Rapid or Prototype Tooling

Rapid Tooling or Prototype Tooling

At Plunkett Associates we have taken a special interest in how to reduce the upfront costs associated with prototype tooling, and how to make the process more economically viable for lower quantities.

Injection Moulding versus Vacuum Casting

In many instances we are able to offer injection moulded components that are competitive with the silicone tooling/vacuum cast alternative, especially where multiple tools would have been required. Leadtimes can improve as well, due to the significantly faster production rate offered by injection moulding when compared to vacuum casting.

We appreciate there are many reasons to source an injection moulded part other than purely as a production item, and the key to our success has been in offering a range of solutions.

Aluminium ToolingPrototyping in the production intent material

When evaluating new designs there are some instances when the production intent material is a ‘must have’. This can be because the standard prototyping options are just not strong enough or perhaps cannot achieve the temperature or other environmental requirements.

The opposite can also be true, it may be that material properties are unimportant but the quantities are sufficiently high as to make injection moulding the most economic or rapid solution. Either way, injection moulding has much to offer if we tailor the type of tooling to the application.

Aluminium Tooling for cost and speed

Prototype tooling will, where possible, utilise aluminium as the tooling material rather than steel. This is because aluminium can be machined faster than steel and with the large range of tooling grades available, can be matched to the required tool life. The better thermal conductivity can also be attractive, minimizing the cooling circuits necessary.

MUD frames and loose inserts

Items such as the mould frame (MUD) or bolster can be standardised, such that it is only the inserts that are manufactured for each part, again reducing cost and manufacturing time.

Mud InsertsSide actions may be abandoned in favour of loose inserts that are hand loaded into the cavity for each cycle. Whilst increasing the cycle time, this can still prove beneficial if quantities are low.

In some instances it may even prove viable to post machine features or threads, rather than incorporate them in the tooling.

The result equates to moulded parts in between 5 and 15 days. Part quantities can vary substantially based on project requirements, from less than 10 through to over a thousand.

Depending on the application and time available, some tools will be trialed to gain client approval, in other instances the parts are inspected on press and the batch run immediately.

Wide range of material choice

There is a wide range of materials available with most ‘standard’ plastics carried in stock and the use of masterbatch permitting a variety of colours to be moulded.

Ultimately each job is different and Plunkett Associates will ensure the process is tailored to suite geometry, quantity, timescale, budget and of course the client.Adept Precision

Adept Precision is our dedicated tooling and moulding sister company in the UK. If you need tooling fast, or would like more information about tooling for injection moulding, please contact us or upload an enquiry here. We will be happy to help.

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  • 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
  • “Doing business with you has been an absolute pleasure. You have made my goals a reality. You have been patient, helpful and above all, responsive. Best service that I have experienced in ages. I consider Plunkett Associates to be an integral part of my business plan moving forward.”
    Jet Cooper, Sculptor
  • Thanks for the present that arrived this morning, as promised. Parts look first class, as always.
    Jon Todd, Design Manager, PHS Group
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Plunkett Associates truly offer a complete turnkey solution with Speed, Effectiveness and Precision.
    David Harden, Director, Enica Ltd
  • Thanks to Plunkett Associates flexible, bespoke and cost effective service I was able to produce the objects that I had originally had in mind.
    Simon Ryder, Artist
  • 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
  • We always know exactly what we’re getting and we know we won’t be let down on quality, price or lead times.
    Mark Williams, Research and Development Director, Johnson Safety Products
  • "With their simple to understand language, willingness to go the extra mile and approachability, Plunkett Associates were a great partner for our company. We couldn’t be happier with the results of our project. (A working prototype that they got right first time, by the way). Thank you!"
    Carolina Ballon-Forrester, Director, Kittyrama 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
  • “Accuracy, finish and delivery all first class.”
    Andrew Peters, JMDA 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
  • "Tim's experience, expertise and supplier base have been fundamental to us getting this project off the ground."
    Sam Pearce, Jelly Products 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

Get in Touch with us for your Prototyping, Machining and Tooling & Moulding requirements…