MMT Blog

Whether you use vacuum brazing, diffusion bonding, laser sintering or laser direct metal laser melting to build your conformal-cooled molds, conformal cooling has become a very effective method for reducing cycle times. Robert (Bob) Beard, P.E., is president of Robert A. Beard & Associates and has more than 40 years of experience in the plastics industry. His latest mission is to bring new information on conformal cooling for injection molding to the North American marketplace. This includes its applications, benefits and limitations. According to Bob, conformal-cooled molds can provide a 20- to 40-percent reduction in cycle times and lower molded-in stress, which results in stronger parts, less warpage, reduced rejects and less risk of recalls. However, there are disadvantages as well, namely, a 20-percent increase in cavity and core costs and a break-even point for volume applications that can take months to achieve.

This year’s Conformal Cooling Conference, to be held May 16-17 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is truly international in scope, presenting two speakers from Germany and two from Poland willing to share their expertise. Topics will include: conformal cooling for injection molds based on bonding technologies; vacuum brazing for conformal-cooled molds; potential applications and benefits of diffusion bonding; metal additive manufacturing strengths, weaknesses and opportunities; maintenance of conformal cooling channels; combining simulation and thermovision to create more efficient cooling; and more. Visit plastic-solvers.com for more conference details.

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Posted by: Cynthia Kustush 16. March 2017

Think Global: Go Metric

 

The other day I was working on an article about a mold designer who works for a mold components supplier. Her company is well known and global, so she has to think in both inch and metric sizes when she’s providing guidance on mold designs and hot runner systems. It’s all dependent on whether the customer is based in the U.S. or somewhere else in the world. Why doesn’t the U.S. adapt to metric standards?

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Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 15. March 2017

GBI: Moldmaking for February 2017 - 56.8

With a reading of 56.8, the Gardner Business Index showed that the moldmaking industry grew in February for the sixth time in seven months. It has expanded at an accelerating rate the last four months, reaching its fastest growth rate since February 2012. 

New orders increased for the second month in a row and at their fastest rate since February 2012. Production increased at a slightly slower rate in the month, but it still posted virtually its fastest growth in three years. The backlog subindex grew for the second month in a row and reached its highest level since the survey began in December 2011. Employment increased at a faster rate in the month, and the export subindex contracted for the second month in a row. Supplier deliveries have lengthened at an accelerating rate since last July. 

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After Japan-based DMG MORI Co. acquired further shares in the German DMG MORI AG and reached a total shareholding of 76 percent of shares in AG last year, the company's president, Dr Masahiko Mori and DMG MORI’s CEO Christian Thönes seem to deliver on their promise to become leaner and focus on product quality and service. While DMG MORI once again underlined its high level of innovation at the company's traditional Open House event at Deckel Maho in Pfronten, Germany last month, there were only three world premieres on show among the 80 machines showcasing the company's wide range of product offerings. Clearly a sign of the company's consolidation efforts, including a reduced number of machines introduced to the market each year, as well as the reduction of product offerings from 300 to 150.

With consolidating the product lines, the company has also closed its plants in Le Locle (Dixi), Switzerland, Chiba, Louvres (Tobler) and the factory in Shanghai, and is now operating 14 plants worldwide, Dr Mori said at the Open House press conference. The precision of the former Swiss-made Dixi machines will in future be available as DMG MORI machines called µPrecision, which are available for duoBlock, Portal and NHX 8000 machines. While the machines will be assembled in Pfronten, the highly-skilled workers performing the 500-hour scraping process for the guideways to ensure an accuracy of <15 µm will remain in Switzerland, a DMG MORI representative told me during my tour of the Open House.

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One example is a press release I received last week about Big Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc., a global supplier of high-precision tooling systems and solutions for the metal-cutting industry, and how it made a special donation to the Precision Machining program at Plymouth Community Schools in Plymouth, Indiana. The Plymouth Community Schools program is the result of a public-private consortium supported by ITAMCO (Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Company), Ivy Tech Community College, NCAVC (North Central Area Vocational Cooperative) and Plymouth Community Schools. The group’s mission is to better prepare students for the demands of today's technology-driven jobs. Its precision machining classes are conducted at ITAMCO’s Manufacturing Education School Service Center, or IMESSC, in Plymouth.

Back to that donation. If you’re into NASCAR racing – or even if you aren’t, I think – the name Andretti is not unfamiliar. It was Andretti Autosport in Indianapolis that went to its supplier partner, Big Kaiser, to purchase a new Speroni Magis tool presetting and measuring system, making its older model available for donation to a local school’s machining program. According to the press release, the Plymouth Community Schools program mirrors a curriculum at Ivy Tech South Bend, called The Machine Tool Institute, and provides students with a solid foundation of hands-on training for careers in precision machining and related metalworking occupations. The program includes training on manual lathes and mills and moves through to more sophisticated CNC machine operation. NIMS certification enables the students to earn dual credits for high school and for Ivy Tech.

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