Title:
Detection of plug blow from metal-molding system, amongst other things
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is: (i) a method of a molding system, (ii) a controller of a molding system, (iii) an article of manufacture of a controller of a molding system, (iv) a network-transmittable signal of a controller of a molding system, and/or (v) a molding system having a controller, amongst other things.



Inventors:
Manda, Jan Marius (Toronto, CA)
Domodossola, Robert (Brampton, CA)
Application Number:
11/502945
Publication Date:
02/14/2008
Filing Date:
08/11/2006
Assignee:
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
164/113, 164/154.6, 164/155.6
International Classes:
B22D17/32
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KERNS, KEVIN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUSKY INJECTION MOLDING SYSTEMS LTD. (BOLTON, ON, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of a molding system, the method comprising: determining whether a plug actually blew from a melt passageway into a mold.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the melt passageway is defined by a drop of hot runner, the hot runner has a plurality of drops.

3. The method of claim 1, further comprising: determining whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the melt passageway, wherein the comparison between the measured temperature and the threshold is an indication of whether at least one of partial-flow condition, full-flow condition, and no-flow condition had occurred.

4. The method of claim 1, further comprising: determining whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway into the mold is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug disposed in the melt passageway, wherein the threshold includes a temperature profile of the melt passageway.

5. The method of claim 1, further comprising: determining whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the melt passageway.

6. The method of claim 1, further comprising: obtaining a temperature reading of a thermal sensor, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug positioned in the melt passageway, the thermal sensor operatively connected to a controller.

7. The method of claim 1, further comprising: adjusting, based on the determination of whether the plug blew from the melt passageway, thermal management of the plug disposed in the melt passageway so that the plug may blow from the melt passageway into the mold during a subsequent injection cycle of the molding system.

8. The method of claim 1, further comprising: annunciating whether the plug blew from the melt passageway and into the mold.

9. The method of claim 1 further comprising: determining a new threshold based on contents of a database, the database indicative of a temperature profile corresponding to types of molding material.

10. The method of claim 1 further comprising: obtaining a temperature reading of a thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug disposed in the melt passageway, the thermal sensor connected to a controller; and determining, after injection pressure has been applied to the plug, whether the plug blew from the melt passageway based on a comparison between the temperature of the thermal sensor and a threshold.

11. A controller of a molding system, the controller comprising: a controller-usable medium embodying instructions being executable by the controller, the controller operatively couplable to the molding system, the instructions including: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether a plug actually blew from a melt passageway into a mold.

12. The controller of claim 11, wherein the melt passageway is defined by a drop of hot runner, the hot runner has a plurality of drops.

13. The controller of claim 11, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the melt passageway, wherein the comparison between the measured temperature and the threshold is an indication of whether at least one of partial-flow condition, full-flow condition, and no-flow condition had occurred.

14. The controller of claim 11, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway into the mold is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug disposed in the melt passageway, wherein the threshold includes a temperature profile of the melt passageway.

15. The controller of claim 11, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the melt passageway.

16. The controller of claim 11, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to obtain a temperature reading of a thermal sensor, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug positioned in the melt passageway, the thermal sensor operatively connected to a controller.

17. The controller of claim 11, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to adjust, based on the determination of whether the plug blew from the melt passageway, thermal management of the plug disposed in the melt passageway so that the plug may blow from the melt passageway into the mold during a subsequent injection cycle of the molding system.

18. The controller of claim 11, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to annunciate whether the plug blew from the melt passageway and into the mold.

19. The controller of claim 111 further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine a new threshold based on contents of a database, the database indicative of a temperature profile corresponding to types of molding material.

20. The controller of claim 11 further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to obtain a temperature reading of a thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug disposed in the melt passageway, the thermal sensor connected to a controller; and executable instructions for directing the controller to determine, after injection pressure has been applied to the plug, whether the plug blew from the melt passageway based on a comparison between the temperature of the thermal sensor and a threshold.

