On September 7, 2023, metal 3D printing manufacturing company AddUp announced its participation in a study to explore the feasibility of six mold companies adopting 3D printing technology.
The study will evaluate the suitability of metal additive manufacturing for the manufacture of molds for six tool components. AddUp conducted the research in collaboration with WBA Aachener Werkzeugbau Akademie and plans to present the findings at the Congress in the fourth quarter of 2023.
The two organizations originally merged in early 2023, when AddUp established the Additive Tooling Competence Center at its German subsidiary Aachen, to accelerate the adoption of metal additive manufacturing by tooling companies.
Six mold companies such as Pöppelmann, Siebenwurst, Harting, Zahoransky, GIRA, and FRAMAS have identified a specific application area. In this field, AddUp developed an initial prototype of an injection mold with optimized cooling channels. They will now analyze the design and profitability of these molds, hoping to prove their suitability for series production. This means that by using metal additive manufacturing techniques, these molds can provide better cooling during production and have the potential to be economical in mass production.
Examples of mold parts manufactured by these six mold companies using metal 3D printing technology
The following areas of application are being evaluated
●Siebenwurst|Automotive industry|Door handle slider mold
●Zahoransky|Medical Industry|Pipette Mold
●GIRA|Energy industry|Socket mold plug-in
● Pöppelmann | Energy industry | High voltage plug cover inner and outer inserts
●Harting | Energy Industry | Connector Sealing Die Inserts and Pressure Plates
●Framas|consumer goods industry|soccer shoe mold
Earlier this year, AddUp demonstrated an injection mold 3D printed using AISI 420 steel material
AddUp worked with these companies to evaluate how additive manufacturing could be used to optimize applications and develop designs for their laser powder bed fusion processes. The parts are manufactured using AddUp’s four-laser FormUp 350 machine and post-processed by the appropriate tooling house or WBA. Then, each mold is sampled on the mold company’s production line, and the comparison data is provided to WBA. Results will be announced before the end of the year.
The research was supported by iQTemp (Additive Manufacturing Design and Simulation of Cooling Channels), Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (Additive Manufacturing Materials), Additive Manufacturing Service Provider 3D Laser BW (who have expertise in mold inserts with near-contour cooling systems) knowledge) as well as strong support from Siemens NX, Fraunhofer ILT, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and ACAM, the German Alliance for Applied Additive Manufacturing.
AddUp launches FormUp 350 platform in May 2021