Amid the expected product launches of this year, there is the GE Additive Concept Laser M Line. In preparation for its release, industrial molding sector company EROFIO Group has been selected to test the capabilities of the machine. The industrial company is no stranger to GE Additive’s technology as it has been a long-standing user of its DMLM laser technology.
To perform this pilot test, EROFIO Group installed an M Line system at its 6,500 sqm mold making facility in Batalha, central Portugal. A team led by EROFIO Group’s metal additive manufacturing leader, Luís Santos chose to 3D print a Mold Core for the first production tests.
The manufacturing of the first part
Santos’ team relied on the M300 hot work tool steel for the production – a material that is well known by manufacturers of injection molding and die-casting tool inserts. It integrates over eight independent, internal conformal cooling channels, stretching over eight meters in length and between five to eight-millimeters in diameter. It is often combined with conformal cooling, as well as functional components in conventional manufacturing processes.
From a manufacturing standpoint, to produce the part on the new machine, the metal AM team selected an existing parameter already present in the GE Additive’s Concept Laser M2 system they used. According to GE Additive team who ensures the remote optimization support, Santos’ team made only very minimal changes in order to adapt it for the M Line system.
While it is not really surprising to read that design freedom of the 3D printed part results in a more efficient heat exchange due to conformal cooling, it should be noted that this improved cooling will increase the overall plastic injection process productivity through decreased cooling cycle time and warpage, and the improvement of the injected plastic part aesthetics.
Other advantages reported include a reduction of finishing requirements by 90% anda 30% reduction in the total manufacturing time – as compared to conventional manufacturing processes.
The part was successfully printed on its first attempt, over a six-day period in May 2021, GE Additive notes.
“We are honored to be part of GE Additive’s thorough commercial readiness process. We’re learning a lot from them and I think it’s safe to say they are learning a lot from us and our first impressions working with the M Line. Having the first part come off our system is great a milestone and we’re looking forward to supporting the wider team as the solution comes to market and beyond,” said Luís Santos, EROFIO Group.
“We have a solid working relationship with the team at EROFIO that goes back well over a decade. As we near a critical phase in commercializing the M LINE system, we specifically sought out a trusted partner to gain early installation experience, data and honest customer feedback,” said Wolfgang Lauer, Concept Laser M Line Product Manager, GE Additive.
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