Quick Turn Injection Tooling
Which one is right for you? We do them all. Let us help.
Plastic injection molding can be used for a number of different parts across all manufacturing industries, including aerospace, medical, automotive, consumer products, electronics, and robotics. Tooling for plastic injection molding can include the molds themselves, as well as jigs, fixtures, and other equipment in the injection molding process. With the right injection tooling the efficiency, effectiveness, and overall quality of the injection molded parts can be greatly improved. But determining the right tooling isn’t as straight forward as one might expect. To help with this process, San Diego based GoProto offers a range of tooling options that can help producers streamline the time to market and deliver finished goods faster, and the internal know-how to guide you through the often difficult decision of which tooling to use when.
Tooling is an expensive endeavor and due to the cost of tooling, time to market was traditionally a long-term affair. Products were developed in phases using complex drawings with the development of prototypes being slow, inexact and error prone. Much of the time went into proving out the design because, given the high cost, the decision to make final tooling meant the design had to be a sure thing.
Today, that process has been greatly accelerated with the advancement of CAD software and their ability to hone and troubleshoot designs, perform simulations on performance, tolerance, and strength, and to develop a product digitally before actual production begins. With this brings greater confidence in prototyping process, which is only further accelerated with the offering of temporary, intermediate and production stage tooling, also known as Rapid Injection Tooling, Bridge Tooling and Production Tooling. As a result, customers can shorten the time to part production by using these tools in stages.
Here is a look at the different types of tooling available:
Rapid Injection Tooling – Rapid injection tooling can usually be produced in one to three weeks and is good for part volumes of 5,000-10,000. This type of tooling is basic and may not be a fit for all types of parts. For one, it generally has manual ejection and limited cooling and heating capability. Mold bases are pre-made shuttle systems and part material is unfilled. Rapid Injection Tooling also has only a single cavity.
These tools are usually made of metals such as aluminum, DME steel and P20 steel. Available features may include limited polish, textures, and undercuts formed with slides or lifters, although that process is generally manual. It may also be tool modifiable, insert molding capable and companies will provide inspection reports with first articles. While not two-shot capable, Rapid Injection Tooling is a great “get started” tooling method for some types of production and can reduce wait time for companies that need to begin production.or lifters, although that process is generally manual. It may also be tool modifiable, insert molding capable and companies will provide inspection reports with first articles. While not two-shot capable, Rapid Injection Tooling is a great “get started” tooling method for some types of production and can reduce wait time for companies that need to begin production.
Bridge Tooling – Bridge Tooling is used at the end of the product development cycle and the beginning of production. If prototypes are approved and there is already a demand for product, bridge tooling can be used while awaiting final tooling or when more near-term iterations to the design might be possible. More robust than Rapid Injection Tooling, Bridge Tooling usually has a lead time of two to six weeks depending on configuration. It is good for part volumes from 10,000-100,000 parts. In Bridge Tooling, ejection can be manual or automatic and the tool may have multiple cavities. Mold bases may be pre-made or custom and cooling or heating can be done by both water and oil.
Bridge tooling is commonly produced with NAK80, DME steel and P20 steel. Available features allow for mechanical undercuts with slides or lifters and it is tool modifiable. There is some polish capability, but it depends on the material used to make the tool (for example: polish in Bridge Tooling works best with NAK80). The tool allows for texturing and it is insert molding capable. Inspection reports can be provided with first articles and unlike Rapid Injection Tooling, Bridge Tooling is two-shot capable.
Production Tooling – Production Tooling is the traditionally recognized high-volume steel tooling option. Lead times can take between four and eight weeks and Production Tooling is usually viable for 100,000-1,000,000 parts. It can handle all types of part materials including high-temp and can utilize multiple cavities. Ejection is usually automatic for Production Tooling and mold bases are custom.
Production cooling can use oil or water for cooling or heating. And unlike both Rapid Injection Tooling and Bridge Tooling, Production Tooling may also allow conformal cooling. Conformal cooling is when the tool allows water or oil to flow in channels that conform to the shape of the tool. This allows more uniform cooling and allows the cooling medium to reach hard to get to hot spots to better protect the final part from the effects of differential heat as it exits the mold.
Tool materials for Production Tooling may include NAK80, H-13, and both S7 and S20 steel. Available features include both mechanical and electronic undercuts formed with slides or lifters. Production tooling also allows textures, is tool modifiable and insert molding capable. Polish is also finer with Production Tooling with NAK80 and H-13 and S7 steel performing best. As with other types of tooling, inspection reports are included with first articles and the mold is two shot capable.
The design and decision to move forward with tool production has come a long way. As the demand for shortened product development cycles only increases, GoProto is here to help you determine the type of tool needed, and then produce the right tool for any design stage or level of production.
GoProto specializes in quick-turn, on-demand, custom manufacturing. Offering end-to-end solutions for additive manufacturing, CNC machining, sheet metal, cast urethane, injection molding, and finishing, they are a rapid manufacturing company with customer service at their core. They help manufacture parts for product development customers in medical, aerospace, industrial, automotive, and many other industries. They utilize cutting edge technologies, methods, and the very best professionals to deliver 3D printed and conventionally manufactured parts fast, with world-class quality, and at a great value. GoProto’s manufacturing facilities are based in San Diego, California and Melbourne, Australia. For more information, visit: www.GoProto.com.