The Advantages of Aluminum

Over the years, there have been discussions in the industry about using aluminum molds for tooling. Are they right for volume production? What is their lifespan? Are they tough enough to withstand high-volume, long-term runs? It may surprise many that the answer to these questions is yes, and that their benefits are beyond numerous.

Aluminum molds provide the advantages of faster cycles, lower costs, fast turnaround times, and very often, higher quality for injection molded plastic parts.  In fact, a 5-year International Business Machines study in the 1990’s proved that, compared to comparable steel molds, aluminum molds cost 50% less, resulted in higher quality, and reduced cycle times by 25-40%. It also showed that these molds were still in production after two million cycles.

Furthermore, because of the lower part pricing and faster cycle times, aluminum molds use less energy, and are therefore more environmentally-friendly. And as aluminum has gone through major advances over the years, today’s high-strength aluminum has made its use for molds that much better.

Our use of Alcoa QC-10 aluminum has proven to be the true material of choice, machining 8-10 times faster than steel, while reducing finishing costs and lead times by up to 30%. It also conducts heat five times faster than steel, which shortens production cycle times by up to 40%.

As a lighter metal, aluminum is easier to cut and faster to machine, as well as easier and less expensive to handle and transport.  It helps mold users meet the demanding needs of production and delivery through lower costs and shorter lead and cycle times, while allowing them to expand their design options, all the while creating a process of true efficiency.

In the demanding, competitive business world, a material that cuts costs, lasts longer, increases efficiency, and raises quality is the best case scenario.

 

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