Rapid Injection Molding allows us to make prototype injection molded parts in a production thermoplastic resin in 2-5 weeks. These parts may be used for full functional and fit testing as well as test marketing. Rapid injection molding should be so much more than simple parts from a cheap throw away mold.
When engineers need to produce parts very quickly, they use what is aptly called ‘rapid injection molding.’ The parts produced in rapid injection molding are used for creating prototype parts for design analysis.
While useful in that respect, the rapid injection molded parts typically aren’t used as a finished product but it can be a bridge to production that produces parts for production while the true production mold is being made. Instead of being a primary production process, therefore, rapid injection molding is more of a research and development process.
In order to be successful with this stage of the production of plastic parts, a few factors need to be considered carefully. Some of these factors are:
The natural first step in all injection molding processes, including rapid injection molding, is tool design. When tool design begins, the part formation has already been conceptualized, so there is an idea of how it will look and function, at least theoretically.
Part size and the intricacies within the part contribute the most to lead time, which needs to be reduced. The easiest way to get around the problem of large and intricate parts is compartmentalization: breaking the big intricate parts into smaller, less intricate parts and then assembling them in the end.
Compartmentalization can shorten lead time because this technique prevents engineers from wasting time working on a very complex part.
Now that the big intricate part has been broken down into smaller, less intricate parts, engineers can use the rapid injection molding technique to machine the parts.
To better take advantage of the quick turnaround time that rapid injection molding offers, one should look to make use of materials that are readily available or can easily be obtained from a retailer or a major distributor. Spending excess time looking for a suitable material negates the point of rapid injection molding.
In addition, because the parts that are created with rapid injection molding are mostly made only to test parameters – such as confirming the basic design, function, and ability to reproduce the part, the type of material used can be unimportant. As long as the chosen material has properties similar to the final intended material, it will work.
In the unlikely case that the same material as the finished product is required for the rapid injection molding process, the material should be procured while the mold is being prepared by the CNC machine so as not to waste time.
Reducing lead time will mean increasing the cost of a process, and rapid injection molding is no different. A proper analysis of the extra costs involved in shortening lead time processes – such as extra man hours, material procurement, tool design, tool machining, production runs, etc. – should be done and compared against the budget. One or more of these processes can be compromised in order to strike a balance between speed and cost.
Rapid injection molding, however, cannot shorten all processes. There are things that will have the same lead time regardless of how much effort is put forth or how many resources are available. So, the best one can achieve with these processes is ensuring that they are done efficiently and that no time is wasted.
Taking care to see that all aspects of the injection molding process is carried out efficiently and without delay will significantly reduce the overall lead time and that will also mean a very satisfied customer just like we are accustomed to, here at Creative Mechanisms.
At 3ERP, we produce molds fast that are made to last. All of our Rapid injection molds are made from steel, not aluminum or other metal. Our molds are guaranteed to last the life of your product, even when running parts with glass and other abrasive filled resins. Simply put, we believe that rapid injection molding should not be limited to prototyping. We manufacture Rapid injection molds that produce parts with undercuts (e.g. snap features, threads and holes), sharp corners and complex geometry in about the same time as a prototype mold. Where the other guys fail we excel!
Rapid injection molding works best for on-demand production, bridge tooling, pilot runs, and functional prototyping. Our affordable aluminum molds and quick turnaround times help reduce design risks and limit overall production costs. When you need production-caliber molded parts on a short timeline, 3ERP gets it done. We rush parts to you on a schedule that supports your entire testing and pre-production schedule. No need to bend your design to our process; we have the equipment, capability, and knowledge to deliver to the parameters you set, no matter what industry you’re in. It’s that simple.
Working on a tight deadline? How about parts in hand in less than two weeks? Yes, you read that right. Our proprietary process and singular focus on your project enables us to bust the standard industry lead time for tooling and molding. Get your functional and form-fit tests done quicker and move into production faster with precision parts.
Have a complex part? Piece of cake. With 3ERP, there’s no need to redesign your part to fit our capabilities. Because we employ both CNC and electro-discharge machining, we can build core and cavity molds to fit the most complicated geometry you come up with. Our customized frame system further allows you to select aluminum or P-20 tool steel for your mold. Not sure which to choose? We’ll help you weigh the advantages of both to find the best solution for your Rapid injection molding needs.
When the design is stable or volumes are growing, 3ERP will assist with moving to conventional mold production. As a global manufacturer, we make manufacturing simplified with multiple cost-effective options aligned to your needs. Diversified solutions for custom plastic and metal parts means you work with a single source for everything from production through delivery.
We have the technology, equipment, and expertise to move your part to production Rapid injection molding for higher volumes at a lower unit cost. Need assistance with logistics? We’ve got that covered, too. Our entire process is designed to support you.
Using our Rubber Plaster Molding process, we cast the tools from patterns fabricated from rapid prototyping or CNC machining. Cast tools are made directly from the designer’s database using stereolithography (SLA) or CNC machined masters. In our aluminum foundry, we cast the injection mold. Perfect for prototypes, this process is also an excellent short run or bridge-to-production method, since these molds can produce thousands of parts.