3D-printed conformal cooling channels for injection molds improve productivity


Conformal cooling technology in injection molds has been around for a couple of decades. It was developed as a way to create cooling channels that follow, or conform, to the shape of the molded part in order to get cooling close to critical areas that otherwise would be difficult to cool, such as thicker wall sections. Conformal cooling technology offers a more uniform way to cool parts, thus reducing cycle time and improving productivity and quality.

In fact, cooling is an extremely critical part of the injection molding process, and over the past few years there have been several new developments in the technology in an effort to improve the way conformal cooling lines are produced to prevent leakage and mold damage. The advent of 3D printing, aka additive manufacturing, using the direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) process, developed by EOS GmbH, has given conformal cooling technology a new opportunity to improve the molding process with conformal cooling channels in injection molds.

Linear Mold & Engineering became a leader in these efforts when the company obtained its first DMLS machine from EOS GmbH in 2007. As a premier designer of injection molds with complex geometries for the automotive, aerospace, and consumer products industries, Linear already knew of the advantages that conformal cooling could bring to the molding process. Being introduced to DMLS gave Linear new opportunities to provide this unique cooling channel technology not only to the molds it built for its OEM customers, but to other moldmakers, as well.
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