Common Myths about Aluminium Tooling

There are many common myths about Aluminium tooling. Many Australian companies are now looking locally for moulding and tooling for a variety of factors. These range from rising Chinese prices, long part lead times, frieght, taxes, duties and confidentiality. So how does Aluminium tooling fit into manufacturing prototypes and production.

"Aluminium tooling is just for prototypes and low volumes"

There is available today technologically enhanced heat treated Aluminium Alloys disproving the "soft tooling" "short run" concepts that aluminium tooling has. Depending upon how abrasive the material is, it can be easy to get 10,000 - 100,000 + components from an Aluminium tool.

"Not All Materials can be used in a Aluminium mould prototype"

Unfilled material types like ABS, Nylon, and Polypropylene's are easier on Aluminium moulds. But high temperature engineering materials can be used also with success. Abrasive materials such as glass filled types can also be used. If large volume is a requirement in Glass-filled or abrasive materials, options are available in the Aluminium mould such as; Case hardening of the Aluminium such as anodizing or plating, or inserting certain areas of Aluminium with Steel.

"You can not use Aluminium moulds for production quantities"

What about 10,000 - 100,000 + production quality plastic parts sound? In many cases this is more than enough for the entire project or until the next design change or upgrade. Aluminium tooling is also perfect for keeping market place share when many design variations are needed. Some other benefits are that if the tool life is exceeded, Aluminium is forgiving and easy to fix in order to get those last few plastic parts until the production tool is ready.

"Aluminium tooling can not have the textures and finishes that Steel tooling can"

Almost any finish that can be applied to a Steel mould can be applied to an Aluminium mould.

"Aluminium tooling process issues"

Aluminium's greater thermal conductivity can reduce or eliminate most of the common process issues with conventional moulds. Aluminium's nature allows for a very even heat distribution. An Aluminium tool also cools evenly which keeps a part's integrity and protects it from shrink warpage.

"Can’t make tool modifications to soft tools like Aluminium moulds"

Aluminium could not be any more accommodating to design changes or from troubleshooting possible production issues. It is extremely easy to modify or insert to do tooling changes or modification. Minor modifications and tweaks are relatively easy compared to steel alloy tools.

"Aluminium tooling cannot handle complex designs"

Good design runs along side with good manufacturing. Both are dependent upon each other. This is why we offer design support and initial design reviews. No matter how complex the part, though good tool design it is possible to make in an aluminium tool.


The above information is from an article researched and written by
Phoenix Proto | Injection Molded Plastic Prototypes From Aluminum Tooling

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