RIM vs Sheet Metal

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RIM offers

Higher Design Complexity

Lighter Parts

than Sheet Metal
Sheet metal is a very low cost option for part production, but with this process you sacrifice many design features and often add piece counts and costs to final assembly.

Design Features

RIM allows for much more intricate and sophisticated form development compared to sheet metal. Any features on the inner or outer surface of a sheet metal part must be cut out, welded, or bolted on as a secondary process. With these features molded into a RIM mold, you can reduce assembly, add value to the overall design, and ultimately lower unit costs.


Materials cannot be encapsulated in sheet metal. Only RIM can encapsulate metals, electronics, and other parts for optimum protection and strength.

Finish & Surfacing

Both processes produce a high quality finish, but also take paint, silk screening and texturing well for improved branding.


Sheet metal is the most cost-effective option for small production volumes, but RIM should be taken into consideration if the part design is complex or if there is a long term product life.

Lead Times

While sheet metal fabricating is relatively quick, RIM molding can incorporate features directly into the mold that require less secondary part assembly.

Tooling Costs

Up-front costs for sheet metal are lower than that of RIM, and modifications can also be made at low costs. The trade-off is that features cannot be designed into sheet metal as they would with the RIM process, so secondary assembly and cosmetics should be taken into account.

Other Design Benefits

Using RIM molding will yield a much more attractive, sculpted design that is lighter in weight and has better chemical resistance and insulation properties.

Though these are some of the main considerations to account for when deciding on a production process, there are many issues to balance when determining the most effective option. Let Exothermic help you uncover the opportunities for success and guide your design concept to meet those process needs.

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Industrial Designers

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