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Morphing Mould Tools

21 November 2005

Surface Generation has expanded the capabilities of its Subtractive Pin Tooling (SPTTM) mould manufacturing process to allow the instant morphing of left handed cavities into right handed ones using the company’s new ‘Mirror’ build strategy.

This latest innovation means that not only does the reconfigurable SPTTM process lower tooling lead times and costs by up to 90%, but where symmetrical products require opposite mould halves, users’ competitive advantage is even greater.

Designed to reduce time to market by as much as 40%, for large products and short run products, the company’s SPTTM process temporarily creates the front face of a tool using square pins which are moved into a near net shape and then machined to the desired contour. This greatly reduces the value added effort required to make tools, and is also doubly effective as after use the bed can simply be reformatted for the next job, allowing organisations to build customised products economically. Surface Generation chief executive Ben Halford explained that: ‘Because of the unique way SPTTM moulds are constructed, it is possible to switch the relative positions of individual pins within an existing tool array.

This flexibility allows users’ to apply mathematical transformations to reverse, mirror or invert regions and create partially or fully symmetric moulds in a matter of hours.’

‘Tool sets which would have previously taken months to produce, are available in days and this greatly enhances the ability of manufacturers to market mass customised goods and crucially produce them only on demand.’

After making significant advances in pressure and thermal stability, the company has also broadened the range of manufacturing processes SPTTM moulds can be used in and as a result is now working with leading OEM’s in Europe and North America developing applications based around its unique technology.