Canadian Plastics

Moldmaking Report: General Motors Considering Greater Use of Aluminum Tooling

The world's largest automaker, General Motors, is currently conducting trials to evaluate the possibility of using aluminum molds to replace steel in certain applications, according to a metal supplie...

December 1, 2004   Canadian Plastics



The world’s largest automaker, General Motors, is currently conducting trials to evaluate the possibility of using aluminum molds to replace steel in certain applications, according to a metal supplier at the recent CAMM trade fair.

“P20 is overkill in a lot of applications,” the supplier said. “We’ve been talking with engineers at GM about converting (to aluminum) for a while and they are committed to making this work.”

Aluminum has better heat transfer properties than steel, resulting in faster cycle times; however because it is less hard than steel, its use has generally been limited to prototype molds and low pressure molding applications. Tougher grades of aluminum, along with shorter product life cycles, have eased production concerns about aluminum tooling and convinced GM engineers to take a fresh look at using the metal in its tools.

“This (GM’s trials) could have a potentially huge impact on the tooling industry,” said the supplier.

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