mold tooling

Dry Ice Cleaning for Mold Tooling

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Dry ice cleaning is helping rubber and plastic molders to improve part quality and reduce operational costs. Dry ice cleaning, or dry ice blasting as it’s also known, removes fouling and residues from injection molds and other types of metal tooling. This safe, clean process won’t harm mold surfaces or their finishes and eliminates time-consuming scrubbing without creating the messy secondary waste that’s associated with abrasive cleaning. In addition, dry ice blasting for injection mold cleaning is non-abrasive and will not alter the geometry of the mold.

For example, dry ice blasting can reach tight spaces and other hard-to-reach mold features. With injection molding, portable dry ice cleaning equipment also allows operators to clean molds that are hot and still in the press. By contrast, chemical cleaning and ultrasonic immersion cleaning require an operator to remove the tool and immerse it in a tank, sometimes in a separate facility. By reducing the amount of time an injection molding machine is down for tooling changes, molders can increase productivity.

How does dry ice cleaning work?

Dry ice cleaning uses compressed air to propel a stream of solid carbon dioxide (CO2) particles at a target surface. This non-abrasive cleaning technique is effectively media-less because the dry ice particles revert to gaseous form and evaporate after hitting the surface. Sublimation, as this process is known, does not produce water that needs to be wiped up or cleaned up.

When do you use dry ice blasting with molds and tools?

As this YouTube video shows, dry ice blasting can clean large mold surfaces efficiently while removing fouling from mold cavities with ease. Candidates for dry ice cleaning include injection molds for small parts, tooling with tight dimensional tolerances, and stainless steel or aluminum molds with finer surface finishes. Only the mold fouling and contaminants will be removed without affecting the dimensions or surface finish.

Is dry ice cleaning safe for medical molding and aerospace molding?

For medical molders and medical device companies, dry ice cleaning is an especially good choice because the process is approved by the FDA, USDA, and EPA. Aerospace molders and general industrial molders also like how this process compares to other mold cleaning techniques. For example, unlike laser cleaning, dry ice blasting doesn’t risk stripping a mold of its protective coating.

Is dry ice blasting used with compression, transfer, and injection molds?

Dry ice cleaning can be used with compression molds and transfer molds, but this process is especially popular among injection molders who need to clean tooling more frequently because of higher part volumes. With injection molding, proper mold cleaning is required to prevent cooling channel clogging. If clogs occur, the results can range from slower cooling rates to slower cycle times for reduced productivity.

How can plastic and rubber molders find dry ice cleaning equipment and services?

Plastic and rubber molders can either buy their own dry ice blasting equipment or send their molds to a service provider. Nitrofreeze® of Worcester, Massachusetts (USA) sells, rents, and services dry ice blasters made by ColdJet®. There are two platforms.

  • Thei3 Microclean was designed for plastics manufacturers who need to deflash parts and clean molds and equipment.
  • TheAero2 PCS 60 is more flexible and supports all of the industries and applications that use dry ice blasting.

The Aero2 PCS 60  also provides control over dry-ice particle sizes for customizable cleaning and has a wheeled design for greater mobility.

How do you reach Nitrofreeze® to discuss dry ice cleaning for mold tooling?

Are you looking for a more efficient way to clean mold tooling? Would you like to reduce labor costs, improve productivity, enhance quality, and protect the finishes on your tooling? Whether you’re a plastic molder or a rubber molder, Nitrofreeze® is ready to discuss your application and requirements. Getting started is a simple as contacting us at the phone number and email below.

(508) 459-7447 x105 | info@nitrofreeze.com