21. An article of manufacture of a controller of a molding system, the article of manufacture comprising: a controller-usable medium embodying instructions executable by the controller, the controller operatively couplable to the molding system, the instructions including: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether a plug actually blew from a melt passageway into a mold.

22. The article of manufacture of claim 21, wherein the melt passageway is defined by a drop of hot runner, the hot runner has a plurality of drops.

23. The article of manufacture of claim 21, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the melt passageway, wherein the comparison between the measured temperature and the threshold is an indication of whether at least one of partial-flow condition, full-flow condition, and no-flow condition had occurred.

24. The article of manufacture of claim 21, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway into the mold is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug disposed in the melt passageway, wherein the threshold includes a temperature profile of the melt passageway.

25. The article of manufacture of claim 21, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the melt passageway.

26. The article of manufacture of claim 21, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to obtain a temperature reading of a thermal sensor, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug positioned in the melt passageway, the thermal sensor operatively connected to a controller.

27. The article of manufacture of claim 21, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to adjust, based on the determination of whether the plug blew from the melt passageway, thermal management of the plug disposed in the melt passageway so that the plug may blow from the melt passageway into the mold during a subsequent injection cycle of the molding system.

28. The article of manufacture of claim 21, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to annunciate whether the plug blew from the melt passageway and into the mold.

29. The article of manufacture of claim 21 further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine a new threshold based on contents of a database, the database indicative of a temperature profile corresponding to types of molding material.

30. The article of manufacture of claim 21 further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to obtain a temperature reading of a thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug disposed in the melt passageway, the thermal sensor connected to a controller; and executable instructions for directing the controller to determine, after injection pressure has been applied to the plug, whether the plug blew from the melt passageway based on a comparison between the temperature of the thermal sensor and a threshold.

31. A network-transmittable signal of a controller of a molding system, the network-transmittable signal comprising: a carrier signal modulatable to carry instructions executable by a controller operatively couplable to the molding system, the instructions including: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether a plug actually blew from a melt passageway into a mold.

32. The network-transmittable signal of claim 31, wherein the melt passageway is defined by a drop of hot runner, the hot runner has a plurality of drops.

33. The network-transmittable signal of claim 31, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the melt passageway, wherein the comparison between the measured temperature and the threshold is an indication of whether at least one of partial-flow condition, full-flow condition, and no-flow condition had occurred.

34. The network-transmittable signal of claim 31, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway into the mold is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug disposed in the melt passageway, wherein the threshold includes a temperature profile of the melt passageway.

35. The network-transmittable signal of claim 31, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the melt passageway.

36. The network-transmittable signal of claim 31, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to obtain a temperature reading of a thermal sensor, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug positioned in the melt passageway, the thermal sensor operatively connected to a controller.

37. The network-transmittable signal of claim 31, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to adjust, based on the determination of whether the plug blew from the melt passageway, thermal management of the plug disposed in the melt passageway so that the plug may blow from the melt passageway into the mold during a subsequent injection cycle of the molding system.

38. The network-transmittable signal of claim 31, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to annunciate whether the plug blew from the melt passageway and into the mold.

39. The network-transmittable signal of claim 31 further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine a new threshold based on contents of a database, the database indicative of a temperature profile corresponding to types of molding material.

40. The network-transmittable signal of claim 31 further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to obtain a temperature reading of a thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug disposed in the melt passageway, the thermal sensor connected to a controller; and executable instructions for directing the controller to determine, after injection pressure has been applied to the plug, whether the plug blew from the melt passageway based on a comparison between the temperature of the thermal sensor and a threshold.

41. A molding system, comprising: a controller, including: a controller-usable medium embodying instructions being executable by the controller, the controller operatively couplable to the molding system, the instructions including: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether a plug actually blew from a melt passageway into a mold.

42. The molding system of claim 41, wherein the melt passageway is defined by a drop of hot runner, the hot runner has a plurality of drops.

