AddUp, the French leader in metal additive manufacturing, has joined forces with the WBA Tooling Academy in Germany to develop a new 3D printing platform for tooling industry. It will be outfitted with a laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) machine, allowing manufacturers to use this technology for innovative tooling projects.
The WBA’s new additive manufacturing platform will officially open its doors in early 2023, following a launch ceremony on October 25 and 26, 2022.
Technical Reference Center
The WBA Aachener Werkzeugbau Akademie GmbH is a technical reference centre for the tooling industry based in Aachen, Germany. It provides consulting, training, and research services to promote all innovative mould and tool production technologies. Furthermore, the WBA provides companies with strategic and organisational support on all toolmaking-related topics.
The WBA has strengthened its offer by signing a partnership agreement with AddUp, a manufacturer of metal additive manufacturing machines founded by the French groups Michelin and Fives, and is now able to provide its customers with full support for metal 3D printing projects.
3D Printing Platform for Tooling Industry
The new 3D printing platform for tooling industry will house an AddUp New Generation FormUp® 350 machine. This Laser-Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) machine focuses all of AddUp’s expertise in productivity, part quality, and operator safety. Tool makers who submit application cases will be able to study all aspects of their projects, from the design applied to the L-PBF to the profitability analysis and the study of series production, thanks to the combined expertise of AddUp and the WBA.
Additive manufacturing is a key technology in the industry 4.0 concept, and it presents numerous opportunities for the tooling industry. L-PBF technology enables the production of tools with a wide range of mechanical properties more quickly than conventional technologies. Furthermore, parts with more complex geometries can be designed, and new business models based on customisation can be considered. This is accomplished by printing specific mould parts that are intended to be replaced frequently.
Plastic injection moulds are one of the most important applications for L-PBF technology in the tooling industry. Historically, injection moulding manufacturers have had to deal with certain constraints inherent in mould manufacturing. The performance of the mould is directly related to its ability to cool the injected parts. The L-PBF technology is modified to create complex cooling channels that are as close to the mould walls as possible. Finally, by modifying the shape of the channels to more uniformly cool the surface of the part, manufacturers can achieve higher productivity while reducing cooling and cycle times.
In short, the WBA’s new metal additive manufacturing platform adds new technology and new skills to its already extensive list of services. It also meets the realistic expectations of tooling manufacturers, who are already convinced of the value of 3D printing for their applications but want to validate the technical and economic feasibility of their projects.
AddUp will also have a FormUp 350 machine on display at Formnext 2022 – Where Ideas Take Shape, which will be held in Frankfurt from November 15 to 18, 2022. (Hall 12.0, stand E01).
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