3D printing transforming tooling and injection moulding

3D printing transforming tooling and injection moulding

Additive manufacturing or 3D metal printing is starting to transform tooling, as complex moulding shapes can now have water cooling channels to enable cooling and fast cycle injection moulding.

The future of tooling is changing

The impact of digital tools has revolutionised every industry it has touched, and now we can see the first signs of it making a difference within the plastic injection moulding and manufacturing process.

It means the moulding process can be re-imagined

One consideration when designing for the manufacture of a plastic component is how we can cool the mould. Machining shapes for moulding and making it faster to manufacture at lower costs has always been limited by the ability to cool the tooling during cycles. It has meant that sometimes designs were compromised to achieve the cooling, especially when shapes involved complex curves. But now designers are starting to rethink how they can possibly design for injection moulding as the additive manufacturing can integrate cooling channels within the build of the tool.

The future of Plastic is bright

Despite the bad press plastic quite rightly gets when used for single use applications, there remains a need for plastic in manufacturing. The use of this fabulous material will be re-imagined now the design limitations are lifted on tooling designs. The cost-effective use of this ubiquitous material is no-doubt going to continue to develop with the need for lightweight, strong, heat resistant materials as the transition to electric vehicles takes place. Driving the development of polymers to deliver an even greater variety of benefits.  

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