One-stop machining of precision molds Sodick launches "parallel mode"

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Usually, when talking about hybrid additive manufacturing technology, one of our intuitive feelings is that the technology still has some imperfections. On the one hand, the price of hybrid additive manufacturing equipment is higher than the price of simple CNC metal cutting machine tools, and once the equipment fails, it also affects the two processing technologies of addition and subtraction; On the other hand, the additive manufacturing technology of hybrid additive manufacturing equipment is LENS powder feeding technology, considering that the powder feeding additive manufacturing technology will have a large amount of excess metal powder that needs to be recycled and reused, and the next link of CNC metal cutting processing after the end of additive manufacturing will bring chip breaking and coolant, in the same processing area to achieve addition and subtractive processing, powder recovery and cleaning of the processing area will become a major obstacle affecting the processing efficiency. Currently, hybrid additive manufacturing technology is mostly used for part repair purposes.

However, Japan's Sodick's hybrid additive manufacturing technology

is obviously different from other machine tool manufacturers, if you look at the work area, you will think that this is a powder bed selective laser melting equipment, no coolant injection, and no large number of chips appear, Sodick's hybrid additive manufacturing technology is positioned in the processing of precision molds. Specifically, the Sodick OPM 350 L features the following:

Single-step milling

Single-process milling is Sodick's new fully automated machining method. The metal powder can be melted by laser and then fine-machined with rotating tools. When manufacturing injection molds, complex shapes with conformal cooling channels and deep ribs can be machined with only one Sodick machine.

High-speed styling

High-speed control of the laser in parallel mode makes it possible to process multiple simultaneous processes. In addition, according to the 3D shape of the model, the number of layers of the laser is optimized for the balance of tool cutting, and the cutting practice is greatly shortened.

Independent research and development of numerical control devices and special CAM

Through the new computer numerical control device LN4RP independently developed by Sodick, it is equipped with a high-performance linear motor independently developed and manufactured. Using CAD design and temperature simulation through CAE, the designed CAD data is read to the dedicated Cam "OS-flash" and converted into a CNC program, and the OPM 350L can be used to complete the mold manufacturing process in one stop.

3D Science Valley REVIEW

Undoubtedly, Sodick is eyeing the conformal cooling mold market! The combination of conformal cooling molds and metal 3D printing technology is imperative. The principle of conformal cooling is to quickly reduce the temperature of plastic parts in a uniform and continuous way. The molded part cannot be removed from the mold during the cooling process until it has cooled sufficiently, and then the molded part is separated from the mold. Any hot spots can delay the injection cycle of the molded part, which may cause warpage and sinking marks after disassembly, and may damage the quality of the component surface.

The traditional in-mold cooling channel is achieved by secondary processing. An internal network that creates a straight line of the tube is created by cross-drilling, and the flow rate and direction are adjusted by the built-in fluid plug.

3D printing manufacturing frees us from the limitations of cross-drilling. Now we can design the internal channels closer to the cooling surface of the mold and have smooth corners, faster flow, and increased efficiency of heat transfer to coolant. Different cooling circuits can also be designed according to cooling requirements, designed to dissipate heat at a consistent rate to promote uniformity of heat dissipation.

3D printing for conformal cooling mold manufacturing is in the trend of industrialization, according to market research, in foreign countries, in order to meet the growing order requirements, Kärcher needs to improve production efficiency from the injection molding process, using conventional cooling, the injection cycle is 52 seconds, and through conformal cooling mold, the cooling cycle is reduced from 22 seconds to 10 seconds, shortening the cooling time by 55%, and the faster cooling effect increases the output by 40%, from the original 1500 pieces per day to 2100 pieces.

In addition to Sodick, GF Machining Solutions (Archie) and EOS have jointly launched the AM S 290 Tooling additive manufacturing equipment for the mold industry since 2015, and will also jointly provide mold processing solutions combining additive and subtractive manufacturing for the mold industry. At present, the AM S 290 tooling equipment and additive manufacturing solutions have been "settled" in GF's technical center in Waigaoqiao, Shanghai, providing mold manufacturing solutions including trial cutting and cost estimation services for mold manufacturing users in China and the Asia-Pacific region.

With the deepening of 3D printing applications, the mold manufacturing industry can be said to be a double heaven of ice and fire, on the one hand, plastic 3D printing momentum is fierce, to "waste" the existence of molds. Like the cooperation between NIKE and HP, the cooperation between Adidas and Carbon, is bound to subvert the four steps followed by the traditional manufacturing process: design, prototype, mold, production, and directly realize the process from design to production. On the other hand, metal 3D printing has entered the industrialization, and the efficiency of the mold should be improved. Traditional machining equipment manufacturers such as Sodick can achieve one-stop production of precision molds with conformal cooling channels by integrating powder bed laser melting technology, or EOS and Archie have joined forces to create a complete mold processing solution for combining additive and subtractive manufacturing.

No matter what kind of effort, one thing is very clear, that is, the mold industry is about to change, and it is not the current processing technology that changes this industry, it is 3D printing technology that blows the horn of this industry's transformation and upgrading. By 2020, China's mold output value is expected to reach 179.5 billion yuan, through metal 3D printing to fuel the realization of this data. Or through the realization of plastic 3D printing growth and decline data, let's wait and see!