As our new, highly acclaimed Min-Lube High Performance Grease enters into shops as the go-to grease for all applications, it’s a good time to talk about how a mineral oil-based grease compares to synthetic grease in general and then specifically how Min-Lube stands out. The main difference between a mineral oil-based and synthetic grease is obvious: mineral oil-based greases are natural and synthetic greases are, well, synthetic.
Benefits of Synthetic Grease
In a synthetic grease, because it’s man-made, the molecular structure is all the same. Because of that, there’s a very thin fluid film, which typically lowers the amount of friction. This is why synthetic greases do very well in high-speed applications and in managing heat.
That being said, what can be added to a full synthetic grease is limited. This is because all additives are hydrocarbons, which are natural. Synthetic oils are not natural, so not all additives are compatible with synthetic-based greases. This is also why synthetic greases are typically not all-purpose — their physical properties limit their ability to be so.
Benefits of Mineral Oil-Based Grease
Mineral oil-based greases, like Min-Lube, are natural. Because of this, it is exceptionally easy to add in hydrocarbon (i.e. natural) additives. Everything blends perfectly with no fallout and no need to emulsify. So we can make a mineral oil-based grease exactly what shops and our customers need it to be, which is what we did with Min-Lube.
Min-Lube was built to be the only grease most shops need. As injection molders use up their existing greases and look to re-order, they can look at Min-Lube, which is suitable for almost all applications.
The additive package focuses on thermal, oxidative, and mechanical stability, and features Micronox® for antimicrobial protection against degradation.
Simply put, Min-Lube is a complete product. It’s mechanically stable, nothing will fall out, nothing will separate, and it has an extraordinarily high temperature and pressure rating. With Min-Lube, facilities can keep one grease on hand rather than having to purchase and store multiple greases for specific purposes.
The best way to understand the capabilities of the grease or greases you use is, of course, to use them. Depending on the application and the need, you may have several greases around the shop for multiple purposes, using one for high speeds and another for high temperatures or any other specialized use.
When manufacturers explain the capabilities of their greases, they’re generally talking about the additives. Starting from mineral oil-based or synthetic oil (the oil is the delivery vessel), a pressure additive will help with high-pressure applications, a temperature additive will be used for high-temperature applications, a detergent is added when cleaning is essentia, etc. This is highly simplified and the list can go on and on, but the key takeaway is that greases can be very specialized in their design.
What’s In Your Grease
Like any product in any industry, greases will be marketed based on their strength(s) and how and where manufacturers intend them to be used. In other words, if a grease is a high-temperature grease, that’s all the manufacturer will talk about. The focus is on what it can do, but typically there’s no discussion or clear mention of what it can’t do. If that one thing is all your shop needs, that’s fine. But if you’re like most shops, your grease needs are multi-faceted, so you may be turning to several different greases to meet those varying needs. Or, you’re using a multi-purpose grease, but it’s not quite meeting expectations, and you haven’t figured out why. This is where looking at Product Data Sheets (PDSs) comes in handy.
Comparing Product Data Sheets
A product data sheet shows the grease’s purpose, capabilities, ideal applications, and how it performed on standardized tests. And here’s the secret on the PDS test results: no matter the product, no matter the manufacturer, the results are always going to be good. This is because manufacturers will only list the tests in which their products excel, just like they’ll only market the product based on the capabilities it excels at.
So a grease designed for high-temperature applications will list all the temperature tests in which it succeeds, but will omit test results for say, roll stability or rust, or whatever tests/capabilities don’t show good results.
So if your grease isn’t multi-tasking the way you’d like it to, or you’re using multiple greases in your shop, grab the product data sheets. And compare them to the PDS for Min-Lube.
Min-Lube All-Purpose Grease
On the first page, you’ll see Min-Lube has outstanding mechanical stability and is an all-purpose grease that can be the one and only grease you need in your shop for almost all applications. If that sounds like a hefty claim, move on to page two of the PDS. This is where we list all the tests we run on Min-Lube, including the results and test methods.
