The Main Functions of a Mold Release Agent
Many manufacturers rely on molds to produce mass quantities of similar glass, rubber, concrete, metal or plastic parts and components. One of the key elements of the mold manufacturing process is the use of mold release agents, which are chemical or physical substances that prevent materials from bonding to the surface of the mold. A mold release agent plays a comparable role to motor oil in an automobile engine by creating a protective barrier between the mold surface and the material.
Mold release agents may be solvent- or water-based in composition. Solvent-based agents are the traditional formulation and contain various chemical compounds that generate the material-releasing process. Newer mold release technologies rely on the use of water-based agents, as they provide a safer, more environmentally friendly alternative.
Key Functions of Mold Releasing Agents
In addition to forming a protective barrier, mold release agents also perform the following functions.
Impact Finish Characteristics
In general, the mold release agent should not have any impact on the part other than enabling it to detach from the mold. However, the choice of release agent could alter the characteristics of the released part. For example, certain agents can produce a matte or glossy finish. Therefore, it is important to know the effect the agent will have on the type of mold release agent material you use prior to application.
Decrease Production Times
Mold release agents help manufacturers adhere to tight production schedules by increasing the flow rate of the materials during the molding process and lowering the overall molding cycle time. The increased production efficiency can also result in significant cost savings for the manufacturer.
Produce a Slip Effect
Certain types of mold release agents will create a “slip effect” in specific areas of the mold, which facilitates release. It is possible to combine several different release agents to produce varied slip levels in different areas of the mold.
Protect the Product
Without the use of a mold release agent, the product could become fused to the mold, which could cause damage and render it unusable or unsalable. This can also result in wasted material that creates an additional expense.
By preventing the material from adhering to the mold, a mold release agent enables a faster, more efficient cleanup after the molding process. This saves time and helps the manufacturer reduce labor costs.
Influence Mold Service Life
Regular application of a mold release agent will help to maintain overall process efficiency between regularly scheduled maintenance cycles, which can maximize the lifespan of the mold and prevent the need for premature replacement.
Contact W.N. SHAW to Learn More About the Numerous Mold Release Agent Functions
W.N. SHAW & CO. is a U.S.-based chemical specialty company dedicated to providing the best custom-formulated mold release agents for a wide range of industries. We utilize advanced technologies to formulate cost-effective products that address the specific needs of our customers. Contact us to learn more about the various mold release agent functions and how they can benefit your manufacturing applications.