Rapid Prototyping was building molds using CNC machined polyurethane foam and hand layup glass fiber-reinforced plastic. This resulted in high-quality products, but with high costs for both material and labor, and too much waste. In addition, the urge to work with recycled material grew and the time to market was – because of the amount of hand labor involved – not optimal. The challenge György Juhász, owner of Rapid Prototyping, was facing, was to improve on all these levels while maintaining a high quality end product.
The Robot Extruder solution
CEAD’s robot extruder provided the ideal solution for all the above. “I already had a 5-axis CNC machine,” tells Juhász in an interview with Composites World, “so we just bought the Robot Extruder print head and attached it.” Where Rapid Prototyping used to mill the molds from thermosetting polymer, they now use additive manufacturing to build molds with thermoplastic polymer. The milling part of the machine is still used, but only for a smooth finish of the product.
As a result, Rapid Prototyping is now able to meet the demands of the fast developing market they operate in, with a number of benefits:
- Faster production
- Less waste of material
- Lower material costs
- Reduced hand labor
- Environmentally friendly production
- Better time to market
“We are now 3D printing molds using 30% short glass fiber-reinforced polypropylene and cutting our labor time by 50%.” concludes Juhász in the interview.