Scott Kraemer, Directing Manager: New Technology, Corporate Design, PTI Engineered Plastics
While conformal cooling is a good start for plastic injection mold inserts, there is a better solution – hollow inserts. This will allow for a faster transfer of heat out of the plastic parts and result in faster cycle times. Conformal cooling inserts is basically a modification of the old technology of drilled waterlines. It just gets the water closer in some areas to the plastic part being formed, while still leaving hot and cold spots on the plastic part. We started by making inserts with an internal lattice structure to support the injection pressure required to fill the mold. We then realized that we could eliminate the need for internal lattice structure and make the inserts completely hollow. A completely new way to grow inserts faster and cheaper by using less powder material and significantly less sintering time. Thus bringing this metal am more in reach of mold shops wanting to incorporate this technology. Testing showed using hollow inserts versus conformal cooling reduced the laser sintering time and powder usage by half. This concept has the ability to change the future of mold making.