We often get asked the questions “how many parts can a prototype tool produce?” and “can we support production from a prototype tool?”
The most important factor depends on how many parts do you need to produce? 10, 100, 1000, 10000 parts? Component quantity determines how the tool is designed and built. (Small low volume parts might be built into bolster tool where as complex high volume parts may have steel inserts and automated processes built in to the tooling.)
The second question we ask is what material do you require? This a key aspect in the process as a tool producing simple parts in ABS will extend the tool life, but highly complex parts processed using PEEK, PPS or PPA will expect a lower lifespan. That said it's not uncommon for us to supply well into the 10's of thousands of parts without issue with these types of materials from our tooling.
How do we determine the difference between a prototype and production tool?
Every tool is different and projects can change at the drop of a hat so here are a few examples of prototype and production tooling...
If you have a low volume, highly complex component where the tool requires moving cores & lose inserts removing and refitting to the tool by hand, the cost of the component is going to be much higher than if the tool had a level of automation built into it enabling it to cycle more efficiently. We’d class this as a prototype tool.
However if a customer has a requirement for 50 to 100 mouldings per year for 5 years then investing in a fully automated tool would not be a viable option, so we would deem this as production tool as it matches the customers process and requirements.
The same applies visa versa; if we produce a tool that we class as prototype but it unexpectedly produces 100,000 parts due to extended product testing, new product introduction or it’s used as bridge tooling for example then we'd have to measure components, produce quality documentation & support production with process controls to ensure the part quality. We’d class this as a production tool.
Nothing however is set in stone, we have automotive and medical customers that request high volumes from our aluminium tooling yet they still deem this process as prototype as it suits their process and volumes are low in comparison to their full production volumes.
With all this taken into account we don't think there is a black and white answer to the quandary. Our flexible, no limits approach means we’ll happily discuss any prototype or production tooling project with an open mind.
We’re keen to hear your thoughts on where you draw the line between prototype and production tooling, and discuss how our high quality aluminium tooling and mouldings would fit in to your processes. Please get in touch via email@example.com or 0121 550 5868 where our team of experts are on hand to answer your questions.
Just to confirm, we have received our recent order. The team and I were very keen to see what you had produced for us. It’s safe to say you have exceeded our expectations, so an enormous thank you from all of us! We look forward to seeing what you will be producing for us in the future.
Ted Varley, Covvi Ltd
In a project where time and quality were our first priority, we were excellently supplied by RP Technologies in all respects. Communication and execution of the project was first class and very professional.
Herr Wimmer, Knaus Tabbert GmbH
"I have had the pleasure of working with RP Technologies over the last 18 months and can only commend the team on their professionalism, technical expertise and ability to deliver a result against impossible timing"
Mark Smith, Programme Manager, Nifco UK Limited
Good morning Peter. I have been processing your PPAP submission. May I say this is one of the best presented PPAP’s I have received in over 160 in the last 18 months, well done.
, Global Automotive Wiring Harness Supplier
I've received the parts and they worked perfectly, thank you for your support with this and I appreciate the speedy turn around
JR, Kautex Unipart Limited
We are in agreement at how impressed we were with the quality, efficiency and professionalism of RP's service as a Rapid Prototype supplier
Chassis-Suspension Systems & Tuning, Jaguar Land Rover
In three weeks - three parts that fit together and perform, right first time. It has bolstered my confidence in bringing back otherwise 'China' jobs to the UK
SB, Zeta Specialist Lighting
Having such a great customer experience has only added to the excitement of the project. Thanks again and look forward to continuing this relationship
CD, XYZ Builds Ltd
Corona Plastics Ltd would highly recommend RP Tooling for any prototyping work and we will be returning for any future work that we require!
AL, Corona Plastics Ltd
Everybody is impressed with the quality of your work, in fact a few people thought they were the Die-Cast parts!
NM, Designer, A Paccar Company