Otto Hofstetter AG offers its customers various services intended to ensure the productivity of their injection moulds. The exchange programme for hot runners – OH-XChange ® has been a part of this for years. Unique in the industry, the concept provides numerous valuable advantages.

The hot runner is one of the most important components of an injection mould. The part is taxed to the utmost and accordingly plays an important role in the efficiency of the mould. No wonder the experts like to refer to it as the mould’s motor. Production standstills are a sure consequence if the hot runner unit no longer functions properly.

In the interest of keeping the productivity of its moulds as high as possible, Otto Hofstetter AG has developed a special service for this key component. Inspired by the IT industry, where exchange solutions are common for e.g. chip PCBs, the mould specialists created the exchange programme OH-XChange ®. If the hot runner suffers from a problem or is due for an overhaul, an exchange unit is always available. This gives Otto Hofstetter AG customers additional production safety and keeps the moulds’ efficiency at the high level intended by the Swiss engineers.

For repair or revision on the spot.
We’ve all been there: the peak season, of all times, the hot runner system comes up with problems. At the worst possible moment, a repair or even a major overhaul is the only possible solution. A machine standstill is inevitable. Normally, it is impossible to catch up after these sorts of production failures. In peak periods they are a catastrophe because it usually takes about 20 working days for a complete overhaul of a 96-impression hot runner, for example. To make things more difficult, the customer’s infrastructure is often inadequate to carry out the necessary work.

Simple calculation.
A simple calculation example illustrates the production stoppage and the resulting reduced efficiency: with 350 production days per year, the availability is at 96 per cent. If 20 days are lost for a complete overhaul on the spot, only 330 production days are left, which means that the availability drops to 90.4 per cent.

Solution at one’s own expense.
Many customers defuse the situation with their own solution by buying an additional hot runner which they keep as a backup system at their factory in case of an emergency. An investment, on the one hand, for the shortest possible reaction time should a problem occur, but on the other hand at an additional expense that must be recovered in one way or another.

The practical alternative.
Otto Hofstetter AG stores at least one completely overhauled hot runner system for each mould type at its premises. If a customer reports a need, the necessary hot runner with the right dimensions can be delivered quickly and easily. Within Europe, such a rapid exchange with an equivalent system is accomplished within two working days. As soon as the hot runner is swapped, the customer sends the defective system to Switzerland. This completes the transaction for the customer; production can continue. The returned defective hot runner is fully overhauled at the supplier’s factory under optimal conditions and is available again later as an exchange system.

New calculation.
Applying the above calculation example, the success is soon evident: with 350 working days per year, the availability is at 96 per cent. Thanks to OH-XChange® the downtime is reduced from 20 to only 2 days. The annual production time is 348 days, corresponding to an availability of 95.3 per cent.

The total saving varies, of course, depending on the production plant’s location, since transport must also be taken into account. As seen repeatedly in practice, however, limited production is often possible until the exchange system arrives on the spot. In other words, the production loss isn’t always total. This is why one can count on an average efficiency increase of five per cent compared with a total overhaul at the customer’s premises.


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