SLIDESHOW: Technology Showcase, Additive Manufacturing
When it comes to additive manufacturing there has been increased interest and use of several additive technologies, such as laser cusing of steel, hybrid additive machines, 3-D printing of plastic parts and conformal cooling. Here is a snapshot of some of the more recent AM news and products covered by sister publication Additive Manufacturing.
Moldmakers must continue to find ways to take the cost out of the tool building process. They need to differentiate themselves to win that work. They are looking for new processes to speed productivity, eliminate waste, reduce work, and deliver overall shop floor improvements. A few key trends are true implementation of five-axis machining with the right software, kicking up their level of automation and lights out machining, optimizing machining with the latest in workholding technology, investing in job scheduling solutions, employing innovative mold designs, and a growing interest in additive manufacturing’s impact on mold building.
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, is the capability of printing plastic tooling components for prototype tooling.
Take a look at this slideshow to learn how hollow mold inserts grown with AM can be used as a means to improve cooling to shorten cycle times in injection molding as well as how a new hybrid machine virtually eliminates EDM, reduces part warpage and dramatically reduces cycle times when producing mold inserts, and much more.
Indirect tooling methods use the RP process to generate a pattern from which tooling inserts are made. This article describes two such indirect tooling processes - cast resin and sprayed metal tooling.
Complex core system design and verification.
When it comes to the manufacture of jigs, fixtures and assembly tools, time-to-market for new products can be reduced, overall costs can be saved and the quality of the resulting components/production can increase with the use of additive fabrication—laser sintering and fused deposition modeling.