Urethane casting remains one of the top solutions for driving faster productive development. As designs are difficult to finish without key testing and iterations, urethane casting offers many product developers a much-needed solution – the ability to prototype without incurring the hard tooling costs associated with injection molding.
Often, speed to the market is highly beneficial in product development. Cast(vacuum mold casting) urethane production allows the production of low-volume parts with quick turnarounds and easy design changes. With urethane casting, product experts and businesses can also enjoy early revenue generation, initiate market presence and determine the best possible version of any product before investing in production tooling. Here are more reasons why urethane casting, and not 3D printing or Injection molding is your best route when looking for faster, cost-effective product development cycles.
Perhaps the most important factor in product development, even over speed, urethane casting methods is highly flexible, allowing design experts and product engineers to model and re-model till perfection without the risk of any significant cost during the prototyping process.
Cast urethane processes are based on silicone rubbers. These materials are very flexible, requiring less tweaking and stringent adherence to design for manufacturing rules.
Silicone rubbers are very easily processed in comparison to other production materials like aluminum and steel. This means that its tooling will only take a few days and production can be completed in as little as seven days. Because there is no need for hard-tooling, urethane casting helps to cut down on all the waiting times that will often be encountered when dealing with injection molding options. This speed is very crucial for product development perfection, quick market entry and leadership.
Urethane castings are significantly cheaper than injection molding, CNC machining and 3D printing options when developing new products. Relative to injection molding, urethane castings can cost anywhere between 40 to 50 percent lesser; this is because the material to be cut does not require as much power as metals. As earlier noted, the lack of hard tooling is also a significant cost reducer.
Although the urethane casting method is mostly manual, it remains ideal for production within 1-1000 units. Above this volume, injection molding gradually begins to become the more economic option. For product development, it is unlikely to require more than 1000 units at a single go. Therefore, cast urethanes are ideal for faster product development.
Part finish is one of the least-emphasized part of product development. This is because of the high costs associated with putting a decent finish on product prototypes and concepts that are still in testing. For some products, however, the finish is an important component for evaluating the product design. In cases like this, urethane castings are highly suitable as they offer a wide range of cosmetic finishes that 3D printing may struggle to deliver. Additive manufacturing techniques also put product development on the back foot due to the expensive costs of ink that may be required to put a high-quality cosmetic finish on multiple units of the prototype parts.
With cast urethanes, parts with different color, texture, surface properties can be achieved without overshooting the budget. Urethane castings can produce clear, transparent parts at a fraction of the cost that will be incurred with additive manufacturing; there are also many material options for color, heat-deflection, chemical resistivity, and flammability.
5. Size and Functionality
Urethane casting excels where additive manufacturing often fails – size. With urethane casting, design experts can design boundlessly without having to worry about extrusion problems, part structure, integrity, geometry and stability.
Many projects that will stretch the capabilities of 3D printing material and functionality-wise are very attainable using high-heat urethane. Irrespective of the part functionality and desired properties, urethane casting can work with a wide array of material options to deliver parts with the exact desired attributes.
6. Low-volume manufacturing
Even after a successful product development cycle, urethane casting remains a veritable option to produce attention-arresting, highly-functional parts at low-volume quantities. Whether the part is needed for marketing, bridge tooling, prototyping, bridge to production or limited-edition series, this method of production remains highly-valuable for delivering quantities from 1-1000 without high costs and hard tooling.
Contact Us at FirstPart
The benefits of a faster and more efficient product development cycle is innumerable. At Firstpart, we are dedicated to helping all of our clients take advantage of every manufacturing opportunity by reducing bottlenecks and delivery end-use parts on time. We understand the back and forth of the product development cycle which is why we ensure that prototypes are made available in the shortest time possible for feasibility studies and test runs. With our urethane casting solutions, we can deliver products with high-quality cosmetic brilliance with speed and cost-optimization. Click here to get in touch with us now and get a free quote on your project.