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RIM Enables Complex Design Geometries in Medical System Enclosure Panels

The PHOENIX Automated Microbiology System, developed by the Becton Dickinson and Company Biosciences division, is used in large commercial and hospital laboratories. The system performs automated analysis of infectious agents and can perform from one to 100 determinations simultaneously.  Designers turned to RIM Technology at Exothermic Molding, Inc. for complex geometries, varying wall thicknesses and the requirement for reinforcing ribs and molded-in bosses of the relatively large parts.

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Save Money. Save Time.

Strategic Sourcing of Value-Added Assembly provides benefits that address the ongoing need for efficiency in the manufacturing process. The sourcing of components and the sub-assembly of products provides a wide array of advantages in several distinct areas:

(a) Cost Savings,cover page - 05_15_2012 - WEB
(b) Improved Material Flow with Reduced Supervision,
(c) Increased Flexibility Meeting Customer Demand,
(d) Improved Quality,
(e) Positive Environmental Effect.

The result of strategically sourced sub-assembly adds up to significant savings for the OEM.

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Welcome to 2015!

All is well at Exothermic Molding, thanks to all of our customers, suppliers, and employees. Our goals are to continually find ways to improve our processing methodologies in order to provide the highest quality services at the best possible price. Here are a few highlights from this past year:

ISO 9001 Certification Training – We continue to implement ISO 9001:2008 procedures in order to become a certified provider.

Our Customers – We are pleased to say that as our customer base expands, and we continue to be amazed by the diversity of our clients and their intriguing products.

Our Employees – We have added to our staff and increased our production as necessitated by the marketplace. We have added personnel to our molding and painting departments, including a seasoned painting and finishing supervisor.

We initiated a cross training program whereby all employees have the opportunity to increase their value by learning skills in multiple production departments. This ensures our reliability as a supplier as we directly address constraints that normally occur in contract manufacturing workflow, while creating better, more engaging job opportunities and associated compensation.

Antonio Martinez, a 40 year veteran mold-maker at Exothermic, retires from full-time service with the company. Throughout his career with us, Antonio has made countless contributions to both customers and staff. His acquired expertise in RIM molding will continue to be available to us in a consulting capacity as we embrace the coming challenges of turning unique designs into reality. We thank Antonio for the invaluable contributions he has made to both our company and its employees.

Increased Production Capacity – We’ve installed new equipment to support our increased production requirements:
– Wet Technologies wet blast machine – our second unit is used in surface prep for painting. Investing in a second device ensures against production delays.
– Kaeser 30 HP air compressor system with associated purification devices to meet our increased demand for clean compressed air at 50 stations throughout the facility.
– Refurbishment of the Hurco Machining Center computing capability to allow for faster data processing and direct communication from our programming center.

Manufacturing Award – Caonabo Delgado, our Manufacturing Manager, was awarded the Next-Generation Leadership Award by NJBIZ for its inaugural New Jersey Manufacturing Awards event, held in conjunction with the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program. The ceremony honored producers of innovation including companies and professionals who create products and jobs in the Garden State.

Brand Development – Website update. New look. Enhanced user experience. Improved analytics. We’ve taken another step in our efforts to educate the market place about our capabilities and RIM Molding. Our new site provides easier access to data for process comparisons, case studies, and valuable white papers. Please visit us at www.exothermic.com.

As we move into this New Year, our company continues to focus on this most important business principal:

The only sustainable advantage in business is World-Class Customer Service, so we strive to provide excellent and reliable service every day.

Sincerely,

Paul K. Steck
President
January 2015

aluminum RIM Tool being machined

RIM Molding vs. Urethane Casting (Rubber Molds)

Both Reaction Injection Molding and Urethane Casting offer a good deal of design freedom, including the ability to mold-in features and encapsulate materials.  They differ in the fact that only RIM allows for part design with significant wall thickness variations—typically from .125″ to 1.125″ in the same part.

RIM as well as urethane casting can be used to encapsulate a variety of materials, from metals to electronics. Each also produce a high quality finish, and take paint, silk screening and texturing well for improved branding.

Urethane casting in silicone rubber molds is often the more cost-effective choice for small production volumes, but rubber molds have a limited cycle life and long-term production can become cost prohibitive compared to RIM. Both processes are appropriate for producing molds for quick turnaround.

The initial tooling costs of urethane casting are lower than that of RIM. Tooling modification is also very cost-effective, but when aiming for production parts, RIM becomes the better choice cost-wise.

OTHER DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS: Many companies utilize rubber molds for years prior to converting to more permanent tooling, which can end up being extremely expensive. Because RIM can bridge the gap between prototype and production with parts that are precision molded instead of fabricated or cast, it can actually be most cost effective to utilize RIM in lieu of rubber molding.

Reaction Injection Molding vs. Fiberglass. Reinforced RIM can offer the same advantages with less labor for a lower unit cost.

Continuing our exploration of the right molding process for part design (“Determining the Right Molding Process for Part Design”), this blog entry considers RIM Molding vs. Fiberglass.

While fiberglass can be used to produce very large, stiff parts, reinforced RIM parts can offer the same advantages with less labor for a lower unit cost. Traditional fiberglass molding is a slow, manual and labor intensive process, and issues of conformity and accuracy can often arise in these parts. The RIM process can produce more uniform parts with features molded into the interior. Fiberglass is the best option for prototyping very large parts, although it is possible to mold fibers into a RIM part to gain the strength and
weight advantage of fiberglass. Both processes provide a solution for encapsulating metal, but only RIM urethane is appropriate to use when encapsulation of PCBs and other electronics is necessary.

Fiberglass parts can have a high quality finish, but RIM parts are easier to paint for improved branding.

Fiberglass is mostly used to make small quantities of prototype parts. RIM is more cost-effective for actual production of low volumes (25-500 parts/mo.) compared to fiberglass. Neither process is the appropriate for higher production volumes. Both RIM and fiberglass tools require a low up-front cost, and both types of tools allow for cost-effective modification if market feedback shows that features need to be changed.

Other Design Considerations: Fiberglass production emits large amounts of hazardous styrenes.  RIM is a much more environmentally safe “green” option compared to fiberglass.

Coming up next:  RIM Molding vs. Sheet Metal

RIM Molding. Thermoplastic Injection Molding. Which is the best way to go?

Reaction Injection Molding, or RIM, can be a great alternative to achieve the mainstream look of molded parts without the high tooling costs or volumes needed for typical thermoplastic parts. Both processes allow incorporation of many features into a mold, but only RIM gives the designer flexibility to produce parts with significant wall thickness variations—typically from .125” to 1.125” in the same part. RIM can also produce high strength large parts at a lower price because mold pressures and costs are significantly lower compared to thermoplastics.

While both processes provide a solution for encapsulating metal, the low temperature, low pressure RIM process is also safe for electronics and other material encapsulation. Injection molded parts have a higher quality finish than RIM urethane parts, although RIM parts take paint and silk screening well for improved cosmetics and branding.

RIM is valuable for producing low volumes at a low cost, but for volumes over 500 per month, thermoplastic injection molding often becomes the more cost-effective processing option. Because RIM molds can be machined from aluminum instead of steel, the up-front tooling costs are typically less than one half that of a comparable thermoplastic mold. This is particularly beneficial when part volume is low. Since RIM tools can be made of softer materials, changes to tooling are also much more cost-effective than changes to thermoplastic steel tools.

Read more about it in our white paper, “5 Reasons to Use RIM for Complex Parts”. Download the paper at www.exothermic.com

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