When you need to produce parts before high volume tooling is ready, short run production is a quick solution for low volume quantities of the same part. Depending on the quantities needed, it may even be a final solution to avoid the high cost of hard tooling. Using silicone tooling, short run production is less expensive and can be produced much quicker than cutting steel tools. If a part needs to change during the run, soft tooling provides greater flexibility to modify the master part or mold that is used for casting the parts. Short run production is a quick, cost effective process for a stop-gap solution or an alternative for final production needs.
Short run production begins like a standard casting program by creating a master part with data that is provided or created by our internal team. Master parts are 3D printed or CNC machined in-house. The master is finished and often graphics or textures are applied to the master. Graphics and finishes are transferred to the silicone tools during the molding process and will ultimately be cast into the final urethane part.
The finished master is used to create a silicone mold with a monolithic or two-pour process which is filled and set overnight. Once the silicone mold is set, gates or channels are cut for the urethane to flow through. We have many types of urethane resins available with similar characteristics to production such as a fire rating of V0 or clear materials. Multiples are cast using a vacuum chamber. Depending on the number of parts needed, the project may require multiple tools which are created using the same process, then finished, painted and assembled.