Working with a digital mold
Swany is described as "safe haven for making things" in a white paper on small and medium-sized businesses, and is the design company whose main job is to be entrusted with product design and supporting product planning. Founded in 1970, it began as a small factory manufacturing wound coil. When performance fell due to national manufacturers' shift to mainland Asia, Mr. Hashizume, who had studied design and producing technology in big home appliance manufacturers, took over operations from his parents and set up a new business category in 2010.
One of his aspirations for the business is "I would like to support to shape the ideas and designs of more people, including individuals." The technology born by the basis of his aspiration is Swany's Digital Mold ® which uses 3D printing to create resin molds to be used for metal pressing work. This marks a huge reduction in costs relative to producing metal molds, and at the same time a step-up in the accuracy relative to traditional methods.
Digital Mold® is limited to producing small numbers of molds currently, and is not yet able to produce at volume. However, its key advantage lies in being able to produce test parts and small lot parts quickly and with prices similar to mass-production costs.
Making the metal mold of resin by 3D printer might appear like an easy process, but it nonetheless requires professional art by a mold craftsperson, and technical expertise concerning such as temperature on forming and pressure, deleting and adding parts in CAD software, etc.
The birth of the Digital Mold Press.
Nakatsuji Kanagata Kogyo Co, LTD who runs the metal press in Higashiosaka, applied the technology of Digital Molds into his press workings, and produced the Digital Mold Press. It is, namely, the action to stamp metal into various forms while using a resin mold produced using a 3D printer.
Firstly, Swany Co, LTD. well-experienced staff, who are experienced in the design of structure, chassis, and machinery lay out and form three-dimensional CAD data based on the design schematics.
Based on this 3D data, a resin mold is printed by 3D printer at Swany. The mold is then sent to Nakatsuji Kanagata Kogyo, and they place it into their press machine use it to begin pressing metal using that particular mold.
Emboss press by Digital Mold Press
This digital mold press enables the pressing of various irregular forms to metallic plate. According to the past test result, it can emboss a board of around 1mm thickness. Steel, aluminum, stainless, copper can all be pressed in this way.
The defining characteristic of this embossing technique that there is no warpage. Manufacturing by digital mold has opened up an area of processing which simply can't be done by using steel.
(Reference : Bending work)
Not only can these molds be used for embossing, but also bending. In our test, we confirmed that it can bend to 3mm thick aluminum, stainless, iron, and copper to a 90 degree angle. Crucially, there is no scarring, nor shock lines which can occur when using traditional metallic molds. That is the art which digital mold can achieve.
Bending a metal sheet with a resin mould
See what kinds of never-before-seen products you can create with this new embossing technology!
Company Profile: Swany Corporation
Year Established: 1970
President & CEO: Yoshihiro Hashizume
Location: Ina city, Nagano
Number of employees: 18
Business: Product design, 3D printing
A design company out in the middle of nature.
Company Profile: Nakatsuji Corporation
Year Established: 1974
President & CEO: Yoshiharu Nakatsuji
Location: Higashi Osaka city, Osaka
Number of employees: 18
Business: Metal die pressing, sheet metal manufacture, prototyping, press working, product processing, metal pressing.