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Rapid Tooling and Its Application in Low Volume Manufacturing

by Nice Rapid | Mar 08,2021 | Rapid Tooling

Over the last 20 years, rapid tooling manufacturers have established a reputation of providing fast turnaround times. By outsourcing rapid tooling requirements, companies enjoy the benefits of affordable prototypes or low volume production requirements.

In producing a part, tools and molds are basic requirements. However, cutting the tools can be expensive. Years ago, before the advent of rapid tooling technologies like 3D printing, many companies found building a prototype to be too costly and time-consuming. Only big manufacturers can afford them. Leaving small to medium enterprises lagging in product development.

Thanks to rapid tooling China, it became the lean and cost-effective option for prototyping and low volume production.

Demand for Low Volume Manufacturing

Today’s consumers are more demanding and this demand echoes to the manufacturers. They want short product life cycles and so product developers have to move from designing to production fast. It has steered the direction to lean production geared towards low volume production or short-run production.

Through low volume manufacturing, it can produce hundreds to thousands of parts to market your products immediately. It has become increasingly popular in many product categories because it allows for limited investment in the material and tooling process.

Rapid tooling complements low volume production because it requires limited investment in tooling while allowing entrepreneurs to quickly access the market. It provides a rapid response to shorter production runs and acts as a bridge between prototyping and final production.

Difference Between Conventional Tooling and Rapid Tooling

The conventional tooling process typically relies on durable steel as a material. Some of the most common are 01, D2, and P20 alloys that are wear-resistant yet malleable. The tools are made by milling, grinding, or polishing. However, these machining processes are often costly and hard to make.

Modern techniques like CNC machining and new alloy materials have helped improve the manufacturing process, but it remains costly. Tooling also demands customization and it will need a high quantity of produced parts to absorb the high cost.

There are alternatives like soft tooling or customized part making. But these too are costly. Also, most production processes require tooling. Even if the cost is controlled, you also can consider the time factor. It may take several months to produce a tool according to the parameters set.

Rapid tooling is a simpler process and can answer the demand for fast and cost-effective production solutions for creating mold. The technique can reduce the cost of production by 50 percent.

This production process is designed as a less durable tool with a shorter lifespan as compared to conventional tooling. It is appropriate for low-volume manufacturing as toolmakers can work with less expensive materials at a faster turnaround time. As such, it can save costs and reduce waste.


You can also outsource your rapid tooling China to save you further costs. Many overseas companies offer rapid tooling techniques. You can send them your requirements and they can provide a quote with manufacturability analysis. They can also review your design and recommend the best technique for your requirement. 

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