DIRECT METAL LASER SINTERING, USING CONFORMAL COOLING, FOR HIGH VOLUME PRODUCTION TOOLING

Bertus van As, J Combrinck, G J Booysen, D J De Beer

Abstract


Existing techniques to manufacture conventional tool steel inserts for the plastic injection moulding process are expensive and time-consuming. Complex mould inserts, difficult to manufacture with conventional processes, can be produced using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) with Maraging tool steel (MS1). MS1 is an additive manufacturing (AM) material made available by Electro Optical Systems (EOS) GmbH. Contrary to material removal processes, DMLS can produce MS1 tool steel inserts directly from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) files suitable for high volume plastic injection moulding. Through DMLS it is possible to create conformal cooling channels inside the MS1 inserts that have advantages in reducing heat rapidly and evenly. This can result in a reduction of cycle times, cost per product as well as improving part quality by eliminating defects such as warpage and heat sinks. This paper will present a comparison between Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulations of the injection mould inserts with actual mould trails of AM and conventional manufactured inserts. It also includes the design and manufacturing of conventional and DMLS inserts and compares the manufacturing costs and lead times. Using FEA simulations, the design of conformal cooling channels is optimised by comparing the mould temperature of different cooling channel layouts.


Keywords


Injection moulding; Rapid Tooling; Conformal cooling; finite element analysis; Additive Manufacturing.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7166/28-4-1470

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