Additive manufacturing is a key technology in the industry 4.0 concept and offers many interesting opportunities for the tooling industry. L-PBF technology enables tools with a large number of mechanical properties to be produced more quickly than with conventional technologies. In addition, it is possible to design parts with more complicated geometries and to consider new business models based on customization. This is achieved by printing certain parts of the mold that are intended to be replaced frequently.

One of the most significant use cases for L-PBF technology in the tooling field is plastic injection molds. Traditionally, injection molding manufacturers must deal with certain constraints inherent to the manufacture of their molds. The mold’s performance is directly related to its ability to cool the injected parts. The L-PBF technology is adapted to create complex cooling channels, positioned as close as possible to the mold walls. Finally, by adapting the shape of the channels to cool the surface of the part more homogeneously, manufacturers can see improved quality and experience higher productivity with a reduction of cooling and cycle times.

In short, this new metal additive manufacturing platform adds new technology and new skills to the already rich catalog of services offered by the WBA. It also meets the real expectations of tooling manufacturers, who are already convinced of the value of 3D printing for their applications but want to validate their projects’ technical and economic feasibility.

Based in Aachen, Germany, the WBA Aachener Werkzeugbau Akademie GmbH is a technical reference center for the tooling industry. It offers consulting, training, and research activities to promote all innovative technologies applicable to mold and tool production. In addition, the WBA provides companies with strategic and organizational support on all topics regarding toolmaking. In signing a partnership agreement with AddUp, a manufacturer of metal additive manufacturing machines created by the French groups Michelin and Fives, the WBA has strengthened its offer and is now able to provide its customers with complete support for metal 3D printing projects.

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