The post published on Autodesk Redshift presents details of the new method of producing cooling channels inside injection molds. The author of the project is the Japanese company Panasonic Corporation’s Life Solutions Company. The new technology combines the advantages of 3D printing, milling and generative design and allows for a personalized cooling system. Thanks to this innovation, cooling is even up to 20% more efficient compared to traditional drilled channels.
Seiichi Uemoto is an analyst at the Manufacturing Engineering Center of Panasonic Corporation’s Life Solutions Company, where injection molds are designed and manufactured. He is also a specialist in the field of computer-aided engineering development and enthusiast of innovative techniques for improving design of forms. He is responsible for creating new cooling systems for metal injection molds.
How was the creation process? Initially, a warp analysis was performed on products from conventionally created injection molds. It gave information on the optimal spaces between successive cooling channels. The verification confirmed the need to create new, improved cooling channel designs that could be created based on generative design techniques. This method is increasingly used for design to optimize the shape while maintaining the necessary mechanical properties – it is used, among others Honda.
An innovative approach to design has allowed the creation of new, smoother shapes, reduced material consumption and automated the entire design process. What’s more, thanks to generative design it is possible to quickly develop many variants of projects, taking into account the project conditions.
As part of the project, a number of variants were developed that allowed them to achieve the desired effects. Four different forms were manufactured, including the original part designed by an experienced engineer, the other optimized by generative design, based on the original cooling channel. The third was created through generative design, but with less shape constraints. The fourth was similar to the original one, but with the use of additional cooling channels.
Molds enriched with cooling channels were produced on the LUMEX Avance-25 printer, combining 3D printing from metal with milling. It can produce components with complex internal architecture. Additive technologies allow the proper mapping of complicated shapes of conformal channels used to cool parts and minimize the negative effects of overheating.
The products have been tested to assess performance. The results showed that the difference in performance between generatively designed cooling channels and those designed by an experienced engineer was small. For Uemoto, these results were “quite remarkable” and ultimately met the team’s goal, giving the opportunity to further develop projects in the field of automated design.