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A Better Formula for the Best Release

May 31, 2021
A new, 100%-active release agent for cold box and no-bake processes improves the efficiency and reliability of spray application.

Q: Is there a high-performance release agent with a more effective spray application?

A: If you’re looking for a release agent that will give you the best mileage, then you should choose a 100%-active release agent that is especially suited for high production environments. These agents are suitable for multiple types of substrates, including metal and wood.

To be clear, a release agent is a chemical formulation applied to a mold or pattern to prevent finished castings from bonding to the form that shapes them, preserving the mold/pattern surface and ensuring better finish quality for the cast surface.

When it comes to release agents for cold box and no-bake molding processes, there several categories from which to choose, including water-based, solvent-based, and 100% active formulations. Water-based release agents are an environmentally responsible choice 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.

There are several types of solvent-based release agents available, such as flammable, combustible, or VOC-exempt. Flammable and combustible solvents contain varying amounts of VOCs, and VOC-exempt solvents typically are more expensive. But solvent-based release agents tend to be easier to apply to the mold surface and do not build-up as much, so over-application can be minimized.

To return to your inquiry, 100% active release agents do not contain solvents, so they will not attack plastic patterns. No mixing equipment is required to prepare the agent. If environmental concerns are a consideration for your operation, note that these release agents are non-flammable and VOC-free.

The most problematic issue with 100%-active release agents is over-application based on the inability to atomize the release properly. In practice, this can lead to more binder build-up on the mold or pattern surface, meaning resin wipe-off or stickers in the box over time. For the mold and pattern shop operators this can be a fine line to walk, trying to apply enough release to do the job but in small enough quantities so as not to precipitate build-up on the pattern -- which can lead to stickers.

ZIP SLIP184H NM2 is ASK Chemicals’ newest and most robust 100% active release agent. It offers the same benefits as the preceding versions, with the additional benefit of lower viscosity. The new formulation tends to be easier to apply and will not build up as much (see chart), so over-application can be minimized. You may be able to apply it after multiple cycles instead of after every cycle, depending on the pattern size, shape, and depth of the draws.

Whereas previous iterations of release agents were not able to perform effectively with sub-standard spray equipment, ZIP SLIP 184H NM2 has an advantage, leading to less scrap, better core and pattern definition, and cleaner boxes.

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