In the early days of "rapid prototyping" it was expected that as the technology advanced it would be disruptive to molded parts. For moldmakers, it might have meant fewer prototype molds if those molds weren't needed to get prototype parts. While most of that didn't come to pass in the early days of the technology, advances in what is now called "additive manufacturing" (AM) have indeed impacted metal fabrication, machining and in some cases moldmaking with the ability to "grow" various mold components.
Advancements in Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) developed by EOS, a German-based company specializing in laser-sintering systems, have made it possible to produce end-use metal components. While additive manufacturing is a key technology for e-Manufacturing that accelerates product development and optimizes production processes, the ability to produce direct metal components via AM is a game-changer for companies that adopt it.
Making core and cavity inserts via AM
John Tenbusch, president of Linear Mold & Engineering (Livonia, MI), was one of the earliest adopters of DMLS technology in the U. S., according to EOS's information. While the company specializes in the design and build of injection molds and is currently very busy in that arena, Linear Mold's DMLS business "is making us even busier," Tenbusch notes....