Title:
Seal of a metal molding system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed, amongst other things, is: (i) a seal of a metal molding system; (ii) a runner system of a metal molding system including a seal; (iii) a barrel assembly of a metal molding system including a seal; (iv) a metal molding system including a seal; and (v) a method of configuring a seal of a metal molding system, amongst other things.



Inventors:
Diaconu, Valentin (Etobicoke, CA)
Dzafic, Svemir (Mississauga, CA)
Wieczorek, Waldemar Janusz (Mississauga, CA)
Application Number:
11/502942
Publication Date:
02/14/2008
Filing Date:
08/11/2006
Assignee:
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
164/312
International Classes:
B22D17/08
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LIN, KUANG Y
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUSKY INJECTION MOLDING SYSTEMS LTD. (BOLTON, ON, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A seal of a metal molding system, comprising: a seal member configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system, the seal member in conforming co-operation with an interface controls leaking of the molding material at the interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

2. The seal of claim 1, wherein the interface is defined between any of: a first melt conduit, a second melt conduit, a first manifold, a second manifold, a nozzle drop, a sprue bushing, a barrel, a barrel liner, a barrel head, a barrel portion, a machine nozzle, an auxiliary member, a cooling structure, and any combination and permutation thereof.

3. The seal of claim 1, wherein at least one of the seal member and the interface is plastically deformable to conform to the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface.

4. The seal of claim 1, wherein at least one of the seal member and the interface is elastically deformable to conform to the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface.

5. The seal of claim 1, wherein the seal member is re-moldable to conform to the interface.

6. The seal of claim 5, wherein the re-molded seal member adheres to the interface.

7. The seal of claim 1, further comprising: heating structure for melting of the seal member, at least partially, to a temperature above a melting temperature thereof that is selected to be above a processing temperature range of the molding material.

8. The seal of claim 1, wherein the interface is further defined at a spigot connection between spigot portions.

9. The seal of claim 8, wherein the interface is defined, at least in part, on an annular faces of the spigot portions.

10. The seal of claim 1, wherein the seal member is configured to include an annular body.

11. The seal of claim 1, wherein the interface is defined, at least in part, on a peripheral face of spigot portions.

12. The seal of claim 11, wherein the peripheral faces are tapered.

13. The seal of claim 1, wherein the seal member configured to include a frusto-conical shaped tubular body.

14. The seal of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the seal member that is exposed to the molding material is made of: a low-carbon steel, an alloy of stainless steel, a gold alloy, a cobalt alloy, a brazing alloy that is chemically compatible with the molding material, the brazing alloy also having a melting temperature that is above of a processing temperature range of the molding material, and any combination and permutation thereof.

15. The seal of claim 1, wherein the portion of the seal member that is exposed to the molding material is a coating disposed on an outer surface of the seal member.

16. The seal of claim 1, wherein the seal member is a composite structure including a casing that is chemically compatible with the molding material.

17. The seal of claim 1, wherein the composite structure of the seal member is spring energized.

18. The seal of claim 1, further comprising: cooling structure for cooling of the interface to control the viscosity of the molding material in the vicinity of the interface.

19. The seal of claim 18, wherein the cooling structure cools the interface sufficiently to solidify, at least partially, molding material in the vicinity of the interface.

20. The seal of claim 1, wherein the seal is configured in a runner system.

21. The seal of claim 1, wherein the interface is defined between any of: a first manifold, a second manifold, a nozzle drop, a sprue bushing, a machine nozzle, a cooling structure, and any combination and permutation thereof.

22. The seal of claim 1, wherein the seal is configured in a barrel assembly.

23. The seal of claim 1, wherein the interface is defined between any of: a barrel, a barrel portion, a barrel liner, a barrel head, a machine nozzle, a auxiliary member, a cooling structure, and any combination and permutation thereof.

24. A runner system of a metal molding system, comprising: a seal including: a seal member configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system, the seal member in conforming co-operation with an interface controls leaking of the molding material at the interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

25. The runner system of claim 24, wherein the interface is defined between any of: a first melt conduit, a second melt conduit, a first manifold, a second manifold, a nozzle drop, a sprue bushing, a machine nozzle, an auxiliary member, a cooling structure, and any combination and permutation thereof.

26. The runner system of claim 24, wherein at least one of the seal member and the interface is plastically deformable to conform to the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface.

27. The runner system of claim 24, wherein at least one of the seal member and the interface is elastically deformable to conform to the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface.

28. The runner system of claim 24, wherein the seal member is re-moldable to conform to the interface.

29. The runner system of claim 28, wherein the re-molded seal member adheres to the interface.

30. The runner system of claim 24, further comprising: heating structure for melting of the seal member, at least partially, to a temperature above a melting temperature thereof that is selected to be above a processing temperature range of the molding material.

31. The runner system of claim 24, wherein the interface is further defined at a spigot connection between spigot portions.

32. The runner system of claim 31, wherein the interface is defined, at least in part, on an annular faces of the spigot portions.

