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Precision ADM, Melet Plastics & Canada Makes partner on conformal cooling project

Precision ADM recently completed a conformal cooling mold project that developed an improved “Venturi Cup” for Melet Plastics. The project received funded from Canada Makes through its Metal Additive Demonstration Program. The goal of the project was to show how a mold optimized using additive manufacturing (AM) methods can increase quality and productivity.

AM conformal cooling mold design

AM conformal cooling mold design. CAD models supplied by Melet Plastic Inc.

“This project is an excellent example of how the Metal Additive Demonstration Program works,” said Frank Defalco Manager Canada Makes. “Learning about the capabilities offered by adopting AM is what will make Canadian industry more productive and conformal cooling is a key area that needs to be exploited.”

One of the major factors contributing to the deformation of molded plastic parts is a lack of uniform heat distribution throughout molds. Various areas of the final part created by a mold cool at different rates creating internal stresses and deformations.

Dale Kellington General Manager of Precision ADM  stated, “conformal cooling applications continue to  have a direct impact on part quality, cycle times and productivity of injection molded parts”

A warping defect was reported in the production of a “Venturi Cup” part manufactured by Melet Plastics Inc. for use in an AGCO-Amity JV air seeder. The goal was a reduction in the warping seen in the large rectangular section of the part. Proposed alterations included changes in material, wall thickness and coolant temperature, as well as an optimized mold for cooling produced by Precision ADM using additive manufacturing methods.

Molded part new - old

Using conventional mold design, coolant channels are required to be drilled as a separate operation but are restricted to a path of connecting straight lines. This restriction is the cause of non-uniform heat distribution that causes part deformation. Additive manufacturing methods can be used to create molds featuring a coolant channels that follow the contours of a mold, drastically improving heat distribution during cooling. This has the added benefit of eliminating the task of drilling cooling channels.

Dale added, “with software such as Moldex our engineers can simulate the injection molding process and demonstrate the beneficial cooling characteristics of conformal cooling molds for production”

Mold - Tradition design versus conformal cooling AM designed

Mold – Tradition designed mold versus conformal cooling AM designed mold. CAD models supplied by Melet Plastic Inc.

The project showed significant results. This application of additive manufacturing showcases the complex subsurface geometries that are possible using the method. The use of the optimized mold together with a decrease in wall thickness resulted in a warpage reduction of 42%; an overall warpage reduction of 54% was achieved with all other alterations included.

About Precision ADM
Precision ADM is a contract engineering and manufacturing solutions provider that uses additive manufacturing (3D Printing) as a core technology. Precision ADM has created a full Advanced Digital Manufacturing hub from Design to Engineering, to Manufacturing and finishing.  Complimented by multi-axis machining capability, PADM identifies, develops, and manufactures high value components and device applications for the medical, aerospace, energy and industrial sectors. PADM is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. www.precisionadm.com

About Melet Plastics Inc.
As Leaders in Engineering Plastics Solutions, the Melet team is dedicated to engineering custom plastic products that meet the needs of Original Equipment Manufacturers. Melet offers a comprehensive array of services to ensure that every step of the development process is a success – from product design, engineering, material selection, and rapid prototyping, to mold manufacturing, injection molding, and assembly. Melet operates out of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility complete with extensive automation and robotics. New capabilities include compression thermoforming of natural fiber composites at the Fargo location. www.meletplastics.com

About Canada Makes
A Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) initiative, Canada Makes is a network of private, public, academic, and non-profit entities dedicated to promoting the adoption and development of additive manufacturing in Canada. For more information on Canada Makes, please visit www.canadamakes.ca or contact Frank Defalco at frank.defalco@cme-mec.ca

The Metal Additive Manufacturing Demonstration Program is funding by NRC-IRAP and is designed to help Canadian industries increase awareness and assist in understanding the advantages of the metal additive manufacturing (AM) technology. Canada Makes works with a group of AM experts who provide participating companies guidance of the advantages and business opportunities in terms of cost savings and efficiencies of AM.