At RP Technologies we manufacture prototype injection mould tooling from aluminium. However, our service differs slightly to other prototype tool makers & moulders as we manufacture tooling to production standard, including cooling and heating channels.
There seems to be a common misconception in the industry that aluminium moulds do not need cooling channels due to aluminium transferring heat more effectively than steel, so we wanted to explain the importance of controlling tool temperatures when using aluminium tools.
Part of the statement is true, aluminium has a 5x better heat transfer rate (depending on the grade) than steel. With better conductivity, the position of cooling channels becomes less critical than with steel tooling.
However, we believe the part about aluminium moulds not needing cooling channel is not true. Without the ability to heat or maintain a consistent tool temperature, the moulder will encounter flow issues, appearance problems but most importantly dimensional and warping problems. The cooling channels allow the moulder to maintain a steady tool temperature, eliminating these issues.
A tool will naturally lose more heat through the core side than the cavity. This leads to a discrepancy of temperature between the two tool halves. This difference in temperature will lead to dimensional and warpage issues. Add to those problems a high potential to damage the tooling due to a difference in expansion of metal parts. The tool can seize, mating faces can dig in to each other which cause expensive repair costs. Keeping a consistent temperature across both halves of the tool is paramount to increase tool life and to produce quality mouldings.
The ability to control tool temperature also gives more flexibility in process control. Whether the control is required for dimensional stability, moulding appearance or extending the life of the tool, cooling channels are of the utmost importance to get the correct process in order to create good repeatable components.
When processing high temperature materials such as PPS, PEEK etc a much higher tool temperature is vital to ensure the material flows correctly around the cavity. In these cases, the tool must have temperature control otherwise the material is not processed properly, and the characteristics of the material will be null and void.
Tools which utilise hot runner systems must have a cooling system, they create local hot spots on the fixed half tool face. If this is not controlled with cooling circuits, there will be a huge temperature difference between the two halves of the mould, leading to tool damage, flow issues and aesthetic problems.
Aluminium is much easier and quicker to machine than steel so there should be no reason to omit this critical part when manufacturing the tooling. To get a consistent cycle, component size & process on a moulding, cooling channels are required to keep everything in check. It is vital for repeatability, which is essential when moulding any quantity of components that need to be fit and functional and capable of meeting specified tolerances.
If you have a prototype project that you’d like to discuss, please call us today on 0121 550 5868 or simply upload your CAD on via our Quote page.
Just to confirm, we have received our recent order. The team and I were very keen to see what you had produced for us. It’s safe to say you have exceeded our expectations, so an enormous thank you from all of us! We look forward to seeing what you will be producing for us in the future.
Ted Varley, Covvi Ltd
In a project where time and quality were our first priority, we were excellently supplied by RP Technologies in all respects. Communication and execution of the project was first class and very professional.
Herr Wimmer, Knaus Tabbert GmbH
"I have had the pleasure of working with RP Technologies over the last 18 months and can only commend the team on their professionalism, technical expertise and ability to deliver a result against impossible timing"
Mark Smith, Programme Manager, Nifco UK Limited
Good morning Peter. I have been processing your PPAP submission. May I say this is one of the best presented PPAP’s I have received in over 160 in the last 18 months, well done.
, Global Automotive Wiring Harness Supplier
I've received the parts and they worked perfectly, thank you for your support with this and I appreciate the speedy turn around
JR, Kautex Unipart Limited
We are in agreement at how impressed we were with the quality, efficiency and professionalism of RP's service as a Rapid Prototype supplier
Chassis-Suspension Systems & Tuning, Jaguar Land Rover
In three weeks - three parts that fit together and perform, right first time. It has bolstered my confidence in bringing back otherwise 'China' jobs to the UK
SB, Zeta Specialist Lighting
Having such a great customer experience has only added to the excitement of the project. Thanks again and look forward to continuing this relationship
CD, XYZ Builds Ltd
Corona Plastics Ltd would highly recommend RP Tooling for any prototyping work and we will be returning for any future work that we require!
AL, Corona Plastics Ltd
Everybody is impressed with the quality of your work, in fact a few people thought they were the Die-Cast parts!
NM, Designer, A Paccar Company