Representative mold inserts featuring similar geometry to the tools Westminster Tool produced. (Photo credit: Westminster Tool) FR: Inserts de moules représentatifs présentant une géométrie similaire à celle des outils produits par Westminster Tool. (Crédit photo : Westminster Tool)

Remember Mantle? a manufacturer who turned stealth mode off in 2021 with the launch of TrueShape, a hybrid bound metal printing solution that processes metal pastes and that is specifically designed for tooling applications?

Since its launch, the company has been adding shaping capabilities to its solution while exploring new applications it can achieve with (new) customers.

On the heels of Westminster Tool that we discovered two years ago, Spectrum Plastics Group, a DuPont Business and medical contract manufacturer, Heyco Products, a Penn Engineering company specializing in wire protection and termination for a range of industries, or even General Pattern, an injection molder with in-house tooling services are other companies that have been exploring the capabilities of TrueShape.

Those customers reveal that Mantle’s solution could be ideal for medical device tooling, or to increase one’s toolmaking capacity and project speed by automating a portion of the toolmaking process.

This slide was used as part of a large injection mold molding a transportation trim component. Printing with Mantle’s metal 3d printer saved General Pattern 40 hours of active toolmaker time and included knife-edge features that could not be printed with its other metal AM equipment. (Photo credit: General Pattern)

Beyond these manufacturing objectives, the technology would help address a shortage of tool makers.

Across manufacturing as a whole, especially in toolmaking, labor scarcity has emerged as a predominant challenge, hindering manufacturers’ efficiency and capacity to build tooling. Recognizing the growing scarcity of skilled toolmakers, General Pattern decided to automate its toolmaking processes and bolster capacity by relying on Mantle’s 3D printer.

The investment in Mantle underscores the company’s dedication to cutting-edge technologies and highlights its potential to alleviate the industry’s labor shortage. General Pattern anticipates the benefits of this investment to include heightened efficiency, decreased reliance on specialized labor, and improved customer service through faster and more efficient operations, a press release reads.

“Introducing Mantle into our operations has elevated our approach to toolmaking. With the simple press of a button, we can now effortlessly create tools, which completely changes our ability to tackle labor challenges and enhances our capacity to better serve our customers. Recently with a slide for a transportation trim component, for example, we skipped the finishing process entirely. Instead, we printed it, assembled it into the mold, and immediately began molding parts. This not only saved us the 40 hours of traditional toolmaker time typically required to build this slide, but also freed up my team to focus on other critical projects,” Denny Reiland, CEO at General Pattern.

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