A combination of Addifab’s resin system, Nexa3D’s 3D printers and Alpine’s advanced composite materials enables production of injection molds that dissolve after part injection, cutting speed and cost.
Alpine Advanced Materials (Dallas, Texas, U.S.) has introduced rapid prototype molding (RPM) using Addifab’s (Taastrup, Denmark) proprietary resin system and Nexa3D’s (Ventura, Calif., U.S.) printers that is said enables a more rapid tool manufacturing solution that provides a functional and testable part at a fraction of the cost. Complementing Alpine’s suite of high-performance engineered materials — such as its HX5 thermoplastic nanocomposite — and advanced design services, RPM freeform injection molding delivers complex injection molded parts more quickly and affordably than when using standard steel molds, according to the company.
Using RPM, Alpine clients can additively manufacture a tool cavity injection mold, a negative of the designed part, then create the prototype using the cheaper mold. Once produced, the mold is dissolved away, leaving an injection molded prototype with fiber alignment for strength and without the surface finish issues of 3D printing, Alpine notes. Additionally, with separable components, RPM is said to enable two-part tools that can be used repeatedly for low volumes that also convey both form and function equivalent to that of a standard steel tool.
“The clients we work with whose parts must meet various certifications — UL, FAA and MIL-spec, among others — need to have a ‘real’ part to test against their real-world challenges. RPM facilitates that by getting testable parts into the field quickly,” David Brantner, chief executive officer (CEO) of Alpine Advanced Materials, emphasizes. “Think of companies bidding for military or aerospace contracts — it’s powerful to have data that backs up whether your components actually work.”
Alpine Advanced Materials Introduces Rapid Prototype Molding: Filling the gap between a 3D-printed part, which can get a client close in shape but is limited by mechanical performance, and an injection molded part, which provides form and function but requires investment in tooling, RPM delivers production-level components at a relatively low cost ideal for low-volume testing. Giving product designers the chance to fully prove a part before committing to a steel mold, RPM also enables design iterations that make testing more dynamic.
According to Carsten Jarfelt, chief commercial officer of Addifab in the U.S., its technology supports product development with economical prototype tooling, cutting an average of 85% off the price a first functional component.
“One of the biggest barriers in transitioning to advanced materials is the weighty cost and time commitment required to test actual parts. Too often, the prospect of paying for a prototype that will cost tens of thousands of dollars stops innovation dead in its tracks,” Brantner adds. “With RPM, we allow our clients across aerospace, defense, unmanned aerial vehicles, space and outdoor to more easily tap into the power of new material and design technology for less time and money.”
Alpine Advanced Materials Introduces Rapid Prototype Molding: Original Article