DME University

Case Studies

The following case studies apply knowledge gained from DME Plastics University to real-world situations.

Case Study 1

ProtoMold was just awarded a new job that they had quoted several weeks ago. The new tooling is a prototype tool for an automotive application. The customer will require a total of 1000 parts from this new tool. The 1000th part will then be checked for fit and function. In addition the toolmaker, ProtoMold, must deliver this tool in 2 weeks to his customer.

Given the above information, the moldmaker should use Aluminum for the manufacturing of this prototype mold base. Aluminum allows for faster machining and is typically used in short run prototype situations.

Other steel that could be recommended, such as P-20, 4130 or 420 stainless steel would not provide the characteristics required in this situation. The moldmaker needs to build a tool that is for short run production and needs a material that is easily machined in a short time. P-20, 4130 and 420 stainless steels do not possess aforementioned attributes.

Case Study 2

Jean Jones is a process engineer for a molder of television cabinets. Upon inspection of the first run of a new style television cabinet, Jean discovers that the parts have sink marks that show up on the exterior of the cabinet. The sink marks occur wherever a boss is located. The boss is a tapped hole where screws can be installed to mount the cabinet to the television frame. Jean believes that the boss is the slowest cooling part of the tool because it has the thickest wall section. What material can Jean use to improve cooling in the boss area?

An excellent choice to cool the boss area is a copper-based alloy. The copper-based alloys have a very high thermal conductivity. The high thermal conductivity will cool the boss at a faster rate then conventional tool steels.

Other steel choices such as 420 stainless, P-20 or 4130 do not have the high thermal conductivity characteristics that are present in copper-based alloys.

Case Study 3

It has taken a long time, but as a mold maker you have finally broken into the medical industry. A key molder for the medical industry has awarded you a job that will produce medical parts in a clean room environment. The molder has stated that in the clean room environment no lubricants or rust preventatives can be used. You need to determine the type of steel to use for this application.

The correct choice of steel is 420 stainless steel. The 420 stainless steel is ideal for a clean room environment because it has rust inhibiting characteristics.

In a clean room environment you cannot use rust preventatives. Steel choices such as P-20 or 4130 would most likely begin to rust without some type of surface treatment.


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