Rust/Mold Maintenance in the Plastics Industry with Bryan Whitaker
Written by: Carolyn Sotos
For this Plastics Proud Blog, I had the pleasure to sit down with rust professional, Bryan Whitaker.
Bryan has been with iD Additives since August of 2018 and is now our official Technical Manager for our newest product: iD Eco-Pro 360. We sat down to take a closer look into his training and education that prepared him to take on rust in the Plastics Industry!
How did you first get started with being the Technical Manager for the iD Eco-Pro 360?
"After seeing this product perform in person, I was immediately captivated by it. This feeling was emphasized after taking it to one of our long-time customers that allowed us to demonstrate it; the look on the tool-room manager’s face told me everything I needed to know. From that point on, I started doing everything I could to learn more about mold maintenance, what shops do, what their pain points are, where they spend their time, etc.
I naturally gravitated towards this material, realizing how helpful this material can be. Customer service has always been within my job description throughout my entire life. To me, there’s no better feeling than being able to provide an effective solution for someone else, both in business and personal matters. "
You recently got your “Mold Maintenance & Repair” Certificate with Mold Trax LLC. What was the most valuable thing you learned in the week you took the class?
"It’s hard to pin-point one thing, specifically; Steve & Glenn run outstanding courses, filled with incredible substance. That said, if I had to narrow it down to one thing, I’d have to say the most valuable bit of knowledge gained would be that mold maintenance is usually the second highest expense within a companies’ books. Despite knowing this, it remains a struggle for mold makers to get purchases approved."
What is the most important thing to do with your molds to make them last longer?
"Collect data. Without this information, shops have no way to justify obtaining the multiple tools needed to maintain the integrity of their molds. Preventative maintenance seems to be a quickly growing theme from the discussions I’ve had in shops, and conferences I’ve attended. There are so many different variables that all play roles; steel grade, resins processed, heat profiles, quality of water, cooling temperatures, etc."
You recently have been flushing out Cooling Passages and Heat Exchangers with the iD Eco-Pro 360 solution and Cart. How did you come up with your process?
"An existing user mentioned in passing that he was using this material in a flushing cart, but he had to replace said cart every 4-6 months. He loved the performance of the solution so much that he didn’t mind buying multiple carts a year. After knowing this, we set out to manufacture a better option – one that had the ability to filter out rust particulates, so the Eco-Pro 360 solution could remain at peak performance for optimal re-usability. That’s how my sights started targeting flushing out cooling channels and heat exchangers. On top of that, when I began hearing facilities throw out their expensive heat exchangers, I saw it as an opportunity to bring a cost-saving solution to the table."
In terms of rust, what has been the biggest problem you’ve seen?
"Two things immediately come to mind. One is heat exchangers, which I mentioned previously; if a shop doesn’t have a replacement, it means production stops. Traditionally, maintenance has to remove the exchanger entirely from the machine before spending hours cleaning it up properly (and usually with something very corrosive). We’ve been able to hook up to a heat exchanger right at the machine, saving time and labor. The second issue are the fumes or vapors that PVC gives off; it seems to rust everything it comes into contact with. Eco-Pro 360 has helped our customers that process this resin by significantly reducing the time spent cleaning and maintaining their tools."