PEP - Centre Technique de la Plastique Laser-sintering mould cavities allows conformal cooling for optimised performance

Editor: Eric Culp

PEP - Centre Technique de la Plasturgie is a consultancy and service provider specialised in the conformal cooling of injection-mould tools through the application of direct metal laser-sintering technology. Conformal cooling—the placement of cooling channels in complex configurations close to the walls of mould cavities—optimises the thermal behaviour of moulds such that plastics processors can enjoy very short cycle times, good-looking parts not subject to warpage, and accelerated mould development.

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The laser-sintering-based construction technique allows the cooling channels to be formed in any geometry at the same time as the mould tool is built. The method involves melting a maraging steel powder with a laser beam, and it provides a means for constructing thermally optimised mould cavities from steel rather than beryllium copper, for better mould durability. Cavities have metal density of 99.8% after fusion. Hardness is 37 HRc prior to heat treatment and 50–54 HRc after.

PEP is equipped with two different laser-sintering machines (an EOS M270 and Phenix PXL), a fully digital chain for design and mechanical, thermal and fluidic simulation, thermal cameras to control thermal performance of the cavities, and injection moulding machines for running samples. Its experts will take care of thermal analyses, design and validation of the cooling channels, the realisation of laser-sintered mould components on pre-machined bases, and the heat-treating and machining of the mould parts. Work is carried out in co-operation with the mould maker and moulder.

PEP - Centre Technique de la Plastique

Oyonnax, France