Paul Horn

SLM application to produce tools; Polishing? No, only milling

| Author / Editor: / Briggette Jaya

Components that Paul Horn manufactures using additive manufacturing.
Components that Paul Horn manufactures using additive manufacturing. (Source: Paul Horn)

Having recognised the advanced possibilities offered by additive manufacturing, Paul Horn, now adopts this method to produce the company's tools, using the selective laser melting process.

Tool-manufacturing expert, Paul Horn, is now using additive manufacturing to produce its own tools, particularly when making prototypes, special tools and tool holders. Having recognised the advanced possibilities offered by additive manufacturing, Horn is also offering this service to customers and partners. To facilitate this offering further, the company is creating a new ‘additive manufacturing’ production area in-house, which will include mechanical production, powder analysis and quality assurance.

Horn applies the SLM (selective laser melting) process, which is a powder-bed process that is also known as direct metal laser sintering. In this technique, the metal powder is applied to a platform (that can be lowered) in layers, whereby the relevant area is then targeted and melted by the laser beam. This process is repeated until the required component height has been achieved. The materials currently used by Horn are aluminium (AlSi10Mg) and stainless steel (1.4404), while other materials are still being tested. The maximum build area is 300 x 300 x 300 mm (11.811 x 11.811 x 11.811").

All production stages are in-house, which enables Horn to respond to customer needs directly and parts can be produced in various designs as per requirement. The company says it also assists customers in choosing structures compatible to SLM methods, selecting appropriate powder-based parameters. Both unfinished and semi-finished products through to the finished component are offered. Other advantages include the ability to use available machinery and appropriate measuring equipment in-house.

Brilliant-finish milling saves on the polishing method

In cutting, the company has expanded its tool range for brilliant-finish milling with monocrystalline diamond-tipped (MCD) ball nose end mills, which are for machining non-ferrous materials in the tool and mould-making industries.

According to Horn, milling with MCD-tipped tools saves on the polishing process when producing freeform surfaces. Moreover, the new, larger diameter variants reduce machining time, guaranteeing compliance with the tightest tolerances to produce surface finishes in the nanometre range, Horn claims.

The MCD ball nose end mills are available from stock in diametres 6 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm, 12 mm and 16 mm, which covers an even broader range of applications. All variants are single-edged and feature an internal coolant supply. The solid carbide tool shanks provide vibration and oscillation-free machining as well.

In tool and mould-making, brilliant-finish milling saves on polishing, while increasing precision, contour accuracy, flatness and surface finish. As such, applications where the surface quality of the mould needs to be matched by the finish of the parts are being produced.

These, for example, include PET blow moulds and chocolate moulds as well as applications in the medical technology sector. In addition to brilliant-finish milling, Horn also offers solutions for brilliant-finish turning with MCD tools. bj

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