43. The molding system of claim 41, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the melt passageway, wherein the comparison between the measured temperature and the threshold is an indication of whether at least one of partial-flow condition, full-flow condition, and no-flow condition had occurred.

44. The molding system of claim 41, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway into the mold is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug disposed in the melt passageway, wherein the threshold includes a temperature profile of the melt passageway.

45. The molding system of claim 41, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether the plug actually blew from the melt passageway is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor and a threshold, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the melt passageway.

46. The molding system of claim 41, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to obtain a temperature reading of a thermal sensor, the thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug positioned in the melt passageway, the thermal sensor operatively connected to a controller.

47. The molding system of claim 41, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to adjust, based on the determination of whether the plug blew from the melt passageway, thermal management of the plug disposed in the melt passageway so that the plug may blow from the melt passageway into the mold during a subsequent injection cycle of the molding system.

48. The molding system of claim 41, further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to annunciate whether the plug blew from the melt passageway and into the mold.

49. The molding system of claim 41 further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to determine a new threshold based on contents of a database, the database indicative of a temperature profile corresponding to types of molding material.

50. The molding system of claim 41 further comprising: executable instructions for directing the controller to obtain a temperature reading of a thermal sensor positioned proximate of the plug disposed in the melt passageway, the thermal sensor connected to a controller; and executable instructions for directing the controller to determine, after injection pressure has been applied to the plug, whether the plug blew from the melt passageway based on a comparison between the temperature of the thermal sensor and a threshold.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The following is a list of patent applications related to the present application, in which the Applicant's references numbers are H-903-0-US, HB903-0-US and HC903-0-US corresponding to U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 11/297,926, 11/347,302 and 11/349,984 respectively.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention generally relates to, but is not limited to, molding systems and control mechanisms of molding systems, and more specifically the present invention relates to, but is not limited to, (i) a method of a molding system, (ii) a controller of a molding system, (iii) an article of manufacture of a controller of a metal molding system, (iv) a network-transmittable signal of a controller of a metal molding system, and/or (v) a molding system having a controller, amongst other things.

BACKGROUND

Examples of known molding systems are (amongst others): (i) the HyPET™ Molding System, (ii) the Quadloc™ Molding System, (iii) the Hylectric™ Molding System, and (iv) the HyMet™ Molding System (which is a metal-molding system), all manufactured by Husky Injection Molding Systems Limited (Location: Bolton, Ontario, Canada; www.husky.ca).

United States Patent Application No. 2002/0189781 (Inventor: Shibata et al; Published: Dec. 19, 2002) discloses a method for manufacturing a mold of a metal hot-runner injection molding machine. The method includes: (i) measuring a temperature gradient of metal disposed in a nozzle between heating means of the nozzle and a tip of the nozzle, (ii) selecting an area in the nozzle based on the measurement of the temperature gradient such that the metal in the nozzle upon a mold opening has a temperature at which a solidified condition of the metal can be stably maintained, said temperature being close to a melting temperature of the metal, and (iii) determining a gate cut portion in the area.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,529,796 (Inventor: Kroeger et al; Published: Mar. 4, 2003) discloses an injection mold apparatus that has multiple injection zones, each zone having at least one heater and at least one temperature sensor generating a temperature indicating signal. A power source provides power to the heaters. A controller controls the temperature of at least some of the zones. For efficiency, the controller has two separate processors, a data-receiving processor for receiving temperature indicating signal from each sensor as well as power signals, and a control processor for receiving data from the data-receiving processor and for controlling the amount of power provided to the heaters. Preferably, the control is in a housing, with the housing mounted directly on the mold. Modified PID calculations are utilized. Power calculations for the amount of power to the heaters utilizes a modulo based algorithm.

