On Mfg/May 2017

Cool Tools

“We build the unmachineable!” says David Baucus, DME product manager. DME, a Milacron brand, is a provider of mold components and molding supplies. But he’s not talking, in this case, about molding something rather than machining it. Rather, he is referencing the new line of conformal cooling products, named “TruCool,” that DME is offering to moldmakers and molders. It is based on not material removal—a.k.a., machining—but additive manufacturing—a.k.a., 3D printing. DME is working with Linear AMS, a company that specializes in direct metal laser melting, to create complex cavities, cores and components with conformal cooling channels that can’t otherwise be put into the tools. The importance of this is that thermal control can be greatly improved, providing as much as a reduction in cooling times of molded parts of 100 percent. In addition to which, conformal venting holes can also be created. DME creates the mold cavity or core based on a customer’s 3D CAD model.

The provided component, with the cooling/venting channels and holes in place, has a hardness up to 56 HRc and an additional 0.025-inch rough metal is left on the piece to allow the customer to finish the cavity or surface to its own specs.

The moldmaker receives their Conformal Cooling (and/or venting) optimized mold cavity or core according to the specification of their 3D model with a hardness up to 56HRC with an additional +.025” rough metal to allow them to finish the cavity or core’s part surface to their own specifications. Every Conformal Cooling solution is material, flow and pressure tested to ensure quality, each time, before shipment. 

Cutting Fabrics Fast

A new laser cutting system for multi-ply airbag fabric is now available from Lectra—along with newly developed software for both planning the cuts and doing the actual cutting. The FocusQuantum FT3K features a single cutting head powered by a 3-kW laser source. However, there is the opportunity to upgrade the system by adding a second cutting head and laser source to the unit, which Lectra says can provide a productivity increase of up to 65 percent. Given that the automotive airbag market is growing at a rate of 8 to 9 percent per year, Lectra maintains that having production capacity can be highly beneficial, especially when it can be achieved, as is the case with the FT3K, without the addition of new facilities or footprint expansion. lectra.com

Fast Composite Parts
Dieffenbacher is a system supplier of automated, turnkey production plants for the manufacture of composite components, and it has developed one such system that is, the company says, “the fastest tape layup plant in the world.” That’s because tapes—carbon or glass fiber tapes, which are unrolled from coils—can be placed in a specific pattern in less than a second. The Fiberforge unit can handle up to four coils of materials so that near-net shaped components can be produced from a blend of different tape materials and sizes. There is an angle cutting system that cuts the tapes either straight across or at an angle of ±45 degrees. After layup there is vacuum-assisted consolidation, which helps minimize trapped air in the piece, with a Fibercon process line. This process is also characterized as having a comparatively short cycle time. Through the use of downstream material handling robots and a forming press, Dieffenbacher says that as many as one-million composite components can be produced each year. dieffenbacher.de