Three of the largest production aluminum molds ever manufactured were recently completed by Franchino Mold and Engineering (Lansing, MI). The largest, weighing 300,000 lb, has a 50-drop hot manifold and was constructed using multiple materials including 5000- and 7000-series aluminum, and 4140 and P-20 steel. The shot weight is 176 lb. The mold was created for a leading septic and storm-water product manufacturer in the U.S.
Phillips said that the cores and cavities are aluminum because the customer needed faster cooling times for the part, which has a 0.25-inch wall thickness. The aluminum cores and cavities are housed in 4140 steel, with P-20 for the nozzle seats and other components where wear is a consideration, to protect the aluminum cores and cavities.
“We build die-cast dies; we took that philosophy with these big aluminum production molds,” Phillips explained. “We have a good history with the large tooling that we’ve built this way. We’ve got aluminum tools in the field that we built several years ago that now have two million shots on them.”
The second- and third-largest production aluminum plastic injection molds designed and built by Franchino are a 211,000-lb mold with a 35-drop hot manifold and a shot weight of 134 lb, and a 215,500-lb mold with a 27-drop hot manifold for multimaterial molding and a shot weight of 118 lb.
Recently, Franchino expanded its capabilities with the addition of three new machines to enhance its large-mold making capacity: a SNK CNC vertical machining center, a Tarus Gantry Positional 5-axis machining center, and a Verson spotting press. Franchino also installed two Raid FPT CNC machines and two Makinos with a table size of 20- by 40-inches to machine small inserts and components.
Founded in 1955, Franchino designs, engineers, and manufactures custom die-cast dies and plastic injection molds, and also provides contract machining and engineering services. The company serves a wide range of markets including the aerospace, automotive, industrial, construction, military, marine, medical and appliance. Franchino employs 65.