Additive manufacturing for plastic extrusion die tooling: A numerical investigation

Samuel C. Lieber, Allen P. Varghese, Robert Tarantino, Angelantonio Tafuni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Additive Manufacturing (AM) has become commonplace to iterate concepts and realize products in different industries. The maturation of AM has made it a viable alternative to Subtractive Manufacturing (SM) processes, nevertheless there remain several unexplored opportunities. One of these is profile plastic extrusion tooling, which is typically produced at low volumes, can be complex in geometry, and could benefit from AM's bottom-up process. Such manufacturing options raise the question of how one can evaluate whether AM should be considered as opposed to SM. The objective of this work is to establish a technology assessment method to evaluate which extrusion profile cases warrant consideration for AM. Results from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations of polymer flow through the flow channel are related to several applied parameters used by the extrusion industry. This provides a means to evaluate a tool's design virtually before implementing in production. The technology assessment is performed on a U-Channel case, which is a common open profile shape with several product variations in industry. Results from this work indicate that there is no advantage of pursuing AM over an SM informed design for the specific U-Channel case used in this study. In addition, streamlining features alone do not necessarily lead to clear improvements, highlighting the need for technology assessment tools and methods to evaluate whether AM or SM should be implemented. This work lays the foundation for evaluating which extrusion profile cases warrant consideration for an AM process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-412
Number of pages12
JournalCIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology
StatePublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Design for additive manufacturing
  • Profile extrusion die tooling


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