Speaker interview: Craig Crossley, Fortify

In the run up to the first Injection Molding and Design Expo, we will be talking to our speakers get their insight into the industry. First up is Craig Crossley, Applications Engineer at Fortify.

Craig is currently the Injection Mold Tooling Applications Engineer. His key focus is on processing and designing 3D printed mold tools in order to quickly prototype molded parts for a very low  cost. Craig also runs a Mold Processing Training that focuses on helping run 3D printed tools as there are some key differences between regular steel/aluminum tooling and polymer based 3D printed  tools.


What are the biggest challenges facing the market today and how can this be overcome?

Molding in general is constricted by long overseas timelines and high costs of tooling. We hope to be a bridge between prototype builds and production builds, filling in the gap of direct printed prototypes and molded parts. Instead of paying $5000-$15000 for a metal tool and waiting 4-8 weeks to receive it, you are able to print a tool and have molded parts in under a week for a cost of $300-$500. In order to adapt to the evolving consumer market and especially recycling regulations, being able to utilize quick turn prototype tooling will be key in driving innovation.


In your opinion, what do you consider to be the greatest development in your industry in the last decade?

In the molding industry I see the imFlux AVA (auto viscosity adjust) as being one of the greatest innovations in the industry. I have seen it firsthand and the impact it is going to have on PCR and recycled materials is going to be incredible. I have molded with regrind and recycled materials before and had to make adjustments on the fly to try and keep a mold running, it is not a great position to be in. There are other great software, hardware and material developments that have occurred, but in my opinion AVA is the most exciting and will have an extreme impact on the industry with PCR becoming more involved in products going forward.


How do you see the sector developing in the next five to ten years?

I see more widespread adoption of 3D printing and printed tooling specifically. PCR usage and the regulations around the use of recycled materials will drive the need for prototyping using the specific material. Right now 3D printing is not a good way to accurately prototype using PCR and buying an aluminum/steel tool is going to be too expensive and take too long. 3D printed molds are going to be a very useful tool in prototyping with recycled materials quickly and verify your part and tool design before spending thousands of dollars.


You will be speaking at the Injection Molding and Design Expo in Detroit this May, could you give us a preview on what you will be talking about?

I will be discussing  the ideal part selection for utilizing 3D printed tooling, reviewing  on the size, materials, complexity, quantities and functions of the parts that are good candidates for this process. I  will highlight  a case study on how molding with polymer tools can affect mechanical properties using ASTM tests 638, 790 and 256. Some other key features will include a demo on the project difficulty calculator which takes some geometry and material inputs and will give you an expected number of shots. Attendees will leave with the knowledge of how to effectively prototype their molded parts and how to evaluate parts to determine if a metal tool is needed or if they will be able to use a polymer based tool.

Hear Craig talk on '3D-printed tooling for injection molding: how to choose the right parts' at the Injection Molding and Design Expo conference.