Die Casting proves viable for small batch runs
Making the switch from prototyping to production, and the Far East to the UK
Let's look at the options.
Rapid Prototyping (RP) is ideally suited to handling high component complexity. It provides a fast and economic means of validating such designs before tooling release.
Despite the growth of RP, CNC machining still plays a significant part in plastic prototyping and low volume production and should not be overlooked as a viable option. Material choices are wider and when combined with our global sourcing, which includes the Far East, the results we can give you are often extremely economically attractive.
Vacuum casting is the first step into tooling; we can offer through this process good detail combined with a range of polyurethanes designed to emulate the mainstream production of plastic parts. Depending on part and materials chased, tool life is typically 15 - 25 off.
Bridge tooling is an extremely viable option when you need to produce plastic parts from production intent material whilst avoiding investment in expensive production tooling. Part quantities can range from low 10's to 1000's off, and can use loose inserts to avoid automation.
Injection moulding still dominates the production of the majority of plastic parts, and whether combined with bridge tooling or full production tooling, offers a consistent high quality source of parts. Usually considered to involve long lead times and high costs, this is not always the case and is really a case of matching the requirements to the type of tooling produced. - this is something we can help you with.
Depending upon the combination of processes and material selected, varying levels of evaluation from basic visuals through form and fit, to full functional verification can be performed.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is the second most commonly used process after Stereolithography (SLA). SLS parts can be produced with high functionality in very short lead times.
The benefits of CNC parts include substantial flexibility in material choice, high accuracy and repeatability.
Produces production intent material properties. Injection Moulding is used for development as well as production parts.
Produces accurate 3D models with a range of material choices. High Res SLA and Micro SLA for smaller parts.
Offering one of the largest ranges of materials, Polyjet can produce hard, flexible and multi material parts.
Ideal for producing small quantities of plastic and flexible rubber parts, especially if aesthetics are important.
Plunkett Associates can produce low volume quantities of plastic and metal parts in short lead times and at low cost through extrusion.
Metal Plating offers some exciting possibilities both in Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Manufacturing arenas.