The solution is injection moulding...

Injection mould tooling for low volume production parts.

Initial SLS prototypes for testing in only a few days.

prototype partsRequirement:

Having previously worked together on an additive manufacturing project, PSM were keen to get more value out of their relationship with Plunkett Associates on their next production design. Knowing that Plunkett's have a strong track record of delivering production quality parts in prototype lead times; PSM approached them with their latest idea.

Solution:

In order to evaluate the technical feasibility and market prospects of their new maritime device, PSM generated a set of CAD block models. These were additively manufactured by Plunkett Associates supply base as SLS prototypes in a few days.

Following several weeks of assembly, dis-assembly, testing, review and discussions of the prototypes at PSM, Plunkett’s were asked to move the project forward so the mechanical parts were suitable for production by injection moulding and would be right first time at the tool trial (T1).

injection mould toolingPlunkett’s imported the CAD data and enhanced the design for manufacture by injection moulding. This included creating a constant wall thickness, designing out undercuts, adding location features, strengthening ribs, screw bosses, draft and fillets; in addition to maintaining the units styling, design intent and dimensional fitting conditions.

The unit consisted of 4 parts that assembled to make an enclosure for maritime electronics. 3 of the parts needed to be tough and rigid to withstand the rigours of a life at sea (on hard tack) and support the PCBs and LCD screen. In contrast the fourth part was a flexible cover that protected I/O connectors at the front of the unit and could be easily peeled off and re-attached while still providing a splash proof covering.

Prototype partsMoldflow CAE software was used to simulate the plastic flow during moulding; confirming that the parts would fill correctly and that any potential cosmetic or structural issues could be tackled by the appropriate tool design and processing.

After several days of work and the exchange of numerous images and data, PSM signed off the work for a series of low volume polyurethane prototypes. Delivered in 10 days, these would be used for detailed product testing and customer evaluation.

There was cause for celebration, when PSM announced that the prototypes had been very successful and well received!

Having made 3 small improvements to the design based on their evaluation; the 3D data was sent to one of Plunkett Associates tool makers for the manufacture of P20 tooling and first off samples.

Within 4 weeks T1 parts were in the hands of PSM and being assembled with electronics for final evaluation. A job well done!

Injection moulded box for marine application

  • “Plunkett Associates have excellent breadth of experience, work with high quality partners and have a flexibility that we have found enables challenges to be met successfully, cost effectively and in a timely manner.”
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
  • Plunkett associates always find a solution. Whatever we need to prototype, they have a great grasp on the technologies available, costs and lead-times so we get the right solution tailored to the project needs. Have always delivered and never let us down.
    Naim Audio
    Naim Audio
  • “I can’t recommend Tim and his team highly enough. We ended up with a design which can be produced and assembled quickly, efficiently and reliably, in volumes that make sense”
    Simon Leggett, Director, Olivewood Technology
    Simon Leggett, Director,  Olivewood Technology
  • "Tim's experience, expertise and supplier base have been fundamental to us getting this project off the ground."
    Sam Pearce, Jelly Products Ltd
    Sam Pearce, Jelly Products Ltd
  • “We were really surprised at how quickly they turned round such a high quality prototype and the parts certainly proved their worth. They were of high enough quality to provide a fantastic visual representation and to undergo rigorous testing."
    Stuart Wilson, Design Director, TRT Lighting
    Stuart Wilson, Design Director, TRT Lighting
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    Andrew Peters, JMDA Ltd
    Andrew Peters, JMDA Ltd
  • “We use Plunkett Associates because we want someone we can trust, that knows what they’re talking about, has all the contacts, will provide reliable advice and feedback and will get the right result for us.”
    Jim Copestick. Design Manager, Thorlux Lighting
    Jim Copestick. Design Manager, Thorlux Lighting
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    Mark Williams, Research and Development Director, Johnson Safety Products
    Mark Williams, Research and Development Director, Johnson Safety Products
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    David Harden, Director, Enica Ltd
    David Harden, Director, Enica Ltd
  • “Kirintec were thrilled with Plunketts. They made a complex process simple and we were just amazed at the lead times achieved. Plus, every single deadline was met without any drama.”
    Penny While, Marketing Director, Kirintec
    Penny While, Marketing Director, Kirintec
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    Simon Ryder, Artist
    Simon Ryder, Artist
  • To create such a consistent quality finish in chrome was an amazing achievement and the prototypes really gave our stand the wow factor.
    James Clark, Group Commercial Director, The Airdri Group
    James Clark, Group Commercial Director, The Airdri Group
  • Interestingly, people who look at it in its own right with little knowledge of what it does, just like it! It’s tactile and it looks good…
    Tim Collings, Operations Director, Troika Systems Ltd
    Tim Collings, Operations Director, Troika Systems Ltd
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    Carolina Ballon-Forrester, Director, Kittyrama Ltd
    Carolina Ballon-Forrester, Director, Kittyrama Ltd
  • Plunkett Associates worked on the design and production of titanium frames for an artificial heart valve where precision and consistency was paramount. Communications were efficient and productive with concepts readily incorporated into the final design, and suggestions for improvements all highly appropriate. The quality of the end product was ideal and I have no doubt that I will use the advice and expertise of Plunkett Associates again.
    David Wheatley, Wheatley Research Ltd
    David Wheatley, Wheatley Research Ltd
  • “Thanks for the present that arrived this morning, as promised. Parts look first class, as always.”
    Jon Todd, Design Manager, PHS Group
    Jon Todd, Design Manager, PHS Group
  • “Plunkett Associates have a fantastic supply chain, work with all sorts of production processes and will always do their utmost to solve a problem.”
    Naim Audio
    Naim Audio
  • “ Plunketts developed a solution that met our precision requirements at a cost significantly lower than alternative manufacturing approaches we had investigated”
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
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    Jet Cooper, Sculptor
    Jet Cooper, Sculptor