33. The runner system of claim 24, wherein the seal member configured to include an annular body.

34. The runner system of claim 31, wherein the interface is defined, at least in part, on a peripheral face of the spigot portions.

35. The runner system of claim 24, wherein the peripheral faces are tapered.

36. The runner system of claim 24, wherein the seal member is configured to include a frusto-conical shaped tubular body.

37. The runner system of claim 24, wherein at least a portion of the seal member that is exposed to the molding material is made of: a low-carbon steel, an alloy of stainless steel, a gold alloy, a cobalt alloy, a brazing alloy that is chemically compatible with the molding material, the brazing alloy also having a melting temperature that is above of a processing temperature range of the molding material, and any combination and permutation thereof.

38. The runner system of claim 24, wherein the portion of the seal member that is exposed to the molding material is a coating disposed on an outer surface of the seal member.

39. The runner system of claim 24, wherein the seal member is a composite structure including a casing that is chemically compatible with the molding material.

40. The runner system of claim 24, wherein the composite structure of the seal member is spring energized.

41. The runner system of claim 24, further comprising: cooling structure for cooling of the interface to control the viscosity of the molding material in the vicinity of the interface.

42. The runner system of claim 41, wherein the cooling structure cools the interface sufficiently to solidify, at least partially, molding material in the vicinity of the interface to form a supplemental seal.

43. A barrel assembly of a metal molding system, comprising: a seal including: a seal member configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system, the seal member in conforming co-operation with an interface controls leaking of the molding material at the interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

44. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein the interface is defined between any of: a barrel, a barrel portion, a barrel liner, a barrel head, a machine nozzle, an auxiliary member, a cooling structure, and any combination and permutation thereof.

45. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein at least one of the seal member and the interface is plastically deformable to conform to the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface.

46. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein at least one of the seal member and the interface is elastically deformable to conform to the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface.

47. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein the seal member is re-moldable to conform to the interface.

48. The barrel assembly of claim 47, wherein the re-molded seal member adheres to the interface.

49. The barrel assembly of claim 43, further comprising: heating structure for melting of the seal member, at least partially, to a temperature above a melting temperature thereof that is selected to be above a processing temperature range of the molding material.

50. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein the interface is further defined at a spigot connection between spigot portions.

51. The barrel assembly of claim 50, wherein the interface is defined, at least in part, on an annular faces of the spigot portions.

52. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein the seal member is configured to include an annular body.

53. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein the interface is defined, at least in part, on a peripheral face of spigot portions.

54. The barrel assembly of claim 53, wherein the peripheral faces are tapered.

55. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein the seal member is configured to include a frusto-conical shaped tubular body.

56. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein at least a portion of the seal member that is exposed to the molding material is made of: a low-carbon steel, an alloy of stainless steel, a gold alloy, a cobalt alloy, a brazing alloy that is chemically compatible with the molding material, the brazing alloy also having a melting temperature that is above of a processing temperature range of the molding material, and any combination and permutation thereof.

57. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein the portion of the seal member that is exposed to the molding material is a coating disposed on an outer surface of the seal member.

58. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein the seal member is a composite structure including a casing that is chemically compatible with the molding material.

59. The barrel assembly of claim 43, wherein the composite structure of the seal member is spring energized.

60. The barrel assembly of claim 43, further comprising: cooling structure for cooling of the interface to control the viscosity of the molding material in the vicinity of the interface.

61. The barrel assembly of claim 60, wherein the cooling structure cools the interface sufficiently to solidify, at least partially, molding material in the vicinity of the interface to form a supplemental seal.

62. A metal molding system, comprising: a seal including: a seal member configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system, the seal member in conforming co-operation with an interface controls leaking of the molding material at the interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

63. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the interface is defined between any of: a first melt conduit, a second melt conduit, a first manifold, a second manifold, a nozzle drop, a sprue bushing, a barrel, a barrel portion, a barrel liner, a barrel head, a machine nozzle, an auxiliary member, a cooling structure, and any combination and permutation thereof.

64. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein at least one of the seal member and the interface is plastically deformable to conform to the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface.

65. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein at least one of the seal member and the interface is elastically deformable to conform to the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface.

66. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the seal member is re-moldable to conform to the interface.

67. The metal molding system of claim 66, wherein the re-molded seal member adheres to the interface.

68. The metal molding system of claim 62, further comprising: heating structure for melting of the seal member, at least partially, to a temperature above a melting temperature thereof that is selected to be above a processing temperature range of the molding material.

69. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the interface is further defined at a spigot connection between spigot portions.

70. The metal molding system of claim 69, wherein the interface is defined, at least in part, on an annular faces of the spigot portions.

71. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the seal member is configured to include an annular body.

72. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the interface is defined, at least in part, on a peripheral face of spigot portions.

73. The metal molding system of claim 72, wherein the peripheral faces are tapered.

74. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the seal member is configured to include a frusto-conical shaped tubular body.

75. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein at least a portion of the seal member that is exposed to the molding material is made of: a low-carbon steel, an alloy of stainless steel, a gold alloy, a cobalt alloy, a brazing alloy that is chemically compatible with the molding material, the brazing alloy also having a melting temperature that is above of a processing temperature range of the molding material, and any combination and permutation thereof.

76. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the portion of the seal member that is exposed to the molding material is a coating disposed on an outer surface of the seal member.

77. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the seal member is a composite structure including a casing that is chemically compatible with the molding material.

78. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the composite structure of the seal member is spring energized.

79. The metal molding system of claim 62, further comprising: cooling structure for cooling of the interface to control the viscosity of the molding material in the vicinity of the interface.

80. The metal molding system of claim 79, wherein the cooling structure cools the interface sufficiently to solidify, at least partially, molding material in the vicinity of the interface to form a supplemental seal.

81. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the seal is configured in a runner system.

82. The metal molding system of claim 62, wherein the seal is configured in a barrel assembly.

83. A method of configuring a seal in a metal molding system, comprising: arranging a seal member configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system in conforming co-operation with an interface to control leaking of the molding material at the interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

84. The method of claim 83, further comprising: defining the interface between any of: a first melt conduit, a second melt conduit, a first manifold, a second manifold, a nozzle drop, a sprue bushing, a barrel, a barrel portion, a barrel liner, a barrel head, a machine nozzle, an auxiliary member, a cooling structure, and any combination and permutation thereof.

85. The method of claim 83, further comprising: plastically deforming at least one of the seal member and the interface to conform to the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface.

86. The method of claim 83, further comprising: elastically deforming at least one of the seal member and the interface to conform to the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface.

87. The method of claim 83, further comprising: re-molding the seal member to conform to the interface.

88. The method of claim 83, further comprising: re-molding the seal member to adhere to the interface.

89. The method of claim 83, further comprising: heating the seal member with a heating structure for melting, at least partially, the seal member at a melting temperature thereof that is selected to be above a processing temperature range of the molding material, and cooling of the seal member below the melting temperature thereof once it has been re-molded.

90. The method of claim 83, further comprising: defining the interface at a spigot connection between spigot portions.

91. The method of claim 83, further comprising: defining the interface, at least in part, on an annular faces of spigot portions.

92. The method of claim 83, further comprising: configuring the seal member to include an annular body.

93. The method of claim 83, further comprising: defining the interface, at least in part, on a peripheral face of spigot portions.

94. The method of claim 83, further comprising: configuring the peripheral faces to include a taper.

95. The method of claim 83, further comprising: configuring the seal member to include a frusto-conical shaped tubular body.

96. The method of claim 83, further comprising: configuring at least a portion of the seal member that is exposed to the molding material to be made of: a low-carbon steel, an alloy of stainless steel, a gold alloy, a cobalt alloy, a brazing alloy that is chemically compatible with the molding material, the brazing alloy also having a melting temperature that is above of a processing temperature range of the molding material, and any combination and permutation thereof.

97. The method of claim 83, further comprising: configuring the portion of the seal member that is exposed to the molding material to include a coating disposed on an outer surface of the seal member.

98. The method of claim 83, further comprising: configuring the seal member to include a composite structure including a casing that is chemically compatible with the molding material.

99. The method of claim 83, further comprising: spring energizing the composite structure of the seal member.

100. The method of claim 83, further comprising: cooling of the interface with a cooling structure to control the viscosity of the molding material in the vicinity of the interface.

101. The method of claim 83, further comprising: cooling of the interface with the cooling structure to solidify, at least partially, the molding material in the vicinity of the interface to form a supplemental seal.

102. The method of claim 83, further comprising: defining the interface in a runner system.

103. The method of claim 83, further comprising: defining the interface between any of: a first manifold, a second manifold, a nozzle drop, a sprue bushing, a machine nozzle, a cooling structure, and any combination and permutation thereof.

104. The method of claim 83, further comprising: defining the interface in a barrel assembly.

105. The method of claim 83, further comprising: defining the interface between any of: a barrel, a barrel portion, a barrel liner, a barrel head, a machine nozzle, a auxiliary member, a cooling structure, and any combination and permutation thereof.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention generally relates to, but is not limited to, metal molding systems, and more specifically the present invention relates to, but is not limited to, (i) a seal of the metal molding system, (ii) a runner system of a metal molding system including a seal, (iii) a barrel assembly of a metal molding system including a seal, (iv) a metal molding system including a seal, and (v) a method of configuring a seal in a metal molding system, amongst other things.

BACKGROUND

With reference to FIG. 1 an exemplary metal injection molding system 10 is shown. The molding system 10 includes an injection unit 14 and a clamp unit 12.

