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Printed, Machined And Injection Moulded: Wear-Resistant Polymer Gears From Igus

Printed, Machined And Injection Moulded: Wear-Resistant Polymer Gears From igus

Gears made of polymer ensure power transmission in countless applications – whether in fully automatic coffee machines or in actuators. Specifically for the production of wear-resistant and durable gears in high volumes, igus now offers production with injection moulding in addition to mechanical processing from bar stock and additive manufacturing. The user has the possibility to use the large variety of lubrication-free iglidur materials from igus.

Polymer gears are becoming more and more popular because, compared to steel gears, they do not require even a drop of lubricating oil and are therefore maintenance-free. At the same time, polymer ensures quiet operation and considerable weight savings. Highly wear-resistant gears made from 3D printing as well as mechanically machined gears made from iglidur bar stock have been offered by igus for several years. For the economical production of high volumes, the motion plastics specialist has now expanded its range to include injection-moulded gears.

“By using injection moulding, the user now has the option of obtaining his gear series from our wide-ranging material variety”, explains Steffen Schack, Head of the new iglidur Gear Business Unit at igus GmbH.

“Straight from stock, we currently offer injection-moulded gears made of the materials xirodur B180 and iglidur F, each in three hub designs.” xirodur B180 is a wear-resistant endurance runner and dampens vibrations. iglidur F also has a long service life and is suitable for applications with high temperatures. In addition, the black polymer is electrically conductive.

Gears made of iglidur high-performance polymers last four times longer

The igus gears developed so far from the iglidur high-performance polymers are impressive with a significantly longer service life than gears made from standard plastics. In the in-house 3,800 square metre igus laboratory, the motion plastics specialist subjects its injection moulded, printed and machined gears made of igus materials to rigorous testing. The test showed that injection-moulded gears made of the material xirodur B180, have a four times longer service life than gears made of POM. Depending on the configuration and application scenario, igus offers manufacturing in three different processes: for fast delivery of wear-resistant customised components within a few days, 3D printed gears made from the laser sintering material iglidur I3 are the medium of choice. Mechanical machining from iglidur bar stock, for example, is suitable for producing gears in large volumes. Injection moulding, on the other hand, offers the greatest iglidur material variety and above all a cost-effective batch production of special dimensions.

 

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Injection Moulding Machine Market Worth $12.3 Billion By 2025

Injection Moulding Machine Market Worth $12.3 billion By 2025

According to the new market research report by MarketsandMarkets, the Injection Moulding Machine Market is projected to reach USD 12.3 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 3.6 percent from USD 10.3 billion in 2020.

An injection moulding machine is used for manufacturing products made up of plastics, rubber, metal, and ceramic. It consists of two main parts – an injection unit and a clamping unit. The injection unit is like an extruder, whereas the clamping unit is concerned with the operation of the mould. Injection moulding machines can fasten the moulds either at the horizontal or the vertical position. There are three types of injection moulding machines – hydraulic injection moulding machines, all-electric injection moulding machines, and hybrid injection moulding machines.

Hydraulic injection moulding machine is the largest type segment of the injection moulding machine market. APAC was the largest market for synthetic leather in 2019, in terms of both volume and value. Factors such as growing demand from healthcare industry, rapid industrialisation in growing economies like China, India & Thailand and increasing demand for plastic moulds in electric vehicles will drive the injection moulding machine market.

Healthcare is projected to be the fastest growing end-use industry in the market between 2020 and 2025

Injection moulding machines are preferred for manufacturing medical products, as these machines offer high precision, accurate, and complex injection moulded parts. These machines have application in surgical and medical devices such as syringes, vials, medical instruments, inhalers, cannulated, medicinal connectors, air systems, and prescription bottles. The outbreak of coronavirus across the globe has highlighted the healthcare industry. Due to explosive surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, the demand for medical equipment like syringes, air systems, and other medical instruments increased exponentially. Countries such as India and China became the hub for manufacturing and meeting the demand for all these equipment across the globe.

APAC is projected to be fastest growing region for the market during the forecast period

The APAC comprises major emerging nations such as China and India. Hence, the scope for the development of most industries is high in this region. The injection moulding machine market is growing significantly and offers opportunities for various manufacturers. The APAC region constitutes approximately 61.0 percent of the world’s population, and the manufacturing and processing sectors are growing rapidly in the region. The APAC is the largest injection moulding machine market with China being the major market which is expected to grow significantly. The rising disposable incomes and rising standards of living in emerging economies in the APAC are the major drivers for this market.

