Manufacturing of a 3D prototype for an industrial stagePrototech
Rapid prototyping for thermoplastic injection
Prototech Asia is a subsidiary of the Unimold Asia group (http://unimoldasia.com), specialising in making injection moulds. Prototech Asia was created to provide a rapid prototyping service. This phase of prototyping is usually performed before launching the series industrialisation of plastic parts. The mastery of several rapid prototyping technologies allows us to manufacture 3D parts that are as close to reality as possible. In fact, our plastic parts allow the validation of visual and functional tests. Our workshop is able to simulate various applications, for example overmoulding of inserts and hinges to obtain a quality very close to the series injection parts.
A concrete example of validation before industrialisation
A customer working in thermoplastic injection contacted us to make a set of 4 plastic parts. It wanted a rapid prototyping for a visual and functional validation of its project prior to industrialisation. The plastic parts had to be made with a hinge and clips. We decided to produce the parts in vacuum duplication of PU PP. The use of this technique and material allowed us to design 3D prototypes with functional properties that were very close to the future injected parts. The functionality of the hinge was respected thanks to both the resistance and the flexibility of the material chosen, PU PP. An article detailing this project is available here.
Once the prototyping phase was validated, Unimold continued the project development by creating a thermoplastic injection mould.
The advantages of 3D plastic machining and silicone moulding
Two rapid prototyping technologies have many advantages for making parts that are very close to injected parts: 3D machining and vacuum duplication. One of the major assets of 3D machining or CNC machining is the manufacturing of plastic parts from the correct material instead of using substitutes. Thus, unlike 3D printing, this rapid prototyping technology offers visual and functional properties that are very similar to those of injection-moulded parts. With regard to vacuum duplication, the wide range of resins allows to the rapid production of small series of plastic parts with physical and aesthetic qualities similar to parts obtained by injection. It is also possible to prototype the parts with several applications.
Finally, these two technologies use manufacturing techniques whose technical constraints are closer to thermoplastic injection than 3D printing. This manufacturability indicator takes tapers/undercuts into account, for example.
Our workshop is able to manufacture 3D plastic parts that are very close to series injected parts. Our prototypes make it possible to perform the validations necessary to move to the pre-industrialisation and industrialisation phases. Do not hesitate to ask us if you require rapid prototyping. You can send us your questions and projects by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via our quotation request page. For more information about thermoplastic moulding, you can also visit the Unimold Asia website.