What is bridge tooling and how can you benefit from it? A closer look.
Say you have in your bucket an order that requires a plastic product to be released in the market. Quantity required would be in thousands.
A healthcare firm approaches you to help them manufacture a product still in its R&D stage, yet requires hundreds of parts for testing.
Considering the numbers in either case, would you go for a full production tool or additive manufacturing or a process that would cater precisely to your requirement, also making it a faster and cost effective option?
Rapid or Bridge tooling, as name suggests, is a manufacturing solution that ‘bridges’ the gap between prototyping and final production of parts. It’s a hybrid fix capable of catering to volumes which otherwise would be costly and time consuming via additive manufacturing or production tooling.
The tools can be built in Aluminium or soft steel grades which enable faster machining, at the same time allows any plastic material to be moulded without affecting the quality of output. Depending on the grade of metal being used for the tools and complexity of the output, thousands of parts can be moulded. Bridging could be the best fit in a number of cases.
For example, if the intended material is something you can’t do without, even for testing purposes; orIf the number of parts required makes additive manufacturing or production tool cost you a fortune (considering the timelines involved); orA batch of products is required prior to production tooling; orIf the quantities are low enough bridge tooling can act as a final production tool.
Production of parts using additive manufacturing
When should you go for Bridge ToolingThe bridge tool is way more cost effective against production tool, can be up and running within ten days, and has the capacity to produce parts from tens to thousands with the same mold.
Oftentimes, designers and engineers prefer prototypes to be made in specific plastics. Bridge tooling allows you to create a prototype that often does not cost much more than an additive manufacturing or subtractive short-run technique. Since the uniformity of process makes it available at the most economic price point, it’s an ideal solution for manufacturing of relatively smaller quantities. The advantages, apart from time and cost constraints go beyond the options available from a wide variety of materials. Product quality achieved is same as a production tool but for lower volumes.
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