Procter & Gamble’s mold design and production subsidiary called Imflux received a patent this week on an evaporative cooling system using exotic fluids that dramatically cuts mold production costs while also improving part quality. Cooling fluid channels are confined to mold support plates.
Designed for Imflux’s low-pressure molding technology, the molds are made from some combination of aluminum and beryllium copper. The concept is not all new. An Australian company has been licensing an evaporative cooling approach for molds for more than10 years.
The lead inventor is Ralph Neufarth, who heads the R&D team at Imflux, which is located in Hamilton, Ohio and was spun out of P&G’s innovation labs in 2013. The company is highly secretive. Neufarth is a former P&G engineer and mold designer at Corning Precision Lens.
The patent claims that use of refrigerants such as CFCs can improve cooling versus liquid coolants as much as 500 times due to a phase change from liquid to gas when absorbing heat in the mold. Cooling lines are located farther from the mold cavity than in conventional mold designs, creating a more uniform heat experience for the part, according to the patent.