The injection unit 14 processes a metal molding material (not shown) into a melt that is in at least a partially molten state. The injection unit 14 subsequently injects the melt into a closed and clamped injection mold, arranged in the clamp unit 12, in fluid communication therewith. The injection mold is shown in an open configuration in FIG. 1 and comprises complementary mold hot and cold halves 23 and 25. The injection unit 14 further includes an injection unit base 28 which slidably supports an injection assembly 29 mounted thereon. The injection assembly 29 comprises a barrel assembly 38 arranged within a carriage assembly 34, and a drive assembly 36 mounted to the carriage assembly 34. The drive assembly 36 is mounted directly behind the barrel assembly 38, for the operation (i.e., rotation and reciprocation) of a screw (not shown) arranged within the barrel assembly 38. The injection assembly 29 is shown to be connected to a stationary platen 16 of the clamp unit 12, through the use of carriage cylinders 30.

The clamp unit 12 includes a clamp base 18 with a stationary platen 16 securely retained to an end thereof, a clamp block 22 slidably connected at an opposite end of the clamp base 18, and a moving platen 20 arranged to translate therebetween on a set of tie bars 32 that otherwise interconnect the stationary platen 16 and the clamp block 22. The clamp unit 12 further includes a structure (not shown) for actuating the moving platen 20 and for clamping of the mold halves 23, 25 together during the injection of the melt of molding material.

The injection mold includes a molding cavity (not shown) formed between complementary molding inserts shared between the mold halves 23, 25. The mold half 25 includes a runner system 26 that connects a melt passageway (not shown) of the barrel assembly 38 with the molding cavity for the filling thereof.

The structure and operation of the molding system is further described with reference to United States published patent application No. 2005/0255189 (Inventor: MANDA, Jan; et al. Published: 17 Nov. 2005).

The provision of a seal in the metal molding system 10, such as those between melt conduit components of the barrel assembly 38 and runner system 26, has been effected by various means. For example, the foregoing patent publication, US No. 2005/0255189, teaches a cooled interface for providing a seal of at least partially solidified molding material between the components of the runner system 26. A problem with the cooled interface may occur when the amount of heat required to be removed to effect the seal of at least partially solidified molding material is also sufficient to over-cool an adjacent portion of a melt passageway and cause a plug of at least partially solidified molding material to form therein which may affect the proper flow of the molding material therethrough. Others have relied on face seals across a clamped interface between mating faces of adjacent melt conduits. In practice, the mating faces of the melt conduits that form the interface do not adequately conform to one another to affect a reliable seal against the leakage of the generally low viscosity molding material under the injection pressure.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,942,006 (Inventor: KONO; Published: 13 Sep. 2005) describes a metal injection molding apparatus with features which reduce the amount of metal which enters a drive mechanism of the apparatus. The apparatus contains an injection chamber having an accumulation portion and a shaft housing portion. The shaft housing may extend all the way to the position of an injection member in a fully retracted position. The accumulation portion and the shaft housing may comprise different vessels attached to each other with an insulating gasket provided therebetween. The insulator material of the gasket is preferably made of asbestos, a heat insulating ceramic or any other suitable heat resistant material. The material to be injected, such as a liquid or thixotropic metal, enters the injection chamber through an entry opening configured in the accumulation portion, and exits the accumulation portion, when injected, through a nozzle aperture configured at an end of the accumulation portion and into the mold. The shaft housing portion may include openings in the sidewalls through which any melt leakage past from the injection member that has not been caught by a series of piston rings may egress. Accordingly, the shaft housing, and gasket, is not configured to experience pressurized melt of molding material.

World Intellectual Property Organization Patent Number WO 9500312 (Inventor: WOLFF; Published: Jan. 15, 1995) discloses a hot runner distributor for supplying molten thermoplastic materials to hot nozzles at molding tools that has pipe plug-type connections that allow thermal expansion. Each pipe plug-type connection has two mutually aligned pipe ends which surround the runner of molten material and are mutually separated by an expandable joint. Both pipe ends are enclosed in the area of the expandable joint by a common cooling ring. The molten plastic material which solidifies under the action of the cooling ring seals the pipe plug-type connection in the area of the expandable joint.

SUMMARY

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a seal of a metal molding system. The seal includes a seal member configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system, and the seal member in conforming co-operation with an interface controls leaking of the molding material at the interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a runner system of a metal molding system, the runner system including a seal. The seal includes a seal member configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system, and the seal member in conforming co-operation with an interface controls leaking of the molding material at the interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a barrel assembly of a metal molding system, the barrel assembly including a seal. The seal including a seal member configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system, and the seal member in conforming co-operation with an interface controls leaking of the molding material at the interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a metal molding system including a seal. The seal includes a seal member configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system, and the seal member in conforming co-operation with an interface controls leaking of the molding material at the interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of configuring a seal in a metal molding system. The method including arranging a seal member configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system in conforming co-operation with an interface to control leaking of the molding material at the interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

A technical effect, amongst others, of the aspects of the present invention is the provision of a seal of a metal molding system that controls leaking of the molding material at an interface subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure.

