New technical article from Uddeholm

Increased productivity, New options to improve thermal conductivity

A lot of effort is put in place to reduce cycle time and one popular method is to use mold materials with high thermal conductivity to increase the heat transfer and cool the molded parts quicker. So, injection molders turn to aluminium or beryllium copper for molds and dies instead of the traditional tool steel in order to improve thermal conductivity up to 10 times better which decreases the cycle time and increase productivity. Using these materials with high thermal conductivity has proven an efficient way to lower the cycle time but these materials also have some disadvantages compared to the traditional tool steel. The hardness and strength of the aluminium insert materials are lower than for tool steel, which leads to wear of the tool, or even worse cracking, which limits the lifetime of the tool.

When using beryllium copper, the strength and hardness is often sufficient for the tools but there are environmental and especially health issues with beryllium copper during die manufacturing or processing which can be harmful for the operators and persons in contact with the mold. The health issues caused by the beryllium copper can and should be avoided however this leads to more complex and costly mold manufacturing.

There is now a new option to reduce the cycle time in plastic injection molding by making tools and dies by additive manufacturing. This technology provides new possibilities when it comes to producing complex geometries and for plastic injection molds and especially of interest when designing the cooling channels for your molds.

Read the full technical article attached here, written by Kenneth Åsvik (Uddeholm AB) and Máslo Libor (voestalpine High Performance Metals CZ s.r.o.) with kind contribution from Jiri Húževka (Miele) and David Wang (voestalpine Technology Institute).