The manufacturing industry has seen a lot of innovation in recent years. Rapid tooling is one of the greatest ways to prototype and test your design if you’re trying to get a new product to market. Tooling, on the other hand, comes with high initial expenditures and weeks or months of lead time from service providers, slowing product development and increasing time to market. It is required to have parts readily available for testing if you wish to market your product quickly. However, before hiring a contract manufacturer you need to understand how this procedure might help your company. In this article, you’ll learn everything about this tooling method.
What Exactly Is Rapid Tooling?
Rapid tooling is the process of creating a mold in a short time. Rapid tooling parts are an excellent way to test and assess a prototype and produce a few hundred pieces before entering full production mode. It is a quick and cost-effective approach to doing low-volume injection molding on different plastic items. The process of rapid tooling allows you to use genuine production material grades, giving you a much clearer view of how the parts will behave in real-world applications and allowing you to test and confirm your material selections. The parts are also injection molded in the same way as they would be in production, so they can be used for stress and impact testing.
What Are The Different Areas Of Using Rapid Tooling?
Rapid tooling has various uses, and these applications will continue to expand as new techniques are developed. Some of them include:
- Injection Molding: Injection molding is one of the most popular manufacturing processes for thermoplastic, silicone, and rubber parts.3D printing injection mold for benchtop and industrial machines are a cost-effective and rapid solution to make components in small quantities. It can be helpful if you’re seeking to develop functional prototypes using end-use materials or manufacturing end-use parts.
- Thermoforming: Thermoforming is an all-encompassing manufacturing technique covering numerous ways manufacturers can shape heated plastic sheets, including vacuum and pressure forming. Manufacturers can produce pieces from many thermoplastic and composite materials using thermoforming methods.
- Over molding: The process of rapid tooling using 3D printed molds can also over mold inserts or internal components and mold plastic, silicone, or rubber parts. By integrating over-molding and insert molding with 3D printing, some of the world’s most innovative companies are overcoming prototype and product validation hurdles, cutting costs, and shortening testing cycles.
Rapid tooling has numerous advantages, but it is not the best answer for every project. It’s a low-cost, quick, and efficient approach for getting items to market quickly. It’s a good alternative for lower volume manufacturing runs because of the cost advantages. Different firms approach the production of quick tools in different ways but the nature of the rapid tooling and product development process means that most specialized organizations can provide you with the flexibility you require.
You must be specific about what you want. The higher speed and reduced prices of rapid tooling compared to traditional production tooling will have an impact on the finished products. Combining 3D printed tooling with traditional manufacturing techniques improves the flexibility and cost-efficiency of the manufacturing process. Confirm your design and material selection before moving to mass manufacturing, and make unique or restricted finished parts.
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