United States Patent Application No. 2003/0206991 (Inventor: Godwin et al; Published: Nov. 6, 2003) discloses an improved mold manifold and hot runner nozzle using thin film elements include at least one active or passive thin film element disposed along a melt channel between the manifold inlet and the hot runner nozzle. Preferably, the thin film element may comprise a thin film heater in direct contact with the molten resin and position to aid in the heat and flow management of the resin within the melt channel. Thin film temperature sensors, pressure sensors, and leak detectors may also be provided in the vicinity of the melt channel to enhance process control in the injection molding machine.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,533,021 (Inventor: Shibata et al; Published: Mar. 18, 2003) discloses a mold for a metal hot-runner injection molding machine. The mold includes a movable mold plate, a fixed mold plate having a nozzle for injecting molten metal into said cavity, and a heating device disposed outside the nozzle for heating metal. A gate cut portion is situated in the nozzle between the heating device and the tip. A temperature measurement device is arranged adjacent to the gate cut portion for measuring the temperature of the metal in the gate cut portion. A heating control device is connected to the heating device for controlling a temperature of the nozzle on a basis of the temperature measurement device. A heat insulation device is arranged on the nozzle to cover at least an area where the gate cut portion is formed. By controlling the temperature of the nozzle, metal injection molding without runner can be made.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,649,095 (Inventor: Buja; Published: Nov. 18, 2003) discloses a method and apparatus for controlling a mold flow process using inner (impinge) and/or edge temperature sensors, wherein articles processed in a constraining mold cavity, having a constant melt “shrink” quality, can be obtained even with fluctuations in resin “melt” properties (flowability). At least one temperature-dependent output or “trigger” signal is sampled, and the level of the signal (e.g., temperature) initiates at least one step in the molding cycle. Using a sampling circuit, thermal waveforms are obtained from thermal sensor array data such that if a sequence of melt temperature set-point trigger times fluctuates outside control limits, then the process melt-flow is judged as a hotter/faster melt-flow or cooler/slower melt-flow injection process.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,666,259 (Inventor: Shibata et al; Published: Dec. 23, 2003) discloses a method for manufacturing a mold of a metal hot-runner injection molding machine. The method includes: (i) disposing at least one temperature control target point, as a reference for a temperature control by heating means for heating a nozzle, between the heating means and a tip of the nozzle, (ii) controlling said heating means such that upon a mold opening, at least a portion of metal adjacent to the heating means becomes a molten state and that a temperature of said temperature control target point is kept at a constant level which is lower than a melting point of the metal, (iii) measuring a temperature gradient between the heating means and the tip of the nozzle when the temperature of the temperature control target point is kept constant, (iv) selecting an area in the nozzle based on the measurement of the temperature gradient such that the metal in the nozzle upon a mold opening has a temperature at which a solidified condition of the metal can be stably maintained, said temperature being close to a melting temperature of the metal, and (v) determining a gate cut portion in the area.

United States Patent Application No. 2004/0032060 (Inventor: Yu; Published: Feb. 19, 2004) discloses a method of controlling a shut-off nozzle for hot runner systems of injection molding machines, the shut-off nozzle having a heating unit and a cooling unit around a gate tip thereof. The method includes the steps of: (i) heating a nozzle body to a predetermined high temperature by turning on a heater which is provided in the nozzle body, (ii) heating the gate tip having a nozzle gate, by turning on the heating unit provided around the gate tip, (iii) injecting a molten resin into a cavity of a mold through the nozzle gate, (iv) turning off the heating unit, after an injection of a predetermined amount of the molten resin into the cavity of the mold is completed, thus allowing the gate tip to start to cool, (v) operating the cooling unit provided around the gate tip, thus quickly cooling the gate tip, and (vi) opening the mold to remove a molded product from the cavity of the mold.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,936,199 (Inventor: Olaru; Published: Aug. 30, 2005) discloses an injection molding apparatus that includes a manifold having a manifold channel for receiving a melt stream of molten material under pressure and delivering the melt stream to a nozzle channel of a nozzle. A mold cavity receives the melt stream from the nozzle and the nozzle channel communicates with the mold cavity through a mold gate. A thermocouple is coupled to the mold core of the mold cavity in order to measure the temperature of the molten material in the mold cavity.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,938,669 (Inventor: Suzuki et al; Published: Sep. 6, 2005) discloses a mold-clamping process in which the mold is closed and (i) the injection-pressure increase (solidifying) process, (ii) the gate-melting process for heating the hot runner to melt the plug (metallic material) of the gate, (iii) the mold-lubricant coating process for spraying the lubricant onto the wall surface of the cavity, and (iv) the material-metering process are simultaneously carried out in parallel to each other. Thus, the molding cycle time can be reduced to a great extent.

