When you think of your Rapid Tooling needs, what do you think? Do you think, I need as fast as possible? Do you think, I need quality over speed? Do you think, the injection molding process and partnership option is more important to me?
Whatever your thought process is there is one keyword to consider that can help you make the right supplier choice the next time you are looking to invest in a Rapid Tool solution…Balance. Balance encompasses several different factors that all Rapid Tool solutions need in order to be a success. The Balance between the speed of the build, quality of build, the experience of the supplier, complimentary services that the supplier offers and capacity at the supplier’s facility all need to work in harmony to give you the best possible outcome.
Balance (Speed) – Rapid, is an essential component of any rapid tool project, but remember, fast is good, too fast and be wary. A rapid tool can really help you finish a project early or version 1.0 of your project quicker or help you bridge the gap between prototype parts and production parts. it is also very important to understand that a rapid tool can come in many forms depending on your quantity needs that can drastically affect the speed in which your rapid tool can be built. For example, a very low volume rapid tool might be able to be fabricated in 10 days, but does that quantity meet your project needs? Make sure to communicate your quantity needs effectively with your supplier before they draw up a rapid tool program for you.
Balance (Quality) – The whole point of a rapid tool is to get a part/product in your hands quicker, and at a reduced tooling cost so you can make better-informed decisions about your project moving forward. But, if you get a part fast that doesn’t deliver on the quality required to make informed decisions then your rapid tool solution may, in fact, be a longer product development solution. So look for those suppliers with experience who can strike the right balance between speed and quality.
Balance (Experience) – if you find a supplier with the right experience chances are they will be able to strike the balance between speed and quality that your rapid tool project needs. But what kind of experience are you looking for, just tool building? That is without a doubt a vital part of the experience needed but it should also be balanced with a supplier who understands rapid production and product development. A supplier who has done thousands of jobs for thousands of customers, across a variety of industries. A supplier who also offers experience in other services such as injection molding is a great fit when making a rapid tool. This allows you to hold your supplier more accountable as you can negotiate rapid production into your rapid tool build program as one example.
Balance (Complimentary Services) – It may not sound that important to have a rapid tool supplier that also has diverse manufacturing services but it can be more important than you think. Example, so you just came from your prototype shop with a quality sample that you are sharing with your rapid tool supplier. They review the drawings and your part and the first thing they say is, we suggest you make these 3 small changes. You think it sounds reasonable but you now need to make a new prototype to see if these changes affect the form, fit and/or function of your part. Now, alternatively, imagine if your first supplier, the rapid prototype supplier also specialised in rapid tool making, then chances are you would not face the problem stated above. When you find a supplier that specialises in rapid prototype, rapid tool, and rapid production solutions then your project stands a much better chance of being completed in a rapid time frame.
Balance (Capacity) – Finally we come to the balance between all of the above and the capacity your chosen supplier has to offer. If you have found someone that can strike a balance on all the above points that’s great. But what difference does it make if they say, ‘sorry, we are full up to capacity now, we can start your rapid tool job in 5 weeks.’ Capacity is often overlooked or vetted to late. Without capacity, ‘rapid’ goes out the window.
Rapid manufacturing in general offers so many great benefits in today’s demanding market. Finding the right rapid manufacturer who can strike the balance needed to deliver you a quality rapid tool solution is so important for your projects ultimate success.
To start your rapid tool enquiry today email FreeQuote@HLHPrototypes.com.