CLINTON, Tenn., March 21, 2017 –Techmer PM recently collaborated with several industry partners to develop tooling equipment via additive manufacturing. While the aerospace industry has led the paradigm shift to 3-D printed tooling, the automotive sector is also now investing in this promising area.
The 3-D printed tools are designed for large-scale transportation and industrial applications, in addition to aerospace and military. Techmer PM collaborated with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Boeing, TruDesign, and BASF on the 3-D printed tooling development.
Techmer PM custom formulated high-temperature polymer materials with carbon fiber that ORNL used to 3-D print the tools. During testing, the 100% 3-D printed tools successfully endured multiple autoclave cure cycles, withstanding temperatures over 355 F and pressures of 90 psi.
The tools were printed on a Cincinnati Incorporated Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine (BAAM) and machined on a Thermwood 5-axis CNC machining center, both located at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. The tools were surface finished by TruDesign.
“We are very pleased with the results of this collaboration, which demonstrated how 3-D printing generates significant time and cost savings, operational efficiencies, and design freedom and enables minimal touch labor,” said Tom Drye, vice president of emerging markets and innovation.
Production time and cost associated with additive manufacturing is one-fifth to one-tenth that of conventional tooling methods, which typically require up to a 12-month lead time to procure the feedstock and machine metal tooling. High-tech tooling processes also afford greater design freedom by storing information via a digital file that enables engineers to make quick changes throughout the design and development process and easily produce additional tools when one becomes damaged or needs modification.
About Techmer PM
Techmer PM is a leading materials design company that works in partnership with plastics processors, OEMs, and designers to solve some of their most difficult business, manufacturing, and sustainability challenges. The company’s solutions modify the aesthetics as well as extend and maintain the physical properties of plastic products. The company designs custom solutions for customers to maximize performance through collaboration and by leveraging its leading-edge technology. Techmer PM was recognized by Plastics News on its “Best Places to Work” list in 2014 and 2016. Learn more by visiting techmerpm.com.