-focused service, from initial friendly and unbiased advice, through to more detailed outline discussions to understand the precise requirements of each job. They work with their customers to solve technical problems and propose the optimum machining strategy, GB Precision says.
According to the company, each of their customers recieves individual and special attention - from rapid-response quotations, through GB Precision's ability to handle a variety of drawing formats, to their efficient delivery system, whether the job is a "one-off" R&D prototype, a small batch or a large production run.