Mold builder Accu-Mold LLC has added rapid tooling capabilities among other expansions to its capacity.
The company in Portage, Mich., installed two Stratasys machines to 3-D print molds and sample parts, in a move to help speed product development time for its customers. The company specializes in plastic to metal conversion.
“Instead of having to build a standard aluminum tool for [customers], which takes four to six weeks, and you can't even really do any testing with that, it kind of pushed us in the direction of, we wanted to be able to 3-D print,” said Dave Felicijan, Accu-Mold's president. “We wanted to be able to deliver 3-D printed samples of parts, but we also knew that there was the tooling side of it that we could take advantage of and leverage that.”
The parts are printed in Stratasys' Digital ABS material, and right now Accu-Mold is keeping to between 20 to 110 tons for rapid tooling.
Accu-Mold's customers have been eager to use the new technology, Felicijan said.
“They want to go. By the time we get back to our proverbial desks or our phones or whatever, nine times out of 10 there's CAD data sitting there waiting for us to see if we can do it,” he said. “Our product segments are real open to it, and again if there's anything that can save days in the product development, that's what they want.”
Accu-Mold is also looking to increase its internal molding capacity as part of a plan to grow into a more full-service organization.
Currently, about 60 percent of the company's business is mold building and 40 percent is automotive molding, and Accu-Mold is looking to diversify into medical and consumer products.
The company is also in the process of adding a new injection molding machine in the 120- to 200-ton range to support rapid tooling as well as other business, Felicijan said.
“What I want to do is expand it based on the full-service perspective,” he said. “We've never really taken advantage of that.”
Accu-Mold is owned by Mno-Bmadsen, the economic development enterprise chartered by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.