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SLM Solutions Partners for Metal-AM Faceshield Injection Molds

Friday, June 12, 2020
 

As part of its Additive Alliance Against Corona initiative, SLM Solutions has, via metal additive manufacturing (AM), produced plastic injection tooling molds used in making faceshield headbands for the Manufacturing & Advocacy Growth Network (Magnet), a manufacturing-consulting firm in Ohio. SLM Solutions 3D printed the molds in its Wixom, MI, facility, using Type 316 stainless steel. The build was completed in two halves, each taking four days to print and one day for heat treatment.


Here is half of a metal-AM plastic-injection mold produced by SLM Solutions as part of its Additive Alliance Against Corona initiative. The molds are employed by Magnet to produce faceshields for frontline healthcare workers.
Magnet, providing hands-on support with business consulting, new-product design, operations excellence and workforce innovation to Northeast Ohio small and midsized manufacturers, sought to acquire injection mold tools to assist in the manufacturing of the faceshields for frontline healthcare workers. The faceshield project grew out of Magnet’s participation in the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19. 

Magnet wanted to employ AM to bypass conventional supply-chain complications, according to Dave Pierson, Magnet senior design engineer.

"I chose SLM Solutions because of its quad-laser system," he says. "We needed the parts as soon as possible, and the speed and throughput of the quad-laser machine was a critical aspect of the decision to work together." 

At the time, SLM Solutions had just launched the Additive Alliance Against Corona initiative to combat COVID-19 and sought to help. Jill Christner, president of SLM Solutions Americas, decided to halt normal day-to-day activities in Wixom to give Magnet’s project top priority. 

"Responding quickly to Magnet’s project was important for SLM Solutions," Christner says. "It’s an honor to be a small part of the solution to protect the health and safety of those who serve, as well as to utilize the value of our additive technology to quickly produce new products and designs―reducing the lead time of traditionally casted methods."

Once received, the SLM print required some finish machining and polishing, but then quickly was mounted to the machine base to allow further manufacturing at Magnet, according to Pierson.

"SLM exceeded my expectations on their quality and delivery,” he says. “The SLM AM mold now is producing faceshields used by medical professionals across the state of Ohio."

 

See also: SLM Solutions NA, Inc.


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