Rapid tooling is the modern manufacturing process that allows you to create multiple prototypes, molds, or finished products at the same time, with the fastest production speed. With rapid tooling everything is controlled via a computer-programmed terminal or controller, and most of the manufacturing operations are autonomous, needing only one or two operators to supervise the whole process.
Looking back at the old-school manufacturing processes, rapid tooling has brought quite a lot of positive changes and revolutionized how we run our manufacturing process today. Here’s how rapid tooling is revolutionizing manufacturing:
1. From Slow to Rapid Production Timeline
Back when manufacturers used traditional manufacturing and tooling processes in their production, the entire production timeline was very slow. It would take weeks and months for the manufacturers to get their molds, prototypes, or products ready, and most of the work was completed with manual labor. But, with rapid tooling, it all changed for the better.
Nowadays, manufacturers can produce molds, prototypes, and final products really fast, depending on the size and complexity of the design, and they can produce multiple prototypes at the same time with rapid tooling. Thus, manufacturers are capable of speeding up their production timeline and changing it from slow to rapid time completion estimate.
2. Cheaper to Produce Various Types of Products
Not only does rapid tooling provide you with the tooling or production process that is fast, it can also provide you with cheaper production costs for various types of products. The term “rapid” is not just about a fast way to manufacture prototypes or molds, but it is also about making it much more affordable.
There are various material options you can use in the rapid tooling process, and these materials have various grades that will determine their prices. You can always adjust the materials to use based on the budget that you have, without having to sacrifice much in its quality.
3. Support for Iterative Design in Prototyping
Because of the fast and efficient process of rapid tooling, you can use the iterative design strategy in your prototyping process. The iterative design strategy in rapid tooling allows you to make quick modifications to your prototypes and test the new version right away. With iterative design, you can also add or remove any features with ease.
The use of iterative design is not possible in the traditional manufacturing process, where you need to use manual labor in most of the manufacturing tasks. Iterative design is only possible to do with rapid tooling and other rapid manufacturing processes, as they use the computerized programming and autonomous work for most of the manufacturing production operations.
4. Adaptive to the New Technological Advancements
Today, rapid tooling uses robotics and computerized processes for its manufacturing operations, and it will continue on evolving. Various new technological advancements are getting integrated to the rapid tooling technology, allowing manufacturers to increase their production capacity, efficiency, and accuracy even further. In traditional manufacturing, this adoption of new technology is not possible, as the manufacturing process itself is constrained by its old-school production equipment and process.
With rapid tooling, you can expect future advancements in terms of new technology integration, which makes it easier for you to achieve your project goals with even faster speed and even better quality.
5. Less Manual Labor and More Automation
With rapid tooling, it’s easier for you to produce prototypes, molds, and final products in mass quantities with the use of automation or robotics. It means that there is less manual labor involved when you use the rapid tooling method in manufacturing, and compared to the traditional manufacturing method, it is already a big improvement.
Back in the days, producing thousands of products or prototypes would require you to use plenty of manual labor by hiring more and more workers, whereas today, you can produce in the same capacity using automation and robotics. Yes, you will still hire some workers, but these workers will deal with the supervising job, not the manual labor job.
6. Accurate and Precise Finished Products with Repeatable Consistency
Another way rapid tooling revolutionizes manufacturing is by producing precise finished products with repeatable consistency. In the traditional manufacturing methods, it would be very difficult for you to produce accurate and precise finished products, and there would also be plenty of product defects and imperfections that you need to deal with on a consistent basis.
However, rapid tooling comes into the scene to break all that situation and revolutionizes how you manufacture various products. Rapid tooling makes it easier to produce accurate and precise products thanks to its computerized programming. Also, thanks to the computing and autonomous technology behind rapid tooling, you can repeat the production process with consistent accuracy and precision.
7. The Prominent Use of Digital Technology
Computerized process is at the heart of rapid tooling, and this alone is quite revolutionary for the manufacturing industry today. In the past, prototype tooling companies used very little computing in their operations. However, with today’s rapid tooling method, the use of digital technology becomes more prominent, and you will need to use it for your day-to-day manufacturing process.
Rapid tooling allows you to create your design blueprint and change your design as often as possible until you can find the right version. It also uses digital technology to manage all the manufacturing operations, letting the rapid tooling machines do the work according to your programmed commands.
When we look back at how the manufacturing process was done a few decades ago, we can immediately see that the modern manufacturing process, like rapid tooling, has revolutionized the entire manufacturing industry. In today’s modern time, manufacturing is as simple as feeding your rapid tooling machine with the design data created with CAD software. Then, you will just monitor the manufacturing operations and let the machine do the work for you.
TEAM Rapid offers the best complete prototype services that use various modern manufacturing technologies, such as rapid tooling, 3D printing, and CNC prototyping. We tailor each process based on your design requirements, and we will ensure that you will get the best results from the production process within your appointed deadline.