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: