Mantle showcases growing adoption of AM in injection moulding

February 20, 2023

February 20, 2023

H13 inserts from Nicolet Plastics (Courtesy Mantle)
H13 inserts from Nicolet Plastics (Courtesy Mantle)

Mantle, San Francisco, California, USA, has highlighted two recent injection moulding customers which have successfully adopted its technology to automate their toolmaking processes. Nicolet Plastics and Westec Plastics both serve the medical device market and will implement Mantle’s technology to reduce the time and labour required to make precise injection mould tooling components.

“As an injection moulder, Mantle allows us to bring additional tool production in-house and increase the complexity of the tools and inserts we manufacture. We will significantly reduce the time it takes to produce production-quality tools and be able to start production in weeks versus months,” stated Tony Cavalco, CEO, Nicolet Plastics CEO.

Mantle uses its proprietary TrueShape technology – a hybrid material extrusion (MEX), CNC and sinter-based process. The system includes its P-200 Additive Manufacturing machine, built on a CNC platform, that integrates building and machining to produce parts with the accuracy and surface finish required for tooling. The P-200 machine has a build volume of 200 mm x 200 mm x 150 mm.

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Nicolet Plastics has adopted Mantle’s metal Additive Manufacturing to produce steel production tooling in prototyping time and deliver moulded parts to customers more quickly. The company recently used an AM machine from Mantle to produce production tooling for customer Gamber-Johnson. By additively manufacturing three inserts, Nicolet reduced toolmaker time from 180 hours to 12.5 hours and reduced the time to produce the first moulded parts samples from six to two weeks. Mantle produced inserts that were 95% complete and required only minor finishing before moulding began.

“We printed up the inserts and did a little bit of final fitting here and there, and we were able to get it in the press and start moulding parts relatively quickly,” stated Eric Derner, Nicolet Plastics’ Applications Engineer. “We only had about 10 hours worth of secondary operations and final fitting we had to do. Our tool maker was a little bit pessimistic at first, but when I came in that Friday to ask how everything went, he was almost jumping up and down for joy.”

Additively manufactured H13 inserts from Westec Plastics (Courtesy Mantle)
Additively manufactured H13 inserts from Westec Plastics (Courtesy Mantle)

Westec Plastics Corporation is a full-service plastic injection moulder which has adopted Mantle’s Additive Manufacturing technology to increase its tooling capacity without hiring on toolmakers. Mantle’s technology enables the company to produce H13 tool steel inserts anywhere from 75-95% complete with minimal time from Westec’s toolmakers.

When producing the tooling for a medical diagnostic housing, Mantle’s technology allowed Westec to cut the tooling cost in half by reducing the number of active operation hours on the inserts from 40 hours to 10. The tools were used to mould TPE.

“Tooling is the base of our company,” stated Tammy Barras, president of Westec Plastics. “Without quality tooling, we can’t produce quality parts, but it’s getting harder and harder to find quality tool makers. Using Mantle’s technology, we can complete up to 70% of the job, and have our toolmakers handle the specialised steps that only a human can do. We need to take advantage of this new technology. With Mantle, we can provide our customers a service they can’t get anywhere else.”

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February 20, 2023

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