Linear Mold & Engineering, a manufacturer of injection molds, molded parts and 3D metal printing for automotive, aerospace and medical markets, has added new 3D printing machinery to help match the company’s rapid growth.

To help open up production time, Linear is adding two M290 3D metal printing machines from EOS and two dual laser SLM machines from SLM Solutions. Linear currently operates 14 3D metal printing machines, most of which are dedicated to production parts.

‘Our sales will be increasing next year by quite a bit,’ said John Tenbusch, president of Linear. ‘Our production business in the 3D metal process will exceed our moldmaking business sometime next month and this is only the beginning.  We have a number of customers that are serious about using 3D metal printed parts for production.’

Conformal cooling

In addition to building production parts using 3D metal printing, Linear’s conformal cooling business, which also uses the 3D metal printing technology, is also experiencing an upsurge in demand. ‘Some of the SLM machines will be dedicated to conformal cooling technology,’ Tenbusch said. He suggested that as conformal cooling gains greater acceptance among OEMs, particularly those in the automotive industry, demand increases.

‘The conformal cooling work is starting to pick up as customers take a serious look at this technology,’ Tenbusch said. ‘First they have to have acceptance of what it can do and for that they run their own tests and trials on the technology. However, a number of them have moved past the trial stage now and are looking for applications that are a perfect fit.’

To accommodate the machinery additions, Linear is currently undergoing a 17,000 ft2 expansion. The company currently operates out of four buildings, including their North American headquarters which contains the 3D metal printing and CNC machining divisions, a molding facility, manufacturing facility and a warehouse.

This story is reprinted from material from Linear Mold, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.