Innomia uses EOS 3D printers for optimizing the production process for injection molded plastic parts. This involved a revision of the cooling process. The case concerns the manufacture of the armrest situated between the front seats.
Why Conformal Cooling?
The heat energy of the liquid base material needs to be dissipated throughout the manufacturing tool to enable the plastic to solidify. The cooling process dictates, amongst other things, the quality of the component. This is because irregular heat dissipation can lead to deformations.
As a logical consequence, the designers from Innomia began to develop a new tool insert cooling system. The optimized removal of heat generated in the production process was right at the top of the list of priorities.
The team decided to go with integrated precision cooling channels, conformal cooling, a tried and tested application under DMLS technology, and one of the solutions that only Additive Manufacturing processes can provide. The EOS metal 3D printer, a system proven over many years, was deployed for Innomia.
The precision cooling and the production using Additive Manufacturing technology has had the desired results. The temperature distribution and associated heat dissipation are now substantially more homogenized. Since the heat is distributed and leaves both the tool and the component quicker, a water temperature of 60 °C is sufficient for cooling – reducing the energy needed. The insert surface itself does not heat up beyond 90 °C, a fact that further allowed the engineers to resolve the humidity problems in the surrounding area.
Thanks to Innomia and the EOS 3D printing technology, the Innomia customer Magna profits from a maintenance interval that is extended to between five and six weeks. The problem of air humidity condensation and potential cavity corrosion was solved completely. The uniform cooling channels work so well that the time required for the production cycle is now 17 % lower than before.