Unique Tool & Gauge, Windsor, Ont. (unique-tool.com), completed a production injection mold machined from the largest block of tooling-grade aluminum ever forged.

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Largest aluminum injection mold at Unique Tool & Gauge.

As we reported in January and May 2010, aluminum injection tooling is proving its worth as an alternative to steel for even long-running automotive parts. Unique Tool & Gauge, Windsor, Ont. (unique-tool.com), completed a production injection mold machined from the largest block of tooling-grade aluminum ever forged. Alcan Global ATI supplied, through a production licensee, an 11,000-lb forging of Alumold 500 that measured 70 x 52 x 31 in. It has completed trials for molding the front wheel well of a U.S.-made, high-volume sedan. “This is a major step forward for the North American plastics industry,” says Unique Tool president Darcy King. “It’s becoming more well known that toolmakers like us can produce an automotive production tool faster and at less cost in aluminum vs. P20 steel, and that tool will run with cycle-time reductions of anywhere from 30% to well in excess of 50% vs. P20 steel.”  An added advantage is that aluminum weighs about one-third as much as steel.