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Engineering & Architecture

Metal Replacement w/Thermoplastics

Examination of your application requirements to replace costly or even commodity metal design with lower cost, precise out-of-mold replacements. Typically design for improvement or parity in part costs with reduced assembly costs, reduced secondary operations, reduced supplier count for a single part. Usually higher performance density, higher performance for total weight, smaller overall product design due to complex assembly features molded-in, improved chemical performance, and lower cost are achieved. Thermoplastics have a large upfront tooling cost which often dissuades their use in prototyping, and thus in production, for large or high performance products. Despite higher cost per pound and this upfront cost, high performance thermoplastics almost always reduce total manufacturing and assembly costs by reducing the number of processing steps. Additionally, they are often more chemically robust for your application than cost competitive metals. Finally, the tooling cost is often less than the cost of prototyping in metals when volumes are just in the tens of prototypes. The primary drawback really is lead time for prototyping, with a 6-12 week lead time expected from PO to approved part with a quality molder. This is different from the lower performance plastics available through ProtoLabs or 3D printing services. There is some crossover, however these suppliers are rarely able to replace metal in a performance competitive manner.

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$60/hr Ongoing

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Examination of your application requirements to replace costly or even commodity metal design with lower cost, precise out-of-mold replacements. Typically design for improvement or parity in part costs with reduced assembly costs, reduced secondary operations, reduced supplier count for a single part. Usually higher performance density, higher performance for total weight, smaller overall product design due to complex assembly features molded-in, improved chemical performance, and lower cost are achieved. Thermoplastics have a large upfront tooling cost which often dissuades their use in prototyping, and thus in production, for large or high performance products. Despite higher cost per pound and this upfront cost, high performance thermoplastics almost always reduce total manufacturing and assembly costs by reducing the number of processing steps. Additionally, they are often more chemically robust for your application than cost competitive metals. Finally, the tooling cost is often less than the cost of prototyping in metals when volumes are just in the tens of prototypes. The primary drawback really is lead time for prototyping, with a 6-12 week lead time expected from PO to approved part with a quality molder. This is different from the lower performance plastics available through ProtoLabs or 3D printing services. There is some crossover, however these suppliers are rarely able to replace metal in a performance competitive manner.

Skills & Expertise

3D Design3D PrintingAssemblyDesignInjection MoldingManufacturingOrder ProcessingPerformance EngineeringPrototypingQuality Assurance (QA) And TestingRequirements AnalysisSupply Chain ManagementThermoplasticsTooling Design

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