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Thermoforming Technology

New System Makes Mold Changes Quicker

Air brought into the cylinders causes them to open and the male knobs to drop into place. Self-aligning angles on the inside walls of the receivers locate the male knobs into the receivers. Air is brought in and the mold drops into place.

A new system out on the market allows for faster tool changes on heavy gauge thermoforming machines.

Developed by Tooling Technology Group, the Quick Set Mold System has a rugged steel construction on the lower unit that can be permanently mounted in the thermoforming machine.

“The buzzword in the industry is ‘quick change,’” especially in regard to tooling, said Anthony Seger, president of Tooling Technology Group. He adds that they “carried over” to heavy gauge thermoforming what one of his companies, Edward D. Segen & Co., already had in place in the thin gauge machinery market.

Seger says this system took about six months to develop and market.

How It Works

According to Seger, each steel unit is machined parallel and fitted with two compact flange mount retention cylinders which have a holding force rated at 2,000 pounds each. Together, they give the assembled units a total holding capacity of more than 8,000 pounds. The cylinder flanges can be mounted under a top plate, giving them the ability to float or move when a tool expands.

“In past attempts to use the Segen system, the tolerance was too accurate for large tools. It was also almost impossible to drill holes for mounting the male knobs. The cast aluminum receivers are cast to the same height as the 4-inch aluminum I beam, allowing you to use them to replace existing I-beams or adding them to tools you already have in production,” Seger says.

When air is brought into the cylinders, it allows each cylinder to open and the male knobs to drop into place. The cylinders lock when the air is released. The steel units are mounted into the machine using 3&Mac218;8 inch diameter bolts, allowing for installation to almost any existing thermoformer, Seger says.

According to Seger, the mold is then lowered over the steel units. Self-aligning angles on the inside walls of the aluminum receivers locate the male knobs into the receivers. Air is introduced and the mold drops into place, eliminating any bolts or clamps, he adds.

Quick change vacuum and water fittings can also be used to decrease the time it takes to set up the tool. The addition of steel units in the upper platens can be used to eliminate virtually all of the location and mounting time involved in a twin sheet application, Seger says.

System Developed for Trimming

A similar system was developed by Tooling Technology for use with router systems. According to Seger, it has a coated aluminum vacuum base with a hole in the top surface. Three Segen mini mount flange cylinders are in the base, providing a total of 3,600 pounds holding capacity and an accuracy of ±0.002 inch repeatability.

An O ring seal groove in the top of the base, around the cast hole, allows the transfer of vacuum to the base of the router fixture. A plate is locked to the fixture and a CNC program can be written to trim the part. Seger says the location information can be stored on a PC disk or in the memory.

Fixtures can be added or removed from the vacuum router base. A recalibration instrument mounted to the plate will recalibrate the machine back to the base, moving the fixtures back in alignment, Seger explains.

For more information these systems, contact Tooling Technology Group at (937) 295-3672 or e-mail:

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