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3/31/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

TOOLING: 3D Printed Molds & More Tooling News at NPE

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Mold inserts made of plastic, larger mold bases, new pre-machined insulator sheets, and more.

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Milacron showed several developments in tooling at NPE2015. One was a demonstration of how short-run injection mold core/cavity inserts can be built in-house on short notice using 3D printing. Milacron demonstrated this with a PolyJet system from Stratasys, which inkjet prints droplets of thermosetting liquid photopolymer that solidify when exposed to UV light. Inserts were thus “grown” in 5 hr and loaded into a quick-change MUD mold base from DME, Madison Heights, Mich. (photo). The inserts last for about 500 shots.

DME also showed its new larger mold bases with plate lengths up to 90 in.; new pre-machined insulator sheets designed for standard mold bases; and MU quick-change aluminum inserts made of Alumold 500 mold plate. This high-strength alloy reportedly offers superior durability, faster machining, lighter weight, and faster molding cycles due to high thermal conductivity.

An extension of Milacron mold-polishing and finishing solutions is the new Xebec deburring tools and grinding stones that incorporate ceramic-fiber technology. The tips of the fine alumina fibers have a superior grinding force that improves surface finish faster than other tools. The tools are also self-sharpening.

Another new technology from Milacron is SmartMold, which is said to provide molders information about their molds that was previously unavailable. Besides cycle counting, uptime and cycle-time sensing, SmartMold also senses over-pressurization, overheating, over-clamping, and other mold abuse, which now can be easily recorded without need for parting-line sensors, pressure transducers, wiring, or thermocouples. The collected data is transferred to production-monitoring systems. Users can interface with SmartMold via a compact multi-touch screen mounted on the mold or via smartphone using a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. SmartMold automatically notifies users and their supplier of pending need for parts or service.