The Advantages of Prototyping Injection Molded Devices

In the manufacturing world, it’s a common practice to prototype a component before pushing it to final production. A 3D printed prototype enables the customer to see and feel the product before it goes into production, which allows them to make necessary design changes and to mitigate the risk of quality defects.

Manufacturers creating a prototype of a product might depend on several factors, including what industry the components are used in, the type of product being manufactured, or if it is a custom design.

The Prototyping Process
At Sussex IM, we operate with 3D printing for smaller runs and building aluminum or soft tooling for larger runs. We utilize an Objet30 Pro Polyjet 3D printer, which satisfies most of our customers’ prototyping needs. We also use a couple of prototype mold builders that will build aluminum tools economically.

When we make a 3D printed prototype, the customer is supplied with 3D CAD files of the application. After the software compiles all the data, a finished 3D product is produced within a few hours: this is so the customer can have a physical part in their hand that shows fine details versus simply looking at the CAD drawing on a computer.

3D printed wheel

Some of the most common applications Sussex IM prototypes products for include:

Cosmetics – compacts and eyeshadow pallets are often designed to be a specific size and shape; the details need to be perfect, especially along the corners and edges.

Medical/Pharma – components for these industries must uphold the most rigorous standards, so creating a prototype allows the customer to ensure their components are made with absolute precision.

Consumer Markets – reusable plastic containers are common household items, and 3D printed prototypes help the manufacturer produce the ideal size and shape.

In addition to satisfying customer prototyping needs, there are also other internal instances where the team at Sussex IM utilizes our 3D printer. We will occasionally 3D print fixtures and nests for hot stamping and other post-molding needs, and we also print gauges for quality checks. For example, there is currently a vial in need of new tooling; since there were not any 3D CAD files of the product, we had to reverse engineer the part and create the files. We 3D printed the vial in order to ensure that everything fit together properly and the high costs of mold corrections were mitigated. This was to ensure we did not make any errors with tooling alterations.

All in all, prototypes provide a good feel for part size, complicated geometry, and creates a visual of how best to design the mold with automation. Sussex IM encourages our customers to utilize prototyping for all their complicated or custom components.

Creating Quality Products Customers Trust
Sussex IM is a well-known Midwestern manufacturer, and our injection molding capabilities and manufacturing practices have evolved quite a bit throughout the years. Our team is consistent in our standards for customer satisfaction, and we are known in the industry for being a reliable partner.

Want to learn more about prototyping your plastic injection molded products? Contact Sussex IM today.