Preferable embodiments of the present invention are subject of the dependent claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A better understanding of the exemplary embodiments of the present invention (including alternatives and/or variations thereof) may be obtained with reference to the detailed description of the exemplary embodiments along with the following drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a metal molding system;

FIG. 2A is a side view of a pair of melt conduits including a seal in accordance with an exemplary first, presently preferred, embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2B is a section view through the melt conduits and seal of FIG. 2A, as taken along section line B-B;

FIG. 3A is a side view of a pair of melt conduits including a seal in accordance with an exemplary second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3B is a section view through the melt conduits and seal of FIG. 3A, as taken along section line B-B;

FIG. 4A is a side view of a pair of melt conduits including a seal in accordance with an exemplary third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4B is a section view through the melt conduits and seal of FIG. 4A, as taken along section line B-B;

FIG. 5A is a side view of a pair of melt conduits including a seal in accordance with an exemplary fourth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5B is a section view through the melt conduits and seal of FIG. 5A, as taken along section line B-B;

FIG. 6A is a side view of a pair of melt conduits including a seal in accordance with an exemplary fifth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6B is a section view through the melt conduits and seal of FIG. 6A, as taken along section line B-B;

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of a runner system of the metal molding system including a seal in accordance an exemplary sixth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8A is a section view of a barrel assembly of the metal molding system including a seal in accordance an exemplary seventh embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8B is a detailed view of the seal of FIG. 8A;

FIG. 9A is a section view of a barrel assembly of the metal molding system including a seal in accordance an exemplary eighth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9B is a detailed view of the seal of FIG. 9A;

FIG. 10A is a section view of a barrel assembly of the metal molding system including a seal in accordance an exemplary ninth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10B is a detailed view of the seal of FIG. 10A;

FIG. 11A is a side view of a sprue bushing and machine nozzle including a seal in accordance with an exemplary tenth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 11B is a section view through the sprue bushing, machine nozzle, and seal of FIG. 11A, as taken along section line B-B.

The drawings are not necessarily to scale and are may be illustrated by phantom lines, diagrammatic representations and fragmentary views. In certain instances, details that are not necessary for an understanding of the exemplary embodiments or that render other details difficult to perceive may have been omitted.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 2A & 2B depict a seal 60 in accordance with a first, presently preferred, embodiment of the invention that is configured between a pair of melt conduits 70, 70′. The exemplary melt conduits 70, 70′ are tubular members with a melt passageway 48 extending therethrough. A heating structure 50, such as resistance and/or inductance heaters, is disposed on the outside the melt conduits 70, 70′ to controllably maintain the melt of molding material in the melt passageway 48 at a processing temperature. The melt conduits 70, 70′ form a spigot connection along interposed spigot portions 71, 71′ that are arranged at the ends of the melt conduits 70, 70′. An interface 64 is defined between annular mating faces 73, 73′ of the spigot portions 71, 71′. A seal member 62, configured as an annular body, is arranged at the interface 64 between the mating faces 73, 73′. The seal member 62 in conforming co-operation with the interface 64 controls leaking of the molding material at the interface 64 subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure. The seal member 62 is configured to be chemically compatible with, and of a different composition than, a molding material processed in the metal molding system, typically an alloy of Magnesium such as AZ91D. Preferably, the seal member 62 is made from low-carbon steel such as AISI 1010. Preferably, the melt conduits 70, 70′ are preferably made from hot work tool steel, such as DIN 1.2888. In operation, the relatively soft seal member 62 is deformed to conform with the mating faces 73, 73′ in response to a sealing force applied across the interface 64. The seal member 62 may be deformed plastically or elastically.

Alternatively, the foregoing material combination may be reversed wherein the seal member 62 is made from the harder material and the mating faces 73, 73′ of the melt conduits 70, 70′ conform instead to the seal member 62.

Alternatively, for example, the seal member 62 may also be made from stainless steel, and cobalt alloys.

The description of technical features that are common between the melt conduit of the first exemplary embodiment and the alternatives that follow, identifiable as having similar reference numbers, will not be repeated.

