In the injection moulding industry, aluminium tools can and execute almost any resin that steel can make. And despite being able to make it, there remains a negative perception of aluminium mold makers except for prototypes of plastic parts.
Today, aluminium tools offer better quality by reducing waste, reducing cycle times, tightening tolerances, and reducing manufacturing costs in a consistent process. These results show technological advances in the way you do business in the plastics industry, and the range of possible uses for aluminium in injection moulded plastic devices is endless.
In today’s market, there is a move towards relocation, but go one step further and look at the actual options that not only impact business recovery but also replace tools of steel that affect our manufacturing method.
There are many reasons to reship, but for all domestic suppliers, there are many advantages to considering switching from steel moulds to hybrid aluminium alloy moulds. Here are they:
Aluminium has existed since it was first developed for airplanes in the mid-1930s. Ironically, the Aluminium 7000 series is good enough for use in airplane frames and space shuttles, but for some reason, the method is so fragile that you can’t rely on the manufacture of plastic parts. This is mainly due to a misunderstanding about the vast capabilities of this alloy. The general facts about aluminium tools are:
- Aluminium Mold makers reduce finishing costs and lead times by 20-40%, 5-10 times faster than steel.
- Aluminium reduces machining time due to machining and thermal properties. There is little wear on the cutter. Faster burning time with fewer electrodes; and faster polishing time.
- Aluminium conducts heat about five times faster than P-20 tool steel, reducing manufacturing cycle times by 20-40 percent.
- Aluminium has better thermal conductivity than steel, so the molding temperature is constant; the resin flow becomes the resin flow, less deformation, higher yields, and better molding process.
- Aluminium offers significant OEM benefits not only in saving molds and parts but also in reducing time-to-market for products.
- Aluminium tools can provide millions of shots for unfilled resin products and hundreds of thousands of shots for resins such as glass filling.
- Aluminium surface treatment provides protection against abrasives, longer wear life, and an improved aesthetic surface.
- Important dimensions and difficult shapes that require a class A lifters or cam guides and surfaces are equally successful with aluminium and steel moulds.
A commonly misunderstood area in the plastics industry is the ability of aluminium tools when it comes to class A surfaces. Polycarbonate parts are a good example of high-quality transparent parts made with aluminium tools. And yes, industry leaders consider it a Class A1 surface with a high gloss finish.
Class A surface finishes create optical components such as prisms, light tubes, light guides, and clear lenses from materials such as acrylic and polycarbonate. With the very beautiful properties of clear plastic parts and the surface quality needed to achieve them, it is not impossible to expect the highest level of quality in aluminium tools. If desired, there are surface treatments that can be applied to further strengthen the aluminium tool to facilitate the creation of difficult optical designs.
There are some difficulties when dealing with translucent plastic resins. Both acrylic resin and transparent polycarbonate have high melting points. It also has its own special process, which can be complicated if not handled by experienced professionals, especially considering the complexity and attention to detail associated with aluminium tools. Currently, simple optical designs to complex optical designs come with a unique set of best practices for high quality manufactured parts. And when it comes to complex designs and working acrylics, in this an automotive light guide for instrument panel components.
In general, moulding machine prototypes do not like clear polycarbonate due to the high mould temperature requirements. Some say it’s impossible to give class A surface finishes to optics, but that’s done every day. To create the desired piece, the temperature must be kept constant in order to flow properly and overcome its inherent properties. Today’s improved aluminium grades have more options for maintaining higher temperatures without affecting the integrity of the mould material.
In most cases, the failure of aluminium tooling projects is due to the wrong choice of aluminium mold makers alloys and poor design and poor tooling practices. Anyone considering aluminium needs to educate themselves about its benefits and features. You need to choose the right alloy material that meets your project needs. Equally important is choosing a processor that knows the right touring technique.
Novel Mould Company can help you in moulding your material with aluminium Mold makers.