Mold is the core of manufacturing. In major high-tech or traditional industries, such as electronics, automotive, medical devices, and home appliances, most of the components rely on mold forming. The reason why produced by mold has become the dominant mode of manufacturing is because of the reduced consumption of parts, a high degree of consistency between parts, and a high efficiency of production. Molds are also called “benefit amplifiers”. The value of molded parts is often far beyond the value of the molds themselves.
However, how to find a tooling that meets the requirements is very important. If the wrong tooling is selected, the final product may not be usable. Therefore, in order to avoid the losses caused by the wrong tooling, in addition to the manufacturer, engineers should also understand some tooling-related knowledge to ensure the smooth progress of the production process.
Today we are going to focus on the relevant knowledge about aluminum tooling, and what knowledge needs to be understood when selecting aluminum tooling.
Benefits of Aluminum Tooling
Aluminum alloy is a common material for tooling, especially rapid tooling (also known as bridge tooling). The rapid tooling stage is a stage after the product development is completed and before the official launch. This stage is usually in preparation for the formal production of tooling.
Aluminum is a kind of light metal. Light weight in the production process will be conducive to mold speed, the machine and mold can also be extended its service life.
Besides, the processing of aluminum alloy is easier, dimensional stability is very high. Because of its low hardness, the cutting speed is much faster than that of ordinary mold steel, which greatly shortens the processing time of molds, and speeds up the production speed of die.
The most important thing is that aluminum has excellent thermal conductivity, so it is often used as a radiator component. Its thermal conductivity is greater than that of most mold steel, so it can save lots of cold cutting time of the tooling, thereby improving the production efficiency of the tooling.
The best aluminum alloys for tooling
So, when choosing the tooling material, how should we choose the appropriate aluminum model?
Different types of aluminum also have some differences in performance. We should choose the appropriate aluminum model according to the needs. If you need an aluminum alloy with a lower hardness, then 2024 aluminum alloy should be the first choice. In addition, it also has good fatigue resistance.
Besides, 7000 series alloys have been gradually known in recent years and are widely used in many industries. A foreign study found that when the 7000 series aluminum alloy is used as tooling, the injection molded parts even exceed several million pieces. It is really amazing! This means that 7000 series aluminum alloys will have more and more applications in tooling. What is more, the 7000 series aluminum alloy also has high hardness and corrosion resistance.
Other considerations when choosing the aluminum for tooling?
Of course, in production process, in addition to considering the advantages of mold materials, it is also necessary to select the most suitable mold material in combination with the characteristics of the molded parts. Sometimes due to the different characteristics of the molded parts, the choice of mold material is often affected. Aluminum tooling may be a good method.
Mold parts quantity
Is there an estimated total number of parts required before production? This is about the life of the mold. Then it can be confirmed to how many parts each batch needs. These are closely related to the selection of tooling. According to the total demand of parts, different tooling materials are selected.
The geometry of the part
Generally, parts with complex geometry will use a lot of inserts. If there are lots of inserts, the loss of the tooling will be greater, which will greatly reduce the life of the tooling. When the geometry of the part is simple, the life of the same tooling will be longer than that of the tooling with a complex geometry. Therefore, the geometry of the part is also one of the key factors that affect the selection of the mold. Also, the cosmetics of the part will also affect the selection of the mold, such as whether the surface of the part should be textured, whether it needs high gloss or matte, and so on.
Molded part materials
Different injection materials have different molding temperatures, which may affect the selection of tooling materials, involving the temperature resistance of tooling materials, and different materials have different characteristics, which may affect how the tooling is maintained.
Aluminum alloy is a commonly used material in tooling and is often used in rapid tooling. Aluminum alloy is easy to be machined, has good heat dissipation, and is lighter in weight. Because of these advantages, aluminum alloy has become the first choice of commonly used metals in the manufacturing industry, and scientists continue to study and improve the performance of aluminum alloys. Some manufacturing industries have even begun to try to use aluminum alloys as formal molds, which is enough to illustrate the importance of aluminum alloys in molds.