Rapid tooling (RT) integrated with additive manufacturing technologies have been implemented in various sectors of the RT industry in recent years with various kinds of prototype applications, especially in the development of new products. The purpose of this study is to analyze the current application trends of RT techniques in producing hybrid mold inserts.
The direct and indirect RT techniques discussed in this paper are aimed at developing a hybrid mold insert using metal epoxy composite (MEC) in increasing the speed of tooling development and performance. An extensive review of the suitable development approach of hybrid mold inserts, material preparation and filler effect on physical and mechanical properties has been conducted.
Latest research studies indicate that it is possible to develop a hybrid material through the combination of different shapes/sizes of filler particles and it is expected to improve the compressive strength, thermal conductivity and consequently increasing the hybrid mold performance (cooling time and a number of molding cycles).
The number of research studies on RT for hybrid mold inserts is still lacking as compared to research studies on conventional manufacturing technology. One of the significant limitations is on the ways to improve physical and mechanical properties due to the limited type, size and shape of materials that are currently available.
This review presents the related information and highlights the current gaps related to this field of study. In addition, it appraises the new formulation of MEC materials for the hybrid mold inserts in injection molding application and RT for non-metal products.
The authors would like to express our heartiest gratitude to the Research Management Center, UTM for their financial support for this work through the UTM Research University Grant (RUG) number Q.J130000.3509.06G38 and Q.J130000.3551.07G23.
Hussin, R.B., Sharif, S.B., Abd Rahim, S.Z.B., Suhaimi, M.A.B., Bin Mohd Khushairi, M.T., Abdellah EL-Hadj, A. and Shuaib, N.A.B. (2021), "The potential of metal epoxy composite (MEC) as hybrid mold inserts in rapid tooling application: a review", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 27 No. 6, pp. 1069-1100. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-01-2020-0025
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