The latest addition to our shop floor has finally arrived, and applying the technology has already begun.
Christmas came early this month with the arrival of our new Beta Mantle Additive Printer. After three years of partnering with Mantle 3D, California-based metal additive company, our team finally gets a chance to play with the first ever Mantle 3D printer here in the shop.
The new machine is the latest step in our journey to adopt additive as a viable resource in high-precision moldmaking technology. Westminster Tool spent years exploring additive technology and how it can be applied in the tool room but could not justify the value. Then, after meeting some of Mantle’s team at Amerimold 2019, we believed we finally found something that could work. Thanks to the grant support of CCAT and the Additive Manufacturing Adoption Program we were able to be at the forefront of adopting this technology.
The first thing we looked for in metal additive was accuracy. Critical, tight-tolerance dimensions make up the majority of our work with Class 101 large-volume molds. That’s why we needed to find an additive application that could allow us to print mold cavities for part geometry as tight as +/- 0.001 based on size. The second essential factor was stability. Our main goal was not necessarily to adopt something that would dramatically change our operations, but instead something that could easily fit into our existing processes with little to no disruption. Mantle’s technology proved to have the stability needed to be machined like traditional steel.
Over the last two years our team has put hundreds of our hours into putting this technology to the test. Specifically, we were looking for applications that could solve some of our customers’ greatest challenges. One challenge that continued to come up was efficiently trialing and integrating conformal cooling into injection mold systems. By combining our Moldex3D experience with Mantle’s additive technology, we now easily provide this service in-house.
And the work continues. Right now, we are working on trials integrating conformal cooling into a production mold to prove out the true ROI. In another project, we’ve begun optimizing a standard frame for a customer to have direct access to quick prototyping, ensuring control of quality throughout the prototyping process.
There is still so much potential for metal additive in our industry, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. But we’re excited to get involved in more complex projects earlier in the moldmaking lifecycle and partner with more companies that are just as excited about this technology as we are.
Reach out to our Technical Experts with the button below to learn more about Westminster Tool’s additive capabilities.