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[IMTS Preview] AgieCharmilles to Demo Start-to-Finish Manufacturing for Mold Tooling

Machine tool builder GF AgieCharmilles and its development partner EOS will be demonstrating a “nearly automatic process chain” for creating injection and blow-mold tooling with conformal cooling channels. It’s described as a “virtually unbroken (production process) from design to finished product” that uses networked machines operating from common 3D CAD model data, for accurate production with lower set-up times.

GF AgieCharmilles designs and builds laser ablation centers, wire EDM, CNC and manual diesinking systems and high speed/performance and 5-axis CNC milling machines.

EOS develops and manufactures laser-sintering systems for every stage of e-Manufacturing, the fast, flexible and cost-effective production of products, patterns and tools. The technology manufactures parts for every phase of the product life cycle, directly from electronic data.

Their exhibit focus on a EOSINT M 270 direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS) system producing a steel mold for a plastic, blow-molded golf ball, with conformal cooling channels and the fixturing needed for all successive stages of machining. This mold will move through a secondary process chain that includes a GF AgieCharmilles HSM 400U LP high-speed milling machine, an FO 350MS die sinking EDM, and a Cut20P wire EDM.

The wire EDM cuts off the fixturing, the HSM 400ULP will cut the parting lines for a flash-free (no leakage) surface, and leave the mold ready for production use.

DMLS produces near-net parts in one operation, producing a part is ready for secondary finishing. Single fixturing is used for all secondary operations to reduce manual benchworking and generate surface finishes accurate to within three to five microns. The process minimizes scrap by eliminating many of the progressive operations involved in subtractive toolmaking processes that start with a block of raw material.

“By joining with EOS, we have established a complete process chain, available globally, that provides the same high accuracy GF AgieCharmilles is known for, and creates tools with a minimum of oversight and greatly reduced material waste, manufacturing time, and manual labor,” Gisbert Ledvon, business development manager at GF AgieCharmilles U.S., stated. “It’s better for the environment, and it’s excellent for the bottom line. The conformal-cooled molds we can manufacture offer enormous advantages.”

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