 

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Leading A Sustainable Revolution: Ford And HP Collaborate To Transform 3D Waste Into Auto Parts

Leading A Sustainable Revolution: Ford And HP Collaborate To Transform 3D Waste Into Auto Parts

Ford is teaming up with HP to innovatively reuse spent 3D printed powders and parts, closing the loop and turning them into injection molded vehicle parts – an industry first.

Sustainability is a priority for both iconic companies, which through joint exploration led to this unlikely, earth-friendly solution. The resulting injection molded parts are better for the environment with no compromise in the durability and quality standards Ford and its customers demand.

The recycled materials are being used to manufacture injection-molded fuel-line clips installed first on Super Duty F-250 trucks. The parts have better chemical and moisture resistance than conventional versions, are seven percent lighter and cost 10 percent less. The Ford research team has identified 10 other fuel-line clips on existing vehicles that could benefit from this innovative use of material and are migrating it to future models.

“Finding new ways to work with sustainable materials, reducing waste and leading the development of the circular economy are passions at Ford,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford technical fellow, Sustainability. “Many companies are finding great uses for 3D printing technologies, but, together with HP, we’re the first to find a high-value application for waste powder that likely would have gone to landfill, transforming it into functional and durable auto parts.”

HP 3D printers are already designed for high efficiency, with systems and structures to minimise the excess material they generate and reuse a greater percentage of the materials put into them. Working with Ford, which uses HP’s 3D printing technology at the company’s Advanced Manufacturing Center, the team created this solution that produces zero waste.

“You get more sustainable manufacturing processes with 3D, but we are always striving to do more, driving our industry forward to find new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle powders and parts,” said Ellen Jackowski, chief sustainability and social impact officer, HP. “Our collaboration with Ford extends the environmental benefits of 3D printing even further, showcasing how we are bringing entirely different industries together to make better use of spent manufacturing materials, enabling a new circular economy.”

For its part, Ford is developing new applications and utilising a multitude of different processes and materials for 3D printing, including filaments, sand, powders and liquid vat polymerisation. The company already employs 3D printing for a variety of low-volume commercial vehicle parts, as well as fixtures used by assembly line workers use, saving production time and enhancing quality.

 

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How 3D Printed Injection Moulds Can Reduce Production Time & Tooling Cost

How 3D Printed Injection Moulds Can Reduce Production Time & Tooling Cost

As we all know injection moulding requires high initial investment, specialist equipment and lead time for tooling, this can significantly hinder the speed and cost to introduce new products to the market. However, with the continuous advancements in additive manufacturing 3D printing technology is now offering a cost-cutting, agile alternative solution to quickly design and fabricate mould for small runs of thermoplastics prototypes or end-use parts.

What is injection moulding?

Injection moulding is one of the leading processes for manufacturing plastics as it yields high-quality parts and is cost effective. Widely used for mass-producing identical parts with tight tolerances, it is a fast, intensive process where high heat and pressure are involved to melt thermoplastic and force it inside a mould.

Because of these extreme moulding conditions, the tools are traditionally made out of metal by CNC machining or electric discharge machining (EDM). However, these are expensive industrial methods that require specialised equipment, high-end software, and skilled labour.

Manufacturers are now turning to 3D printing to fabricate injection mould rapidly and at low cost. They can benefit from the speed and flexibility of in-house 3D printing to create the mould and couple it with the production force of injection moulding to deliver a series of units from common thermoplastics in a matter of days.

Challenges

Even though 3D printing moulds can offer these advantages when used appropriately, there are still some limitations. We should not expect the same performance from a 3D printing polymer mould as from a machined metallic one. Critical dimensions are harder to meet, cooling time is longer because the thermal transfer occurs slower in plastic, and printed moulds can easily break under heat and pressure. However, low-run injection moulds are great assets for engineers to deliver limited batches of end-use parts or prototypes in the final plastic, for pre-production tests.

Unlocking in demand mould fabrication with stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography (SLA) printing technology is a great choice for moulding. It is characterised by a smooth surface finish and high precision that the mould will transfer to the final part and that also facilitates demoulding.

