The machine is based on EOS’ M 290 direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) system and extends the range of opportunities open to mould and die manufacturers.
EOS’ Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology facilitates the optimised positioning and production of conformal cooling channels in moulds and mould inserts. As a consequence heat is more effectively dissipated from both the mould tool and the plastic parts being produced…resulting in significantly reduced cycle times as well as ensuring improved part quality and increased part dimensional accuracies.
Other advantages of fast and effective thermal exchange include the reduction of thermal stress in the mould tool itself - which extends mould tool life and performance.
‘Conformal’ cooling channels
In injection moulding, the cooling time of a finished product can constitute up to 70 per cent of the total cycle time. Processes and solutions therefore that can reduce cooling times are clearly a ‘good thing.’
In the past, and using conventional mould making techniques, temperature control or cooling channels could only be drilled in straight lines. As a consequence critical hotspots often remained out of the coolant’s reach.
Using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (such as that employed in the AM S 290 machine), it is now possible to integrate optimised, conformal cooling channels into the mould and mould inserts during the production process.
Mould makers can ensure thermal exchange occurs closer to the surface of a mould, improving temperature homogeneity - helping reduce throughput times and increase operational efficiencies.
The AM S 290 Tooling machine solution
This new industrial 3D printing machine wraps EOS’ proven DMLS technology into a GF Machining Solutions’ frame creating an integrated bridge between EOS’ 3D printing and GFMS’ machining, automation and software systems.
The machine, aimed primarily at the manufacture of high-quality metal inserts, is equipped with enhanced quality management features and a build volume of 250 x 250 x 325 mm.
Other features include a System 3R MacroMagnum chuck that is fully integrated into the machine’s building system. In combination with Reference Point Calibration software, it enables the absolute location of parts relative to the X/Y plane of the building platform, something particularly advantageous for manufacturing hybrid workpieces.
It further integrates building platform handling with other machining processes to separate workpieces or accurately refurbish building platforms for re-use.
The integrated chuck is intended to be used in combination with standard pallets (e.g., used for hybrid parts) or building platforms equipped with a standard reference element. This significantly improves the ability for upstream and downstream integration of the AM process throughout the whole production process.
Hybrid mould inserts are the most economical solution for parts characterised by geometrically simple and complex sections. Depending on material and size, such hybrid parts can be created directly by generating the additively manufactured (AM) part on top of a conventionally manufactured base or, by separately finishing and assembling both parts.
The Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) process works one layer at a time, depositing particle-thin layers of metal powder down on the build plate and then melting exactly the shapes and contours needed for a component with a precision laser. The process is repeated, layer by micro-thin layer, until the part is fully grown from the bottom up.
Because of this unique process, engineers can design any construction or architecture they can dream up inside a solid structure, creating cavities, circuits, and textures where no machine tool could ever reach.
For mould makers, this is a game-changer - and the use of this technology in the AM S 290 puts GF Machining Solutions ahead of the game.