3D Printed Injection Molds Help Seuffer Slash Tooling Costs By Up to 97%

seuffer, injection molds, 3d printing

Stratasys additive manufacturing compared to CNC tooling: 3D printed injection mold and resulting part next to steel tool of
identical design

Even if you don’t know it, you use hundreds of injection molded parts and products every week. The injection molding process is employed by manufacturers all over the world to produce parts in a variety of materials, most commonly thermoplastics. The metal molds or tools used in the process can cost tens of thousands of dollars and weeks to produce on a CNC machine. Before mass production begins, the injection molded part needs to be evaluated for performance and fit. If significant changes are required, a whole new aluminium or metal mold has to be milled. Very expensive and very time consuming!

But Seuffer, a manufacturer of parts for household appliances and commercial vehicles, located on the edge of the Black Forest in Germany, has discovered the benefits of additive manufacturing. Seuffer is using Stratasys 3D printed injection molds to dramatically reduce the time and cost of producing injection molded sample parts.

“With Stratasys 3D printing, we can design first drafts of the injection mold within a few days and 3D print them in less than 24 hours for part evaluation,” said Andreas Buchholz, head of research and development at Seuffer. “Traditionally, it would take 8 weeks to manufacture the tool in metal using the conventional CNC process.  And while the conventional tool costs us about 40,000 euros, the 3D printed tool is less than 1,000 euros, a savings of 97%.”

Watch this video to learn how Seuffer's move to 3D printing is revolutionizing their injection molding process:

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Comments

  1. What kind of pressures and heat can your materials withstand? I'm assuming they use the "ABS-like" engineering material. How many run can they get in before the mold is deformed?

    • Joe-
      Thanks for the question. The printed molds can withstand the melt temperature of resins such as PC, PA as well as glass filled plastics (PP, PA and PC). We successfully molded parts at pressure range of 1000 bars (actual injection pressure). The digital ABS has good mechanical and temperature resistance behavior however mold deformation will depend on the type of resin and part geometry. For highly complex parts molded in glass filled PA and similar resins (high melt temperature or high viscosity), the mold will be able to withstand around 10 shots. For commodity resins such as PE, PP, ABS and TPE’s number of shots will increase to a range of 20-40 depending on mold geometry.

  2. I can’t believe the mold held when they filled it. I thought it’d blow out the side for sure.

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