Electroformed Nickel Slush Tool for the Automotive Industry

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Electroformed Nickel Slush Tool
Electroformed Nickel Slush Tool

Many clients in the automobile industry leverage our capabilities at FET Engineering, Inc. to provide complex slush molds with richly detailed finely grained surfaces that are used for the production of high quality automotive interior components. As a pioneer in the electroformed nickel tooling industry, we have the capacity to innovate design solutions that have a significant and measurable impact on production throughput and operational expense. For this project, we nested a double cavity shell into a single size frame to effectively produce two parts from a single shot. We also integrated powder saver and copper fins to provide targeted and even heat distribution for molding process efficiency and uniformity.

To produce the slush mold interior, we created a wrap model that was approved by the OEM for shape and surface quality. We used the wrap model to mold a master mandrel with the correct grain pattern, free of surface imperfections, and with the structural integrity to be usable for the expected life of the vehicle program. From the master mandrel we produced a silicone cast for use as the plating mandrel, and our carefully controlled and monitored plating chemistries enabled us to create a nickel mold with surface grain details with accuracies measured in the 0.05-0.10 micron range.

At all critical phases of production, the mold, frame, and heating system were subject to rigorous quality inspections that included ultrasonic thickness testing, high resolution CMM measurement, laser scanning, hardness testing, and visual grain inspections. We fabricated a total of eight tools for this program with an expected lifespan of 100,000 shots per tool to net 200,000 parts.

You can learn more about this project from the technical details presented in the table below. Contact us at any time for a consultation on your next project.

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Electroformed Nickel Slush Tool Project Details

Product Name
Slush Tool
Product Description
Double Cavity Hot Sand Nickel Slush Tool
Capabilities Applied/Processes
Primary:
Electroforming
  • Wrap Model copied to Master Mandrel copied to Plating Mandrel, Mounted into a Frame with Heating System
Equipment Used to Manufacture Part
Plating tanks with solution and electricity
Welding & Fabrication Tools
Overall Part Dimensions
Various Sizes
As Shown 1.9m x 0.97m
Estimated Part Weight: 220 kg
Tightest Tolerances
A Surface Grain Detail +/- 0.05-0.1 microns (0.0005 - 0.001 mm), Shrinkage 7 parts/1000
Material Used
Electrolytic Nickel, RTV Silicone, Copper, Bakelite, Stainless Steel
Material Finish
Unpolished Nickel
In process testing/inspection performed
Ultrasonic Thickness, Rockwell Hardness, CMM Machine, FaroArm Laser Scan, Visual Grain Inspection
Industry for Use
Automotive Interior
Volume
Currently 8 Tools in Program Series - Still in Production
~300 parts/day (~150 shots/day), ~200,000 parts/tool lifespan (~100,000 shots/tool lifespan)
Delivery/Turnaround Time
1st Tool: 4-5 Months, Additional Tools: 3-4 Months
Delivery Location
Kentucky, USA
Standards Met
Customer Specifications, 2D CAD Drawing

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