In a recent webinar, Formlabs discusses how SLA printing enables in-demand mould fabrication to generate hundreds of parts, from idea to production, in a matter of days, at a fraction of the cost. Catch the re-run of the webinar here, and learn:

  • Expert processes to design a 3D printed mould for injection moulding.
  • Which printing and moulding conditions ensure success, including an overview of the Formlabs resins that Novus Applications and Braskem use for the moulds.

Strategies for the post-processing workflow, including ejection and demoulding

Real-life applications

Access the full white paper here and have a closer look at how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mould fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts through real-life case studies with Braskem, Holimaker, and Novus Applications.

For more information, click here for an overview of methods and guidelines for using SLA 3D printed moulds in the injection moulding process.

 

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Formlabs Live Webinar: Significantly Reduce Your Injection Moulding Tooling Costs With In-House 3D Printed Moulds

Formlabs Live Webinar: Significantly Reduce Your Injection Moulding Tooling Costs With In-House 3D Printed Moulds

Injection molding requires high initial investment, specialist equipment and lead time for tooling, this can significantly hinder the speed and cost to introduce new products to the market. 3D printing technology offers a cost-cutting, agile solution to quickly design and fabricate molds for small runs of thermoplastics prototypes or end-use parts.

Join Formlabs in a live webinar on 2nd February 2021, 2pm SGT which will discuss how 3D printing can unlock in-demand mold fabrication to generate hundreds of parts. From idea to production in a matter of days at a fraction of the cost.

The session will cover a recommended workflow, design guidelines and injecting conditions to manufacture low-run injection molds with 3D printing. It will also discuss some use cases where customers are now using 3D printed molds from their Formlabs machine that cost less than half of a traditional in-house machined mould.

What you will learn:

  • Expert processes to design a 3D printed mold for injection molding
  • Which printing and molding conditions ensure success
  • An overview of the Formlabs resins that our customers Novus Applications and Braskem use for the molds
  • Strategies for the post-processing workflow, including ejection and demolding

Click here to register and to find out more about the webinar!

 

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Accelerate Mould Design-to-Manufacturing Processes To Stay Ahead

Accelerate Mould Design-to-Manufacturing Processes to Stay Ahead

Innovative mould maker uses Siemens solutions to improve part quality, reduce costs and lead time.

Founded in 2013, iMFLUX was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of Procter & Gamble (P&G) as the Ohio-based consumer products giant wanted to improve the technology of plastics processing. P&G saw the need to reduce the cost and lead time to launch new plastic part designs. The company eventually developed a breakthrough new technology that utilized low constant injection pressure, leading to the formation of iMFLUX. 

Injection moulding requires precision tolerances as plastic is going into tools at up to 20,000 PSI and the gaps between the steel has to resist the plastic from going in between them. The process iMFLUX uses is controlled by pressure rather than velocity or speed. From the moment the press goes to move the screw forward, it is controlling only a set target pressure point. Once it hits that pressure point, it will maintain that pressure until the part’s full and packed out.

The iMFLUX injection moulding process involved a specialized controller that enables filling a mould at a lower, defined melt-pressure profile, allowing a variable filling rate that automatically adapts to the part geometry. Advantages include improved part quality, new part and mould design possibilities, sustainability improvements and reduced costs.

Designing a Next-generation of Moulds

The process begins when P&G or an external customer sends a mould design or part design concept to iMFLUX. It then takes the concept from paper sketch through the final qualification of the mould and the part itself. There is pressure to finish the process as soon as possible to meet the customer’s expectations and also start on the next project, avoiding any bottlenecks.

As a result, the time from conception to build is condensed. Despite rapidly approaching timelines, ensuring complete accuracy throughout the process is paramount. For iMFLUX, it is extremely costly to find dimensional or mould action errors late in the process due to imperfect mould design and/or mould build process that was not virtually validated. This is where NX software comes into play.

“NX Mould Wizard helps us accelerate the process by doing an analysis on the part for draft checks and wall thickness,” says Mark Reagan, mould design engineer, iMFLUX. “It establishes a core cavity split upfront and you can determine whether or not it’s really manufacturable.”

NX also enables iMFLUX to pull in predesign mould bases and hardware from the NX Mould Wizard library. As a result, iMFLUX has accelerated its design process as well as its mould building process by 20 percent.

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