Another cool application: How Flextronics engineers in China are using additive to design new conformal cooling channels

March 23, 2018

Metal 3D-printed structural components just 1.5 mm wide can accelerate cooling by more than 20%

Flextronics Manufacturing (Zhuhai) Co., Ltd, part of the global design, engineering and manufacturing company, Flex has been using a Concept Laser M2 cusing Multilaser machine at its site in Guandong province, China for over a year to metal 3D print structural components for consumer electronics, as well as tooling insets, jigs, conformal cooling channels, prototypes and small batch production. 

The machine was installed just six months after purchase, following product training for two Flex technicians in Germany and working closely with Concept Laser’s team of experts to design a new conformal cooling channel using additive manufacturing processes. 

While the safety dimension of cooling channels is usually 3mm or more, in order to accommodate product demands, Flex opted to use metal additive manufacturing to print cooling channels with a minimum width of only 1.5mm.  Although this is a very small channel, there is no clogging, showing the machine’s superior accuracy control.

 

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The machine’s dual laser head, which delivers high efficiency and distinct competitive edge, is perfectly suited to this particular application’s needs and with high power of 400W and fast scanning speed; it can print both inert and reactive metals such as titanium, aluminum.

“The overall printing process is very smooth and the print quality is reliable. With the use of conformal cooling channel, the cooling time can be accelerated by more than 20%” according to Mr. Xiaoquan Wu, manager of 3D printing processing and manufacturing technology at the facility in Zhuhai.