Rapid Plastic Prototyping

With speed to market a key requirement in the critical path of a new product development roadmap, rapid plastic prototyping is an essential component of the Tex Plastics offer.

23rd November 2020

The No 1 Benefit of Rapid Plastic Prototyping

Rapid prototyping plastic injection moulding enables the design development process to evolve more quickly – rapid prototyping is a strategic capability. This is because one of the key advantages of rapid plastic prototyping is risk mitigation. By prototyping as much as possible as quickly as possible, it becomes easier to identify problems in a product. Products that have been extensively prototyped — and therefore extensively tested — pose less risk than products that have been minimally prototyped or not prototyped at all.

The different methods of rapid plastic prototyping

As part of the total package solution Tex Plastics offers its customers various methods of rapid prototypes to enable the plastic injection moulding design development process to evolve.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS Prototyping)

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a 3D Printing technology used for rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing of 3D parts with complex shapes and geometries. The SLS process can be used to produce parts that closely mimic the properties of finished parts, particularly where high degrees of accuracy are required. The high level of accuracy makes SLS an ideal choice for all stages of the production process from concept model through to presentation and testing models.

Stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography (SLA) rapid prototyping is a 3D Printing technology used for rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing. It is one of the most popular and versatile technologies available. Stereolithography is ideal for low or single run production of prototype parts for concept models, presentation models or tooling masters that are required quickly and cost effectively.

Rapid Tool Prototyping

Rapid prototyping is the combination of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD). Rapid tool prototyping helps the design for manufacture team quickly test and iterate on multiple design ideas and methods, allowing them to use more intuitive visual design materials during conversations, not just verbal descriptions. It also ensures that everyone involved has a consistent understanding, reducing or even avoiding the risk of missing important needs.

3D Printing

3D printing is ideal for making prototypes due to its accuracy, high strength and using our free polishing service, close to injection mould finish. Using CAD data, parts can be formed with great complexity without the need for extensive machine set up or complex assembly. It’s easier to visualise the design and can be a good marketing/sales aid before investing in injection mould tooling. All of this can be achieved at relatively low cost – it is cheaper to modify CAD data rather than the mould tool.

CNC Machined Parts

Rapid prototyping is often regarded as being synonymous with additive manufacturing technologies (commonly known as 3D printing). But CNC machining and injection moulding as rapid prototyping technologies because while additive manufacturing technologies are ideal for producing parts with extremely complex geometries that will permit the checking of form, fit and function, in many cases, post processing (such a CNC machining of certain surfaces) enhancement may be required to meet the needs of the project.

Our design for manufacture team will help you select the most appropriate rapid plastic prototyping technology, or combination to achieve the results you need.

Find out how we can help you drive waste out of your plastics injection moulded parts and associated supply chain