Low Temperature Tooling: Addressing Industry Challenges Head-On

21 June 2024
Author: Aimee-May Graham

In today's fast-paced industrial landscape, the demand for more efficient and sustainable manufacturing processes in tooling is on the rise. 

Designers and manufacturers are under increasing pressure to deliver high-quality patterns, prototypes, master models, and other low-temperature tooling applications swiftly and sustainably. Traditional tooling manufacturing methods are proving to be inefficient and resource-intensive, necessitating a paradigm shift towards innovative solutions.

One of the significant issues with conventional machining as a way to manufacture tooling parts is the inefficiency and the waste it generates. Traditionally large blocks of stock tooling board are machined away to achieve the desired end geometry, resulting in substantial waste with much of the initial material ending up as scrap. 

In certain industries tooling may require regular updates and design iterations, resulting in this wasteful process being repeated multiple times before a sufficient end tool is produced,  not only increasing end part costs but also posing environmental concerns.

A logistical nightmare

This traditional modelling process involves numerous, expensive, logistical hurdles, such as managing storage of boards, blocking up boards, dealing with bonding joints, and handling waste from machined boards. These steps add layers of complexity, time, and cost to the manufacturing process, detracting from overall efficiency.

The tooling industry is primed for change. Together with CNC Robotics we explored the benefits of their robotic additive manufacturing solution for low temperature tooling, asking how robotic additive manufacturing can provide a solution to a problem that spans many verticals.

Near net shape precision for all geometries

By combining the multi axis capabilities KUKA robot with the 2KM UK Limited extruder, all controlled by Aibuild software, the Paste_Pro system allows for precise 3D printing of Sika’s high-performance polyurethane paste. This Paste_Pro system from CNC Robotics Ltd offers the low temperature tooling industry an opportunity to produce stock material in a near net shape.

By producing near net shape stock materials directly through 3D printing, the Paste_Pro system drastically reduces the need for extensive machining, resulting in minimal waste with only a few millimetres needing to be machined off to achieve the final shape.

It produces lightweight, high-quality parts

A stand out benefit of the Paste_Pro system is the ability to  produce parts that are significantly lighter compared to those machined from solid blocks. The 3D printing process enables the creation of completely hollow structures that retain high-quality surface finishes without compromising the part’s integrity. 

Simplified logistics

The Paste_Pro system streamlines the entire production process, eliminating many of the logistical headaches associated with traditional methods. By removing the need to manage large boards, bond joints, and handle significant waste, manufacturers can focus on innovation and efficiency. The system utilises SikaBiresin MC80, equivalent to 0.8 density tooling board, ensuring durability and performance.

Advanced integration with Aibuild software,
out of the box.

The integration of the Paste_Pro system with Aibuild’s advanced additive manufacturing software ensures a seamless and user-friendly experience. This collaboration maximises the potential of polyurethane paste 3D printing, offering a flexible and efficient solution for high-quality prototype and model production. 

This turn key solution addresses the critical issues of waste, weight, and logistical complexity. By leveraging advanced 3D printing technology and high-performance materials, the Paste_Pro system provides a sustainable, efficient, and high-quality solution for modern manufacturing needs.

About CNC Robotics:

CNC Robotics Ltd has established itself as a comprehensive, cost-effective robotics solution provider for additive and subtractive applications by pioneering the use of industrial robots as an alternative to traditional machine tools.

The Company’s expanding business has included the development of systems for a wide variety of manufacturing processes and has allowed the recruitment of a diverse and talented team with the range of skills needed to develop robotic systems. In addition, they are KUKA System Integrators and a KUKA Platinum System Integration Partner. Solving manufacturing challenges and developing new processes, industrial robots are utilised as part of strategic solutions for clients regardless of sector or size.