Melotte was founded in 1965 and focuses on the development and manufacture of high-precision engineered solutions for industrial (aeronautics & astronautics, nuclear, petrochemicals, pharmaceutical, and tools & dies) as well as medical and dental applications. Initially, its focus was on mold making. However, its experience with molds combined with more than ten years’ experience in 3D metal printing, made it a logical step to introduce 3D printed parts into the complex world of injection molding. The company supplies prototypes and small production series manufactured with conventional machining as well as metal 3D SLM printing (selective laser melting). It strives to bring added value by offering solutions for complex molds and tools. This is done by adding complex geometry and optimal cooling solutions for which 3D printing is particularly suited. It has in-house R&D and Design Departments, which discuss, design, and finalize with their customers parts suited for 3D printing using sophisticated CAD/CAM and specific software packages typical for this innovative technology.
Bram Grandjean has a background as Mechanical Engineer and is currently Sales Project Manager at Melotte, Belgium. In 2016 he wrote an article for 3D fab+print magazine about Melotte’s conformal cooling for mold making, in which two separate case studies are cited to provide solutions for solving sprue bushing challenges of end-user companies.
“In recent years, mold cooling methods have evolved considerably,” Bram starts his article. “For example, the use of heat conductive materials, like copper alloys in the core-side of a mold has improved cooling a great deal.” He then tells how thermal management research shows the highest temperatures concentrate around the hot runner, the most critical zone that has the highest cooling requirements. As such, hot runners “are the critical interface between the cavity and the melt delivery system”.
Optimization of cooling is necessary, also because cycle times can often be reduced with better cooling, thus increasing productivity. “The sprue bushing is one of the most heavily loaded parts in a mold and, therefore, the most suitable part to be treated in order to solve these challenges,” Bram explains. “Melotte designed and developed a number of sprue bushings with 3D-printed integrated conformal cooling. The definition of the word ‘conformal’ signifies that the cooling acts conform to the shape of the sprue bushing. 3D printings are exceptionally well suited to creating cooling channels with a complex geometric shape internally in the sprue bushing.”
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