Vacuum casting production: what is it for, technologies used, advantages, examples.

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Vacuum casting production

In the manufacturing sector, production using vacuum casting is an industrial process suitable for producing small series in rigid, semi-rigid plastic and rubber.

It is also possible to co-print rigid material with soft material , or co-mold the material with metal inserts .

This process is called vacuum casting or “silicone mold replicas”.

How vacuum casting production works

The production of silicone mold replicas takes place through the construction of a mold used for vacuum casting with polyurethane material.

The process consists of 4 main steps:

STEP 1
Production of a “master” model printed in stereolithography (SLA) and prepared for positioning inside the mold
STEP 2
The model is used to create a mold that contains the master and which will be covered with silicone
STEP 3
The mold is cut and the “master” removed to prepare for the vacuum casting
STEP 4
The chosen material will be vacuum cast. Each mold is suitable for the production of about 25 pieces

What is it for?

This technology is used for the production of pre-series in rigid, semi-rigid plastic and rubber .

There are many cases in which it is useful to evaluate this process:

If I have to produce more than 5 pieces of 3D printing, it is better for me to evaluate this process in order to have benefits in economic terms and in terms of aesthetic and functional performance of the prototypes.

This is because on average over 5 pieces the cost of the mold is amortized.

If the annual circulation of my product does not exceed tens of pieces for year, this process is the right solution in terms of quality and cost.

Especially for the rubber parts, the 3D printing productions are rather poor; with silicone mold replicas it is possible to obtain rubber prototypes with excellent aesthetic and functional performance using rubbers from 30 to 90 shoreA.

Advantages

In addition to the economic aspect, the advantages of production through silicone mold replicas could be:

  • Aesthetic advantages: vacuum casting production guarantees a smooth finish very similar to injection molding production.
  • Functional advantages : mechanical performance is better than 3D printing processes. In cases where the annual circulation is very limited, this process is used to assemble the finished product to be marketed.
  • Variety of material : the quantity of materials that can be used for casting from silicone replicas is very varied and wide. There are rigid, semi-rigid materials and rubbers that can also be co-molded. With the

Possible applications

In many cases it is necessary that the material used meets the specifications that only vacuum casting can guarantee:

  • Prototypes with resistance to temperatures up to 220 ° ;
  • Materials with FDA certification or V0 ;
  • Prototypes in rubber with excellent aesthetic and functional finishes;
  • When it is necessary to co-mold materials with different hardnesses or co-mold a polyurethane with metal parts, glass or other materials;
  • For the production of very large monolithic prototypes up to 1000 mm also with undercut;
  • In all cases where it is necessary to carry out tests with a material counter-type, for example for certification tests.

Why choose Coesum for the production of silicone molds

Our experience in using this process is nearly twenty years.

We have always believed in the potential of 3D printing, and we keep our machines constantly updated to guarantee the best solution for the customer .

For this same reason, in addition to 3D printing, we also constantly update the vacuum casting department which in many cases remains the most suitable solution.

Why choose Coesum for the production of silicone molds

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