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Manufacturing – Quick cooling tooling

ORNL researchers used gas metal arc welding additive technology to print the die for a B-pillar or vertical roof support structure for a sport utility vehicle, demonstrating a 20% improvement in the cooling rate. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A team of Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers demonstrated that an additively manufactured hot stamping die – a tool used to create car body components – cooled faster than those produced by conventional manufacturing methods, which could lead to reduced manufacturing costs and production time.

In collaboration with industry partners Lincoln Electric and DTS, they used a gas metal arc welding-based additive technology to print the die for a B-pillar or vertical roof support structure for a sport utility vehicle. The production method allowed for the entire body of the die to be created as one monolithic part.

“With conventional methods, the dies are manufactured by drilling cooling ports in one-foot-long blocks of steel, then assembling, machining the blocks and sealing, and they take 20 days to produce,” ORNL’s Andrzej Nycz said. “We machined and tested the additively manufactured die  in eight days and showed more uniform temperature distribution and 20% improvement in the cooling rate.”