3D PRINTING FEATURE 3D PRINTED TOOLING INSERTS 16 April 2017 Reducing cycle time with conformal cooling Injection moulding is the most common method for the mass manufacture of plastic products. Every-day examples can be found in plastic bottle caps, plastic chairs, automotive parts and components, cases and coverings for electronic consumer goods, plastic plates and cutlery, and even Lego blocks and figures. Lego alone manufacture 19 billion items each year, or 2.16 million individual pieces every hour making it possibly the highest producer of injection moulded items. Today, a growing numbers of injection moulders are discovering a gamechanger, a process offering striking results including shortened cycle times, improved plastic quality and even cost reductions, all that is achieved by introducing conformal cooling using AM to create mould inserts. Conformal cooling is achieved by simply designing a mould where all sections conform to the same cooling temperature, put simply, conformal cooling ensures uniform temperatures in all parts of the mould. Because cooling channels that follow a part’s contours are better able to facilitate faster cooling times the process is able to be facilitated by creating a design where the cooling channels follow the natural contours of the part. Traditional techniques for producing cooling channels for moulds are achieved by secondary machining operations adding to the cost of the process. But even secondary drilling Six cooling channel profiles built using 3D printing of steel 1.2709 ready for testing.
To see the actual publication please follow the link above