Industrial 3D printing for tooling – Function integration, faster amortisation

Additive manufacturing from EOS increases both the productivity of the tools and the product quality.

In many industries, the production of specialist tools is one of the most expensive aspects of the production processes. It is generally costly, time consuming and very technically demanding to use conventional processes. EOS has a solution. Based on Additive Manufacturing, EOS enables single parts or individualised serial products to be manufactured quickly, cost-effectively and flexibly, even in small batch sizes.

Even highly complex forms and designs with integrated cooling or tempering channels are not a problem for additive manufacturing. Conventional production processes reach the limit of their capabilities here. They restrict design and construction freedom because, for example, the only solution for cooling is often simply to drill the required channels. Also, as a tool becomes more complex, so the costs associated with it rise enormously.

Optimising die-casting
One of the major challenges in die-casting is the defined cooling of the tools used during serial production. This is where conventional tool production processes reach their limits. Tempering channels can only be drilled in straight lines. This means that critical hotspots can often not be reached with coolants and thus cannot be relieved. As a consequence, the tool can become misshapen and its service life reduced. In addition the partly deficient heat dissipation is responsible for long cooling times for the manufactured products.

Innovative additive manufacturing from EOS on the basis of DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) is the answer. This makes it possible to integrate optimised tempering channels in the tool directly and under near-contour conditions during production. This means that heat can be efficiently and more evenly dissipated, while hotspots can be cooled on a targeted basis. Manufacturers benefit from numerous advantages: The tool retains its shape better and lasts longer. In addition, the product quality and dimensional accuracy of the manufactured parts is enhanced, while drastically reducing cycle times.

Optimising injection moulding operations
In injection moulding, the cooling time of a finished product can constitute up to 70 per cent of the cycle time in series production.

One reason is that in conventional mould making, temperature controls or cooling channels can only be drilled in a straight line. Critical hotspots often remain out of the coolant’s reach and therefore cannot be mitigated.

Using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) by EOS however, makes it possible to integrate optimised, conformal cooling channels into the mould during the production process. This ensures faster and more even heat dissipation. It reduces thermal stress in the mould and prolongs service life. The plastic product quality and dimensional accuracy of the parts is also increased as well as reducing warpage. In addition, this also allows for a drastic reduction of cycle times.

Production cost reduction
The design benefits of Additive Manufacturing from EOS increase both the productivity of the tools and the plastic product quality. Scrap rate and cost per part decline. In addition, manufacturers profit from cycle time reduction and longer service life for tools. They can also bring their products to market more quickly.

Benefits of additive manufacturing for tooling include maximum freedom of design, design-driven manufacturing, highly productive tools, faster amortisation, flexible manufacturing processes, for example the choice between hybrid construction/non-hybrid construction, function integration and the reduction in wage costs thanks to standalone processes.

For further information contact Rapid 3D on TEL: 087 802 0604 or visit