An evaluation of rapid manufactured cellular structures to enhance injection moulding tool performance

Mariana Dotcheva, D. Thomas, H. Millward

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The work presented in the paper aims to investigate the capabilities of some cellular-type structures as fundamental elements for creating new internal material configurations for injection moulding tools. The idea is to design and manufacture cellular structures, such as truss structures and honeycombs that have equivalent performance compared to parts with bulk material. These structures satisfy not only the mechanical and geometrical requirements of the injection tooling design but will also contribute to the thermal management of the moulding process. The versatility of layer-additive manufacturing allows fabrication of these complex unit cell structures which could provide design freedom for creating new micro and macro internal geometries. Selective Laser Melting (SLM) technology has been used for producing the experimental samples. Test samples have been designed with and without skin surface and then experimentally verified. Cellular structures possess valuable characteristics such as low density, high strength, and good thermal properties. Four different designs of cellular structures that are suitable for application in injection moulding tools and for rapid manufacturing have been investigated. It has been illustrated that a lattice core is capable of supporting significant structural and process loads, while also facilitating cross flow heat exchange. The capabilities of SLM have been tested, and limitations of the technology have been established.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-127
    Number of pages23
    JournalInternational Journal of Materials Engineering and Technology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


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