Generatively Manufactured Mold Inserts
Small Series Production Reinvented
The frequently self-contradictory demands from customers for greater customization of products, ever faster model changes and increasing product variety also present the machine manufacturers for the injection molding industry with great challenges. In order to meet this technical change, the Dr. Boy GmbH & Co. KG, Neustadt-Fernthal, Germany, is now pursuing a concept that provides for the use of generatively manufactured mold inserts (Fig.).
In order to illustrate the basic idea, mold inserts will be produced on a 3-D printer on the fair booth and then installed in a carrier mold on a Boy XS. With these inserts, the smallest Boy automatic injection molding machine produces snap hooks of different materials. Mold service lives of up to 100 shots are possible, after which the printed inserts are worn. The change to new inserts takes just a few minutes. The advantage here is that the physical properties of moldings produced in this way are equivalent to those of parts manufacturing using conventional mold technology so that even small series can be produced cost-effectively.
The intelligent combination of different materials often makes demands on the machine and mold engineering; particularly when joining thermoplastics and elastomers, attention has to be paid to the temperature control. Dr. Boy addresses this topic in the fully automated production of cross-head screwdrivers in a four-station mold. The special feature of this application installation in combination with a Boy 35 E VH and a Boy 2C XS lies in the optimized hot/cold temperature control in just one mold.
First the steel blank (blade) placed into the mold is sheathed with glassfiber-reinforced polyamide 6 (PA). Then the screwdriver is placed into a waiting position in the mold by a transfer system. In the next machine cycle, the PA-sheathed intermediate now cooled to approx. 80°C is automatically transferred to the next process station where the screwdriver handle is sheathed with two-component liquid silicone to give it a pleasant feel in the hand. In the last station the handle cools down and is removed from the mold area by the automation system.
With a total of ten machines between 100 and 1,000 kN mold clamping force (plus two injection units for the second component), Boy will be presenting a representative cross-section of its machine range in Friedrichshafen. Focus of the exhibits: They highlight the efficient servo drive of the E series, the energy-saving EconPlast plastication technology and the multi-component technology with automation solutions tailored to the specific application.
Fakuma Hall A7, booth 7101
Dr. Boy GmbH & Co. KG
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