The hottest Metal 3D printing technology provides

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Metal 3D printing technology provides conformal cooling for injection molding

most injection molds are made of cooling channels, which are drilled or milled from a steel block. Cold water flows through these channels to cool the core and absorb heat from the plastic. Traditionally, these paths are made by drilling straight holes. However, because the channel can only follow the line of sight path, the effectiveness of this method is limited when forming complex shapes

the practice of conformal cooling has overcome this limitation. With conformal cooling, the channels can be designed to follow the shape of the parts evenly, so they "conform" to any shape to achieve the best efficiency and faster cycle time

at Star rapid, we have been conducting research to explore how metal 3D printing can be used for conformal cooling. Decide on the best method to evaluate the cooling efficiency of 3D printing and apply this method to the existing PIM customer project - the water heater of Marco beverage systems

marco beverage systems designs and manufactures various coffee machines, hot water boilers, filters and coffee grinders. The company uses transparent and high-quality water storage cups to provide hot water for the coffee manufacturing system. This is a part made of plastic injection molding, and it was previously made of traditional linear cooling channels

the following outlines the steps of injection molding plastic tools using conformal cooling in an attempt to simplify the production process while achieving high-quality final parts

using metal 3D printing technology to create conformal cooling channels in large quantities takes longer than traditional methods, but because it shortens the cycle time and improves the product quality, it can compensate the cost and reduce the cost of mass production. The conformal cooling channel is designed to be close to the contour of the part while keeping close to the inner wall of the tool to improve efficiency

the plug-in is printed by maraging steel and vertically oriented on the printing table of reinshaw dmlm am250 powder bed metal printer. Vertical printing avoids additional support and prevents hole collapse

after printing, the parts still have rough surface texture, which is produced when using 3D printing method to build parts layer by layer when the research in the field of automotive materials in China started late. The plug-in was later CNC machined and polished to obtain high gloss. Although the total amount of coolant required for the new insert is roughly the same as the original plug-in using a straight channel, the channel of the new 3D print plug-in follows the taper of the tool more closely and has a larger exposed surface area

star rapid engineers and LBC engineers created two different CAD designs for the conformal cooling core. LBC, a subsidiary of Renishaw, specializes in providing advanced design solutions for complex 3D printing applications. The design of star rapid improves the cooling efficiency, but the position of the channel does not leave enough space for other supporting structures in the mold

the insert is installed on the B side, below (right side) of the board. This is the printing plate that is opened and closed in each cycle. The A-side (left side) holds the core and remains fixed in each molding cycle

tools for polishing the outer surface are very important. This forms a smooth surface on the transparent part and helps the part slide off the tool easily after forming

a series of tests were carried out with the new injection mold, and the results were compared with the benchmark study. The core and inserts of 3D printing are better than traditional mold tools, but with the increasingly strict requirements for the paper industry, they perform better. Conformal cooling can not only greatly improve the product quality, but also shorten the cooling time by 38 seconds, that is, 60%. This eliminates the need for additional manual air cooling

the shortening of cycle time can save a lot of costs for the long production and operation, which is more and more favored in the market of recycled plastic granulator, and can greatly make up for the relatively large cost brought by the development of this tool. We worked closely with Renishaw and LBC engineering to create a solution that greatly shortened cycle time and improved quality. With the expansion of R & D efforts, we will continue to improve this process to adapt to future advanced applications

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