Introduction to additive manufacturing in the field of molds and mechanical parts

2020, July 14

Previously we introduced Additive Manufacturing (AM) and the completion of our project to integrate a dedicated machine workshop within Precision IMS. We are now going to present you two benefits that AM can offer you for the manufacturing of your moulds.

1) Take full advantage of conformal cooling: 

The precision and complexity of plastics parts are the keys stakes of injection molding process.

 Conformal cooling can help you to meet these challenges, and at the same time optimize your cycle times. Let’s see how.

For example, traditionally, mould cooling circuits are only made of strenght lines and right angles. Conformal cooling uses more complex cooling circuits that closely follow the geometry of the final part. This process therefore improves the precision of your parts in this way and makes it possible to produce highly complex shapes.

Additive manufacturing introduction - Conventionnal cooling and conformal cooling

It should be noted, however, that conformal cooling makes sense and is only possible with an increased geometrical freedom compared to standards processes.

A very demonstrable example :

  • With little or no technical analysis: we can expect to reduce the injection mould cycle time by 10%.
  • And with an engineering analysis taking into account various factors, the cycle time can be reduced by 20 to 40%!

Source Plastic Technology, to learn more read this article

Conformal cooling also allows you to optimize the thermal distribution in your moulds. By controlling the temperature, you will be able to solve some geometrical problems on the final part. Conformal cooling can therefore be a solution to heating challenges.

 In conclusion, we can say that conformal cooling can help you to optimize your productions, to create new complex shapes and save time on your presses. Which is significant, isn’t it?

  1. Get better quality parts by using porous structures that help for venting : let’s see how. 

Choosing to integrate porous structures allows you to reduce burrs and eliminate air or gas inclusions so that you get parts that are more accurate and of a better quality.

With the design software used in AM, you will be able to position inserts and micro channels that will allow air and gas to escape without allowing the plastic to go through, in areas where a parting line can not be considered. 

Thanks to porous structures, you will be able to act on the quality of the part and the presses cycle times, thus improving precision. Traditionally, holding pressure to remove air or gas from the part is an operation that can take up to several seconds during the cycle time, requiring additional effort and stress on your press. Using porous structures allows you to optimize your process, which can also contribute to improve the moulds and press’s lifetime.  

Now that you are experts in conformal cooling and porous structures let’s see how AM can be an asset for the manufacturing of your mechanical parts. Discover the 3rd part of our article!

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