Mold and die production is a reliable element of the larger machining industry – one that demands fast response by machine shops, design flexibility, and precision results. So, it should be a good proving ground for one machine tool builder’s strategic move into 3D printing– a range of process technologies that have obvious applications for machine shops and similar manufacturers, but remain an “alternative” technology for most series production programs.
Machine builder GF Machining Solutions and EOS, a 3DP technology provider, have formed a cooperative arrangement to offer mold-and-die customers production solutions that combine both companies’ expertise. They will develop exclusive approaches for moldmakers, building on GF’s expertise in that market thanks to its EDM, high-speed milling, and automation technologies.
According to GF CEO Yves Serra, “GF and EOS complement each other very well to offer the large customer base of GF Machining Solutions a unique set of technologies.”
The EOS contribution will come from its additive manufacturing capabilities, in particular direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) technology, as well as its metal and polymer formulations for AM.
Their initial effort will be to integrate additive manufacturing into the production process for mold inserts, including adapting software and automation links to work with machine tools and measuring devices.
According to GF, the new process will offer mold-and-die customers the possibility of producing metal inserts that “cool” close to the surface, meaning shorter mold cooling sequences and thus faster plastic injection cycle times.
“The cooperation allows us to increase the value for customers within the mold and die sector, by integrating conventional and additive technologies. This is a large step towards seamless production and we join forces with a strong and experienced partner,” said EOS CEO Dr. Hans J. Langer.