SUMMARY

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of a molding system, the method including determining whether a plug actually blew from a melt passageway into a mold.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a controller of a molding system, the controller having a controller-usable medium embodying instructions being executable by the controller, the controller operatively couplable to the molding system, the instructions including executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether a plug actually blew from a melt passageway into a mold.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided an article of manufacture of a controller of a metal molding system, the article of manufacture having a controller-usable medium embodying instructions executable by the controller, the controller operatively couplable to the molding system, the instructions including executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether a plug actually blew from a melt passageway into a mold.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a network-transmittable signal of a controller of a molding system, having a carrier signal modulatable to carry instructions executable by a controller operatively couplable to a molding system, the instructions including executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether a plug actually blew from a melt passageway into a mold.

According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a molding system, having a controller, including a controller-usable medium embodying instructions being executable by the controller, the controller operatively couplable to the molding system, the instructions having executable instructions for directing the controller to determine whether a plug actually blew from a melt passageway into a mold.

According to a sixth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of a molding system, the method including (i) obtaining a temperature reading of a thermal sensor positioned proximate of a melt passageway and connectable to a controller, the melt passageway having a plug positioned therein, and also including (ii) determining, after injection pressure has been applied to the plug, whether the plug blew from the melt passageway and into a mold based on a comparison between the temperature of the thermal sensor and a threshold.

A technical effect, amongst other technical effects, of the aspects of the present invention is improved operation of a molding system. 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 of the present invention along with the following drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a molding system according to a first embodiment (which is the preferred embodiment);

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of an operation of the molding system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of a molding system according to a second exemplary embodiment; and

FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of temperature profiles along a passageway of the molding system of FIG. 1.

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

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a molding system 100 (hereafter referred to as the “system 100”) according to the first embodiment. Preferably the system 100 is a metal molding system. A method of the system 100 includes determining whether a plug 110 actually blew from a melt passageway 112 of the system 100 into a mold 114. The plug 110 is also commonly called a “thermal plug”. The plug 110 may be solidified, but more likely the plug 110 is soft (as in, the plug 110 not 100% solidified). The system 100 includes a controller 102 that is operatively cooperative with the system 100. The controller 102 includes a controller-usable medium 104 embodying instructions 105 that are executable by the controller 102. The instructions 105 include executable instructions for directing the controller 102 to determine whether the plug 110 actually blew from the melt passageway 112 into the mold 114. According to a variant, the instructions 105 are delivered to the controller 102 via a network-transmittable signal 106 that includes a carrier signal modulatable to carry the instructions 105. The network-transmittable signal 106 is transmittable over a network, such as the Internet so that the instructions 105 are receivable via an interface 142 of the controller 102. According to another variant, the instructions 105 are delivered to the controller 102 via an article of manufacture 108 that includes a controller-usable medium embodying the instructions 105. The article of manufacture 108 may be a CD (Compact Disk), floppy disk, flash memory, optical disk, etc. Detailed of the instructions 105 are described below. The article of manufacture 108 is interfacable with an interface 143 of the controller 102. The interfaces 142, 143 are well known in the art. The controller 102 may include a display unit and/or a keyboard to assist operator (human) interfacing.

Preferably, the system 100 includes an extruder 120 (such as an injection unit). A machine nozzle 122 extends through a stationary platen 124 and connects the extruder 120 to a hot runner 126. The hot runner 126 is mounted to the stationary platen 124. The hot runner 126 is operatively coupled to a stationary side of the mold 114. A movable side of the mold 114 is mounted to a movable platen 128. Tie bars and clamping assemblies are not depicted since they may be conventional and thus well known to those skilled in the art.

