Metal Additive Manufacturing
PTI Engineered Plastics is one of the first plastic injection molding companies in North America to explore metal additive manufacturing. Currently, we have tested this technology for sinks, hollow core inserts, over-long cycles, and cooling challenges.
Powder Bed Fusion
Our research is based on the powder bed fusion (PBF) method known as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) that uses data from computer-aided design (CAD) software to guide the laser to sinter and fuse layers of material powder together to reproduce the 3D CAD model.
Molds with complex geometries can now have contoured cooling channels integrated into it to match part surfaces. This will increase cooling efficiency and shorten the cooling cycle time. By keeping a more consistent, even temperature, there is better control over part variation from shot to shot. Cycle time reduction is achieved by having the ability to place water into areas previously unobtainable with conventional drilling methods. A reduced cycle time means less time required for the mold to be in the press, resulting in a more competitive piece price.
PTI has done extensive research using metal additive manufacturing to make hollow inserts. Inserts typically have a 4-7mm thick wall supporting plastic pressure with liquid carbon dioxide on the inside to help spot cool the insert. This blend of new technologies allows for cooling of the entire part surface rather than in local spots like conformal cooling or drilled water lines.
Density can be varied by precise control of the sintering. Placement of porous structures within critical areas of the mold are nearly unlimited. This will reduce gas traps and improve part quality. Vents can now be placed in any location without diminishing surface finish.
By growing the molds, inserts or parts from nothing, the need for extra material is eliminated. No wasted graphite and metal chips that need recycling. Think of only paying for the metal you need.