Polymer Additive Tooling for Polyurethanes Additive production of moulds for vacuum casting

Key Info

Basic Information

01.02.2019 to 31.07.2020
Organizational Unit:
Chair of Production Engineering, Innovation Management
The Central SME Innovation Programme ZIM of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy BMWi

Research partner

  • ModellTechnik Rapid Prototyping GmbH



Gerret Lukas



+49 1516 5694122



Purpose of research:

With the shortening of product life cycles due to competition, the expansion of the variety of variants demanded by customers, as well as customer requests for individualized products, methods for rapid product development and batch size-adapted production are becoming increasingly important. In this context, a real hype arose in the past about additive manufacturing.
Additive tooling offers the potential to close the gap between the prototypical basic concept and large quantities in series production while fulfilling economic aspects. The RIM process and vacuum casting are particularly suitable for agile component production with additive-manufactured moulds.


Development of a component manufacturing process for individual prototype and small series production (quantities between 25 and 200) by means of additive vacuum casting tools made of plastic with the desired target values:

  • Cost reduction compared to aluminium tool moulds
  • Cost advantages compared to a tool mould made of silicone
  • Time reduction in tool development and component production
  • longer service life compared to a silicone mould


Within the scope of the cooperation project PATPUR, potentials and limits of Direct Polymer Additive Tooling (DPAT) are analyzed and evaluated with regard to technological aspects.
For an efficient implementation, the development project will be divided into five work packages. In the first work package, an extensive market analysis is carried out with the aim of establishing the requirements for the manufactured components and the tools used. Subsequently, a catalogue of requirements is generated for the additively manufactured tools with regard to the shape and dimensional accuracy of the finished vacuum casting components. In the third work package, a reference tool is developed on the basis of the previously determined specifications. Based on investigations with the reference tool, suitable process parameters are then developed. Based on this, a process guideline is developed, which serves the creation of the product, the validation of the process limits and the development of the optimization potential. At the same time, the last work package validates the entire process chain for the production of AM vacuum casting components with the aim of selecting the right tools in terms of time and costs.

Project approach:

The project is based on the ZIM research project AIM (Additive Injection Molds). Here, the project contents can be obtained analogously from the experience gained with additive tooling in injection molding applications.
The technical manufacturing process will be developed and optimized up to its applicability. Within this process, boundary conditions are defined to ensure feasibility. It is shown in which areas the process chain distinguishes itself from other technologies, for which applications this is preferable, and where further research is required.
The goal is the development of a user-friendly guideline for the design of additive mold tools for vacuum casting. This should enable efficient tool production and form the basis for a standardized procedure. Furthermore, the development process can be optimized with regard to time, costs and (process) quality.