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Innovations in Rapid Tooling Technology

SpecialChem / Aug 1, 2008

These rapid mold building techniques, many based on rapid prototyping (RP) technologies are very niche specific and otherwise have been slow to be adopted for general moldmaking due to apprehensions regarding mold tolerances, strength, and finish as well as narrow material selections. Advances in rapid prototyping/rapid tooling materials that are stronger, more heat resistant, and have a finer finish have more recently allowed processors and original equipment manufacturers to take a fresh look at RT using RP technology particularly for blow molding and thermoforming applications where RP equipment is increasingly being employed to directly fabricate prototype and short run production molds. RP/RT has made strong gains in thermoforming and blowmolding since these processes are seen as less demanding of the RT materials in terms of impact, pressure and temperatures. Thermoforming is particularly a low pressure process with easily managed heat requirements. RP processes are typically used for blow molding and thermoforming RT applications to lower product-development time and cost.

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