Mantle 3D Printers Slash Tooling Lead Times by 50% and Announce New Clientele


Manufacturer of metal 3D printers based in the US, Mantle, has reached out to more customers by widening the scope of its 3D printing technology, inclusive of the P-200 metal 3D printer, with three additional customers.

The new clients include Spectrum Plastics Group, a business that is a part of DuPont; Heyco Products, a company under Penn Engineering; and General Pattern.

Mantle has also made known that its metal 3D printing technology has notably brought down the time and expenses required to produce top-tier tools, molds, and dies.

The firm’s products pertaining to 3D printing have enabled the existing client Westminster Tool to save 110 hours of manual labor and machine operating time, slicing the timeframe for producing a steel prototype by half. Consequently, Westminster Tool managed to speed up the product development of tooling for its customers who are medical device OEMs.

These announcements highlight the wide array of industries and applications utilizing Mantle 3D printers. Use-cases range from medical device toolmaking, to addressing critical labor shortages in the toolmaking sector.

“Mantle’s technology remains a game-changer in the toolmaking industry, consistently driving reductions in lead times and costs while addressing labor shortages,” stated Ted Sorom, CEO and Co-founder of Mantle.

“The latest deployments, with Spectrum Plastics Group, Heyco, and General Pattern, coupled with the ongoing success of our existing customer, Westminster Tool, underscore the growing adoption and effectiveness of our technology.”

Mantle shipment to Spectrum Plastics.

Mantle halves prototyping lead times

Westminster Tool, an injection mold manufacturer focusing on class 101 medical device tooling, embraced the Mantle 3D printer in June 2022. Since then, the company has been finding new uses and testing Mantle technology’s adaptability.

In a recent collaboration with a medical device manufacturer, Westminster Tool 3D printed a complicated set of mold inserts. The inserts were created with the idea of enabling the medical OEM to rapidly mold production-representative plastic parts for material validation.

Reportedly, Mantle 3D printers allowed Westminster Tool to produce the steel mold inserts in just a span of four weeks. This is a significant improvement as using traditional manufacturing methods; it would have taken them about eight weeks. Thus, they not only saved time but also helped their customer speed up its product development process.

Once 3D printed, the tools required minimal finishing, reducing labor and machining time by over 110 hours. The H13 steel tool inserts were complex, including over 40 swipe-by shutoff conditions and contoured parting lines which would otherwise be incredibly time-consuming to manufacture.   

Here you can see representative mold inserts featuring similar geometry to the tools Westminster Tool produced. Photo via Westminster Tool.

New customers leverage Mantle technology 

Spectrum Plastics Group, another medical contract manufacturer, has recently implemented Mantle’s metal 3D printing technology into its facilities. Heyco Products, a company specializing in wire protection and termination for a range of industries, also recently acquired Mantle 3D printing technology. 

Heyco’s operations rely heavily on high-quality tooling, with a record of manufacturing thousands of complex plastic and metal components.

Danny Anthony, the Vice President of Operations at Heyco Products, mentioned the company’s dedication in managing products from design to volume production, including in-house prototype and production tooling. Anthony added that Mantle assists them in increasing their toolmaking capacity and project speed by automating some aspects of their toolmaking process. This leads to the efficient use of their skilled resources.

Mantle’s technology has been recognized for its ability to tackle labor scarcity issues in the toolmaking sector. General Pattern, an injection molder that provides in-house tooling services, has adopted Mantle’s P-200 3D printer in a bid to streamline its toolmaking procedures and enhance capacity.

General Pattern anticipates this investment will heighten production efficiency, decrease reliance on specialized labor, and improve customer service through faster and more efficient operations.

“Introducing Mantle into our operations has elevated our approach to toolmaking. With the simple press of a button, we can now effortlessly create tools, which completely changes our ability to tackle labor challenges and enhances our capacity to better serve our customers,” stated General Pattern CEO Denny Reiland.

“Recently with a slide for a transportation trim component, for example, we skipped the finishing process entirely. Instead, we printed it, assembled it into the mold, and immediately began molding parts,” added Reiland. This reportedly saved 40 hours of traditional toolmaking time, allowing the team to focus on other key projects.

This slide was used by General Pattern as part of a large injection mold molding a transportation trim component.

Additive Manufacturing Improves Tooling Production

Amidst lead time problems and labor deficits, additive manufacturing is progressively contributing to tooling production.

In a survey about the expectations for 3D printing in 2024, Max Funker, the founder of 3DWithUs, highlighted that as 3D printing expands, it is becoming the preferred choice for tooling manufacturing, as well as for prototyping and small-scale production.

AddUp, a French expert in metal 3D printing, had previously debuted its AISI 420 steel 3D printing material. This material was developed specifically for creating intricate and effective molds that require less post-processing. With compatibility for the firm’s FormUp 350 powder bed fusion (PBF) 3D printers, it is ideally suited for generating injection molding molds due to its outstanding mechanical strength and corrosion resistance.

After its creation, the German tool manufacturer Aachener Werkzeubau Akademie (WBA) utilized the AISI 420 steel alloy at one of its establishments. Making use of this substance, WBA effectively 3D printed molds with porosity rates of less than 0.05%, ensuring durability even under severe strain.

Original source


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