Agemaspark, a specialist precision-engineering company based in Doncaster, have recently secured finances to purchase a brand-new additive manufacturing 3D metal printing machine. The EOS 290 allows the company to create innovative mould tools by developing a highly efficient advanced manufacturing process through a conformal cooling technique to produce laser-sintered inserts for mould tools.
After 2 years of in-depth research, and the production of a test mould to demonstrate the advantages of conformal cooling, Agemaspark have developed a technique that can improve the efficiency of a mould tool by as much as 20%. With the introduction of their new in-house facility to produce inserts in a Maraging steel with a hardness of 54hrc, they will soon be able to demonstrate the complete process to customers, with the machine becoming operational in January 2021.
Along with our downstream capabilities to supply complete tools, this new ground-breaking process will offer new and more innovative ways to make intricate inserts that can be processed with cooling not possible at the moment without using expensive heat transfer materials.
The data gained from their trials will allow Agemaspark to increase the impression number of tools being created, due to the inserts being reducible in size because of the cooling water volumes required. The research will also allow for tool sizes to be reduced by half due to the design of the insets, deliberately created without large, drilled cooling channels. In addition to the introduction of conformal cooling, the company have added a further element to the moulds where the inserts have been coated in ceramic to increase surface hardness, therefore reducing maintenance time and wear, giving Agemaspark the opportunity to have a more eco-friendly and efficient process to produce plastic components.
One of their main target sectors: the plastic caps & closures (multi-impressions components) market, continues to grow extensively in both the European & Global markets. However, this relies on the mould tool manufacturing sector to keep abreast with new technology and speed of production. With the ability of the new laser sintering machine, Agemaspark will become part of the global mould tool manufacturing stage allowing the company to efficiently compete in creating innovative mould tools for the plastic component market, overcoming a number of industry challenges.
Paul Stockhill, Managing Director at Agemaspark, said
“This is a fantastic boost for the company & the local economy enabling Agemaspark to invest in jobs, reduce our environmental impact through waste reduction techniques and continue research & development efforts to penetrate further markets, in particular, the pharmaceutical sector.”
“We’re proud that we have the expertise within South Yorkshire & ultimately, the UK to deliver these products, reducing reliance on external suppliers and imports and increasing competitiveness within the market as a whole.”