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Rapid Tooling

Rapid Tooling Solutions – First samples are produced within 15 days after DFM approval


NICE’s rapid tooling service is designed to provide you with REAL injection molded parts in the shortest possible timescales.


In addition, you can confirm your designs faster with true injection molded parts made in your preferred material.


Rapid tooling is a lot quicker as a method of production than the standard tooling process. This is due to the efficient manner in which the initial CAD design is processed, as well as the smaller production volumes generally produced in a rapid tooling environment.


Generally, first samples are produced within around 15 days from receiving the CAD file and this can even be faster, depending on the workload of the company. Efficiencies in designing the tool itself can also lead to larger production runs using the same tool, therefore, reducing costs and providing even further efficiencies of scale. 



SPI Mold CLASS

Below is our Standard for Injection Molding Tools:


CLASS 104 MOLD

Cycles: Under 100,000

Description: Low production mold. Used only for limited production preferably with non-abrasive materials. Low to moderate price range. Cavities can be of aluminum, P20 material.


CLASS 105 MOLD

Cycles: Not exceeding 500

Description: Prototype only. This mold will be constructed in the least expensive manner possible to produce a very limited quantity of prototype parts.



Mould Trialing


There are three phases to every mould trial:

1.) First Out of Tool (FOT): In this phase, plastic is injected into the new tool to check flow rates, cooling rates and ease of opening including checking for flash or any other injection moulding anomalies. The mould design or flow rates of resin may be altered if this stage is not deemed a success.


2.) Customer Review: A small sample of parts will be manufactured and then sent to the customer for approval. If these parts reach the customer’s quality standards, then the tool is ready for final testing.


3.) Final Optimisation: The tool is nearly ready for mass production. The parts produced in Phase 2 are carefully studied to ensure they meet all of the parameters of the DFM and any further, minor adjustments are made. The tool is now ready to produce perfect parts for the rest of its lifetime!



Steel VS Aluminium

The age-old debate on the best mould material to use for both cost effectiveness and longevity is generally confined to steel vs aluminium. Here, we will discuss each material and give you our take on which one you should choose for your next project.


Steel has generally been the first choice of material for most tooling projects in the past, with a long life being its most beneficial asset. Nowadays, the price of steel is increasing and this can be a reason why it is commonly being sidelined for cheaper and more malleable materials, which are also quicker to manufacture, and have created a rapid tooling revolution, pioneered by companies such as NICE Rapid. Here are is our rundown of steel VS aluminium:

STEEL

· Better for complex parts

· Diversity of surface finish options

· Easier modification

· Less over-weld and flash

· Longer lasting and more cost effective

ALUMINIUM

· Lower cost of production

· Faster produce time

· Lighter and easier to move and store


So, as you can see, it all depends on the part you are producing and in what quantities that generally decides the best material for your tool. At NICE Rapid, we specialise in using both materials to full effect, so please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your next tooling project today!


Soft vs Hard Tooling – The Facts!

Seeing as though we have just discussed the best metallic material for your tool, we now think it’s time for a quick recap on other options for mould manufacture. Soft tooling is generally as it sounds, in that the mould is made from a soft, non-metallic material, such as urethane, instead of a hard, metallic material, such as steel.


Soft Tooling: Uses silicone moulds and urethane and is used when a small run of prototypes is required – generally less than 100 pieces. Such materials obviously lower the cost of production and allow designs to be manufactured prior to the use of a more expensive hard mould, in order to discover product viability or enable parts to be created for testing. Such moulds generally cost hundreds instead of thousands of U.S. dollars and can produce around 25 parts before any deterioration is noticed. Parts can be manually finished by hand if a more complicated design is required, although this will add to the cost and length of production. As the moulds only produce parts in the tens, there is no real storage issue with soft tools.


Hard Tooling: Hard tooling moulds are made of metal such as steel and aluminium and can produce much larger runs of prototypes – from hundreds to thousands of pieces. They are a lot more robust than soft moulds and are able to be re-machined and altered once produced. Such tools are obviously more costly than their ‘soft’ cousins, but this can be more than compensated for by their longevity and higher production capacity. Parts can be manufactured without any human intervention and this can make such production faster and even more cost effective. Storage and movement can be an issue with hard tools, especially very large ones, and rapid tooling factories are required to possess special cranes to move large moulds around the factory.


Please do not hesitate to contact NICE Rapid to discuss both hard and soft moulding designs for your next project.


 
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