Using Additive Manufacturing to reduce conformal cooling cycle time

Picture of a 3D printed metal part

Dynaplas Logo

Toronto-based Dynaplas Ltd wanted to explore how conformal cooling could be integrated into the design of their moulds and what impact the process would have on their overall cycle time. Dynaplas asked the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre to redesign a kayak paddle mould.

AMIC logo

 

Funder: NSERC, Ontario Centre of Innovation
Research Area: AMIC
Research Team: Jeffrey McIsaac, Simon Coulson

 

Future Ready Challenge

Innovative new technology is crucial to helping companies implement a more efficient production process. Injection moulding has been used for decades to produce high volumes of plastic parts in many industries. The most time-consuming part of injection moulding is the time it takes for the molten material to cool into its final shape. Straight-line cooling channels can help speed up cooling cycles, but the channels do not always allow for uniform cooling of a part. Additive Manufacturing has transformed the way manufacturers use injection moulding to produce parts. Additive Manufacturing makes it possible for parts to be designed with cooling channels that conform to the complex internal and external geometries of a part, allowing for a faster, more efficient cooling cycle. 

 

R & D Collaboration

Toronto-based Dynaplas Ltd. is a world leader in the production of precision plastic components, primarily or the automotive market. The company also has a sister company, H20 Paddles, which manufactures white water kayak paddles. As an injection moulder, the company wanted to explore how conformal cooling could be integrated into the design of their moulds and what impact the process would have on their overall cycle time.

Dynaplas asked Mohawk College’s Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre to redesign a kayak paddle mould. The paddle represented a unique production challenge: to ensure a high-quality part the molten plastic used to manufacture the part must solidify properly, taking up valuable time during the manufacturing cycle.

 

Innovative Results

Using computer-aided design (CAD), the research team designed several variations of the paddle mould, each design with a different placement of the conformal cooling channels. They used thermal modelling software to analyze the different options and evaluated how the temperature disruption of the part was impacted by the positioning of the channels. Before printing the final part, the research team also evaluated the mechanical and material properties of MS1, a tool steel developed for additive manufacturing. Material testing confirmed the suitability of this steel for use as a kayak paddle mould.

Testing the part in the injection moulding production process has shown that the new design reduced cycle time by over 60% from the conventional cooling channel design. This reduction in cycle time improved throughput and reduced costs for Dynaplas.

"Our partnership with Mohawk is critical because it allows us to explore new technologies and see what advantages they can bring to Dynaplas," explains Annette Langhammer, Director of Advanced Engineering for Dynaplas LTD. "This collaboration allows us to produce a part that is of higher quality and at a faster rate, making us more competitive."