A thermal sensor 130 (such as a thermocouple) is positioned proximate of the melt passageway 112. The thermal sensor 130 is electrically connected (wired) to an interface 140 of the controller 102. A heater 132 is coupled proximate of the melt passageway (112). The heater 132 is electrically connected (wired) to an interface 141 of the controller 102. Preferably, the thermal sensor 130 and the heater 132 are positioned proximate of a drop 134 of the hot runner 126. According to a variant, the thermal sensor 130 is positioned proximate of a cooling structure (not depicted), and the cooling structure is used to form the plug in the melt passageway of the hot runner 126.

Preferably, a dedicated thermal sensor and a dedicated heater are positioned proximate of each drop of the hot runner 126, such as thermal sensor 136, heater 138, and drop 139). The thermal sensor 130 is electrically connected (wired) to an interface 145 of the controller 102, while the heater 138 is electrically connected (wired) to an interface 144 of the controller 102.

Preferably, the controller 102 includes a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 150 that is used to execute the instructions 105. A bus 152 operatively connects the CPU 150 with the interface units 140 to 145, the controller-usable medium 104 and with a database 154.

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of an operation 200 of the system 100 of FIG. 1. The operation 200 is coded in programmed statements of the instructions 105 by using a programming language, such as (i) a high-level language (C++ or Java, etc) which is then translated to machine language or (ii) assembly/machine language of a particular processor used in the controller 102. The instructions 105 are executable by the controller 102 of FIG. 1. Operation 202 includes starting of the operation 200 and the control is transferred to operation 204. Operation 204 includes directing the controller 102 to obtain a temperature reading of a thermal sensor (either sensor 130 and/or sensor 136 but preferably both). Operation 206 includes directing the controller 102 to determine, after injection pressure has been applied to the plug 110, whether the plug 110 blew from the melt passageway 112 and into the mold 114 (at least partial flow, full flow or no flow). The determination is preferably made or based on a comparison between the temperature of the thermal sensors 130, 136 and a threshold.

Operation 208 includes directing the controller 102 to determine whether to control (adjust the heaters 134, 138) or to annunciate (to a human operator) or both control and annunciate: (i) if it is required to only annunciate, operational control of operation 200 is transferred to operation 210, (ii) if it is required to only control, operational control of operation 200 is transferred to operation 212 and (iii) if it is required to control and to annunciate, operational control of operation 200 is transferred to operation 212 and 210 respectively.

Operation 210 includes directing the controller 102 to annunciate whether the plug 110 blew from the melt passageway 112 and into the mold 114. Operation 212 includes adjusting thermal management (temperature of the heaters 134, 138) of the melt passageway 112 so that the plug 110 may blow in the next injection cycle, based on the determination of whether the plug 110 blew from the melt passageway 112 and into the mold 114 for the current cycle of injection of the system 100.

Operational control is passed over to operation 214 in which: condition (i) an operator may decide to update the database 154, condition (ii) automatic updating of the database 154 occurs, or condition (iii) no updating of the database 154 occurs. If conditions (i) or (ii) are selected, operational control is passed over to operation 216. If condition (iii) is selected, operational control is passed over to operation 220.

Operation 216 includes directing the controller 102 to determine a new threshold based on contents of a database 154, the database 154 indicative of a temperature profile corresponding to types of molding material. Operational control is then passed over to operation 218, which includes determining a new threshold based on contents of a database 154, the database 154 indicative of historical data of temperature profiles corresponding to a type of molding material.

Operation 220 includes directing the controller 102 to determine whether to end operation 220 or pass on operational control to operation 202.

