Rapid tooling with more…
March 18th, 2019
What do you think of when you hear the term rapid tooling? In the west I would argue that rapid tooling conjures up visions of an aluminum tool that can be made fast and produce anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand parts, typically. Often with restrictions placed on your design that pushes you into compromises that match the rapid tooling program of your supplier. This doesn’t describe 100% of rapid tooling providers in the west, but it does speak to the normal rapid tooling programs in the west.
Here at HLH we offer something a little different. Although we have the capability and do make rapid tools out of aluminum our clients will typically end up ordering rapid tooling (up to 100k parts) from us for the options we offer that are more unique to China/HLH. When you add all of the points up below the end result is more value for the same cost.
- Flexibility – you don’t need to make design compromises with rapid tooling ordered at HLH. There are no real restrictions on our low-volume tooling. Essentially, the only difference between one of our low-volume rapid tools and a high-volume production tool is the number of parts the tool can produce. We don’t place design restrictions on you for our rapid tooling programs.
- Volume – as a general rule of thumb, whatever you are paying for in the west for a rapid tool (with a volume of say 5000 parts) for the same money we will deliver a tool that can produce double the parts or more.
- Speed – most of our rapid tools are cut from steel and due to our utilisation of standard mold bases and our unique tool design approach we can make these steel rapid tools in the same time it would take to make an aluminum rapid tool.
- Surface finishing – with greater flexibility in our rapid tooling programs we can deliver better surface finishing in general and more diverse surface finishing texture options compared with aluminum rapid tooling.
In the last 10 years we have seen a real change in the use of rapid tooling. It used to be that our method of rapid tooling with greater flexibility and longer tool life was primarily a match for our industrial clients. While that has not changed over the past ten years (in fact it has expanded with our industrial customers), what has changed is how the online world of direct B2C selling has brought our method of low-volume tooling (with more parts) into the mainstream product world.
- Product developers – when you are bringing a new product to market capital is everything so if you can produce final parts without the major investment in a high-volume production tool, but get greater value of double the parts with our tooling programs, that is something that is resonating with our maker/entrepreneurial customers. Low-volume tooling that delivers a good number of parts protects capital and returns profit.
- Niche high-value parts – with additive manufacturing in full swing low-volume manufacturing is not just about rapid tooling anymore. But even with all the benefits of for example, SLS 3D printed parts, there are still many specialty parts that will yield a much higher profit even with the investment in a low-volume injection molding rapid tool, specifically because our rapid tooling programs deliver double or more the number of parts.
Fast, flexible, more parts, better finishing…rapid tooling with more value.