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Rapid Tooling: Its Benefits and Applications

by Nice Rapid | Mar 25,2020 | Rapid Tooling

Rapid tooling product

Do you want to get your product to the market quicker than your competition?

Then it would be best if you chose rapid tooling. With many innovations coming out in the manufacturing industry, rapid tooling stands out. It helps the design team to manufacture parts quickly and proceed to test and evaluate. With a prototype from rapid tooling, they can perform the necessary iterations before moving to production tooling.

Rapid tooling is called by many names. Some people call it soft tooling, prototype mold, or prototypes tooling. They all mean the same, and for the sake of our discussion here, we are going to stick to rapid tooling.

We are going to take a deep dive into this manufacturing process and look at its applications and advantages. Read our article to know more.

What is rapid tooling?

Rapid tooling is a production process that is a downgrade of injection mold tooling as you can quickly and inexpensively manufacture a part to enable you to perform testing and validation of the parts before you spend more on production tooling. In other words, it is creating a mold but in a shorter timeline.

This method is a result of the demand for molds that can be made in a matter of hours or days instead of what traditional tooling could take. It is used as a mold to make a few prototypes or a few plastic parts before going into full-scale production. Most of the parts that rely on rapid tooling are manufacturing inserts like a cavity, core, and side actions of a part. Depending on the parts and procedures employed, you can reuse the mold for multiple cycles.

When considering rapid tooling, there are two limitations that you should consider for making your prototype.

First, the mold should be durable so that it can accommodate the injection molding process. It should be able to withstand injections where heated materials are injected into the mold at a rate of pounds per inch.

Second, the mold should also be smooth to inject the plastic cleanly. This is a very critical characteristic because it is needed before ejection. In other cases, rapid tooling is done through the addition of materials layer by layer, and the resulting mold is not smooth. This may require additional finishing before it can be used for prototyping.

Benefits Of Rapid Tooling

Here are the reasons why rapid tooling became a popular choice for prototyping.

1. It allows for innovation. Since rapid tooling removes the need for conventional tooling, it allows for new opportunities for innovations. With rapid prototyping, a product designer can conceive complex geometries, which seems impossible with traditional tooling.

2. It is time-saving. Rapid tooling has removed the need for special tools, patterns, and molds that conventional tooling requires. It is now faster for the initial idea to have a physical representation that R&D can evaluate.

These result in prototypes that are accurate and readily available for the evaluation of its forms, performance, and usability. Faster turnaround time will give companies a competitive edge in launching new products.

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