Mass Finishing Q&A: Steel Mold Cleaning

What process will clean steel molds?

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Q. What process can we use to clean steel molds used for bottle making without damaging them?

A. Blasting is the most common and effective process for mold cleaning. The blast media most commonly used for mold clean are:

  • Dry ice; cleans molds on the machine, eliminating mold change.
  • Plastic media; very soft, angular, quick cleaning at low pressures.
  • Sodium bicarbonate; blasted wet or dry, good for oily parts, one pass.
  • Fine glass or ceramic beads; standard product for automated systems.

The machines used for mold air blast cleaning are manual hand cabinets and automated systems. The standard automated air blast machine in the glass bottle mold cleaning industry is a 9-gun body, rotary head, automated turn table blast system. Parts are loaded onto the turntable; the machine is turned on; and the parts rotate under the rotary head blast guns for a predetermined time cycle. This automated process can clean 9–15 molds within 15 minutes.

Originally published in the November 2015 issue.

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