Development of innovative high performance anodised aluminium moulding tools for the thermoplastic processing sector to achieve competitive advantage
The technologies of aluminium tooling and hard anodising have been combined in a unique manner to facilitate more efficient tooling for thermoplatic moulding processes. The project ALAMO optimised the coating by means of test plaques, which were subject to rigorous specification, and testing. Test tools for the rotational moulding and high pressure injection moulding processes were then constructed and run. The tools showed extremely favourable wear characteristics, corrosion resistance, hardness and emissivity. The rotational mould tool exhibited a 20% reduction in cycle time, the injection tool showed wear after 10,000 mouldings only slightly behind that of steel. Large savings of energy are possible in tool manufacture (over steel) and in production runs. Industrial tools were then constructed and tested which confirmed the roto tool results but raised some potential problems with injection tools for some applications, which with further investigation can be overcome. Overall the project has demonstrated that anodised aluminium tooling is viable and will provide benefits to many tooling applications, not just the techniques used in ALAMO.