Aluminium butts heads with steel in injection tooling
Wearing down the tool
In a study by the Warwick Manufacturing Group, a department of the UK’s University of Warwick, the level of tool wear was compared when flat end milling was carried out on high strength aluminium and steel injection mould alloys. For the aluminium, no significant tool wear was observed after 418 minutes of machining. For the Stravax ESR, however, 45.41μm wear was observed after 29 minutes of machining. Furthermore, chip form could be maintained throughout the machining cycle for the high strength mould-grade aluminium, which is said to be an indication of good machinability.
Good results with EDM, too
Within an EDM milling study, the benefits of aluminium’s use were faster milling, lower current and savings on EDM wires. It produced data showing a 58-60% reduction in mill time for the high strength aluminium alloy.