How to choose between rapid prototyping techniques

How to Select the Best Rapid Prototyping Techniques The demand on manufacturing volume is growing at an unprecedented rate especially for organizations with a larger reach to global markets. To meet this need, it is necessary to use the latest technologies in the rapid prototyping industry utilizing standards proven to deliver tangible results with remarkable efficacy and efficiency. The first two basic types are additive and subtractive, which are capable of using almost any plastic or metal in some cases, and the last is plastic injection molding. There are several different additive method techniques employed today that collectively offer a significant range of desirable qualities and inexpensive functional prototypes. What is Rapid Prototyping? Rapid Prototyping is the process by which a manufacturer creates a 3D replica of a product from a 2D computer design. It is capable of sourcing from a large variety of plastic and metal, and some methods allow the addition of different materials to create composites that feature enhanced tolerances. Choosing the best composition is when an expert who works with these processes is quite valuable for saving on time learning all of the various attributes for each possibility. As the name suggests, it is a very fast way of producing a real example of a concept or design. Rapid Prototyping Technologies The different technologies for additive manufacturing build parts a single thin layer at a time using varying steps to join or mold them into a single piece. Some methods use UV light to cure photosensitive resin while others weld or melt metal on a build plate using lasers. CNC rapid prototyping is a subtractive process that carves a piece from a larger blank of material. Injection Molding heats and pressurizes material that is injected into

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The Role Of Injection Molding In Hydrogen Fuel

Hydrogen fuel doesn’t always get the same amount of attention as other modern energy solutions. However, in some respects it remains one of the most viable options for some of our larger energy needs – most notably in the auto industry. Indeed, Business Insider referred to hydrogen fuel as Tesla’s biggest threat for this very reason, pointing out that a hydrogen-fueled vehicle can address some of the concerns some consumers have regarding electrical vehicles. Most notably, these concerns include lengthy recharging time (a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle can refuel in five minutes), and anxiety about range (which is generally greater with a hydrogen fuel-cell car). For his part, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has essentially mocked hydrogen fuel, and by this point it can be difficult to question the brilliant entrepreneur when it comes to efficient energy. However, whether or not Musk is right about ideal solutions, businesses in the auto industry still see the hydrogen option as a competitive one, due to some of the aforementioned electric car concerns that a hydrogen-fueled vehicle can effectively address. In other words, there are some clear perks to offer consumers, and that means that we’re likely to continue seeing hydrogen-fuel options moving into the near-future auto market. It’s largely for that reason that the business of hydrogen fuel cells only appears to be expanding of late. We posted about the fuel cell industry here not long ago, and cited an E4tech report that indicated over 1 GW of global hydrogen fuel cell capacity added over the course of 2019. This, as was stated in that article, represented a 40% increase on the levels from 2018. We’re simply seeing more companies interested in clean energy exploring the use of hydrogen fuel cells, largely as relates

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Eight Drivers for Manufacturing’s Next 50 Years

Digital dexterity will be required in workers and leaders, and data will be king. In the last several decades, we’ve seen major disruptions to the manufacturing environment.  We experienced the “China Price,” which prompted offshoring of manufacturing operations, nearly decimating U.S. manufacturing.  More recently we’ve seen the trend toward personalized products, resulting in smaller lot sizes, thus straining traditional economies of scale production. And the “Amazon Effect” of rapid turnaround in orders and delivery times of two days or less continues to challenge the longer lead times typical in manufacturing. Now we are seeing digital solutions that are both an opportunity and a curse. An opportunity to upgrade manufacturing operations and create more flexibility and to take advantage of interoperability of equipment, software and solutions.  A curse without a strong guiding vision and the capabilities to actually upgrade. So what might manufacturing look like in 2030, or 2070?  In some instances, it will look much the same as it does today.  We will still have large-volume, low-mix operations that will continue to harvest the advantages of economies of scale production.  However, the competitive dynamics of manufacturing will change for a large portion of the traditional manufacturing world.  Proactive strategy will become the norm as machines become smart and interconnected systems cooperate. Distributed production systems, fueled by local resources, will compete successfully with incumbents.  Digital dexterity in workers and leaders will be required.  New business models will compete with traditional contracting mechanisms to share value creation and this will change the roles and responsibilities across the supply chain.  Africa will rise as a competitive player; with their natural resources, they could leapfrog the more traditional players. Finally, data will be king.  Simulations will drive decision-making, and everything from design to production

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A Strategic Approach to Smart Manufacturing

Submitted by Plastic Injection Molder, Injection Works. Manufacturers are spending millions of dollars to implement smart systems that include machine learning, sensors, and robotics to jump on the Industry 4.0 bandwagon. The white papers and news articles all make sense. Technology is available — and increasingly affordable — to enable even small and medium-size manufacturers to reap benefits previously reserved for massive corporations with deep pockets. But before businesses sign off on investments in technology, it’s important that they step back and leverage their most important asset: human strategy. Otherwise, those not-inconsequential investments in technology might go to waste. Ask Yourself: Who Are You? The first step in becoming a smart manufacturer is defining what your company does in a more accurate way that can change how you think about product design, marketing, and sales. For example, last year, California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) met with a printer who wanted our help evaluating their current operational plan, manufacturing process, and supply chain, so that they could better understand their work and how they could grow. When I asked the owner what her business was, she pointed to the presses on the plant floor and said, “The printing business.” But that answer was only partially true. It didn’t engage with a fundamental question key to defining any business: Why are you doing what you are doing? Once I posed this question to the owner, she quickly realized that she was truly in the business of creating experiences that inspire individuals with a sense of fun and adventure. Her clients included escape rooms, shopping malls, and sports arenas for the Los Angeles Kings, Clippers, and Lakers, for which she has manufactured stadium banners that are integral to those teams’ fans’ experiences. So

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How book molds have reinvented vertical injection-molding technology

DEK: Manufacturing costs can rise quickly with the complexity of each part. A  capable vertical molding manufacturer may help keep manufacturing efficient and affordable. John Schmitz, Aberdeen Technologies   The medical sector has embraced the high standards that plastic injection molding can offer. Insert molding, especially on a vertical molding press, can hold tight tolerances while also offering design flexibility. These machines provide quicker cycle runs and the option of running up to 12 different molds on one machine at the same time. Many of today’s new and innovative healthcare devices are made from a combination of thermoplastic resin and specialty medical components, such as cannulae, tubing, wires, cables, stampings and delicate sensors. Advancements in molding technology offer the ability to mold delicate components directly into the devices, rather than incorporating them later through machining, gluing, or ultrasonic welding. Reinventing the technology While this technology might not be brand new in and of itself, the process has been reinvented with the use of book molds. Most vertical molding equipment on the market is configured with the top half of the mold attached to the upper platen of the molding machine. The top then closes down with force onto the bottom plate. It is often difficult to hold delicate inserts in place during the injection molding process, even more so with horizontal molding machines. The possibility for delicate inserts to be interrupted or misplaced is often greater than what manufacturing managers would like to admit. The inserts loaded in the bottom half must be held securely in place so that, when the top closes, neither the mold nor the delicate insert is damaged. Damage to the mold can be substantial, especially when the two halves close under high tonnage around steel

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