Volume Graphics can adjust the design of mold-insert surfaces to compensate for warpage in the additively manufactured mold prototype.
Volume Graphics can adjust the design of mold-insert surfaces to compensate for warpage in the additively manufactured mold prototype.

Volume Graphics, a specialist in industrial computer tomography (CT) software and plastic process company Kunststoff-Institut have launched a project focusing on the use of the software in plastic 3D printing.

According to the companies, additive manufacturing (AM) is playing an important role in the rapid prototyping of sample parts and plastic mold inserts. The development phase of creating injection molded parts and inserts often requires the production of small-quantity prototypes, and rwo current approaches are the modeling of sample ‘presentation’ components using a low-end rapid process and the more complicated method of using an aluminum molding tool, where the final part in the prototype production process is completed with an injection molding machine, Volume Graphics says.

The companies say that a new method using plastic molds produced through industrial AM could offer improved time and cost savings when compared to aluminum. While the sample output is lower in plastic molds than in aluminum, plastic is suitable for prototype manufacture and is less expensive than metal.

‘Working on this project with Kunststoff-Institut and partners is very important to us because we are convinced that industrial computed tomography [CT] can advance the future of rapid tooling,’ said Christof Reinhart, CEO of Volume Graphics. ‘We have been following the topic of additive manufacturing in general and rapid tooling in particular for some time now and are working on solutions to increase prototype volumes, speed of design and overall part-and-process quality.’

This story uses material from Volume Graphics, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.