Technically speaking rapid prototyping in the plastic moulding industry is the same process as conventional moulding. The difference is in the tooling we create. For a prototyping situation we can use softer more durable materials for the tooling that are not expected to have the lifespan of a production tool.
Further to this tooling manufactured for prototyping can sacrifice a small amount of precision to allow us to very easily modify and redesign until a component is close to the final piece required. Production of moulded models can also be tested much faster as parts can be turned around in as little as 2 weeks, as opposed to months with the conventional moulds.
Logically our prototyping moulds are produced as close as possible to final manufacturing moulds. All prototyping moulds are CNC milled and finished by hand where necessary, just as production tooling would be. Designed to allow material used to match the final component, which isn’t possible with other methods.
When comparing with the direct competition for prototyping, 3d printing, final production pieces are superior. Although tooling is manufactured from softer materials than a production counterpart. The finished component will be close to the quality of a production part.
Although created for testing, prototyping moulds can withstand uses up to around 100,000 components, far superior when compared to slow 3d printing or the capacity of around 15 for silicone casting.
A lot of prototyping techniques don’t take materials into account at all. Which if you are manufacturing single digit batches can be fine. However, we understand that some products require extensive testing in live conditions. Which can result in losing lots of material, prototype injection only requires enough plastic to fill the cavity, reducing waste.
Processing time can be the key, to getting your product tested and then to market as fast as possible. Rapid Prototyping the fastest and most efficient way to do this, whilst ensuring no defects or issues occur in the final tooling production. This also minimises the tooling time of the final production tooling as the machining process can be optimised during the prototyping stage.
Using a rapid prototyping techinique can let you run a pilot set of moulded components to ensure the market interest in a product is there. Therefore reducing the financial risk of more costly production tooling, using the shorter run and softer materials such as aluminium for the tooling.
Our core service is providing outstanding and highly accurate plastic mould tooling. Whether a realised idea, or reproducing an existing design, our team have the skillset to produce moulds suitable for a variety of applications.
We are regularly required to go above and beyond a ‘standard’ mould tool, producing over-mould and co-extrusion designs with ease. Working from CAD files and putting every eventually through vigorous testing results in some of the finest tooling in the industry.