Alcoa Inc. has a new aluminum alloy for injection mold tooling that is drawing interest from molders and their customers.
The QC-10 alloy can come in plates as thick as 24 inches - more than double the thickness of Alcoa's QC-7, said Ron Smierciak, account manager forced products, during a June 21 interview at NPE 2006 in Chicago.
Copper & Brass Sales (Booth N4458) of Southfield, Mich., is marketing the new alloy, first introduced in late 2005 by New York-based Alcoa.
``We're trying to move aluminum into more standard molding and bridge the gap from prototype tooling,'' Smierciak said.
Aluminum is not applicable for every application, but for tools that will see 100,000 to 200,000 shots per year, it offers an alternative that is easier to machine, reducing manufacturing costs for mold makers, he noted.
The better thermal properties - in comparison to steel - could boost cycle times by 20 percent for molders, he said.
Those potential improvements have gotten the attention of some heavy hitters.
Ford Motor Co. noted during a May conference in Portugal that it is evaluating aluminum alloys for use in exterior trim parts, and a second automaker also is taking a serious look at the product, Smierciak said.