Rapid tooling is an integral part of the manufacturing process, from medicine to manufacturing water bottles, you name it! It is used in every industry which requires a mold to shape and design malleable or plastic materials. With the growth in demand for 3D printing and prototyping, there are a lot of upcoming firms to cater to such needs. They specialize in prototyping and rapid tooling to cut down on time and expenses for the client.
What are rapid toolings?
The rapid tooling solutions is the process of using rapid prototyping methods along with the conventional methods to produce a mold. It is also used for building models that are functional, using data from CAD. This reduces the cost when compared to the staid processes used earlier. It is primarily done by the injection process, wherein molten material is poured into the mold. It can be used for various purposes, and an array of materials can be dealt with in a smooth and fast method. Mass production is one of the main perks of Rapid tooling.
CAD or Computer-Aided Design acts as a blueprint to build the prototype. There are upcoming firms that offer different modes and volumes of production. This helps the client in reducing the unnecessary costs of mass production when the requirement is limited. Customization and repetition of processes make the manufacturing process easy, especially if the production system does not require altercations.
Tried and Tested
The material used for casting is chosen by the client and it takes approximately 15 days after analyzing the CAD to prepare the samples. The lead time is very less compared to the traditional tooling processes which make it an attractive prospect for companies.
These molds are tried and tested in the following ways:
- The first phase consists of pouring the material into the mold to check the consistency, viscosity. The design changes and alterations are done at this stage.
- A small sample is made and sent out to the customer for approval so that the final testing can be done.
- In the last stage, the parts or the components of the tool are assembled and given to the client and can be used throughout their lifetime.
What makes rapid tooling a better option?
It is a common misconception that rapid tooling is time-consuming and the processes have a longer lead time. But given the recent advancements in technology and techniques, the production parameters can be met with small tweaks in the initial stages of molding. And now that 3D printers have entered the arena, the opportunities are endless. Although there is a long way to go, rapid tooling solutions are proving to be very effective in solving short term demands for pieces of equipment, and this proves to be very beneficial for companies.
One of the key standards of manufacturing is volume. The volume of production varies across different products and firms. Traditional tooling techniques could not cater to volume and time in the same frame of reference. But rapid tooling allows the manufacturer to produce large or small batches of products in a short period.
Rapid tooling and prototyping are enhancing the industry at an exponential rate, and choosing these methods would ensure that one is not being myopic in terms of spotting and grabbing opportunities for success.