Tooling is a primary application for Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), providing for the rapid manufacture of tooling inserts and components. These tools meet the stringent requirements for series production, as well as die casting. On top of the value of short turn-around time, additional value is created by the unique geometric freedom of design. One of the relevant “advanced tooling” applications is the integration of conformal cooling channels, which improve both the quality and economics of injection molded parts. Tools created by DMLS are used to produce millions of parts in injection molding operations or many thousand metal parts in die casting.
Direct Metal Laser-Sintering (DMLS) produces solid metal parts by locally melting metal powder with a focused laser, automatically creating geometries layer-by-layer from 3D CAD data. This unique freedom of design permits the manufacture of highly complex geometries directly from electronic data. DMLS can make EDM and milling obsolete in many cases, especially with complex part geometries where slides, inserts or other tool components with complex characteristics are required.
Conformal Cooling & DMLS help achieve the following improvements and advantages:
Improve Tool Geometry
* Routing options for cooling channels are almost infinite. This makes it possible to create an ideal cooling channel that is a well defined distance from cavity walls.
* An evened out temperature level can help to improve tool life. This becomes relevant especially in die casting tools that are exposed to extreme temperature variations.
* Heat/Cool critical areas inside the tool that cannot be reached by conventional methods.
Improve the Injection Molding Process
* Effective mold temperature control systems save time and costs in the injection molding process.
* Temperature control improves part quality, helping to minimize shrink and warp.
* Reduce Scrap Rate and Cycle Time.
* Mold cavities can be rapidly cooled, producing optimal cycle times by minimizing cool down times in tooling cavities.
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