Aluminium tooling: is it right for you?

Paul Boughton

Are you trying to evaluate if the way forward for you is aluminium tooling for your products?  

Manufacturer of injection moulded prototype and production components RP Mouldings has complied a list of the most common questions it has received on the subject.

Q: How many parts will a prototype/aluminium tool produce?

RP Mouldings: This depends on many factors. How many parts do you need your tool to produce? We supply components into many different industries, some customers require 10 parts, some 10,000 and this has to be considered at the time of making the tool. Our tooling can be a cost effective solution to a handful of parts, or a tool capable of 100s of thousands of parts. 

Q: What materials can you produce parts from when prototyping with your tools?

RP Mouldings: Our prototype/aluminium tooling is very robust which enables RP to mould in most thermoplastic materials, from polypropylene to high temperature metal replacement engineering polymers such as PEEK, PPS, LCP, HTN, etc.

Q: How long does it take to make tools and mouldings.

RP Mouldings: It depends on the complexity. We’ve produced simple non complex tools and mouldings in a couple of days, to very complex tools and mouldings in several weeks. 

Q: If I have a tool made by RP Mouldings can I have additional parts made at a later date, and who owns the tool?

RP Mouldings: Once you have a tool produced by RP Mouldings we store it so your able to call off as many parts as required, at any time. As long as we’re making parts from your tool we guarantee the quality of the tool and parts for the duration of your project. All of the tooling we produce is the property of our customer.

Q: If I have a production tool that’s late, can you supply a quick turnaround on a tool and support our production?

RP Mouldings: Yes, this is a common occurrence for many OEMs and it’s not unheard of for us to support production for several months.

Q: How much cheaper is aluminium tooling against steel tooling?

RP Mouldings: This again depends on the levels of complexity, but rule of thumb is around 30-40 per cent cheaper with much shorter lead times, which in itself offers reduced time to market for new products and the potential for substantial cost savings.

Q: Is it possible to have parts overmoulded or mouldings made from soft materials with aluminium tools?

RP Mouldings: Yes, we can mould materials like TPE/TPV/TPU as overmouldings or straight forward mouldings.

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