Design of additively manufacturable injection molds with conformal cooling
Type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz (reviewed)
Additive manufacturing enables the production of intricate geometries including internal structures. This design freedom can be used advantageously to enhance heat transfer in injection molds by means of conformal cooling. The main goal is to reduce cycle times and to improve part quality through uniform cooling of the plastic products. This paper presents cooling design concepts for mold inserts. Their underlying approaches differ with respect to the shape and the cross-sectional geometries of cooling channels. Distinct inserts are additively manufactured by laser-based powder bed fusion (PBF-LB) of AISI 420 stainless steel. Experiments are carried out on a custom thermal test bench. Infrared thermography is used to examine the surface temperature, showing a reduction in cooling time by up to 41 \% compared to conventional concepts. Additionally, the coolant flow is measured. The evaluation of the cooling characteristics reveal a critical trade-off between cycle time and uniformity of the surface temperature.