In today’s world of plastic injection, there are several factors driving long cycle times. Thermal control of the mold is the most influential aspect. With the inability to evenly cool an injected part, the cycle times run long, warpage is increased and the end product is plagued with tension and stress which often ends with parts failing quality control.

Conformal cooling technology provides the industry greater thermal control over injection molds. The increased control is accomplished through the manufacture of conformal cooled inserts custom tailored to fit each and every need. Using cooling channels in places and shapes that conform to the geometry of the part being manufactured ensures greater control over these specific, hard to reach areas.  Traditional or conventional tooling simply cannot achieve the shapes, paths, and channel geometries possible with conformal cooling. Having control of both the hot and now the cold halves you have full process parameter control. Your design solution places cooling (or heating) channels at the optimal distance from the part surface, allowing the mold to maintain a targeted, consistent temperature for complete thermal control. Conditions sometimes dictate that heating is required within the mold and conformal heating channels operate in tandem with conformal cooling channels as well.   Conformal heating can assist in maintaining a molten flow front of resin as it enters a hard to fill area of the tool. This takes place much like a hot manifold operates. The heating element, in this case hightemperature oil, will run through channels that follow the shape of the part to increase surface temperature of the mold. As the resin passes through, it still maintains the melt temperature needed to properly flow and fill tight areas, such as an automotive speaker grille.

Shown here (on the right) is an example of an insert that originally contained conventional cooling channels. Beneath the image showing the circuits you can see the thermal effect the resin has on the insert in question. To the right you will see the counterpart with conformal cooling channels to address the key warm areas of themold insert. Beneath the channel image again you can see the thermal effect on the insert. Side by side comparison shows the conformal channels provide much greater thermal control and reduced delta when used with injection molding.

Article & image courtesy: Milacron