With Min-Lube, our list of test results is long because Min-Lube does so well in so many areas. It’s a true, all-purpose grease that can outperform competitor products. Our comprehensive additive package focuses on thermal, oxidative, and mechanical stability, which prevents fallout and keeps Min-Lube reliable in all applications while excellent in rust and corrosion prevention.
Like we said at the beginning, we recognize that using a grease is the best way to understand its true capabilities. Request a free sample of Min-Lube to see how versatile it can be for your shop.
As an injection molder, we know you face a myriad of issues day to day. Those issues are the inspiration for our products. In fact, the issues that injection molders constantly come up against drive the innovation and creation of our product line. Our job is to make your job easier, faster, and more efficient with products that actually work and truly solve problems.
In recognition of the need for efficiency, we’ve taken the most common injection molding issues and created a help sheet with probable causes and recommended solutions.
We also know you’d like something more concrete than “this works, just take our word for it.” So we’ve also included relevant case studies from fellow injection molders highlighting the related problems and the results they achieved with specific Nanoplas products.
Injection molding, like most of manufacturing, has been hit hard by the pandemic. Just about every injection molder is behind right now, and those same injection molders are running faster than ever before in an effort to catch up, which can mean trying to mold through issues rather than remove molds from the press. It’s more important than ever for injection molders to run efficiently with as little downtime as possible.
Issues Facing Injection Molders
While not unique to injection molding, the pandemic forced a dramatic change in the way companies have to operate. Supply shortages have left some injection molders without the materials they need to do their jobs. Facility shutdowns, even if temporary, put a halt to all productivity, which is hard to get back.
Staff shortages, either due to layoffs or employees voluntarily leaving (or employees who were laid off opting to find opportunities in other industries), put a lot more responsibility on those who remain and make it harder to hire or rehire employees. All these things can be immensely detrimental to productivity, so efficiency is at a premium.
Necessities of Running Fast
Just over a year ago, a mold that was defective or causing certain injection molding issues would often be taken off the press, either to be repaired or replaced. Now, that’s not happening as often. Injection molders simply don’t have the time to take molds off the press, so they find themselves molding through issues. This can help enhance efficiency and output for a while, but is not a sustainable solution as it leads to more defects.
Injection molders know this isn’t ideal, but lately, it’s been necessary to maximize production.
Coatings and Greases Reduce Downtime
As the injection molding industry plays catch up, there are some things injection molders can do to reduce potential defects. Using a Nanoplas coating like our HC™ Heat Cure or QC™ Quick Cure coatings will help parts release from the mold easier and with more consistency, allowing production to keep running as efficiently as possible without creating any additional issues like bleeding or sticking.
Nanoplas greases, like Syn-Lube and Cera-Lube protect against friction and wear, and help lines run efficiently with reduced defects, prolonging the life of the molds and increasing productivity.
\In injection molding, everyone always wants to increase productivity and reduce downtime. That won’t change. Nanoplas coatings and greases will continue to help keep production lines running, whether trying to catch up to where the industry was or running at full capacity.
As more people return to work and as supplies become more abundant, we’ll start to see manufacturing get back to where it was. Until then, it’s going to remain hectic and companies will need to adapt as best they can to keep downtime low and productivity high.
No other injection mold cleaner can do—and remove—as much as Zap-Ox. Its stain-removing ability is unmatched. Zap-Ox eradicates rust, oxidation, build-up, weld discoloration and other stains and, in most cases, requires little-to-no scrubbing.
A thin coat of Zap-Ox will pull the stain out of the surface of the metal without etching the surface, bringing the metal back to its original state. Zap-Ox is safe to use on all metal surfaces, works on all materials, and is non-caustic and easy to use.
Build-up is usually caused by volatiles leaving the plastic and collecting on the surface of the mold. Build-up can also lead to other problems like splay or gloss, so it’s important to address the issue right away. Zap-Ox will clean even the toughest build-up without harming the surface of the metal.
