Mantle recently highlighted the growing adoption of AM in injection moulding customers. It also shared success stories from two customers who used its technology to automate their toolmaking processes. Both Nicolet Plastics and Westec Plastics serve the medical device market and will use Mantle’s technology to reduce the time and labour required to manufacture precise injection mould tooling components.
“As an injection moulder, Mantle allows us to bring additional tool production in-house and increase the complexity of the tools and inserts we manufacture. We will significantly reduce the time it takes to produce production-quality tools and be able to start production in weeks versus months.”– Tony Cavalco, CEO, Nicolet Plastics
Adoption of AM in Injection Moulding
Mantle employs its own TrueShape technology, which is a hybrid of material extrusion (MEX), CNC, and sintering. Its P-200 Additive Manufacturing machine, built on a CNC platform, integrates building and machining to produce parts with the accuracy and surface finish required for tooling. The build volume of the P-200 machine is 200 mm x 200 mm x 150 mm.
Nicolet Plastics has implemented Mantle’s metal Additive Manufacturing to reduce prototyping time and deliver moulded parts to customers more quickly. Mantle AM machines were recently used to produce production tooling for customer Gamber-Johnson. Nicolet reduced toolmaker time from 180 hours to 12.5 hours and the time to produce the first moulded parts samples from six to two weeks by additively manufacturing three inserts. Mantle created inserts that were 95% complete and only needed minor finishing before moulding could begin.
“We printed up the inserts and did a little bit of final fitting here and there, and we were able to get it in the press and start moulding parts relatively quickly. We only had about 10 hours’ worth of secondary operations and final fitting we had to do. Our tool maker was a little bit pessimistic at first, but when I came in that Friday to ask how everything went, he was almost jumping up and down for joy.”– Eric Derner, Applications Engineer, Nicolet Plastics
Westec Plastics Corporation
Westec Plastics Corporation is a full-service plastic injection moulder that has implemented Mantle’s Additive Manufacturing technology to increase its tooling capacity without the need for additional toolmakers. Mantle’s technology allows the company to produce H13 tool steel inserts that are 75-95% complete in a short period of time from Westec’s toolmakers.
Mantle’s technology enabled Westec to cut the cost of tooling for a medical diagnostic housing in half by reducing the number of active operation hours on the inserts from 40 to 10. The tools were used to mould TPE.
According to Tammy Barras, president of Westec Plastics, “Tooling is the base of our company. Without quality tooling, we can’t produce quality parts, but it’s getting harder and harder to find quality tool makers. Using Mantle’s technology, we can complete up to 70% of the job, and have our toolmakers handle the specialised steps that only a human can do. We need to take advantage of this new technology. With Mantle, we can provide our customers a service they can’t get anywhere else.”
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