A moulder and mould maker is using technology to 3D print the injection tooling used to make prototypes, which it says is significantly reducing the time and cost of producing sample parts.
Seuffer, a German supplier of parts for household appliances and commercial vehicles, is using Stratasys 3D-printed injection moulds to produce parts for functional testing in their final material.
“Working with the automotive industry, sample parts need to be tested in the environment of moving mechanical parts as well as in high temperature environments,” explained Andreas Buchholz, Head of Research and Development at Seuffer.
“With Stratasys 3D printing, we can design first drafts of the injection mould within a few days and 3D print them in less than 24 hours for part evaluation. Traditionally, it would take eight weeks to manufacture the tool in metal using the conventional CNC process. And while the conventional tool costs us about 40,000 euros, the 3D printed tool is less than 1000 euros, a saving of 97 percent.”
Using the Stratasys technology, Seuffer also produces 3D printed moulds for its hot melt process. These moulds, which are used to overmould low melting point polyamide over electronic circuit boards, are created with Stratasys’ rigid, opaque Vero materials.
“Companies worldwide are looking to introduce significant efficiencies to their manufacturing processes when introducing new products, and are discovering the many benefits of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing,” said Andy Middleton, General Manager, Stratasys EMEA at Stratasys. “More and more manufacturers are adopting 3D printed tools as a complimentary injection moulding solution – not only to cost-effectively test products before mass production, but also to produce customised parts.”