Short-run Production: Low Volume Plastic Manufacturing
X Rapid Technologies offers you the best way of production for low volume plastic manufacturing. Learn about the difference between vacuum casting and RIM here.
Enjoy the most efficient and cost effective low volume production service with X Rapid Technologies
Low volume plastic manufacturing requires professional handling as it can be the strongest pillar of your empire of success. That's why X Rapid Technologies offer professional and efficient low volume manufacturing service.
Low volume manufacturing is a quick and efficient manufacturing technique for low quantity production before the actual serial production. Low volume production helps manufacturers to understand the product, its functionalities, and required changes before they launch the product in the market.
Why is low volume production important?
- Low volume production reduces the overall production cost. Compared to large-scale production, it reduces the cost of tooling and also allows manufacturers to shorten the production period. In this highly competitive market, with low volume manufacturing, you can save a big amount of money.
- Low volume manufacturing or low volume plastic manufacturing can save your time, energy, and investments in one go. The faster you will get the feedback, the sooner you'll be able to start the mass production targeting a big group of consumers. Low volume plastic manufacturing can help you with that.
- Companies always ask for good and attractive designs. When it comes to large-scale production, it becomes next to impossible, but with low volume manufacturing, you can impress your clients with detailed and unique designs.
- Low volume plastic manufacturing is important to get the customers' feedback as it is very important to produce a product that you can sell in the market. Low volume production will help you to understand the drawbacks of your product and modify them. Every big company checks the features before mass production. So, in short, low volume manufacturing helps manufacturers meet customers' expectations and demands easily.
What are the best technologies for Low volume production?
Vacuum casting and reaction injection molding (RIM) is the most famous and preferable option when it comes to low volume manufacturing.
Questions Others Will Ask:
What is low volume tooling?
Low Volume Production (LVP) tooling is a hybrid of both techniques and the exact configuration will be customised to the client/geometry/requirement. Frequently, production quantities will be between hundreds and low thousands per annum. Cooling is thus about part stability and repeatability rather than cycle time.
What is 5S plastic industry?
The term 5S refers to five steps: Sort – All unneeded tools, parts and supplies are removed from the area. Set in order – A place for everything and everything in it's place. Shine – The area is cleaned as the work is performed. Standardise – Cleaning and identification methods are consistently applied.
Which Mould is used for low quantity work?
A hand mold is a simple mold used for low quantity work. It is used in the injection molding and the printing industry. It is made by a hand injection molding machine.
What is low volume production?
Low-volume production typically refers to an item that has been produced in small quantities, with little or no engineering, design, or tooling investment. A low-volume production run is often considered to be any order with less than 100 units, although this number can vary depending on the company.
What is considered low volume manufacturing?
Low-volume manufacturing is the production of (you guessed it) a low volume of parts – some companies can handle anywhere from 10 to 100,000 parts. This capability can bridge the gap between prototyping and full-volume production, while also fully validating a product's design and manufacturing processes.
This low volume plastic manufacturing method is used for comparatively small plastic (PC, ABS, acrylic, etc.) and rubber components. With this low volume plastic manufacturing process, one can manufacture parts only via silicone molds. When it comes to time, after the tool is filled with raw material, Vacuum casting is a little bit more time-consuming compared to RIM. Vacuum casting is more preferred for Rapid prototyping.
This low volume plastic manufacturing technique is used for larger plastic enclosures like medical device cases, automotive bumpers, several types of robots, etc. These are not appropriate for Vacuum casting. With this low volume production, you can use several kinds of molds such as resin, ABS, aluminum, and silicone. It depends on the quantity of low volume plastic manufacturing. The cure reaction time of this low volume production process is much shorter than vacuum casting without compromising the quality. This low volume plastic manufacturing process is mostly preferred for end-use production.
When it comes to low volume manufacturing, you have to choose a good low volume production service provider to avoid any errors during this process. Both technologies are efficient and accurate. You just have to choose which one is better for your product.
Where to get the best low volume manufacturing service?
If you are looking for an efficient low volume production service, we, the X rapid technologies, are at your service to provide you with that. We have been in this industry for over a decade. With our experience and highly skilled team members, we aim to provide our clients with the most accurate results. Whether you prefer vacuum casting or reaction injection molding, we are here to help you out with our efficient low volume plastic manufacturing service.
Vacuum casting and reaction injection molding (RIM) differ in several aspects, though they are both the machining processes of low volume production based on simple molds at room temperature.
What is vacuum casting?
