We all know that the fabrication industry has evolved over the past few years which has led to an increase in the use of rapid tooling technology. What is rapid tooling? It can be defined as a process that combines the use of rapid prototyping techniques and the conventional tools that help in producing the molds at a much faster rate and in less time as compared to the traditional methods. The reason for the growing demand of rapid tooling and its methods is the increase in demand for tools that are cheaper and faster than the traditional ones.
The types of RT or rapid tooling
There are two types of rapid tooling the direct rapid tooling and the indirect RT or rapid tooling, whatever one may refer to it as.
The direct rapid tooling
First we shall talk about direct rapid tooling; in this the methods of rapid tooling are used in a way that they produce molds in a direct way without having to use any pattern. The various rapid tooling techniques are:
- Laminated tooling
- The Direct AIM
- The quick cast method
- The DMLS
- The Lens
- Quick cast methods
The indirect rapid tooling
Now coming to the second type of rapid tooling the indirect rapid tooling is also known as pattern based tooling which is used mainly for the pre- production processes. The indirect rapid tooling itself can be divided into two parts the soft tooling and the hard tooling this is dependent on the materials that are used.
Techniques for indirect tooling
- The 3D keltool- This is used for an injectable mold production.
- The spray metal tooling- This is mainly used for the production of larger parts and is known for giving strength.
- Silicone rubber tooling- Silicone as we known is a versatile material and is quite commonly used in the industrial sector. The silicone rubber tooling is a method which helps in giving inexpensive molds at a faster rate.
- The Rapid solidification process- It is mainly used for producing the extremely fine structures.
The pros and cons
With the various types and methods of rapid tooling it is also important to know about the pros and cons it.
- It is known for reducing the time of mold formation and is also known for increasing the time of production.
- RT helps in reducing the production cost.
- The life of tooling as compared to that of the conventional tools is much longer.
- The RT systems to a great extent are known to be quite slow.
- It is known for reducing the life span of the products.
- The products that are produced are not quite accurate.