As the undisputed world leader in aluminum alloy products, Signi aluminum is uniquely placed in terms of expertise and resources to develop advanced Specialised alloys for aerospace, marine, transport, construction, industrial And engineering applications.
Among the many aluminum plate products and cast forging stock manufactured for export worldwide from the Signi aluminum mill is a comprehensive portfolio of ultra-high performance alloys optimised for plastic mould tooling plate: the Signi range. Signi products are specifically engineered to maximise the operational advantages of using aluminum alloys for todays's moulding technologies, including injection moulding, RIM, structural foam moulding, vacuum forming, blow moulding and rubber moulding.
For our clients throughout the world, the business benefits of switching to Signi are borne out by decades of experience: superior machinability, ease of handling and optimum product quality. Using the same exacting manufacturing standards as employed in supplying aerospace materials, Signi provides the reassurance of exceptional consistency in terms of quality, reliability and performance. Together with significant cost savings throughout the production lifecycle from initial machining to eventual disposal, these operational advantages combine to deliver a significant competitive edge over both steel and generic aluminum alloy alternatives.
Using Signi moulds rather than steel substantially reduces production costs in several ways:
Being so much easier to machine, Signi moulds can typically be made in a third of the time of a steel equivalent, with corresponding savings in fabrication costs. (Ancillary components such as fittings, pillars and bushes are cost neutral, as conventional steel components can be used).(Aluminum plate)
Lower operational costs
Signi moulds weigh anything up to 60% less than steel equivalents, so They are easier to handle and stock, and exert less strain on your process machinery. As well as extending press life in this way, specifying Signi also reduces your expenditure on tooling, machinery set-up, mould maintenance and ongoing consumables.
The thermal conductivity of aluminum plate being many times higher than steel means that Signi moulds can cut moulding cycle times - and therefore increase output - by between 30 and 50%.
The thermal conductivity, or even better thermal diffusivity, of aluminum alloys characterises the main function of molds: too cool down or heat up.
These parameters have a direct influence on the duration of the cycle and dimensional and visual quality of the part.
With metal removal rates at least four times greater than steel, Signi has excellent machinability and is easy to spark and wire erode. High performance surface finishes are equally simple to achieve with a wide range of processes including chemical nickel, hard chrome and hard anodising. EDM polishing and photo-etching deliver more uniform results compared to steel, and the consistently reliable microstructural integrity of Signi alloys allows first class mirror finishes to be obtained for optically critical applications.(Aluminum plate)
Superior thermal conductivity allows an Signi mould to cool more evenly, minimizing risk of distortion in the moulded part. Together with lower capital and production costs, total product consistency and a substantially faster time to market, this marked quality gain clinches the business case for choosing Signi.
As a result of these benefits, one aluminum plate producer estimates that using aluminum for mold applications can save 30% in cost over steel in mold manufacturing, increasing to 40% if the reduced part production cycle times and hence improved productivity are included.
Since there is a range of different conditions under which tool and mold materials must operate, different aluminum alloy and temper combinations have evolved to meet the various needs. Both cast and wrought products are available in a wide range of thickness, widths, and lengths. Each product type has specific characteristics that have been tailored to application needs.
Specifically designed for precision mould applications, the Signi range has been developed to combine high strength and mechanical stability with outstanding machinability. Over the three decades since the brand's introduction, new Signi alloys have been developed to satisfy the enhanced performance requirements of specific moulding technologies, such as improved weldability and resistance to stress corrosion or sustained high temperatures.(aluminum plate)
For the specifier, this gives the reassurance of knowing that the performance characteristics of an Signi mould plate will exactly match process requirements every time, with all that implies in terms of reliable long-term operation. Signi alloys are supplied fully heat treated, with no further treatment required.
Changes in our production process allow Signi to now guarantee flatness and thickness tolerances on all Signi tooling and moulding plate. The improved guarantee sets a new industry standard for tooling plate tolerances
.Wide aluminum plate tolerances Guaranteed
As you kow, stability and consistency are integral to the quality of Signi plate. Signi's proprietary chemistry, casting, and production techniques provides excellent piece-to-piece stability and consistency. High stability and consistency reduce warping and movement during sawing and machining. Also, the plate's through-thickness consistency creates fewer metal inconsistencies for easier and faster machining, allowing less rework and fewer scrap pieces. And our superior lot-to-lot consistency means you get the same result time and time again, so youc an develop standard procedures for machining and finishing operations.
Signi's genuine satin finish is now available on all tooling plate, the satin finish is twice as smooth as plate with coarse, mechanical finishes. This superior smoothness lets you reduce or eliminate costly surface clean-up operations.
Signi has also recently updated its marking system. The new method paces product identification on the top of each plate. This new system lets you more easily and accurately identify the select the proper alloy, temper, size and specification. It also helps avoid errors by improving the traceability of sawed blanks.
Signi commit itself to quality processes, products, and performance. This commitment to quality-combined with a strong dedication to our customers-has made Signi the leader in the aluminum industry. Signi continuously strives to improve products and processes to meet customer needs and expectations.
The improvements in our wrought tooling plate are one more example of the Signi Commitment to excellence. The flatness and thickness tolerance guarantee on all Signi tooling plate, its improved stability and consistency, the expanded satin finish gauge range, the the updated marking system make Signi's tooling plate the highest quality plate available.
Some of the applications in which cast plate have been used include food machinery molding plate and other low pressure molding, electrical heating plate, milling machine bedplate, automatic inspection machine board holder, and screen printer base plate.
Wrought aluminum plate products are also widely applied. The nature of the improvements made to the aluminum plate products for use in tool and mold applications involves the following areas:
For applications like low pressure plastic and composite molding including thermoforming and resin transfer molding that require a material with excellent corrosion resistance and weldability, 5*** alloys are preferred.
Other applications such as low pressure molding of rubber and other elastomers, which involve temperatures in the 350-400 º F range, necessitate a moderate strength materials with good property retention at moderately elevated temperatures. Here, aluminum plate producers offer alloys based on the 2*** series.
Another class of applications, particularly injection and compression molding as well as bolsters and force plate, call for high strength properties along with excellent machinability, high polishability, and good shape stability. The 7*** alloy family meets this need well.
A survey of wrought tool and mold aluminum plate products would wot be complete without mentioning moderate strength alloys of the 6*** series. Specialized versions of 6061 T6 in stress relieved tempers are available both in plate as compressions tress relieved thick 6061 T651.
While conventional aluminum tool and mold products have some obvious advantages in this these application areas, the competition if not standing still. Some developing technologies include both aluminum ans steel tools manufactured using rapid prototyping methods, which have been trialed in short production run applications successfully. Rapid manufacturing methods eliminate some of the advantages enjoyed by aluminum in terms of machinability and shorter lead times over conventionally processed steel. This area looks like one that will continue to see significant emphasis and development in the aluminum industry worldwide.