Less than three months after installing a GE Additive Concept Laser M Line additive manufacturing system at its 6,500m2 mold making facility in Batalha, central Portugal, a team led by EROFIO Group’s metal additive manufacturing leader, Luís Santos successfully 3D-printed its first Mold Core.
The Core was manufactured using M300 hot work tool steel – a material often used for the production of injection molding and die-casting tool inserts with conformal cooling, as well as functional components. The Core contains more than eight independent, internal conformal cooling channels, stretching over eight meters in length and between five to eight-millimeters in diameter.
Additively manufacturing the part affords the team the design freedom to enable conformal cooling to create a more efficient heat exchange. This improved cooling will increase the overall plastic injection process productivity through decreased cooling cycle time and warpage, and the improvement of the injected plastic part aesthetics.
In addition to the benefits of geometric freedom on the design of inner channels, using additive manufacturing has reduced finishing requirements by 90%.
Another advantage identified, when compared with conventional manufacturing processes, was a reduction in the total manufacturing time — from powder to mold assembly — by 30%.
Santos and his team, already experienced users of GE Additive’s Concept Laser M2 system, opted for an existing parameter – already developed for the Concept Laser M2 Series 5 – and made minimal changes in order to adapt it for the M Line system.
Following remote optimization support from the GE Additive team in Lichtenfels, the part was successfully printed on its first attempt, over a six-day period in May 2021.