3D Printing with Quick Change Mold System Creates Price/Performance Benchmark for Low-Volume Injection Molding

Stratasys Ltd. and HASCO developed a rapid, cost-efficient method to producing low volumes of injection molded prototypes by integrating 3D printing with a quick-change mold system.

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Stratasys Ltd. and HASCO developed a rapid, cost-efficient method to producing low volumes of injection molded prototypes by integrating 3D printing with a quick-change mold system. Using this approach, molders can quickly change between inserts for different products, enabling them to cost-effectively produce low volumes of injection molded parts for samples, prototypes and small production runs.

HASCO 3D printed the inserts in Stratasys’ ultra-tough Digital ABS material using the Objet500 Connex Multi-material 3D Production System. With a 3D printed mold insert taking only hours to produce, molders can make design modifications to the product for a fraction of the time and cost of conventional tooling methods.

When producing a sealing plug for its industry-standard A8001 clamping fixture, HASCO identified that the walls of the ABS plastic sealing screw would need to be 12mm thick to seal the large number of threaded holes. Given this geometry, it was clear that that the screw could not be produced using the conventional injection molding process. With the level of intricacy enabled by Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing, HASCO redesigned the screw with a reduced wall thickness and subsequently 3D printed a mold insert to the new specifications in order to test the integrity of the design before mass production.

“The speed of the process was incredible,” explains Dirk Paulmann, Executive Vice President, Sales & Business Development at HASCO. “Using our Objet500 Connex 3D Production System, we produced the parts of the cavity that shape the polymer – such as the inserts and slides – in just six hours compared to the 24 hours it previously took. We then worked with prototyping specialists Canto Ing. GmbH, Lüdenscheid to finish the 3D printed inserts and test the sample mold. We were delighted with the result, the first sealing screws were produced ready for mounting on our clamping unit in a record time of only four days.

 

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