Q: We produce cores and molds with cold-box and no-bake processes: How should we choose a release agent? Beyond that, how can we improve the efficiency of the release-agent application?
A: When it comes to release agents for cold box and no-bake processes, you have several categories from which to choose. There are water-based, solvent-based, and 100% active materials. Water-based releases are certainly a more environmentally responsible choice for you, because they tend to contain lower amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but special care must be taken with these products when they are used for serial, cold-box applications.
Over-application can result in more binder build-up in the box, and over time may promote rust development on the tooling. There is a fine line for mold-shop workers to walk when they are trying to apply enough water-based release, to do the job properly but to apply just enough of the formulation and not so much that will react with excess resin, which can lead to stickers.
Among those release agents classified as solvent-based, you can choose from different types of solvents, such as flammable, combustible, or VOC-exempt. On the downside, flammable and combustible solvents contain varying amounts of VOCs, and VOC-exempt solvents are typically pricey.
On the upside, solvent-based release agents tend to be easier to apply and don’t build up as much, so over-application can be minimized.
Some of the no-bake release agents even contain aluminum, so you can see where you’re applying them on the mold. You may be able to apply them after multiple cycles instead of every cycle.
If you’re looking for a release agent that will give you the best mileage, then choose a 100% active release agent, which is especially well suited for high-volume production environments. These release agents are suitable for multiple types of substrates, including metal, wood, and plastic. No mixing equipment is required. If environmental concerns are an issue, consider that they contain an extremely low level of VOCs.
ZIP SLIP™ 184H, ASK Chemicals’ newest and most cost-effective, 100% active release agent, has been field-proven to release up to 35 cycles before re-application is necessary. Due to its low viscosity, build up is greatly reduced. Tooling can run cleaner, in excess of 600 cycles, leading to reductions in scrap and better core and pattern definition.
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