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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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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.

RIM Molding Vs. Structural Foam Molding. Are the design considerations different, or is it just a matter of 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. Structural Foam Molding.

Reaction Injection Molding (RIM) is a low cost tooling process geared towards high quality Polyurethane and Urethane plastic parts with Class A surfaces. RIM Tooling especially molds of Aluminum is lower in cost than other plastic manufacturing methods. However, based upon a variety of raw materials, architectural detailing, painting and finishing requirements, the price per part may be slightly higher.  The diverse functions and project freedoms are why more designers and OEM’s are turning to the RIM process as a preferred solution.

Structural foam uses essentially the same process as regular Thermoplastic Injection Molding, so the design considerations of using the Reaction Injection Molding process versus structural foam are similar, but the costs are different with added foaming agent. Thermoplastic structural foam molds require higher process pressure and cost roughly double that of RIM molds, while the structural foam parts tend to be lower in cost. The decision here often relates to quantities.

Other Design Considerations: While RIM is the more cost-effective option for low volumes, structural foam molding can be used for jobs with higher quantities where higher tooling costs are offset by lower part costs. Neither process is the best for production of high volumes.

Read more about it in our white paper, “Determining the Right Molding Process for Part Design.  How RIM Molding Advantages Compare with Traditional Production Technologies”.

Download the paper at (www.exothermic.com).

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

Comparing RIM with Other Molding Processes

The chart published as part of our white paper, “Determining the Right Molding Process for Part Design” at  http://www.exothermic.com/download-process-comp.aspx, shows RIM Molding features compared  to other popular process options based on design capabilities, appropriateness for particular applications, and cost factors.

When you review the chart, it is evident that RIM Molding can offer many cost advantages and invaluable design freedom; However, it will still not be the best solution for every part or product. The ultimate process choice will vary based on a mix of factors including quantities needed, investment allowed, design features specified and lead time objectives.

Coming up in our next blogs, we will explore these comparisons in further detail, evaluating RIM Molding characteristics against the  main competing technologies of Thermoplastic Injection Molding, Thermoforming, Structural Foam  Molding, Fiberglass Molding, Sheet Metal Fabrication, Aluminum Casting and Urethane Casting to specify if and when  RIM would be the  most effective choice.

In the meantime, we invite you to visit our website, download the paper and offer an opinion:   www.exothermic.com.

Looking For A Process That Satisfies Complexity, Cost, And Timing Issues? Here’s A Solution For Design Freedom.

Molding Plastics?  Thinking Of Moving Beyond Sheet Metal?

The unique plastics process of Reaction Injection Molding technology, or RIM Molding, can offer great flexibility compared to traditional methods of molding parts. Many designers will find the RIM process to be a viable alternative to satisfy complexity, cost, and timing issues.  (www.exothermic.com)

The Reaction Injection Molding process works by combining two liquid components that chemically react in a closed mold to form a thermoset plastic part. Unlike thermoplastic injection processes that require very high temperatures and pressures to melt and force plastic into a steel tool, RIM Molding requires significantly less energy and minimal injection force. Instead, the liquids undergo an exothermic, or heat generating, chemical reaction and polymerize inside the mold. Due to the low viscosity of the component liquids, an average mold can fill in a few second or less, at molding pressures of only 50-150 psi, and the finished part can be de-molded in as little as 60-120 seconds.

RIM Molding is optimal for flexibility, strength, surface hardness, wear resistance, sound/vibration dampening, thermal insulation, and chemical, electrical, or fire resistance. The low-pressure tools machined out of aluminum translate into low costs, shorter lead times, and with greater flexibility in design and tooling changes.

Overall, the RIM process can offer designers and engineers unprecedented design freedom to unlock their creativity, while providing unsurpassed part to part tolerance stability at comparatively low cost.

To read more about it: http://www.exothermic.com/download-process-comp.aspx

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