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Additive Manufacturing Optimizes Mold Production Quality

"The integration of Additive Manufacturing (AM) into the conventional production process for injection molds and inserts is rapidly becoming the solution of choice for many mold makers," said a GF Machining Solutions spokesperson. "AM has paved the way for the design and manufacturing of more complex molds as well as breakthrough cooling techniques that enable molds to achieve proper thermal management. Efficient thermal control, in turn, greatly enhances the quality of the final plastic molded parts and provides significant economic benefits."

In conventional mold production processes, cooling channels in molds are restricted to straight lines, which limits their ability to properly heat and cool the injected material during parts production. With AM technology, mold producers can design and manufacture molds with conformal cooling channels, meaning they are placed closer to the final molded part and respect the part's geometry. This innovation gives mold producers the ability to design and build inserts that provide more control of the temperature of the mold during the entire process cycle. "The result is high-quality, long-lasting molds that achieve superior surface quality of finished polymer plastic products," said the spokesperson.

The AgieCharmilles AM S 290 Tooling from GF Machining Solutions is the result of a collaboration between GF Machining Solutions, a provider of machines, automation and services to the mold and die industry, and EOS, the Germany-based metal additive manufacturer. The new system is based on the technology of the EOS M 290 direct metal laser sintering system (DMSL).

DMLS uses a 400-watt ytterbium fiber laser fired into a bed of powdered metal, aiming the laser automatically at points in space defined by a 3-D model, melting - or welding - the material together to create a solid structure. Once the mold is built to a near net shape, it can be post-processed with a GF Machining Solutions machine. The AM S 290 Tooling features controls and software that allows for easy and quick integration with CMMs and GF's existing machine tools including AgieCharmilles wire and die-sinking EDMs, Mikron milling centers and laser texturing centers.

Users of the AM S 290 Tooling can select from two different powder materials. These are EOS MaragingSteel MS1, a high-performance steel, or EOS StainlessSteel CX, a high-performance stainless steel.

The AM S 290 has a X, Y, Z build volume of 9.843" X 9.843" X 12.007" (250 X 250 X 305 mm) and a scan speed of up to 15.66 MPH (7 meters per second) which allows manufacturers to quickly and efficiently produce a wide variety of mold sizes. With low power consumption, the AM S 290 Tooling also offers energy cost savings to manufacturers.

The AM S 290 Tooling also has a System 3R MacroMagnum chuck integrated into its build platform and leverages that system's Reference Point Calibration software to permit location of parts relative to the build platform. This improves the ability for upstream and downstream integration of the AM process in the whole production process, especially when users are manufacturing hybrid workpieces.

For more information contact:

GF Machining Solutions

560 Bond St.

Lincolnshire, IL 60069-4224

800-CTC-1EDM / 847-913-5300

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