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Laser Beam Melting for Tooling Applications – New Perspectives for Resource-Efficient Metal Forming and Die Casting Processes

Abstract : Applying additive manufacturing technologies in the tooling sector is reaching a new level with Laser Beam Melting, since this technology allows layer-by-layer manufacturing of completely dense tool and die inserts in standard high-alloyed tool steel. The technology is now ready to go beyond applications in low impact processes like plastic injection moulding and enters metal working process applications like metal forming and die casting. The potential of additive manufacturing for added value in tooling applications has now been investigated for various metal working processes.The paper presents results of research and pilot application projects to apply laser beam melting to manufacture tooling for metal forming and aluminium die casting. The paper describes the shortcomings of conventional cooling channels in metal working tools and the resulting inadequate cooling effect in critical areas. The paper shows how innovative cooling systems can be implemented in metal working dies through laser beam melted die inserts. Cooling of specific die areas has been realized by placing specially designed cooling channels very close to the die cavity, targeting shorter cycle times, structural and dimensional quality improvements of manufactured metal parts and a reduction of energy consumption for cooling and idle times of forming presses and die casting machines. The paper will present the achieved results for both metal working applications and point out the general potential of additive manufacturing in tooling.
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Bernhard Müller, Ralf Hund, Roland Malek, Nancy Gerth. Laser Beam Melting for Tooling Applications – New Perspectives for Resource-Efficient Metal Forming and Die Casting Processes. 6th Programming Languages for Manufacturing (PROLAMAT), Oct 2013, Dresden, Germany. pp.124-137, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-41329-2_14⟩. ⟨hal-01485807⟩

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