FIGS. 3A & 3B depict a seal 160 in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention that is configured between a pair of melt conduits 170, 170′. The exemplary melt conduits 170, 170′ are tubular members with a melt passageway 148 extending therethrough. An interface 164 is defined between annular mating faces 173, 173′ at the ends of the melt conduits 170, 170′. A seal member 162, configured as an annular body, is arranged at the interface 164 between the mating faces 173, 173′. The seal member 162 in conforming co-operation with an interface 64 controls leaking of the molding material at the interface 164 subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure. In operation, the seal member 162 is deformed to conform with the mating faces 173, 173′ in response to a sealing force applied across the interface 164. The seal 160 further includes a cooling structure 180 for a controllable cooling of the interface 164 that has the technical effect of controlling the viscosity of the molding material in the vicinity of the interface 164 and thereby controlling the leakage through the interface 164. Preferably, the cooling ring includes a spigot portion 181 that forms a further interface 183 in cooperation with spigot portions 171, 171′ configured along a step in an outer circumferential surface at the ends the melt conduits 170, 170′ in an overlapping, closely-spaced, and mutually parallel relation. Alternatively, the cooling structure 180 may controllably cool the interfaces 164, 183 sufficiently to solidify, at least partially, molding material in the vicinity of one or both of the interfaces 164, 183 to form a supplemental seal. Preferably, the cooling structure 180 is configured in accordance with the teachings of the United States patent publication, US No. 2005/0255189. The cooling structure 180 is preferably an annular body with a coolant channel 182 defined therein. The cooling structure 180 also preferably includes a temperature monitoring structure 186, 188, such as a thermocouple, to provide temperature feedback to a controller (not shown) in order that a flow and temperature of the coolant to the channel 182 may be controlled to effect a temperature control of the interfaces 164, 183. Fittings 184 are shown for connecting the cooling ring 180 to a coolant source. Alternatively, the cooling structure 180 may operate more simply as a heat radiator, for example to pass heat to a cooled plate of a runner system (such as plate 562, 564 of runner system 526 depicted in FIG. 7).

FIGS. 4A & 4B depict a seal 260 in accordance with a third embodiment of the invention that is configured between a pair of melt conduits 270, 270′. The exemplary melt conduits 270, 270′ are tubular members with a melt passageway 248 extending therethrough. The melt conduits 270, 270′ form a spigot connection along interposed tapered spigot portions 271, 271′ that are arranged at the ends of the melt conduits 270, 270′. An interface 264 is defined between tapered peripheral mating faces 273, 273′ of the spigot portions 271, 271′. A seal member 262, configured as a frusto-conical shaped tubular body, is arranged at the interface 264 between the mating faces 273, 273′. The seal member 262 in conforming co-operation with the interface 264 controls leaking of the molding material at the interface 264 subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure. In operation, the relatively soft seal member 262 is deformed to conform with the mating faces 273, 273′ in response to a sealing force applied across the interface 264.

FIG. 5A & 5B depict a seal 360 in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the invention that is configured between a pair of melt conduits 370, 370′. The exemplary melt conduits 370, 370′ are tubular members with a melt passageway 348 extending therethrough. The melt conduits 370, 370′ form a spigot connection along interposed spigot portions 371, 371′ that are arranged at the ends of the melt conduits 370, 370′. An interface 364 is defined between peripheral mating faces 373, 373′ of the spigot portions 371, 371′. A seal member 362, preferably configured as a tubular body, is arranged at the interface 364 between the mating faces 373, 373′. The seal member 362 is to be made of a brazing alloy that is both chemically compatible with the molding material processed in the metal molding system and that has a melting temperature that is selected to be above a processing temperature range of the molding material. A heating structure 350 is arranged near the interface 364 for a controlled heating of the seal member 362 to cause the seal member 362 to melt, at least partially, to effect a re-molding of the seal member 362 to conform to the interface 364. Preferably, the re-molded seal 362 adheres to the interface 364. In operation, the re-molding of the seal member 362 is preferably completed once the melt conduits 370, 370′ have been heated to their processing temperatures. Once the seal member 362 has been re-molded the heating structure 350 is controlled to reduce the temperature at the interface 364 to be below the melting temperature of the seal member 362. The seal member 362 re-molded to be in conforming co-operation with the interface 364 controls leaking of the molding material at the interface 364 subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure. Preferably, the brazing alloy includes a gold alloy. Alternatively, the brazing material may be applied as a paste to the interface 364 during initial assembly.

FIGS. 6A & 6B depict a seal 460 in accordance with a fifth embodiment of the invention that is configured between a pair of melt conduits 470, 470′. The exemplary melt conduits 470, 470′ are tubular members with a melt passageway 448 extending therethrough. An interface 464 is defined between annular mating faces 473, 473′ at the ends of the melt conduits 470, 470′. Preferably, the mating face 473′ includes a surface of a groove 463 formed through the annular mating face of the melt conduit 470′. A composite seal member 462, preferably configured in the shape of a torus body, is arranged at the interface 464 between the mating faces 473, 473′. The seal member 462 in conforming co-operation with an interface 464 controls leaking of the molding material at the interface 464 subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure. In operation, the seal member 462 is deformed to conform with the mating faces 473, 473′ in response to a sealing force applied across the interface 464. The seal member 462 may be deformed plastically or elastically. Preferably, the seal member 462 is configured as an elastically deformable spring energized seal member, such as AMERISEAL (a trademark of American Seal And Engineering Company, Inc.), which typically include a toroidal shaped casing surrounding a spring element. Such seal members 462 are often made from alloys of nickel such as INCONEL (a trademark of Inco Alloys International, Inc) in which case a coating made from a material that is chemically compatible with the molding material, such as alloys of gold, is preferably disposed around the seal member 462. Alternatively, the composite seal member 462 may have, for example, a square, rectangular, oval, or racetrack configuration.

FIG. 7 depicts a seal 560 in accordance with a sixth embodiment of the invention that is configured between a first and second manifold 570, 572, of an exemplary runner system 526. The seal 560 is configured in accordance with the seal 60 of the first embodiment of the invention. However, any one of, combination, or permutation of the seals 60, 160, 260, 360, 460 in accordance with the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth embodiment may otherwise be used to control leaking of molding material between components of the runner system 526. The runner system 526 is configured to include multiple drops, or gates, to the mold (not shown). Preferably, the first and second manifolds 570 and 572 are arranged in manifold pockets (not shown) defined between a manifold plate 564 and a backing plate 562. The manifolds 570, 572 are also preferably configured to be located in the manifold pockets with an arrangement of side and axial insulators 506, 508, 510 that assist in isolating the heated manifolds 570, 572 from the relatively cool plates 562, 564 and to transfer forces thereto. In the foregoing example, the sealing force to register the seal member 562 in conforming co-operation with the interface (not shown) between the manifolds 570, 572 may be achieved through the appropriate selection of cold clearances between the manifolds 570, 572, their insulators 506, 508, 510, and the manifold pockets (not shown) such that when heated to a processing temperature the resultant thermal growth in the manifolds 570, 572 is sufficient to both take-up the cold clearance, if any, and to generate an interference that provides the sealing force. Alternatively, or in combination, an actuator (not shown) may be placed in the runner system 526 to compress the manifolds 570, 572 together to provide the sealing force. The runner system 526 is also shown to include a nozzle drop 573 for connecting the second manifolds 572 with the mold cavity, or cavities (not shown). The interface between the second manifold 572 and the nozzle drop 573 is preferably configured in accordance with any of the seals 60, 160, 260, 360, 460 in accordance with the foregoing embodiments.

While the foregoing exemplary embodiment of the runner system 526 is configured to include two vertically oriented drops, other quantities and configurations of drops are possible. For example, the runner system 526 may include only a single drop that is centered with an interface with a molding machine nozzle 44, or alternatively offset therewith.

FIGS. 8A & 8B depict a seal 660 in accordance with a seventh embodiment of the invention that is configured in a barrel assembly 638. The barrel assembly 638 includes a barrel head 642 that is positioned intermediate a machine nozzle 644 and a front end of a barrel 640. A melt passageway 648 extends through the components of the barrel assembly 638. The melt passageway 648 of the barrel 640 is disposed along a liner 646 made from a corrosion resistant material, such as STELLITE (a trademark of Deloro Stellite, Inc.) to protect the barrel substrate material, commonly made from a nickel-based alloy such as INCONEL, from the corrosive properties of the molding material. The components of the barrel assembly 638 are shown to be held together, at least in part, through the use of fasteners 51. The barrel 640, barrel head 642, and the machine nozzle 644 each include a heating structure 50 for controlling the molding material in the melt passageway 648 at a processing temperature. The exemplary barrel assembly 638 further includes an auxiliary member 641 arranged to overlap flange portions of the barrel head 642 and barrel liner 646 to provide alignment therebetween.

More particularly, the seal 660 is arranged at an interface 664 between the liner 646 of the barrel 640 and the barrel head 642. The seal 660 is configured similarly to the seal 460 of the fifth embodiment of the invention. However, any one of, combination, or permutation of the seals 60, 160, 260, 360, 460 in accordance with the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth embodiment may otherwise be used to control leaking of molding material between components of the barrel assembly 638. Accordingly, the interface 664 is defined between annular mating faces 473, 473′ provided at the end of the barrel liner 646 and a surface of a groove 663 formed on the rear of the barrel head 642. A composite seal member 662, preferably configured in the shape of a torus body, is arranged at the interface 664 between the mating faces 673, 673′. The seal member 662 in conforming co-operation with an interface 664 controls leaking of the molding material at the interface 664 subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure. In operation, the seal member 662 is deformed to conform with the mating faces 673, 673′ in response to a sealing force applied across the interface 664. The sealing force is preferably generated by the tightening of the fasteners 51 that bolt the barrel head 642 to the barrel 640.

FIGS. 9A & 9B depict a seal 760 in accordance with an eighth embodiment of the invention that is configured in a barrel assembly 738. Similar to the barrel assembly 638 of the seventh embodiment, the barrel assembly 738 includes a barrel head 742 that is positioned intermediate a machine nozzle 744 and a front end of a barrel 740. A melt passageway 748 extends through the components of the barrel assembly 738. The melt passageway 748 of the barrel 740 is disposed along a liner 746. An auxiliary device (not shown), such as dowels, may be used to align the barrel head 742 with the barrel 740 in place of the auxiliary member 641 of the foregoing embodiment.