Vacuum casting uses a prototype master and a silicone mold under vacuum to cast PU material in a vacuum environment, so as to reproduce the same replica as the master. It is a common rapid prototyping technology. Through this technology, it can produce parts with functional characteristics similar to engineering plastic products. At the same time, it is widely applied in low-volume production.
What is reaction injection molding (RIM)?
Reaction injection molding (RIM) is an industrial molding process. This method involves adding two or more liquid monomers or prepolymers to a mixing head, mixing under pressure, then injecting them into a closed mold, where they are polymerized and cured.
It is suitable for small batch trial production in the process of product development, as well as short-run production, simple-structured coverings, and large thick-walled and uneven wall thickness products.
What are the differences between vacuum casting and reaction injection molding (RIM)?
1. The sizes of parts are different.
Vacuum casting is mainly used in low-volume manufacturing of relatively small plastic (ABS, PC, acrylic, etc.) and rubber components. While, RIM is widely applied to make larger plastic enclosures for low-volume production, such as automotive bumpers, medical device cases, and large-sized robots, which are usually not suitable for vacuum casting. Accordingly, the mold volumes which the two technologies employ vary, and that of RIM is surely larger in most conditions.
2. They use molds in different materials.
Vacuum casting manufactures parts only via silicone molds no matter it is rapid prototyping or low-volume manufacturing. However, reaction injection molding makes use of diversified molds, and the materials can be ABS, resin, aluminum, and silicone. Mold type will depend on the quantity of low-volume plastic manufacturing.
3. Different cure reaction times.
Also, after the tool is filled with raw materials, the cure reaction time of RIM is much shorter than in vacuum casting, so the former enjoys a shorter turnaround time. So when doing the same quantity of low volume production, RIM takes less lead time.
4. Different shrinkage rates.
The shrinkage rate of vacuum casting is larger than that of RIM. For large pieces and thin-walled products, it is necessary to consider whether there is shrinkage when making them via vacuum casting, avoiding smaller sizes of the product.
5. Different product materials.
Though the raw materials for vacuum casting and RIM are both called PU, they are not the same. The properties of the parts are different. The vacuum casting parts can be ABS-like, PC-like, PMMA-like, PP-like, POM-like, rubber-like, etc. The RIM parts, in most cases, are ABS-like or PP-like.
6. The applications of the products are different.
In most cases, reaction injection molding is used for low-volume plastic manufacturing, and vacuum casting is used for rapid prototyping.
What are the advantages of low volume production?
1. Short lead time
Molds for low-volume production can be made within several days, which largely reduces the total lead time. The lead time is usually 7 to 30 days depending on the quantities. Low volume manufacturing enables you to bring new products to the market more quickly.
The mold costs are much lower than injection molding mold. The costs of molds for low-volume production can be as low as hundreds of dollars. But the costs for injection molding molds are usually at least ten thousand dollars. When the quantity is less than the MOQ of injection molding, you choose to make your parts by injection molding, the mold costs cannot be offset through the volume effect. In this case, low-volume manufacturing saves you a lot of money.
3. Great design flexibility
Design modification is allowed after the first trial of low-volume manufacturing. The flexibility helps to shorten the development time and reduce costs too.
How to take better advantage of low-volume manufacturing?
With technology advancing rapidly and competition intensifying, product life cycles are getting shorter and shorter, making the development of new products increasingly important for gaining a competitive advantage. Low volume manufacturing technologies make it possible to launch new products quickly. It is the most cost-effective manufacturing method to capture the market. In the phases of product development, market testing, and end selling, low-volume production is always a good choice.
In conclusion, it is recommended that you select the best way to make your parts according to your certain needs when it comes to low-volume production, or just talk to X Rapid Technologies to help you in your low-volume plastic manufacturing projects.
FAQs of Low Volume Plastic Manufacturing
1. How to decide on the right low-volume production method?
Vacuum casting and reaction injection molding are similar. To decide which method to use, the first factor is part size and structure. In the case of small parts or prototypes, vacuum casting is the most suitable method. The RIM is used for large parts.
2. How to choose the proper material?
X Rapid Technologies can help you to choose the material based on the material properties in need.
3. Is there a specific requirement for the file format for low-volume plastic manufacturing?
Vacuum casting and reaction injection molding both require making molds. STEP format is the best file format.
4. What are the surface treatments available?
The parts by vacuum casting and reaction injection molding are easy to be finished. All surface treatments available for plastic parts can be done, including deburring, painting, electroplating, silk-screening, laser etching, etc.