Using the non-caustic, non-toxic cleaner is easy. Make sure to follow the appropriate directions for your specific stain and situation.
Using Zap-Ox Without Scrubbing
Most stains will not require scrubbing.
1. Apply a thin layer of Zap-Ox over the entire area
2. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, depending on the severity of the stain
3. Wipe with a rag/cloth or rinse with water or cleaner
4. Repeat if necessary, extending the time letting Zap-Ox sit before wiping
Using Zap-Ox With Scrubbing
Scrubbing is only used when residue is thick or baked on.
Apply a thin layer of Zap-Ox over the entire area
Scrub in the layer of Zap-Ox until the stain is removed (rub gently if you’re concerned about scratching the surface—Zap-Ox contains a small amount of silica)
Wipe with a rag/cloth or rinse with water or cleaner
Using Zap-Ox on a Textured Surface
Applying Zap-Ox on a textured surface is done at the customer’s own risk.
Apply a thin layer of Zap-Ox to the textured surface
Smooth over the surface, without rubbing, to avoid scratching
Let Zap-Ox sit for 5-10 minutes
Wash away (don’t wipe) with cleaner or water to avoid scratching
Using Zap-Ox on Warm or Hot Surfaces
For hot surfaces, apply a lubricant to the material before using Zap-Ox to avoid drying of the product. Squeeze the necessary amount of Zap-Ox into a clean container and add 5-10% by volume of a general-purpose lubricant. Mix the two together and then follow the appropriate instructions above.
In plastic injection molding, buildup can cause a multitude of defects, including gloss. Whether duller or shinier than the spec, all over or only on certain areas of the molded part, gloss can cause rejects or scraps, which you’ll want to mitigate.
How to Identify Gloss from Buildup
As you probably know, buildup isn’t the only cause of gloss. Lack of venting, converging material flow, and certain materials, especially cheaper grades, can also lead to gloss issues. For the sake of this blog post, we’re focusing specifically on gloss caused by buildup.
Easy to identify, gloss from buildup typically presents as a type of discoloration. If this looks and sounds like what you’re experiencing, there are two things you can do to get back in line with the gloss spec: use a coating and/or give the mold a cleaning.
Using a Coating
The right plastic injection mold coating can help minimize buildup and improve mold cleaning, which in turn resolves any related gloss issues. Nanoplas carries a variety of coatings. Choose your coating based on the material being molded and preferred application, i.e. in the press on a hot mold or in the tool room at room temperature.
In the Press Injection Mold Coatings
Nanoplas QC™ Quick Cure is designed for all plastics, including thermoplastics, commodity grades, and engineering grades. It leaves a semi-permanent barrier on the surface using nanotechnology, won’t alter final part dimensions, and cures on a hot mold in 10-15 minutes.
Nanoplas HC™ Heat Cure is made with nanotechnology and creates a semi-permanent barrier on the surface of the mold without impacting part dimension. It offers extraordinary plastic or rubber part release and is the longest-lasting of all Nanoplas coatings.
Contact us if you need help choosing a mold coating or to request a free sample. With all Nanoplas mold coatings, follow our proper application guide to achieve the best results.
Cleaning to Remove Buildup
If you’re going to use a coating, per our application instructions, you’ll want to give the mold a thorough cleaning first. To do this, we recommend Mold Brite or Power Clean. The goal is to remove all debris, oil, lubricants, and rust preventatives from the entire surface of the mold, including all the pores and crevices. If either of those two cleaners don’t get rid of everything or you have some stubborn buildup, then we recommend Zap-Ox™, which will also remove rust, oxidation, stains, and more.
If you need to clean a coated mold, use Nano Mold Cleaner. This product is formulated so that it doesn’t remove coatings, helping the mold maintain its performance.
While gloss from buildup can be problematic, with the right coating or cleaner it can also be rectified relatively easily, helping reduce scrap and minimize rejects.