Rapid Prototyping: Selective Laser Sintering Technology
Immetech’s use of SLS technology to build inserts or components for molds
Since its birth in the 1980s, rapid prototyping technology has been upgraded several times following years of development. 3D-printed conformal cooling follows the shape or outline of the core or cavity insert and is used for rapid and uniform cooling in the process of injection molding or blow molding to reduce cycle time. With the continuous improvements in printing technology and printing accuracy, the dilemma of metal printing has been solved. 3D printing conformal cooling has been applied more and more widely.
Currently, the main types of rapid prototyping (RP) technology include: fused deposition manufacturing; stereo lithography apparatus; and selective laser sintering (also referred to as SLS). The SLS process involves melting and solidifying powder materials using high-temperature lasers, then stacking together in layers to finish the manufacturing process and obtain the physical products. Compared to other RP techniques, SLS technology has three notable characteristics:
- Low cost, fast speed, mass production suitability
- Printed parts can be used directly as final products
- Compatibility with printable plastic, metal, ceramics and other materials
- Freedom of design: An upgrade from manufacturing-oriented design to design-oriented manufacturing, and a way to overcome the defects of traditional channel processing, allowing profiled cooling / hot runner design complexity.
- Cost advantages: Product and mold design optimization can be carried out at the same time, shortening the mold production time. The conformal cooling channel reduces demolding times, reducing the production costs of plastic products.
- Product quality: Reduced residual stress; prevention of warping of the product; optimization of crystallinity, guaranteeing dimensional accuracy, preventing thermal deformation and improving the product surface finish.
The following is a case study of a high-quality plastic children’s water cup product. Following a comparison of SLS and traditional manufacturing process, the 3D-printing SLS technology solution, with high quality and low cost, is selected.
Immetech Industrial provides high-end services to customers with the use of SLS technology to build inserts or components with high heat dissipation requirement for molds. We have worked with equipment from leading laser sintering company, Germany’s EOS, such as FORMIGA, P110, EOSINT P396, EOSINT P760 and EOSINT M280, which can be used with nylon, aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, nickel alloy and die steel and a variety other of plastic and metal materials. If you want to maximize your product quality, shorten cycle time and reduce part costs, please feel free to contact us: [email protected].