Do you need to market a highly customized product for a niche market? Do you have to produce a pre-series in plastic and cannot find the most suitable technology for your product? Don’t your product runs justify an investment in conventional equipment? Cannot find a production technology with the right value for money? Do your needs not exceed the production of 100 products per year?
Read this article and you will discover the potential of a prototype technology suitable to produce mechanical plastic parts with excellent functional and aesthetic performance, all through a mold suitable to produce dozens of pieces.
To get a complete picture of the process, usable materials and production times read the free guide Quick guide to the production of plastic pre-series.
How it works
The business case we will talk about in this article is used to produce the arm support shown in the image.
The silicone mold is an excellent rapid manufacturing solution for producing parts in rigid, semi-rigid plastic and rubber.
In general, this technology is used when there is a need for a pre-series of at least 4 or 5 pieces with superior performance to traditional rapid prototyping technologies.
The numerical limit indicated is because to start this process it is necessary to produce silicone equipment where the chosen material is produced under vacuum-casting.
This involves an initial investment which on average is amortized after the production of the first 4/5 pieces.
There are cases in which this technology is also chosen for 1 piece and the reason is that the customer necessarily needs the quality of this process. In our workshop we have the possibility to produce parts with monolithic dimensions up to 1800 mm.
The materials that can be used are polyurethane resins that simulate the characteristics of ABS; there are rigid, semi-rigid materials and rubbers, V0, FDA certified resins
To carefully evaluate the most suitable material for your project, it is useful to carefully read the technical datasheets of the materials that can be used in casting.
In the technical datasheets there are very useful information on temperature resistance, shore, certifications, color and much more useful to evaluate each element before starting production.
The average time to produce mechanical parts with this process is about 2/3 weeks.
The real evaluation of production times is always done in advance and is directly proportional to the size of the pieces to be made, their complexity and other specific elements of the individual request.
Each mold is on average suitable for the production of 25/30 pieces, which can be ordered immediately or over a 6 or 8 months period after which the equipment could lose its production capacity.
Possibility of co-molding
With this process it is possible to co-mold different materials as well as metal parts or components supplied by the customer. Before starting production it is necessary to evaluate the feasibility.
If you are curious to see all the production steps, watch the video of the silicone mold replicas.
A case of success
BARBIERI electronic is an international manufacturer and supplier of intelligent color measurement systems that guarantee the highest image quality for professional digital printing.
Their experience is concentrated in the design and implementation of intelligent colorimeters specifically dedicated to digital printing. Their products allow to obtain the reference color code on a wide range of materials from fabric to paper and more.
The project they have entrusted to us is for Spectro LFP qb Textile Edition, a unique solution in the world for automatic color measurement in digital printing on fabric. A niche product for the satisfaction of very demanding customers.
For this project, silicone mold replication technology was, and continues to be, an important resource to make a plastic accessory component that supports the arm during measurement.
The material used for production is a loaded ABS / PP countertype, it is possible to download the technical data sheet of the PX 2017 HT.
Once again, rapid manufacturing technologies have proved to be a solution for an innovative product of undisputed success, thanks to Barbieri electronic for choosing us!