Demanding manufacturing in the high-tech environment
Our expertise for precise details
Whether large or small components, automotive, aerospace or other applications: GALVANOFORM has the expertise and the right tool for each method to ensure that together we can achieve the very best results.
Tell us about your ideas – we will provide the perfect tool.
From the CAD model to the tool
Using component data provided by our customer we individually produce the CAD designs for the shrinkage model and the tool using the most advanced CAD software. Optical measurement data from quality assurance also flows directly into the CAD development to enable further optimization of the molds.
Electroforms for various processes
Precise solutions for every requirement
Tools for a variety of processes
In our approx. 10,000 m² production area there are more than 30 bath installations ranging from 50-50,000 liters available for the manufacture of molds and mold shells of all sizes. They allow us to manufacture molds and mold shells for many different industries and production processes.
In principle there are three tool manufacturing processes to choose from:
- Electroforming with hard nickel, sulphamate nickel, copper and acid copper
- TPN (technical porous nickel)
All of the processes work on the same basic principle: Models are plated that correspond to the required tools in terms of geometry, surface structure and dimensional stability.
Quality you can feel
Precise molds create sophisticated interiors
The tools must meet different requirements depending on the particular process. This is the only way to achieve consistent results. The manufacture and the construction of the electroforms therefore differ correspondingly.
We can manufacture these tools for you:
For fast results at low volume: If speed is of the essence, then the spray process can be used with tools referred to as silicone tools. In this process a heated shell is prepared, into which silicone is poured. A silicone tool can be manufactured using either a wrapping model or master model. The number of molded skins is, however, limited to 50-100 pieces.
For the slush process the electroforms are heated to production temperature by different processes, and after a short cycle are cooled down to demoulding temperature. Production temperature for PVC processing is approx. 250 °C, demoulding temperature approx. 40 °C. Depending on the production process, the slush tools have a thickness of 2.5 - 5 mm. The nickel tools are made of sulphamate nickel with a hardness of 20 - 25 HRc. Due to the very high heat resistance it can be soldered and welded.
The nickel tools for the spray process consist of an electrodeposited combination of materials. The first layer is hard nickel with a hardness of 42 - 50 HRc. This is followed by layers of sulphamate nickel and hard copper.
The hard nickel layer has the advantage of offering very good electrodeposition in difficult areas. This allows geometries with unfavourable depth and width ratios to be made by electroforming.
Due to the excellent thermal conductivity of copper, the hard copper layer enables rapid and even heating of the tool. In the case of spray tools, where the production temperature is approx. 65 °C, heating tubes are affi xed to the back of the deposited nickel copper system. The tubing is backed with a metallic filled resin mixture. The nickel shell is mounted on a supporting frame. Spray tools used in the Direct Backfoaming Process (DBF) are backed with a special concrete material (Densit). For this purpose the tools are mounted on a base frame which matches the upper part.
In-mold graining tools (IMG Tools)
Grain structures or patterns stretch during normal vacuum molding. The negative vacuum molding process using porous nickel tools offers an ideal alternative solution to prevent this happening: This process perfectly reproduces grain structures and patterns without distortion. IMG tools are used for the processing of untextured TPO, PVC and other foils, for example in the manufacture of door panels, glove box lids and instrument panels.
Different methods can be applied here:
- Thermoforming + doubling:
Deep drawing of a film
at simultaneous doubling of a carrier
- Thermoforming + foam backing:
Deep drawing of a film and separate foam backing in a foaming mold
- Thermoforming + injection molding:
Deep drawing a film of max. 0.3 mm - 0.6 mm at simultaneous injection molding
The use of nickel with a surface hardness of approximately 45 HRC, which enables it to be cleaned with dry ice, certainly makes our IMG tool impressive. Their service life is approx. 500,000 molding cycles. Special pores formed by electroplating result in excellent vacuum performance.
- Thermoforming + doubling:
RIM / ROM tools
RIM / ROM Tools are a tool system composed of a grained nickel tool and an upper tool made of steel or aluminium. The nickel tools are made either of hard nickel + sulphamate nickel or hard nickel + sulphamate nickel + copper, according to the customer’s requirements.
Depending on the design, the backs of the electroformed nickel shells are treated mechanically and then fitted into a base frame. The parting lines are then milled mechanically. In this case the thickness of the electroformed tools is approx. 8 - 15 mm.
A more economical solution would be a thinner nickel shell with a thickness of 4 - 6 mm only. A heating system is affixed to the back and the shell fitted into a milled backing. This is followed by backing using a special concrete (Densit). For these tools the parting line is made directly by electroforming.
The laminating tool consists of a nickel shell and a steel substructure. These tools are used to produce CFRP or GFRP components at temperatures of between 130°C and 180°C and pressures of up to 7 bar.
The advantages are excellent temperature behavior in the autoclave, perfect tightness (vacuum bag), not to mention the ability to adjust the geometry (spring-back). Other customer-specific features such as drilling templates, pressure plate, loose parts and positioning elements can also be implemented.
Casting tools (RIM/ROM)
For casting tools, a coating is applied to a mold that has been manufactured using electroplating. The tool is then closed and polyurethane injected. This results in a film of 1-1.3 mm. The film will later be back-injected. Electroplated manufactured casting tools for the fixed mold are made from pure nickel (hard nickel and sulphamate nickel, approx. 4-5 mm thickness). They are embedded in a steel casting frame and – so that the pressures of the manufacturing processes can be absorbed – filled with a special concrete. The core side is normally made from steel so that on the whole you have a tool system with nearly identical expansion values.
In addition to the tools used for interior parts, electroformed nickel shells are also used for manufacturing exterior parts. There are several fields of application, for instance the manufacture of car body parts such as wings, engine bonnets, boot lids etc.
Another possibility is the use of electroforms for manufacturing front and rear spoilers by different manufacturing processes.
Copper-Electrodes for spark erosion
A special area in electromoulding is the production of copper electrodes for the eroding machining of tools. Copper electrodes are commonly used for tools which are to feature a leatherlike surface, for example. The maximum thickness of the electrodeposited copper is 3 mm. The electrode is subsequently stabilised with a high-metallic filled resin. Reference faces are transferred to the electrode for exact positioning in the eroding machine.
The electroforms for the showface and the backface are fitted to a base frame at the customer’s premises and provided with a temperature control. They are used in the manufacture of composite sinks.