The instructions 105 include executable instructions for directing the controller 102 to determine whether the plug 110 actually blew (or was blown) from the melt passageway 112 into the mold 114. According to a variant of the system 100, the melt passageway 112 is defined by a drop 134 of hot runner 126, and the hot runner 126 has a plurality of drops. Preferably, the determination of whether the plug 110 actually blew is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of a thermal sensor 130 and a threshold. The instructions 105 for directing the controller 102 may include additional programmed instructions, such as: (i) determining whether the plug 110 actually blew from the melt passageway 112 is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of the thermal sensor 130 and a threshold, in which the comparison between the measured temperature and the threshold is an indication of whether at least one of partial-flow condition, full-flow condition, and no-flow condition had occurred, (ii) determining whether the plug 110 actually blew from the melt passageway 112 is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of the thermal sensor 130 and a threshold in which the threshold includes a temperature profile of the melt passageway 112, (iii) determining whether the plug 110 actually blew from the melt passageway 112 is based on a comparison between a measured temperature of the thermal sensor 130 and a threshold, (iv) obtaining a temperature reading of the thermal sensor 130 in which the thermal sensor 130 is operatively connected to the controller 102, (v) adjusting, based on the determination of whether the plug 110 blew from the melt passageway 112, thermal management of the plug 110 disposed in the melt passageway 112 so that the plug 110 may blow from the melt passageway 112 into the mold 114 during a subsequent injection cycle of the system 100, (vi) annunciating whether the plug 110 blew from the melt passageway 112 and into the mold 114, (vii) determining a new threshold based on contents of the database 154 in which the database 154 is indicative of a temperature profile corresponding to types of molding material, (viii) obtaining a temperature reading of the thermal sensor 130 positioned proximate of the plug 110 disposed in the melt passageway 112, and/or (ix) determining, after injection pressure has been applied to the plug 110, whether the plug 110 blew from the passageway based on a comparison between the temperature of the thermal sensor 130 and a threshold.

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of the system 100 according to the second exemplary embodiment, in which a hot runner is not included and the machine nozzle 122 is coupled directly to the mold 114.

FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of temperature profiles along the melt passageway 112 of the system 100 of FIG. 1. Three thermal graphs are depicted: (i) thermal graph 400, (ii) thermal graph 402 and (iii) thermal graph 404. For each graph 400, 402, 404, the x-axis is time and the y-axis is temperature. Curves 410, 412 correspond to temperature profiles of respective thermal sensors that have been placed in respective drops of a manifold of the hot runner 126 (the drops lead into the mold cavity of the mold 114). Curves 420, 422 correspond to respective temperature profiles of thermal sensors that have been placed proximate of respective cooling structures (such as, cooling rings) that are each placed at respective drops of the hot runner 126. The cooling rings are used to form a plug in the melt passageway 126 (such as in the drop 134 of the hot runner 126).

The thermal graph 400 depicts a condition in which plugs (such as the plug 110) located in respective drops 134 and 139 of the hot runner 126 were blown out. The temperature of the cooling structure varies as a shot of hot molding material is injected into the mold cavity. Just before injection, the temperature is at the most highest point in the temperature profile. Just after the mold cavity becomes filled the temperature is at a lowest point in the temperature profile.

The thermal graph 402 depicts a condition in which one plug was not completely blown out from a drop while the other plug was completely blown out and as a result less flow was realized through that drop.

The thermal graph 404 depicts a condition in which one plug was blown out from a drop while the other plug was not. The profile 422 indicates that the thermal sensor of a cooling structure had experienced no thermal load (that is, there was no flow of molding material past the cooling structure) and hence there was no increase in temperature for the injection cycle (temperature remained relatively constant). The profile 412 of the drop (that is associated with the cooling structure that experienced no thermal load) indicates that the thermal sensor of the drop indicates limited thermal load. As a result of back filling the mold cavity, the hot molding material will eventually fill the mold cavity and the temperature of the drop slightly increases as a result.

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 exemplary embodiments 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. It is to be understood that the exemplary embodiments illustrate the aspects of the invention. Reference herein to details of the illustrated embodiments is not intended to limit the scope of the claims. The claims themselves recite those features regarded as essential to the present invention. Therefore, what is to be protected by way of letters patent are limited only by the scope of the following claims: