Rapid prototyping services are invaluable to organizations looking to bring their products and ideas quickly and cost-effectively from the drawing board to roll out. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology such as additive manufacturing (3D printing), computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining, vacuum forming, or injection molding, companies can rapidly produce components and subassemblies for testing or evaluation purposes in real-world conditions.
Prototyping and Low Volume Manufacturing
Prototyping and Low Volume Manufacturing (RLVM) has revolutionized product creation, particularly within engineering and design. RLVM facilitates quick production of both prototypes and end-use parts without the financial commitment associated with traditional tooling methods. Not only is there a decreased lead time, but also an increased level of customization available – resulting in improved performance, repeatability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. The transformation to digital model files significantly lowers pre-production costs by omitting traditional tool paths like CNC machining or casting and instead utilizes innovative technology such as 3D printing or additive layer manufacturing to produce models of complex shapes with exact accuracy. Additionally, current RLVM methods make it easy for teams to collaborate on designs since some processes can be completed remotely – streamlining the development process into an integrated system.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is an automated manufacturing process that utilizes pre-programmed computer software to control machine tools. Utilizing CNC machines can increase throughput, reduce production costs and improve accuracy over traditional manual machinery techniques. CNC machining processes include milling, drilling, tapping, reaming, broaching and turning centers such as lathes. Machining of complex parts in one setup allows for faster cycle times and improved quality with respect to part tolerances due to the repeatability associated with CNC equipment. Furthermore, advanced automated tool-changing systems coupled with next-generation CAD/CAM software can greatly reduce the labour required for complex design refinements and alterations to meet an ever-changing demand for specialized parts or products.
3D Printing of Prototypes
3D printing of prototypes has become a cost-effective and efficient way for manufacturers to create tangible representations of their products. By leveraging the many high-end 3D printer technologies available, businesses have been able to quickly produce realistic and accurate models of NNPIs (New Product Introductions) that can be used in internal tests and presented to clients for review long before the fabrication process begins. This enables designers and engineers to collect valuable feedback while reducing time-to-market, materials costs, and prototyping setup costs. It offers an unprecedented level of flexibility in terms of design iterations, as changes can easily be incorporated into successive versions. 3D printing also provides tangible results in a short period of time so stakeholders can visualize the product rather than relying solely on digital renderings or other abstract representations.
Vacuum casting is an economical method of producing production-grade polyurethane parts with high accuracy and repeatability. The process involves pouring a rubber mold – typically silicon or polyurethane – over a master pattern, forming a negative cavity that the liquid urethane can be poured into when pressure is vacuumed to create the desired part. Vacuum casting provides superior surface quality and detail reproduction when compared to injection molding while also offering low tooling costs and fast turnaround times. Further cost savings are achieved by retaining the rubber molds for multiple runs, enabling short runs of highly accurate parts with shorter lead times than would normally be achievable with other processes.
Rapid Prototyping service are valuable for businesses looking to develop quickly, test, and perfect products that match customer needs and expectations. Finishing services offer an essential additional layer to the prototyping process by providing a professional look and feel to the prototype, allowing for more refinement and increased product quality. The types of finishing services available depending on the material used in the prototyping process, but they can include blasting, grinding, polishing, painting, etching or vaporizing. Utilizing these specific finishing services allows firms to efficiently achieve a consistent product aesthetic that will delight customers when it hits store shelves.