Cutting-Edge Conformal Cooling

Recently, I reconnected with an industry colleague who will bring some international expertise to the states this May to discuss one of the hot topics in moldmaking today: conformal cooling. And, this will be followed up at Amerimold in June.


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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.

“This is the first time that vacuum brazing and diffusion bonding will be publically discussed in technical detail in North America without violating any non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), which is a major milestone considering all the NDAs that have been signed to keep this process secret when making a conformal-cooled mold for the past 25 years,” Bob says.

He strongly believes that U.S. industry can only survive by quickly adopting new technologies that give it a competitive edge and using those technologies before they become standard technologies. Early adopters will make the most profit. 

Then June 14 -15 at Amerimold in Rosemont, Illinois, our free show floor conference program will present an Additive Manufacturing Panel Discussion: Putting Additive Manufacturing to Work for You

Moldmakers and molders are adding value to their operations with additive manufacturing (AM) by using its various technologies to generate jigs, fixtures and robot end-of-arm tooling, as well as prototypes and short-run production parts. AM can remove the burden of this type of work from CNC machines and other valuable pieces of equipment. Tooling components is a big area of interest because these can be produced in metal using laser sintering and incorporating conformal cooling and other innovative cooling technologies. More recently, moldmakers have used AM to print plastic tooling components for use in prototype tooling.

Learnhow a new hybrid machine virtually eliminates EDM, reduces part warpage and dramatically reduces cycle times when producing mold inserts; how one manufacturer did its own homework to prove out the true benefits and limitations of 3D printing core and cavity stacks used in a  mold base; how a new, multi-layer 3D robotic-deposition process for conformal cooling can reduce the number of required baffles or bubbler systems, as well as gun drilling and tapping; plus hear about software solutions for metal additive manufacturing.

  • Phoenix Deventure
  • MGS MFG Group
  • Conformal Cooling Solutions
  • 3D Systems
  • Bastech (Here is a related video demonstrating an end-to-end process for conformal cooling in injection molding that cuts cycle times while maintaining constant temperatures; programming and shop time savings deliver major bottom-line benefits)