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1. Selection of materials
Environmental performance of mold materials has great influence on that of final products, so it is very important to select environmentally friendly raw materials. It is better to use physical methods, instead of chemical methods, for corrosion prevention and easy demoulding. Quality mirror surface mould steels are chosen for processing mold cavities. Stainless steel materials, instead of galvanization, are used for processing corrosion-resistant molds. Nickel-phosphorus plating, which has little harm to environment, is used to replace chromium electroplating. Environmentally friendly materials should have the following basic features: low pollution, low energy consumption and low cost; easy processing with little pollution or even no pollution; good degradability and reusability.
2. Standardized design
Standardized design is a prerequisite for organizing specialized production of molds. Specialized production of molds is crucial to improve quality of molds, shorten mold making cycle and reduce cost.
(1) Standard mold bases and other standard parts, produced by specialized manufacturers through social division of labor, should be purchased and utilized so as to make limited resources optimally allocated. When molds need to be discarded, mold bases are almost intact, though punch-die is unusable. Selecting standard mold bases is contributive to their reuse. Mold bases for stamping die and injection mold have many varieties and are basically composed of standard upper and lower mold bases, guide pillars, guide bushing, etc. Standard mold bases are helpful for reducing the number of devices used for producing mold bases so as to save resources and facilitate management.
(2) Standardization of various structural units of molds helps accelerate design speed, shorten design cycle and facilitate processing management.
3. Disassembly design
When molds are in use, some parts are seriously abraded. Such parts can be replaced by new ones and won’t affect whole processing of products. However, if parts are not detachable, numerous reusable parts and materials will be wasted and these discarded parts are not easily disposed and may pollute environment. Hence, disassembly factors should be taken into consideration during the initial phase of design: (1) choosing common structure as far as possible for convenient replacement; (2) adopting detachable connection as far as possible, such as screw joint without welding connection or rivet connection.
4. Design for manufacturing environment
In machinery production workshops, especially in stamping workshops, noise and pollution are very serious, which is harmful to the health of staff and disturb surrounding peace. Hence, when manufacturing molds, noise should be controlled or even eliminated. Several methods for reducing machine noise include but are not limited to rigid clutch replaced by friction clutch, dynamic balance control of solid of revolution like flywheels, soundproof cover used on main noise-induced positions of press machines as well as shock-free mold bases with shock absorber.
5. Design for packaging solutions
Packaging solutions are involved in three aspects: selection of packaging materials, improvement of packaging structure and recycling of packaging materials and waste. Packaging materials and wastes have great influence on environment, especially those that are difficult to recycle and degrade and can be only disposed by burning or burying. Therefore, product packages should be made from environmentally-friendly materials, namely non-toxic, pollution-free, easily recyclable and degradable materials, thus reducing waste of resources and pollution to environment.
6. Design for recycling and disposal of molds
Recycling and disposal of molds means that recycling and disposal possibility, methods and cost of molds should be taken into account for designing molds. Main contents of recycling design include recycling materials, labels, recycling and disposal methods as well as technical and economical evaluation and structural design of recycling. The main measures are as follows: (1) utilizing mold materials with little harm to environment, such as non-toxic, pollution-free, renewable or easily recyclable materials; (2) utilizing reusable materials; (3) Replacement or reprocessing of used mold parts. Advanced manufacturing techniques are used for mold making process. It is better to choose a manufacturing process with minimum production waste and energy consumption, which is crucial to realize the goal of green manufacturing.