Eos Indian supplier increases output by using laser sintered inserts
EOS Technology helped to implement conformal cooling channels for higher production efficiency and less waste. Redesigned core inserts reduced cooling time in the production of plugs for smartphones. The Munich-based company reports on this project.
Salcomp, based in Chennai, India, is a leading supplier for the smartphone industry. The company produces plugs and power supply units for cellphones and has additional market potential through the production of LED drivers. Manufacturing capacity amounts to more than 440 mil. units per year. For the construction of its production tools, Salcomp relies on additive manufacturing technology provided by EOS.
As is the case in the mass production of comparable products, Salcomp usually produces in-house parts by means of a plastic injection-moulding process. Efficiency gains are a necessity when competing internationally.
Salcomp decided to seek new alternatives for the optimisation of the cooling system. The aim was to construct the manufacturing tools in such a way that the parts could cool at a faster rate. As a consequence, the project managers decided to look more closely at the design of the cooling channels. The solution to the first part of the task was as follows: The cooling elements themselves were to be brought closer to the cavity. This way, the heat from the layer of metal can pass through and exit the machine faster. At the same time, the fine points of the design should make sure that this evacuation takes place as effectively as possible.
Cooling channels movedclose to the edge
Since drilling, turning, and other options could neither provide the necessary flexibility of design nor the required precision, additive manufacturing, in this case metal-based, entered the discussion: Salcomp commissioned a third party to utilise EOS technology in producing Eosint M 270, applying direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) for the manufacture of its core inserts. The successful change to tool production had an effect: The cooling channels were to be moved to the smallest possible distance from the edges of the core inserts.
At the same time, the quality of the end-product as a whole was improved. "The reason for this is the extreme precision that the process offers, in which a laser beam hardens the metal granulate layer by layer to exactly the specifications set down by the engineers using 3D software,” explained Krishnan Ramkumar, tooling specialist at EOS India.
Cost savings amount to €20,000 per year
The improvements are now showing positive effects in the daily production run at Salcomp: The time required for cooling was reduced from 14 to just 8 seconds for each production cycle.
The company was able to increase its monthly output by more than 56,000 units without having to make adjustments to their manufacturing machinery. The annual cost savings amount to €20,000.
In addition, the reject rate fell from 2% to 1.4%, bringing cost savings and a reduction in the environmental impact of the production process.
“We are extremely satisfied with the results. Our core inserts, produced using additive manufacturing technology, are achieving the benefits that we were looking for," said Arumugam Narayanaswami, responsible for sourcing at Salcomp. "The reduced costs combined with the increased rate of production have shown that technology is not simply self-serving but also has a positive impact on our business.”