Mold releases are typically packaged in aerosol, liquid, or solid (paste wax) forms. Depending on the time and circumstances, one type can be more advantageous than another. So, given the trade-offs, when and why would it be advantageous to use an aerosol mold release?
Consistency and Uniformity
The first advantage is that aerosols provide a consistent and uniform coating. An exact spray pattern and particle size can be delivered with repeatable results. From coat to coat, and case to case, molders can rely on the consistent performance of an aerosol. Aside from dropping it on the shop floor, which could break the nozzle, there is no way to alter the delivery system.
Aerosols are sealed. They are manufactured as a closed system, which prevents contamination and guarantees the purity of the mold release when it arrives at the plant. With bulk liquid systems, drums, or pails, molders run the risk of improper dilution or external contamination. Another potential problem with liquid mold release is the delivery system. Changes in the pressure or spray pattern can occur by improperly placing the spray gun down between applications, or the controls can be inadvertently altered. Aerosol mold releases take the “unknowns” out of the process by removing the chance of error.
Faster Mold Preparation
Another key advantage of aerosol mold release is the fast drying and fast evaporation of the carriers which are used in the system. Solvents are used in both liquid and aerosol mold release, however, with liquid, there is a long wait for solvents to evaporate. That’s because more liquid is applied, but with aerosols, the dry time is significantly reduced, thus improving manufacturing efficiencies.
No “Extras” Needed
By virtue of an aerosol’s closed and self-contained system, no additional tools are required. For injection molding and other plastics applications, users can typically have multiple aerosol mold release cans on hand that meet their different processing requirements. There is no need for rags, brushes, sponges, or other applicators such as an auto-diluter for liquid mold releases.
High Volume Usage
A common reason that molders choose liquid mold release is the high quantity of material they will use. Aerosols in general, are packaged in smaller configurations. Stoner Molding Solutions was one of the first mold release manufacturers to offer aerosol mold release in giant spray tanks, which hold the equivalent of 49 aerosol cans, or approximately 31 lbs. of mold release. This gives the molder the convenience and performance of an aerosol in a long-lasting bulk container.
Spray tanks can be used with robotic applicators or they can be used just like an aerosol can with Stoner’s custom-made sprayer assembly. The sprayer and hose assembly kit includes a sprayer, spray heads, and a PTFE-lined metal braided hose that is 10-ft long. That small add-on provides molders extended range and flexibility for application, while a magnetic mount enables the sprayer to adhere to the tank or molding machine.
In terms of cost, Stoner’s aerosol mold release products are cost-competitive with bulk liquid on a per release basis. There are circumstances in which liquid release is advantageous; however, the consistent quality and convenience of aerosols may not be as expensive as you might think.
Focus on Next-Generation Products
Stoner Molding Solutions continues to monitor industry trends, and apply its extensive technical resources to develop next-generation products with new non-flammable, low global warming potential. These aerosol formulations are often the first to comply with international regulations, such as the 134a propellant ban in Europe that became effective in January 2018.