Conformal mold cooling is an industry game changer in the realm of injection molding. Essentially, it gives conventional injection molds conforming cooling channels that help improve cycle times, thus making more parts.
Put even simpler, conformal mold cooling techniques allow the use of cooling lines inside of an injection mold to cool the injected plastic even faster.
Just implementing conformal cooling techniques with no upfront engineering can reduce mold cycle time by around 10%. For those of you not in tune with injection molding, this means that manufacturers can produce more parts in a given amount of time – an efficiency improvement.
By putting in even more upfront effort in the mold cooling setup like FEA, CFD, among other methods, even greater improvements in efficiency can be made. These improvements pushing cycle times down by 20 to 40%.
20% cycle time reduction = $49,500 in profit (27% improvement)
40% cycle time reduction = $60,500 in profit (55% improvement)
Now, when you implement conformal mold cooling into a design, it obviously costs money for the upfront engineering analysis and the mold reworking in order to achieve efficiency improvements to these levels. We can assume that you would pay for this work and tooling out of the increased profit produced by the improved molds.
There are other factors to consider as well, however. Conformal cooling can improve part regularity because it allows for more even cooling. This ultimately reduces the risk of recall on the manufacturer’s behalf, saving money on that front. Stepping back from recall, lower rejects also save money with fewer wasted parts.
On top of all of these benefits, the improved efficiency of any given mold using conformal cooling frees up additional press capacity due to the productivity increases. If you had a simple 10-press plant and achieved a 20% cycle reduction, there would be 2 extra presses left unused on the floor. Assuming the same level of sales from our previous statement, that means an extra $500,000 per additional press ($1 million total).
All these benefits start adding up and conformal cooling starts to sound worth it. Implementing conformal cooling in your designs effectively can and likely will save you money in the long run. If you’re not considering it already, you need to start.
Sources: PlasticsToday, MMSOnline