Debates about the efficacy of aluminum injection molds versus those made from steel continues, with steel still the most-used material but aluminum being specified for more and more projects. Aluminum molds really started to grab processors' attention about 10 years ago. Since then, processors in a number of end-use markets, most notably automotive and white goods, have begun to adopt the material for an increasing share of their tooling needs.
Aluminum is less costly than steel, but also is softer than steel. However, Al alloys now often are hard enough to withstand one million to two million cycles, while still offering much faster heat removal, leading to lower cycle times. With many automotive and appliance projects now requiring parts numbering in the hundreds of thousands, a greater audience has begun to eye aluminum....