We’ve come a long way in rapid prototyping from the brittle single material choice SLA processes 10 years ago, but how much importance are you putting on your suppliers’ capabilities? With the continuous technology advancements in additive manufacturing & prototyping, it should now be considered a “standard” that your injection molding supply chain has these capabilities…At least we seem to think so and our customers would agree.
Additive manufacturing and prototyping allow you to quickly move from the initial 2D or 3D CAD files to a functional part, but how functional can it be?
It Starts with A DFM (Design for Manufacturability)
Often times we tell our customers that you can’t mold quality into a part, you can only design it in. Depending on your own internal engineering resources, the initial design of a part will get you between 60%-80% of an optimization for manufacturability. Even with seasoned engineers, they often don’t have the resources at their fingertips to run lengthy analysis’s nor do they have the tooling/molding experience to know exactly what will work best.
By leveraging Crescent Industries’ robust DFM analysis and over 150+ years of plastic molding/engineering experience, we can quickly determine what changes need to be made to set our customers up for success. This isn’t only determined by decades of experience, this is based on actual data from our internal analysis. Utilizing flow simulation software, tooling design and manufacturing expertise, we look at all aspects of a parts design keeping into consideration the intent behind all features. Some of our analysis includes:
- Fill Analysis
- Warp Analysis
- Optimal Gate Location
- Wall Thickness cross sections
- Cooling line locations and much more
Once our DFM is completed, our customers are confident that their parts are fully optimized and ready for the first stages of additive manufacturing and prototyping.
Physical Parts, Functional Molds& Production
At Crescent Industries we utilize our advanced prototyping department to not only create simple parts out of commodity and engineered grade materials but also out of FDA approved material. This dedication to the upfront DFM process has enabled our customers to not only test functionality but also environmental testing and more advanced “real life” situations.
For some specific situations utilizing carbon printing to quickly create mold cores & cavities, we have the ability to quickly produce low volume production runs reducing lead time from 6+ weeks down to <1.5 weeks with our prototyping partners. This speed to market differentiator can mean a significant difference in initial product launch and market testing.
This is particularly important in the defense and medical industries where trying to find time savings and efficiencies can mean the difference between being a first mover in the industry and struggling with competition.
With the low volume production capabilities, you not only save a significant amount of time to the first approved production parts, but your upfront costs will be reduced. On all potential projects, we discuss the overall scope with the customer/potential customer to determine what is the best path for production?
- Based on application and material, is the project a fit for additive manufacturing and prototyping?
- What is the time frame until first production needs to launch?
- What are the annual volume requirements?
Revisit Your Supplier Selections
With all of the additive manufacturing and prototyping technology available, all companies need to take a hard look at their supply chain to make sure they are getting serviced properly. This technology has allowed companies to take out the manufacturing guess work, increase their speed to market and reduce any form/fit/function issues in other parts within the supply chain. Providing your product development team with parts made from your production material allows them to fully test and optimize all areas of the product.
Some questions to consider:
- How many of your current injection molding suppliers have in house DFM &additive manufacturing technology?
- Are your current injection molding suppliers providing you with a full DFM analysis before projects get started?
- How in-depth are the DFM’s that are provided to you?
- Do you have any suppliers that can handle a majority of your current and future production requirements in all aspects from initial design through full production?
Crescent Industries – Leaders in DFM
Crescent Industries engineering department has been executing a robust DFM process for decades and offers this service with our additive manufacturing & prototyping technology. With over 150+ years of engineering expertise and advanced technology, we value the importance of your speed to market challenges and are dedicated to your success.
If you have an existing project, we would love the opportunity to discuss it with you! Please fill out our form so we can learn more about it!