As part of its Additive Alliance Against Corona initiative, SLM Solutions has metal additively manufactured plastic injection tooling moulds used to produce face shield headbands for the Manufacturing & Advocacy Growth Network (MAGNET), a manufacturing consulting firm based in Ohio, USA. SLM Solutions produced the moulds at its Wixom, Michigan, USA facility, enabling MAGNET to save time and money in additively manufacturing the tooling needed to produce the face shields quickly.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, the Governor of Ohio formed the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19, of which MAGNET was a part. MAGNET then sought to acquire injection mould tools to assist in the manufacturing of face shields, specifically the headbands.
Dave Pierson, Senior Design Engineer at MAGNET, chose to pursue the AM of injection mould tools to bypass conventional supply-chain complications. “I chose SLM Solutions because of their quad laser system,” he stated. “We needed the parts as soon as possible. The speed and throughput that their quad laser machine has available was a critical aspect of the decision to work together.”
Jill Christner, President of SLM Solutions Americas, halted normal day to day activities at the company’s Wixom facility and gave MAGNET’s project top priority. “Responding quickly to MAGNET’s project was important for SLM Solutions,” she stated. “It is an honor to be a small part of the solution to protect the health and safety of those who serve as well as utilising the value of our additive technology to quickly produce new products and designs reducing the lead time of traditionally casted methods.”
SLM Solutions was able to additively manufacture the mould using 316 stainless steel; the build was completed in two halves, each taking four days to build and one day for heat treatment.
“SLM exceeded my expectations on their quality and delivery. Once received, the SLM print had to have some finish machining and polishing but then was quickly mounted to the machine base and we were up and running,” commented Pierson. “The SLM additively manufactured mold is now producing face shields that are being used by medical professionals across the state of Ohio.”