Stereolithography Injection Mould Tool Failure Analysis
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Manufacturing technology does not always enjoy the traditional cost benefits of mass production because large quantities may not be required. Separating low cost from high volume requires new approaches to product and process design and technology. Stereolithography tooling supports this concept by providing tools quickly during the design process to prove out and select optimal new concepts. The SL tooling technique is a first step in realising the near-term objectives such as conceptual modelling and design verification, as well as the long-term objectives in production. At the University ofNottingham development ofthe SL injection moulding tools has taken place along two fronts. The first to provide material data for tool design under extreme conditions of stress and temperature; and obtaining data from different tests carried out on simple tools which resemble real situations (Rahmati 1997). The second development is theoretical and analytical analysis of the simple tools during the injection process. Both ofthe above developments have ultimately been directed towards achieving the goal of successful SL injection mould tooling. The results of such developments may help the industry to reduce the lead time and provide a faster technique in a concurrent engineering environment. The first experimental resuhs proved the capabilities of the technique and demonstrated its advantages and weaknesses. In addition, the important parameters in SL injection moulding such as injection pressure, injection speed, injection temperature, freeze time, cycle time etc. were investigated. The results and derivations may be used either as an instruction guide for industry users to design SL injection tools, or to provide design information for particular conditions and to predict tool failure.