The paper examines whether additive manufacturing can deliver durable injection‐moulding tools – fast, reliable, accurate and economic. Researchers from the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT), South Africa, are involved in rapid prototyping (RP) applications‐based research, simultaneously using results to support small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) on a national basis – both with contract research and technology transfer. SMEs in South Africa involved in product development, are often hampered by economies of scale. Many new products simply disappear in the product development valley of death, partly due to manufacturing costs and limited product development budgets. RP has been used extensively by Technimark, one of the CUT's industrial partners, to evaluate and verify designs in various design stages. To remain competitive in the global market, Technimark and the CUT often have to apply RP directly as the manufacturing method. The paper discusses the use of RP to support (accelerated) limited production of moulded plastic parts.
The hypothesis is to use additive manufacturing for direct production of injection‐moulding tooling, subject to time, cost and quality constraints.
A case study where both development costs as well as lead‐time forced our industrial partner to trial Alumide as a tooling medium is discussed.
The paper introduces a new rapid tooling material, which may be of cost and time benefit to the product development and plastic injection‐moulding fraternity.
de Beer, D., Booysen, G., Barnard, L. and Truscott, M. (2005), "Rapid tooling in support of accelerated new product development", Assembly Automation, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 306-308. https://doi.org/10.1108/01445150510626442Download as .RIS
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