A flexible, laser-based hybrid CNC machine makes it practical to produce high-performance molds and dies made from multiple metals.
This is a hardface-welded mold for making glass bottles made by Ross International. The hard edges were deposited and finished in minutes via a single setup using an AMBIT hybrid CNC machine. All photo credit: Ross International and Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies.
We are all still looking for the perfect material for molds and dies. You know, the one that is as easy to shape as butter during moldmaking, yet performs like hardened tool steel for molding parts, all while drawing heat out quickly to minimize cycle time. However, even with significant advancements in heat-treatable tool steels and innovative use of inserts, there is still tension between the material characteristics that we desire for moldmaking, and those needed for molding performance. Often, these contradicting demands oblige us to spend more on making molds than may be required, just to be sure that they will last long enough, or so they can handle unanticipated part shrinkage with minimal modification.