Plastic and metal parts manufacturer Harbec has been awarded $400,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to investigate the potential for reducing energy consumption through the use of high-tech molds built using advanced 3D printing technology.
The molds – used to form injection-molded parts – will include internal cooling channels based on studies of biomimicry. The idea is to find methods to cool molded products faster, speeding up the manufacturing process and reducing the amount of energy needed.
NYSERDA’s $400,000 award is part of a nearly $1 million project involving researchers from Cornell University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in an 18-month-long study to look at naturally-occurring ways of cooling.
Harbec’s facility has 250 kW and 850 kW wind turbines and operates a 25-microturbine combined heat and power (CHP) plant which generates electricity and provides thermal energy to meet the heating and cooling requirements of the facility.