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  • Industrial Design for low volume products

    Discussion in 'Industrial design' started by berrymecium, Jul 2, 2011.

    1. LinkedIn Gopher

      LinkedIn Gopher Little furry chap

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      Andrew - Have you come across the process vacuum casting for plastic style parts? If you need multiple parts this is a good process, the tooling is low cost (ish) usually a silicone rubber poured around a finished master model (usually SLA). The process will allow you to produce rigid and elastomeric components; these will be polyurethane based resins that are developed to simulate production intent materials – a word of warning, they simulate mass production materials such as ABS they are not the same – a grey area with some suppliers, know what you are buying! Good mechanical data sheets are available so you can compare with production intent materials. The tools have a limited run life – reduced it seems with the rigid PU’s but good for 20 – 30’s off.

      Julian

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    3. LinkedIn Gopher

      LinkedIn Gopher Little furry chap

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      Julian thanks, I have seen this process and there is a good chap not far from me who offers a complete pattern-making and casting service. The parts I am producing are pretty small (of the order of 10-20 mm) and I only need 10, so I had the idea of just making all the parts directly using the RP. The RP supplier I have been talking to uses an "ABS-like" material which he claims gives parts about 50% the strength of injection moulded parts in similar materials. The components are not subject to significant loads (other than the usual bumps and knocks) so I think this could be good enough.

      Andrew

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    4. Michael Davis

      Michael Davis Member

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      Low volume product design is a process of high tool amortization factored into the piece price of the low production quantity if tooling is used. If the piece price is high enough one can injection mold ten parts, but the piece price will be astronomical, you get the idea. Therefore the objective is to choose processes that have no tooling, or very low tooling cost and then to implement your significant skill as an industrial designer to give a non molded product a significant architectural style of great significance.

      Prior to the great digital manufacturing technology disruption that took full form post 1995, we used the following processes for low volume production (Note, these are arbitrary numbers based on my own experience and the costs and quantities vary greatly, depending on design, piece price etc., others may have different experiences with the quantities, also there are many other processes but these were the most used):

      Vacuum forming (typ min run 1 max run 10,000 depending on tooling matl. Requires a pattern).
      Pressure forming (typ min run 1 max run 10,000 depending on tooling matl. Requires a matched die set).
      Sheet metal (typ min run 1 max run unlimited, set up cost, laser cut cost, folding cost)
      Reaction Injection Molding (urethane hard part molding, min run 20 max run 5000 re tooling issue)
      Cast Urethane (typ min run 1 max run 500, typ tool cost $1500 to $50k depending on tool complexity, matl)
      CNC Machining (typ min run 1 max run unlimited, typ tool cost zero, involves setup costs)
      Extrusion (typ aluminum or plastic volume unlimited, typ tool cost $1500, post machining costs)
      Sand Casting (typ 1 to 50 parts, requires a pattern, post machining or cleanup costs, costs ?)

      Each process is need specific to the design, i.e., you choose the process based on the needs of the design: durability, function, cost, quantity, styling advantage, reliability, etc., are just some of the factors. A good designer or engineer can easily create a weighted decision matrix himself to decide which one to use.

      Now, post 1995, post digital divide, everything is CAD driven, parts can be additive machined or negative machined (i.e., rapid prototyped or cnc machined), Sheet metal is laser cut or water jet cut to shape, pattern, and folded with very accurate patterns created by you the designer using SolidWorks or some other cad program. Steel plate, and other materials can also be laser cut.

      Low cost aluminum tooling for prototype or low volume production injection molding can be easily generated from your SolidWorks software and emailed to a CNC shop with the cavities complete within a day or two. You can also create a lost wax pattern for a high quality one-off cast aluminum part using your engineering software.

      The game has changed greatly, and the opportunities for higher quality result for low volume processes are vastly improved today. :ugeek:
       
    5. Michael Davis

      Michael Davis Member

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