More particularly, the seal 760 is configured similarly to the seal 60 of the first embodiment of the invention. However, any one of, combination, or permutation of the seals 60, 160, 260, 360, 460 in accordance with the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth embodiment may otherwise be used to control leaking of molding material between components of the barrel assembly 738. Accordingly, a seal member 762, configured as an annular body, is arranged at the interface 764 between the mating faces 773, 773′. The seal member 762 in conforming co-operation with an interface 764 controls leaking of the molding material at the interface 764 subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure. In operation, the seal member 762 is deformed to conform with the mating faces 773, 773′ in response to a sealing force applied across the interface 764. The sealing force is preferably generated by the tightening of the fasteners 51 that bolt the barrel head 742 to the barrel 740.

FIG. 10A & 10B depict a seal 860 in accordance with a ninth embodiment of the invention that is configured in a barrel assembly 838. Similar to the barrel assembly 638 of the seventh embodiment, the barrel assembly 838 includes a barrel head 842 that is positioned intermediate a machine nozzle 844 and a front end of a barrel 840. A melt passageway 848 extends through the components of the barrel assembly 838. The melt passageway 848 of the barrel 840 is disposed along a liner 846. The exemplary barrel assembly 838 further includes a cooling structure 880 that is arranged to overlap flange portions of the barrel head 842 and barrel liner 846 to provide alignment therebetween and to cool an interface 864 formed between the barrel head 842 and the barrel liner 846. The cooling structure 880 is preferably an annular body with a coolant channel 882 defined therein. The cooling structure 880 also preferably includes a temperature monitoring structure (not shown) to provide temperature feedback to a controller (not shown) in order that a flow and temperature of the coolant to the channel 882 may be controlled to effect a temperature control of the interface 864. The exemplary barrel assembly 838 further includes an auxiliary member 841 that surrounds the cooling structure 880 as a structural spacer.

More particularly, the seal 860 is configured similarly to the seal 160 of the second embodiment of the invention. However, any one of, combination, or permutation of the seals 60, 160, 260, 360, 460 in accordance with the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth embodiment may otherwise be used to control leaking of molding material between components of the barrel assembly 838. Accordingly, a seal member 862, configured as an annular body, is arranged at the interface 864 between the mating faces 873, 873′. The seal member 862 in conforming co-operation with an interface 864 controls leaking of the molding material at the interface 864 subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure. In operation, the seal member 862 is deformed to conform with the mating faces 873, 873′ in response to a sealing force applied across the interface 864. The sealing force is preferably generated by the tightening of the fasteners 51 that bolt the barrel head 842 to the barrel 840. The cooling structure 880 provides for a controllable cooling of the interface 864 that has the technical effect of controlling the viscosity of the molding material in the vicinity of the interface 864 and thereby controlling the leakage through the interface 864. Alternatively, the cooling structure 880 may controllably cool the interfaces 864, 883 sufficiently to solidify, at least partially, molding material in the vicinity of one or both of the interfaces 864, 883 to form a supplemental seal.

In accordance with another embodiment of the barrel assembly (not shown) the barrel assembly may include a multi-component barrel, for example having a first and second barrel portions. The seals 60, 160, 260, 360, 460 in accordance with the first, second, third, fourth, and/or fifth exemplary embodiments or further variants thereto, may be configured at an interface between the first and second barrel portions.

FIGS. 11A & 11B depict a seal 960 in accordance with a tenth embodiment of the invention that is configured between a machine nozzle 944 and a mold sprue bushing 970. The seal 960 is configured similarly to the seal 60 of the first embodiment of the invention. However, any one of, combination, or permutation of the seals 60, 160, 260, 360, 460 in accordance with the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth embodiment may otherwise be used to control leaking of molding material between the machine nozzle 944 and the sprue bushing 970. Preferably, the machine nozzle 944 and the mold sprue 970 form a spigot connection along interposed spigot portions 971, 971′. An interface 964 is defined between annular mating faces 973, 973′ of the spigot portions 971, 971′. A seal member 962, configured as an annular body, is arranged at the interface 964 between the mating faces 973, 973′. The seal member 962 in conforming co-operation with the interface 964 controls leaking of the molding material at the interface 964 subject to the molding material approaching an injection pressure. In operation, one of the seal member 962 and the mating faces 973, 973′ are deformed to conform with the other in response to a sealing force applied across the interface 964. The sealing force is typically provided by a carriage force applied along the barrel assembly (not shown) that maintains the machine nozzle 944 engaged in the sprue bushing 970.

Alternatively, the seal 60, 160, 260, 360, 460, 560, 660, 760, 860, 960 of the embodiments of the present invention, and variants thereto, may be used in any combination, or permutation, including with other known seals, to supplement, the control of leaking through an interface.

The description of the exemplary embodiments provides examples of the present invention, and these examples do not limit the scope of the present invention. It is understood that the scope of the present invention is limited by the claims. The concepts described above may be adapted for specific conditions and/or functions, and may be further extended to a variety of other applications that are within the scope of the present invention. Having thus described the exemplary embodiments, it will be apparent that modifications and enhancements are possible without departing from the concepts as described. Therefore, what is to be protected by way of letters patent are limited only by the scope of the following claims: