Mould design Two processes for building blow-moulding test tools

Editor: Eric Culp

In the past, blow-moulding companies have largely avoided prototyping due to the high cost and long lead times of the process. Stratasys explains the steps needed to use its pair of technologies to eliminate these concerns.

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Plastic and plastic: An example of the type of 3D-printed blow mould that can be used to produce a prototype bottle.
Plastic and plastic: An example of the type of 3D-printed blow mould that can be used to produce a prototype bottle.
(Source: Stratasys)

Blow moulding is a manufacturing process that makes hollow plastic parts, such as bottles and other containers. Manufacturing these items is fast and cost-efficient, but prototyping tends to be slow and costly.

Selecting the type of process to make blow moulding tools

Blow-mould design and the specification of process parameters require skill and precision. A small change in the pinch-off or vent design, die temperature or blow pressure can dramatically affect the moulding results. Prototyping enables designers to validate these parameters and accelerate design approval. Blow moulding uses many common plastics, including polystyrene, polycarbonate (PC), polyvinylchloride (PVC) and polyethylene (PE). Inkjet-based technology and fused deposition modelling (FDM) that use plastics offer 3D manufacturing opportunities to prototype blow-moulded products faster and at lower cost.

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With inkjet or FDM 3D printing, companies can design a mould, build the tool and blow mould near-production quality prototypes. Advances in inkjet and FDM 3D printing, including improved surface quality, durability, build speed and cost, make blow-mould prototyping a much more rewarding process. The two Stratasys 3D-printing platforms (inkjet and FDM) can be applied to the three major blow-moulding methods, extrusion blow moulding (EBM), injection blow moulding (IBM) and injection-stretch blow moulding (ISBM).

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