Up to 43 percent shorter cycle times thanks to design for AM

AM

Functional design for additive manufacturing' was finalised in September. During the last meeting the last project results of this informative project were presented and explained. We will discuss one of the successful cases with you in more detail. 

The final meeting took place at Van Hoecke Automation in Gavere. The last project results were explained and a first version of the roadmap with regard to AM software was also presented. The final version of this roadmap will officially be presented at the Prototyping fair (8-9 November). 

The reactions of participating companies show that the R&D which was conducted during the project, can offer added value for companies who want to make the most of additive manufacturing: 

“During the project we have certainly had some great successes.” 
"We master Design for AM now. The next challenge is to integrate this in existing machinery.” 

VLAIO also indicates that the number of AM projects continues to grow.

Long cooling down period

A good example of what AM can do for a company is what we saw at Quadrant, a leading global producer of high-performance thermoplastics in the form of semi-finished and finished products. 

The company, with Belgian branch in Tielt, came to Sirris for a product manufactured by means of injection moulding. The production itself did not cause too many problems, but the cycle time to produce one component was quite long. This was because it turned out to be really hard to cool the plastic down uniformly. This was mainly due to the four cavities in the corners of the product (see image above, on the right).

In order to get these areas cooled down, separate inserts were made for these areas and a small cooling channel was applied by means of conventional methods (drilling).

 

Injection mould, the inserts clearly visible in the corners:

This channel had little impact on the cycle time because the heat problem mainly occurred in the thinner areas. Because of the restricted thickness it was not possible to apply a channel conventionally. That is why it seemed interesting to explore the AM options and make a redesign. 

Redesign

Together with Quadrant the following design was made:

                                                                            

This new concept was printed in maraging steel and extensively tested in the mould. The results are really impressive.

  • AM made it possible to provide a cooling channel up to the top of the fin. This channel was developed in function of the available space. Account was taken of the forces created during the injection moulding process.

  • Due to these new cooling channels the cycle time was drastically reduced, which meant a time gain of 43 percent!

  • The measured mould temperature on the inserts was reduced from 78-82 °C to 40 °C.

  • The quality and dimensions of the end product are perfect.

Interested to know what AM can mean for your company? Contact us or come meet us at the Prototyping fair where Sirris will also be present.

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