3D printed mould inserts Cycle time optimisation through conformal cooling
Maintaining a consistent temperature within a mould is critical for both robust manufacturing processes and high quality components. At the upcoming Fakuma, Sigma Engineering will be demonstrating the design of cooling systems using its Sigmasoft software. A case study with /H&B/ Electronic illustrates a cooling channel created using metal 3D printing technology.
Sigma Engineering will present a project carried out with /H&B/ Electronic at Fakuma in Friedrichshafen from 17 to 21 October 2023. The demonstration, located in Hall A5, Stand 5110, will focus on how simulation facilitates and refines the development of conformal cooling for a connector housing.
In injection moulding, the thermal performance of the mould has a significant impact on the quality of the final product and cycle time. Temperature inconsistencies can lead to different cooling rates, which in turn can cause residual stresses and deformation in the finished part. Uneven wall thicknesses can also present challenges due to different localised cooling requirements. Conformal cooling is increasingly being used to maintain a uniform temperature and facilitate even heat distribution. Simulation techniques help to quantify these benefits and compare them with potential additional costs.
The use of advanced metal 3D printing offers flexibility in the design of mould inserts, including integrated cooling features, without the limitations of traditional manufacturing methods such as milling and drilling. /H&B Electronic used Sigmasoft to design the layout of this 3D printed tempering system, which has now been successfully implemented in series production.
Commenting on the success of the project, CTO Timo Gebauer notes that the 3D printed tempering system has resulted in both cost and energy savings while improving component quality. He adds that the implementation of Sigmasoft often leads to innovation for their customers, as demonstrated in the case of /H&B/ Electronic, where the investment in their own metal 3D printer was deemed justified.